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Cucumbers in Black Rice Vinegar

Updated February 23, 2016
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Cucumbers are one of the mainstays for people living in the oases of Xinjiang. They’re used as a cross between a salad and a condiment. This is one of the easiest ways we know to brighten a weeknight supper. It also complements deep-fried treats beautifully.

CUCUMBER-VINEGAR SAUCE: If you mince the cucumber, this becomes more like a condiment than a salad. It’s a standard item at noodle stalls in Xinjiang and Qinghai provinces. Serve it with noodle dishes and pulaos, putting it out in a bowl, with a spoon, so guests can help themselves.

Serves4 as a salad or side dish Serves 6 to 8 as a condiment

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 30 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Recipe Courseappetizer, side dish

Dietary Considerationappetizer, side dish

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturecrunchy, nutty, sharp, tangy, tart

Type of DishCondiments, salad

Ingredients

  • 1 English cucumber (about ½ pound)
  • About 2¼ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons Jinjiang (black rice) vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil

Instructions

Peel the cucumber completely, or remove lengthwise strips of peel, leaving some of the cucumber unpeeled, to give the slices an attractive look. Slice lengthwise in half and then in half again. Use a knife or sharp spoon to clean out the seeds. Cut each piece lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices.

Place the cucumber in a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of the salt and let stand for 10 minutes, then transfer the cucumber to a sieve or colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Squeeze gently to remove excess water, and place in a shallow bowl.

Whisk the vinegar and sesame oil together and pour over the cucumbers. Toss to blend. Set aside until ready to serve (no longer than 30 minutes).

Just before serving, taste, and add about ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste, if you wish.

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