Top 5: Flavours that go with Cucumber

Out of all the seasonal crops I’ve grown this year cucumbers have been most successful.  As a result I have been busy thinking of ways to eat them.  So here are the things that I like to eat with cucumber.

1.  Mint – I may have mentioned before that I am fairly obsessed with mint.  Love it, love it, love it.  Fortunately it goes well with cucumber, particularly in Middle Eastern dishes.  I’ve recently joined Eat Your Books after a recommendation from Diary of a Tomato and I have to say I love it.  For those who are unfamiliar with it, it is a site that indexes recipe books.  What that means is that once you join – it costs $25 per year – you tell it which books you have and then you can search for recipes within your cookbook library (they haven’t indexed every recipe book but they had indexed enough of mine to make it worthwhile).  I put in cucumber and was reminded that I have a recipe for a fabulous Cucumber, Mint, Feta & Pomegranate salad in the book Saraban by Greg Malouf.  A brilliant combination, especially as Miss 5 is currently very into eating Pomegranates.

2. Chilli - When I was in India I was surprised to see people selling whole peeled cucumbers as a snack food.  This was particularly at bus stations in the south of the country.  Eventually I tried one, when you asked for it the vender got out a little shaker and sprinkled it with a mixture of chilli and salt.  The cucumber was cool and fresh, the salt and chilli gave it an kick.  The result was fabulous, especially on a hot, dusty bus ride.  In fact there are quite a number of Indian and South East Asian salsas & dipping sauces that combine cucumber with chilli and an acid either: rice wine vinegar or lemon juice.  Fabulous, refreshing and a lovely side dish for serving with a large range of curries or fried snacks.

3.  Feta – One of my favourite cucumber salads is the Cucumber & Radish salad with Feta Dressing that I posted a while ago.  I think the saltiness of the cheese really works well with the the fresh coolness of the cucumber.  I have been eating this salad and variations of it that include pomegranate most weeks this summer.

4.Vinegar – Dill pickles, refrigerator pickles, pickled gerkins, bread & butter cucumbers  – all lovely, all with vinegar.   I like pickled cucumbers and eat them quite a lot.   This is in part because I eat my home made bread & butter cucumbers regularly and in part because they put gerkins in the Falafel’s at the The Half Moon Cafe in Coburg Mall.   I go there at least weekly, after swimming, to eat lunch.  If you’re ever in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, hmmm scratch that – no one other than locals would ever be in the Coburg mall, if you’re local to Coburg then I highly recommend the falafel at the Half Moon Cafe, only you do have to ask for chilli sauce as they don’t automatically include it.

5. Yoghurt -  Throughout the Middle East & Eastern Mediterranean they make dips or salads with cucumber and yoghurt and usually flavoured with lemon juice & garlic.  They also tend to include herbs but which herbs seems to vary according to region.  Some include dill, others dried mint, still others fresh mint, or indeed a combination of all three.   Whichever way you make it it it is delicious, refreshing and a lovely dish for a mezze or to accompany cooked meats.

I was going to put a photo of some tzatziki here, only I ate it all before I remembered to photograph it.  Oh well you’ll just have to imagine its silky loveliness…..

And that is this weeks Top 5, I would like to that every one who commented on last weeks – I really appreciate your thoughts and solutions to my gardening questions.  I think I will write a follow up post at some point highlighting what everyone said – particularly about pruning tomatoes & Diggers club.

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20 Responses to Top 5: Flavours that go with Cucumber

  1. Gardenglut says:

    Love your cucumber combos! I like the cucumber in India with salt and chilli. It reminds me of one of my fav things to eat in Thailand – Pineapple with salt and chilli. Just fabulous.

  2. I always thought that the peel on a cucumber stopped cucumbers giving you indigestion which was why they were best cut in chunks rather than thin slices.

    We never really have a cucumber glut – just enough really – but maybe I should be a bit more adventurous with them. Tzatziki is as adventurous as we get!

    • Liz says:

      I’ve never heard that – clearly my mother was negligent in her advice giving….I don’t remember indigestion after those ones though but I have to admit not been particularly prone to it either.

  3. kitsapFG says:

    You have me Jonesing for some cucumbers now! LOL!

  4. Dave says:

    Last year we had a bumper crop of cucumbers, and I was searching for different ideas on how to use them. You’ve given me some new ones! That #1 salad looks great. I confess I wasn’t much into eating that adventurous when I was young.

    • Liz says:

      I’m always surprised by what the kids eat – its usually things I think of as kid friendly like gnocchi that they turn their noses up at.

  5. Mark Willis says:

    At least the dreaded Dill didn’t make it into your top 5 (at least, not individually…)
    I also think white pepper is brilliant on cucumber.

  6. Andrea says:

    Im thinking your family is one of the luckiest , your recipes all sound and look delish. After reading/ trying quite a few of them over the summer period i’m now to hooked on mint! it goes into everything,wraps,salad,drinks………

  7. KL says:

    My soul hurts everytime I come to visit your blog :-) because I am a food-lover and your pictures are just too much…too appealing…my whole mouth is watery…..how can you torture us, your dear readers :-P?? No honestly; last time you had those salads with lots of tomatoes. I saw it and ever since that day I am constantly eating tomatoes. Now, I guess I have to go in search of organic cucumber; not even sure they are available now. Too bad….what to do? By the way, you must know about Raita, right? – cucumber, mint and yoghurt salad.

    • Liz says:

      That was hugely remiss of me wasn’t it – to forget to include raita – at least I had the mint and the yoghurt. I do make it all the time too.

  8. Bee Girl says:

    Cucumber and mint are quite possibly my favorite combination of all combinations :-)

  9. leduesorelle says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, I’m glad you’re enjoying using Eat Your Books! The only problem has been finding the time to input them all, am about 3/4 way through my library. By comparison, I thought I had a lot of cookbooks until I started seeing how many other people have… The cuke tips makes for a great Top 5!

    • Liz says:

      Ooooh I didn’t realise you could see how many others have – I must explore the site properly. I have just finished inputting all my books, quite a few aren’t indexed but given I got a list of 175 chicken curries, and 453 recipes containing cucumber just from the ones they have indexed I suspect I have more than enough to be getting on with….

  10. Diana says:

    The one that you describe 2. chilli is what we usually call achar. Sliced cucumber, carrots, onions, pineapples and chilli with lemon juice, salt, sugar and vinegar dressings. It is often serve in wedding ceremony or party. Last summer was a good cucumber season for us but not this year, we had only 2 cucumber harvested so far this season. Looking at your cucumber harvest makes it refreshing against the heat we had.

    • Liz says:

      I really want to eat the pineapple version – I can see I’m going to have to go shopping tomorrow just for a pineapple. Its a shame your cucumbers aren’t doing so well – do you think its lack of water? Mine did a bit better last year too and it was wetter then (a lot wetter when I think about it). They have been good this year but not quite at last years levels.

  11. Barbara Good says:

    Oh, as soon as I read the Indian cucumber snack with chilli I thought of the pineapple version I had all over southern Vietnam. My favourite part was watching the vendors use quite large machete-type knives to cut all the eyes out of the pineapple (actually quarter pineapples on a stick) which was then sprinkled with chilli.

    I know you’re into Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, but have you tried the Chinese Bang Bang Chicken which has cucumber. Very yummy.

    • Liz says:

      Right – I’m looking up a Bang Bang chicken recipe immediately. I’m also buying a pineapple! All these ideas are making me very hungry.

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