5 Persian or Japanese cucumbers (cut into ½ inch thick pieces)
1½ tbsp sea salt
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp oil
2 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp chilli garlic sauce
½ tsp salt
1 tsp chilli pepper flakes (optional)
Cucumber salads tend to be the go-to dish when one is looking for a quick side dish to whip up. Easy to serve up, there are slight variations in the plethora of cucumber salad recipes that you may find. From Chinese cucumber salads to Southern versions, there are a variety of ways to play up the star of the recipe - the cucumbers. Belonging to the gourd family, cucumbers are considered to be a vegetable in the culinary world, though botanically, a fruit. Low in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium, the simple cucumber is packed with nutrients. A cup of unpeeled, raw cucumber has more than 10 micrograms of vitamin K and around 19 milligrams of calcium, both essential for bone health.
There are many types of cucumbers, from Japanese cucumbers to the sweet lemon cucumber. Either cooked or enjoyed raw, cucumbers can be incorporated into most dishes due to its mild aroma and flavor. One of the main ways to enjoy the fruit is in a salad. Refreshing, yet oddly filling due to its high water content, cucumber salads are commonly created in two different ways: with a creamy base or a light vinegar marinade. A creamy salad can be created by drenching the cucumbers in your favorite salad dressing or simply mixing avocados into the salad. Our Din Tai Fung-inspired Oriental cucumber salad recipe will help create the light and refreshing version.
An Asian take on the classic cucumber salad, our recipe was inspired by the Din Tai Fung oriental salad recipe that is served in a special vinegar dressing. By utilizing ingredients such as the Japanese cucumber and mirin, a standard Chinese cucumber salad is elevated to become one with a Japanese twist. Known as the Kyuri, the dark green, slender cucumber has a sweet melon-like flavor. Rarely bitter, the Japanese cucumbers are an ingredient commonly used in Japanese cuisine. Served fresh in bento sets and salads, or pickled in vinegar, the versatile cucumber adds texture to any dish with its crunchy and succulent inner flesh. This cucumber salad recipe also calls for mirin, another beloved ingredient in everyday Japanese cuisine. With a mild umami flavor, the mirin will sink into the cucumbers, tenderizing it and adding some sweetness to the dish.
The subtle tang and sweetness of mirin can be replaced with dry white wine or rice vinegar. However, the marinade must be tasted when these alternatives are utilized as they tend to be slightly sour. The sourness of the vinegar can be counteracted with sugar. If you do not mind alcohol in your dish, you could mix sake and sugar in a 3 to 1 ratio. Alternatively, mixing water and sugar in the same ratio will work just as well.
There is a wide variety of Japanese cucumbers. Commonly favored for its thin skin and crisp and melon-like flavored inner flesh, cucumbers such as the English cucumbers or mini seedless cucumbers can be utilized too.
Of course! From pickled radishes to Thai green mangoes, the marinade compliments many fruits and even vegetables. Depending on the fruits or vegetables you decide to use in your salad, adjust the marinade accordingly, cutting back on the salt and vinegar where necessary.
Up the flavor profile: Add in miso paste to the dressing for a salty, tangy and nutty flavor. Be sure to cut back on the salt in the recipe.
Make it spicier: Chop up some onions and chilies and throw them into the dish for an extra kick. You could even add a squeeze of lime for a bit of acidity.
Replicate the Thai Mango Salad: To have the marinade soak easily into the cucumbers, try slicing the cucumbers thinly with a peeler, or julienne them with a sharp knife.
To serve, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and garlic chilli sauce as needed. Arrange the cucumbers on a serving plate and drizzle with some additional marinade. Serve cold.