Cook the Book: Cucumbers in Black Rice Vinegar

Cook the Book: Cucumbers in Black Rice Vinegar

I'm a big fan of cucumber dishes, especially in the summer. It's super refreshing and has a satisfying crunch. A cucumber dipped in some gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) is my quintessential summer snack, but oftentimes I overload on the gochujang and end up feeling hot and flushed, exactly what I don't want in the summer heat.

Enter cucumbers in black rice vinegar. With just four ingredients and ten minutes, you can have a taste of summer. It can also be used as a condiment if you mince the cucumber. If you can't find black rice vinegar in your local Asian market, cider vinegar or a mild balsamic vinegar are reasonable substitutes, but not the same. Also, watch out for black vinegar—it is not the same thing as black rice vinegar!

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  • Yield:4 as a salad or side dish


  • 1 English cucumber (about 1/2 pound)
  • About 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons Jinjiang (black rice vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil


  1. 1.

    Peel the cucumber completely, or remove lengthwise strips of peel, leaving some of the cucumber unpeeled, to give the slices an attractive look. Slice lengthwise in half and then in half again. Use a knife or sharp spoon to clean out the seeds. Cut each piece lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.

  2. 2.

    Place the cucumber in a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of the salt and let stand for 10 minutes, then transfer the cucumber to a sieve or colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Squeeze gently to removes excess water, and place in a shallow bowl.

  3. 3.

    Whisk the vinegar and sesame oil together nad pour over the cucumbers. Toss to blend. Set aside until ready to serve (no longer than 30 minutes).

  4. 4.

    Just before serving, taste, and add about 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste, if you wish.