I love cukes, aka, cucumbers.
I used to be a great cucumber lover from infancy (I think), but there was a particular recipe that my mom sometimes made. I was a great fan of this recipe and remain to be today. But whenever I make this cuke recipe, I can’t forget how fortunate I am for being able to reproduce this recipe outside of Japan.
When I lived in Victoria, Canada, I had no kitchen so I didn’t think about foods that I could or could not make with available ingredients. The problem was more severe: I had no kitchen!! As a result, I developed a great fondness for dish washing. It was not such a bad thing. It just deprived me of cooking for two years.
When I lived in New York, I was shocked to find out that the kind of cucumbers that I could get at the local supermarket did not work so well for this recipe…
So my cucumber salad drought lasted for another four years. When I moved out to the San Francisco Bay Area, I did not have a car. That made it a little harder to scout out the cucumber situation so while eyeing the English hothouse cucumbers, I remained abstinant of my favorite cucumber recipe.When I moved down to the neighborhood that I live in now and walked into our local supermarket, I saw Persian cukes piled high sold at a reasonable price. I think I gasped. I knew instinctively that this would be the perfect substitute to my home-grown cucumbers that would allow me to make my favorite cucumber recipe.
They have thin edible unwaxed skin and are smaller than its American cousin. They make great cucumber salads.
The recipe is:
diagonally sliced cucumbers, sesame oil, and soy sauce
Because it is such a simple recipe, there are a few tips that make it better.
One: The cucumbers will taste sweeter if before slicing them up, you cut the ends and rub the head of the cucumber with its tail top. You will see some white foam coming out of the edge where the cucumber meat meets the skin, which is bitter if you taste it. Wash off this foam and slice up the cukes! (I learned this tip in my co-ed Home Economics class.)
Two: Use about the same amount of sesame oil and soy sauce.
Three: Don’t dress it heavily. For about 7 Persian cucumbers, I use probably about a teaspoon each of sesame oil and soy sauce. Too much gets too salty and oily. Not a good thing.
Oh, by the way, pickling cucumbers work fine too.