Japanify: Cucumber Ume Quick Pickles
It's been hot in Berkeley lately and crunchy cucumbers have been a go-to for cooling down and feeling refreshed in my kitchen. Luckily, Japanese cucumbers are easy enough to get your hands on in these parts, but if you can't find them where you live, you can use Persian cucumbers as a substitute. Persian cucumbers tend to be shorter than Japanese cucumbers but have a similar crisp (not spongy).
I was inspired to create this dish because the main event for dinner was Japanese curry and I wanted something fresh to off-set the rich curry. Plus, I am always looking for something to make under 20 minutes that can accompany a main dish. And this dish scores bonus point because you can count the number of ingredients it requires on one hand!
4 Japanese cucumbers
1 large umeboshi (I used the honey type)
1 tsp of salt
1. Get your ingredients together.
2. Cut the cucumber in to bite-sized pieces.
Cut cucumbers thick so that you really have something to "bite" into for maximum crunch.
3. Put the cucumber in a mixing bowl and sprinkle salt over it.
4. Mix the salt into the cucumber with hands.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, take your umeboshi and carefully remove the seed, taking off as much of the fruit as you can.
7. Chop the umeboshi "tataki" style by pounding the fruit into a pulp.
8. Once the cucumbers have chilled, add the umeboshi into the bowl.
9. Mix well with hands.
10. Serve chilled!
The result is a super crispy quick pickle with a pucker-inducing finish thanks to the sour ume. Eat at home or bring to a BBQ!