Smashed Cucumbers with Sesame Sauce

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Cucumber is often treated as an accessory vegetable; tossed into salad or sliced for sandwiches to add crunch.

However, this veggie truly shines once a year when fresh cucumbers start to appear in the garden. Cucumbers that have swelled from daily diligent watering: juicy and sweet; the true treats of the summer season. I remember as a child growing up with hot Japanese summers, soaking cucumbers in icy cold water, breaking a whole cucumber in half and dipping it into a bowl of mugi miso (barley miso) or umeboshi (pickled plum) dip, and devouring it all as a healthy, refreshing afternoon snack. But my favourite way to eat this underrated vegetable has always been with this sesame sauce. Enjoy!

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Smashed Cucumbers with Sesame Sauce

Serves 2

2 large freshly harvested cucumbers
Sea salt
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, ground
2 tablespoons brown or natural cane sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 ½ tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 Thai chili peppers, dry or fresh, seeds removed and sliced thinly (optional)

Rub cucumbers under running water and remove prickly thorns if any exists. Pat dry.

Sprinkle some salt on the cucumbers and rub by pressing hard against a clean working surface, rolling until soft.

Let sit for 5 minutes so that the moisture drains from the inside.

Smash with a rolling pin into bite size pieces, and transfer to a colander that is fitted in a bowl that catches excess moisture. Let drain completely for about 20 minutes or longer, then cover in the refrigerator.

In the meantime, make sauce. Combine well the sesame seeds, sugar, vinegar, soy, tahini, sesame oil and peppers in a small bowl.

Transfer the cucumbers to a serving plate, drizzle 3 tablespoons (or more) of the sauce over top and serve immediately. You can store the rest of the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to about 3 weeks.

 

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August 9, 2013 by Emi Uchida
Categories: Appetizer, Garden, Japanese Food, Recipe, Salad, Snack, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. I’ve never heard of a salad quite like this before! Cucumber and sesame sound like the best possible combination.

  2. Emiさん、すっごく美味しそうに材料やお料理の写真を撮るから、スクリーンから取って食べたくなります。Emiさんのように、自然に、ありのままの写真を上手に撮れるようになりたいです。食べた事ない人でも、「美味しそう!」と言わせる写真ですね。手順の写真、とっても素敵です!!私、これに白いごはんがあったら幸せ~。

  3. Hi Emi, this sounds amazing. I have been wondering what to do with our abundance of cucumbers – I think I will make this tonight! What variety of cucumber do you grow?

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