Cucumber Salad


I am forever trying to complicate things, unintentionally, but still. I spent years at university adding complexity in an attempt to find simplicity. Convoluted ideas can befuddle even the most intelligent and when that idea is about food the resulting dish will likely cause confusion and at worst, revulsion. Good food can be like great concepts, either beautifully spare or focussed in entwined complexity which appears to be simplicity redefined. The former is more achievable in a home kitchen, the latter best left to experts.


This cucumber salad illustrates this leanness of meaning. Crisp, juicy fruit (thats right, fruit), pungent garlic, earthy sesame oil, a flourish of seeds reinforce the flavour and add a textural counterpoint. Eat as a part of a banquet, or with steamed rice, omelette and vegetables. Or as a refreshing snack with a dish of salty roasted peanuts and an ice cold beer. Delightfully understandable.

In case you didn’t notice, I am obsessing about simplicity right now, paring back the excess and revealing the basics. Why? I’m doing an intensive CELTA course, learning to teach english. For the next three weeks I am living and breathing teaching english which means simplicity, logical thought, clarity and basics. I hope my teaching becomes comparable to this cucumber salad, clear, bright and something understandable to sink your teeth into.


Cucumber Salad

3 cucumbers, Kirby or Lebanese variety
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 or 2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
garlic, pulverised, as much as you can handle.

Wash cucumbers well, cut into chunks and squeeze a few pinches of sea salt through them, lightly bruising the flesh. Set aside for an hour.
Meanwhile make the dressing. Mix oil, sugar and vinegar together until sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust.
Drain liquid from cucumbers and taste. If they are too salty then rinse lightly and drain again. Stir through as much smosched garlic as you can handle (for me it is the more the merrier), then dress. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Posted January 17, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Hooray for simplicity, which can be understatedly refreshing =)
    .-= mlle délicieuse´s last blog ..Yuzu, 7 Nov 2009 =-.

  2. Posted January 17, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely perfect! So refreshing.

  3. Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    Lovely photo and great recipe!
    .-= deana@lostpastrememb´s last blog ..AMBERGRIS: The Lost Chord Found =-.

  4. Posted January 18, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Gosh that’s a beautiful salad Lili. I find these kinds of dishes amazing – a few simple ingredients, no real “cooking” and yet the final result is so much more than you’d expect. Simplicity like this sounds grand.

    Good luck with the English teaching too.
    .-= kathryn´s last blog ..Quicklinks =-.

  5. Posted January 19, 2010 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Beautiful combination – simple yet elegant. Perfect for summer. Good luck on your course – i hope you find what you are looking for!
    .-= Trissa´s last blog ..The Beach House Banana Bread =-.

  6. Posted January 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    wow that looks delicious but 3 cucumbers seems a lot (I am a born again cucumber lover!)
    .-= Johanna GGG´s last blog ..Dipping into summer eating =-.

  7. Posted February 3, 2010 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    mlle délicieuse: Agreed :)

    Christie @ Fig&Cherry: Thank you, a great recipe for Australian heat waves and hot Hanoi winters.

    deana@lostpastrememb: Thank you!

    kathryn: Yes, great ingredients simply prepared. Thank you, the teaching is going wonderfully.

    Trissa: I hope so too. Thank you!

    Johanna GGG: 3 lebanese cucumbers! This salad is designed to be eaten with other dishes, don’t feel pressured to have a cucumber dinner!

  8. Posted February 24, 2010 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    wow that looks sooo delicious yet so easy and simple to make, y didn’t i ever think of this? I love cucumbers, and i love sesame seeds…just perfect! Thanks:))
    .-= Cranberry Spinach´s last blog ..Delicious Cranberry Spinach Salad =-.

One Trackback

  1. […] moving away, and so she threw a barbeque for a going-away party. I brought this cucumber salad from Pikelet and Pie, as well as cookies that I’ll detail in the next post. I ate this salad as, well, a salad […]

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