Sesame Cucumber Salad

Will someone please tell me why it is 60°F and drizzly, at the end of May, here in Sacramento? For my Memorial Day BBQ, we huddled around the fireplace, while the brave ones (or those more appropriately dressed for the weather) manned the grill. I don’t want to complain too loudly though, lest some of you enduring the heat wave that’s sitting on much of the country send those searing temps back towards us. We’ll get our share later, I can assure you. For those of you who do find yourself in stifling heat, and are looking for something cooling, I can recommend this cucumber salad, recipe courtesy of a certain tall, dark, and handsome Frenchman. (Thank you Guy!) It’s actually good any time of the year; we like it for a light late night snack while watching Poirot or the Pink Panther.

Sesame Cucumber Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 7 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-3.

Make sure your sesame oil is fresh and not rancid. These oils can go rancid after a few months. Do a taste test before adding to the cucumbers; if it tastes off, don't use. If you want you can sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on the cucumbers.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized cucumbers (about 1 lb total)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

Method

1 Peel the cucumbers. Cut them into quarters, lengthwise. (If the seeds are bitter, scrape out the seeds and discard.) Cut the cucumbers again, crosswise, into 1/2-inch thick pieces.

2 Place cucumbers into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Toss with sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, and chili flakes.

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47 Comments

  1. donutty

    This sounds very much like a side dish my Korean mom makes. Tasty!

  2. LaWanda

    I cannot wait to try this recipe. I love cucumbers, especially in salads.

  3. Lisa

    I’m with you on the cold weather! I’m sitting here in a turtleneck and fleece hoodie. Last week, in Yosemite, with epic waterfalls, and a still-closed Tioga pass. At the risk of pushing my luck, I’m wishing for some summer temps.

  4. Sarah

    Thank you soo much. I take only salads during lunch hour at office because you are automaticaly drawn towards something refreshing while living in Karachi with 66% humidity and 33 degree Celsius most of the time !

  5. zorra

    Will try this recipe soon with a cucumber of my garden. Regarding rancid oil I thought sesam oil is the one that doesn’t turn rancid quickly?

  6. Randall

    Reminds me a lot of paihuanggua, a common starter here in China. Only real difference with the Chinese version is you chop the cukes with the blunt side of the cleaver (the “pai” – “beaten,” “smashed”), and add a ton of crushed garlic.

  7. Katrina

    Great salad recipe! Cucumbers make me happy.

  8. foilhat

    This week’s recipe NOT recommended for any German readers…

  9. bureaucrat

    The salad can be made even more tasty with the addition of jellyfish. Growing up, my mum used to make it (and you can get it a good yum cha restaurant). The jellyfish is slippery and crunchy and goes well with the clean cucumber salad. I googled a recipe: http://www.orientalcookbook.co.uk/chinese-143-edible-jellyfish-with-cucumber.html

  10. Morgane

    That’s quite funny to post it now. Indeed, back in Europe because of serious food poisoning affair (leading to death) involving spanish vegetables -especially cucumbers- absolutely no one would buy them nor tomatoes at the moment. Too bad, it seems so fresh!
    (Sorry for my bad english)

  11. Kristen

    This sounds easy and perfect for summer. I just have to convince my daughter to let me use the cucumbers for this recipe before she eats them all!

  12. Ron

    Except for that cucumber scare in Europe,

    One of my ‘all time’ favorites is peel and quarter cukes toss into leftover dill pickle juice then add garlic and onion slices.

    Leave in refer a few days and pig out…d;^)

  13. Lulu

    Elise, I would gladly trade this gross, muggy NY weather for 60 degrees and drizzly. :)

    I’ll definitely be trying this. I love cucumbers. So refreshing!

  14. Rachel

    This recipe sounds wonderful for us in Virginia right now. 91 degrees, feels like 98 degrees! I think I may have wished too hard for summer.

  15. laura @ glutton for nourishment

    yum, simple and delicious!

  16. Christina

    I might trade weather with you. Here in DC it has been in the mid-90s! Too early for all this heat and humidity!

    I love this simple cucumber salad. I do one with greek yogurt but this sounds delicious. I love sesame oil.

  17. Mary

    This looks nice a refreshing – just the thing when the mercury is rising like this!
    Mary

  18. mantha

    Tried this with some small, tender zucchinis instead, lightly steamed and still warm, and with the sesame seeds sprinkled on. So good!!! I was already fond of the exact same treatment to those long, thin, tender string beans, with some strips of roasted red pepper tossed in.

  19. ben

    this is similar to the cucumber salad my mom use to make when we grew our own cucumbers in the backyard.

    some differences: peeled and diced cucumbers were lightly salted and drained of their liquids (~20min). and in addition to the ingredients listed here, she would add soy sauce and sugar. always came out delicious.

  20. Jennifer

    This sounds awesome! Have you ever tried adding black sesame seeds? I have only found them at Penzey’s or at some large food stores in the bulk section. When you toast them they have the most amazing smokey flavor that the white ones lack. Thanks for your blog. I used to live in Citrus Heights and miss all that great California style cooking. You give me so many great ideas.

  21. Kevin

    I live in Sac too and it totally harshed my Memorial gig! I’m hitting the Coop tonight for some Elise cucumber love!

