This is hardly even a recipe. It’s just a combination of ingredients in which the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
Cucumbers. Soy sauce. Rice vinegar. Honey. Water. Sesame oil. Sesame seeds. Red pepper flakes. That’s it. And yet, the resulting salad is complex. It’s sweet, salty, spicy and refreshing.
This cooling salad will take the edge off any fiery entrée and let you go back for more. In that way it reminds me of Indian raita, a cucumber and yogurt concoction that’s often served to provide relief from peppery Indian dishes.
Serve this alongside anything Asian, from blistering Thai curries to steaming noodles or spicy stir fries.
I plan to serve this cucumber salad all summer long. I’ll eat it alongside smoky chicken or ribs coming off the grill, use it as a burger topping and put it out as a virtuous alternative to potato chips -- all of the salty crunch, none of the guilt.
Thinly slice up a cucumber. I like seedless English cucumbers which have a thin, wax-free, edible skin that you don’t need to peel.
Gather the rest of the ingredients.
Combine them in a bowl.
Add the cucumbers and toss to coat.
Asian Cucumber Salad
Recipe from First Look, Then Cook
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp hot water
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp dark sesame oil
4 cups thinly sliced seeded cucumber
1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Stir with a whisk.
3. Add cucumber; toss to coat.
Note: Don't prepare this salad more than an hour before you plan to serve it. The cucumbers will release too much water and their texture will change. If you'd like to make this salad ahead of time, combine the first seven ingredients and refrigerate the mixture. Then toss in the cucumbers 15 minutes prior to serving.