Chinese Cucumber Salad

Feb 26, 2012 by




I’m not sure why, but people seem very judgmental and ill-informed about the whole business of pickling. I mean, when you get down to it, “a pickled vegetable” is really just a vegetable that someone has poured vinegar over and then walked away from for a few minutes. Yeh, that’s all.

It was only in a recent conversation with my mother, during which her reaction to pickling was “oh, that’s gonna take FOREVER,” that I became aware of the misconception. As if pickling is a task that is culturally united with basket weaving, bonnet-stitching, candle-dipping and sweeping of the earthen floor.

To set the record straight, I urge you to watch any episode of Top Chef and count the number of times that you hear these cutting edge culinary masters use the word “pickle” inside 45 minutes. Spoiler: it’s a lot.

While the original purpose of pickling — actual preservation — has been taken care of by the likes of the refrigerator, freezer, etc., modern pickling is mostly done for the purpose of imbuing salty acidity into a crunchy item. Adding pickled items to an otherwise fatty or sweet dish provides an elegant and fun contrast, and needless to say, I’m a big fan.

If you’re new to the world of pickling, this cucumber salad is a great recipe to start with, basically because it only has a few ingredients and all of them are inexpensive (so, if you screw it up royally, you’ve only lost about six bucks).
Go for it!




1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Dash of sesame oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced into strips




In a medium bowl, mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, oils and pepper flakes. Then, stir in the cucumbers and red bell pepper.



Chill for 1 hour before serving to let the flavors develop.



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