  22. Cris

    It’s a fresh salad, perfect for the summer. I make one similar but I add wakame seaweed and toasted sesame seed instead of red chile flakes. It’s a japanese salad.

    Certainly, yesterday Germany said that they were wrong, poisoning has nothing to do with the Spanish cucumbers. They are still investigating the cause.

  23. Anne

    This looks wonderful! However, I don’t like cucumbers. Will this turn me into loving them? Or even liking them? The problem I have is cucumbers are tasteless. Will this help?

    Everyone’s tastes are different. Why don’t you make it and find out? ~Elise

  24. Paul

    Elise, Sorry to hear about your northern California weather doldrums.(Insert Mark Twain’s most fitting quote here; “The longest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”) Its our third muggy day of 90 degree plus heat here in Philly.

    The salad looks great and ripe for variations on a theme. The ubiquitous cuke can be dressed so many ways: lemon juice, garlic, black pepper and oregano for a Mediterranean flair or dill, wine vinegar and onion for farther north. I know you can’t relate to this under your current circumstances, but “well chilled” is essential for any cuke salad.

    Good vibes to you: Here comes the sun!!

  25. Kathleen

    This looks like a delicious salad. I love cucs!

  26. Rachel @ NotRachaelRay

    What a simple, delicious looking salad! I love the idea of the cool cucumbers with the heat from the red chili flakes. Yum!

  27. Carrie Ann

    I bet this would taste great with watermelon too.

  28. Amber Stanley

    This is very similar to my Cucumber Sonoma…just replace the Sesame Oil with 1-1/2tsp of grated ginger! Yummy!!

  29. Sally

    I think I’ll make this tonight as an accompaniment for my fried rice! Sounds tasty and I love cucumbers.

  30. Dara

    We are huddling together for warmth while we wait for this cold spell to pass. However, if it means that the scorching heat of summer holds off a little longer, then I’m okay with it.

    This cucumber salad would be so refreshing once the heat hits. I’d be tempted to tuck it inside a pita with some marinated, grilled chicken.

  31. Leisureguy

    I also am surprised that the cukes were not macerated. I’ll make this on the weekend, but I definitely will macerate the cucumbers. I also like the suggestion in the comments to add garlic…

  32. Jo

    This looks like a perfect salad with my BBQ,that know the weather is improving…may actually happen this weekend.

    I love cucumber and may cook a whole fish to go with this or maybe lamb.

  33. Zipi

    I add a little bit of sugar and a little bit of grated ginger and I sprinkel some sesame seeds on top.
    next time I will try it your way.

  34. Amanda

    In the words of Homer Simpson, Mmm…sesame oil. Its a beautiful thing, isn’t it? I’ll have to try it!

  35. Lillianne

    Can anyone tell me what “seasoned” rice vinegar is? Any different from regular rice vinegar from the Asian store?

    Seasoned rice vinegar has a little sugar in it. So if only regular is available, add a little sugar to the dressing. ~Elise

  36. Lillianne

    Thanks Elise. Got it sitting in the frig right now. Going to be a cool salad for a hot day.

  37. Bee | Rasa Malaysia

    I love cucumber salad of all sorts, just so easy to make and refreshing – Chinese-style, Thai-style, Japanese-style. I also love cucumber water, especially great after sauna/steam room/spa treatment. :)

  38. Tess Danesi

    Just made this and it was wonderful. Husband and daughter both want it again. Definitely refreshing and perfect for summer.

    I keep my sesame oil in the fridge to prevent it for going rancid too quickly. Seems to work for me.

  39. Lindsey

    I just made this and it was so easy and so delicious. My only modification: thinly slicing the cukes to get a higher surface area to dressing ratio. :)

  40. Lisa@bakedinmaine.com

    I always have these ingredients in the house, yay!

    PS. I refrigerate my sesame oil….

  41. Becky

    I’m eating this salad as I write. Delish. Had all the ingredients on hand, so that’s nice about it. Macerating not needed at all, unless you’re trying to use nasty winter hothouse cucumbers or something. The red pepper flakes add the perfect bite. I usually make the old classic cuke salad– sliced, salted, vinegar and sugar, black pepper– but this is a really nice alternative.

  42. Jean

    So simple and delicious! I had this as a side salad with Korean short ribs and steamed rice. I didn’t have red pepper flakes on hand so I just added a sprinkle of sesame seeds instead.

  43. Diana

    This cucumber salad is also amazing with just a bit of garlic and/or Sichuan peppercorn. :)

  44. Rose

    Always looking for a way to add more vegetables to our diet and my husband (not a vegetable fan) loves cucumbers. So I made this to serve with teriyaki pork chops and a little fried rice. It was yummy and I got approval to save the recipe and serve it again. The one thing DH suggested was to cut the cucumbers smaller as a previous comment suggested.

  45. Kathy

    This recipe is so simple and so yummy! Thanks!

  46. Mary

    Perfect summer recipe – Ihave a couple of cucumbers sitting in my fridge – this is perfect for them!
    Mary

  47. Erin @ Naturally Addicted

    That cucumber salad looks so refreshing! The perfect summer dish especially with all the hot hot hot weather lately! I’m going to have to try this one soon!

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