08 May 2012

Recipe a Day: Uyghur Cucumber Salad

This is such a simple and delicious way to prepare cucumbers.  It also doesn't need to be made ahead like some other salads do here.  There are just a few ingredients, but you do need sesame oil and black rice vinegar.  Not all black vinegars are black rice vinegar, and not all dark-colored vinegars taste good.  Chinkiang is a good type (that's not the brand, but a province in China where the vinegar is good).  When I'm in the US, I like to buy this one.

When I'm here, there are quite a large number of black vinegars to choose from in some stores, although there seems to be just one typical type that's used in Uyghur cooking.  I don't have to get it from the Chinese grocery stores; well-stocked places around Bishkek and Tokmok will have it.  I usually just ask for black vinegar and it all works out.  Sesame oil is also relatively easy to find here.

Here's what you need:

  • Cucumbers- I used eight smaller cucumbers today for this recipe.  You'll want a couple of large American cucumbers.
  • Salt- a couple teaspoons
  • 2-3 tablespoons black vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
This is the size I used.  They're from Tashkent.  Not quite cheap yet, but a lot more local.

Peel them.

Rinse with potable water.
 I put them in the strainer now so I dont get an extra bowl dirty.  Cut them in half the long way.

And scrape out the seeds.

Then slice.

And salt well.

Mix the salt in.

And let them sit for about 10 minutes or more if you like.

After the cucmbers have softened a bit, rinse the salt off well.

And squeeze out the extra water.

Put them in a bowl
Mix together the vinegar and oil.  I was just about out of sesame oil.

Pour it in the cucumbers

And mix well. 

You can serve them immediately or within a half hour.  Or you just just sit down and eat them all yourself.

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