Sweet & Sour Cucumbers

Just about any kind of cucumber will work for this recipe – I prefer the small Persian or Japanese ones, since they don’t have such large seeds and their skin is thin. English cucumbers are great, but who needs all that plastic packaging? If you use a conventional cucumber, you can scoop out the seeds with a spoon or melon baller before cutting.


  • 2 small or 1 large cucumber
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 T vinegar – rice wine or apple cider varieties are best here
  • 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 T sugar – brown or raw cane is best
  • 1 pinch freshly ground white or Sichuan peppercorn as garnish – optional


  1. Wash the cucumbers and pat dry. If you are using a thick-skinned variety, you may wish to peel them.
  2. Cut off the ends of the cucumbers, then cut each into sticks approximately 1/2″ x 1/2″ x 2″ long – usually cutting small cucumbers into 2″ sections, then cutting lengthwise into quarters is just about right.
  3. Sprinkle the cucumbers with the salt and allow to drain in a sieve for 20-30 m.
  4. In the meantime, combine the remaining ingredients except for the pepper in a bowl and set aside.
  5. Pat the cucumbers dry, then add the remaining ingredients, mixing gently to coat the cucumbers thoroughly with the sauce.
  6. Arrange in a bowl or on a plate, sprinkle with pepper if desired, and serve.

do ahead:

The salted cucmbers can sit for up to 6 h in the refrigerator, and the dressing can be made up to a day ahead. Bring to room temperature before combining and serving. You may need a little less soy sauce as the cucumbers will be saltier to begin with.

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