The idea for this spicy sesame cucumber salad came to me when I was trying to figure out what I could make as a quick veggie side when all I had was a cucumber and some seasonings. I thought about deli style cucumber salads, which are often a little spicy and have that great vinegary dressing with a touch of sweetness.
I wanted to mimic that deli style cucumber salad, but add a little something extra or different. A quick look to see what kind of vinegar I had to flavor a dressing and my eyes landed on a bottle of rice vinegar. That then had my eyes bounce over to the bottle of Asian toasted sesame oil. That was all I needed to know what I wanted to make.
With those Asian ingredients, along with some fresh cilantro and scallions, the cucumber salad turned out wonderfully. Despite the distinct Asian flavors, the salad is versatile enough to go with almost any dish as a complementary side. One secret to this recipe is that if you let the salad sit in the fridge for an hour before serving, it actually gets even better! If you’re feeling like you want a little extra zip, try adding a teaspoon or two of szechuan chili oil to the dressing.
Spicy Sesame Cucumber Salad
- 1 whole English cucumber
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tbs cilantro, loosely packed
- 1 tbs scallions, diced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (Less if using table salt)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- Cup, tablespoon, and teaspoon measurements
- Cutting board
- Mixing spoon
- Slice the ends off a washed English cucumber, then slice it in half length-wise, and then slice each half into thin half moon shapes. Set them aside in a large bowl.
- Dice the cilantro and scallions and set aside.
- In a bowl add the 1/4 cup of rice vinegar, 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, and mix everything very well. If you have a jar or container with a lid, shaking the dressing works very well.
- Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and mix well.
- Add the cilantro and scallions to the cucumbers and mix again.
- Lastly, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds over the top of the salad.
- Serve the salad immediately or let it sit, covered, in the fridge for an hour or two. It wil actually taste even better after it sits for a bit!
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