These refrigerator pickled cucumbers are inspired by Vietnamese "Dưa Mắm". A sweet, salty, and spicy condiment usually served on top of broken rice or rice porridge.
It's delicious as the brine has a subtle caramel flavor that balances with the chili and garlic. It's the perfect add-in for burgers, sandwiches, and more! Let's make pickles!
WHICH CUCUMBER TO USE?
Try choosing cucumbers with a thin skin (usually the shorter ones), as the varieties with a thick and hard skin are not the best for this recipe. Persian, Kirby, or Noah are varieties I would recommend.
First, we slice our cucumber in half, remove the seeds and cut into slices. To drain the water and give the cucumbers a crunchy texture, we add salt and let them rest for about 1 hour.
In the meantime we prepare the "brine". It starts with some sugar that we caramelize, this step adds a deeper flavor to the brine. Once our caramel has reached a golden brown color, deglaze with water. It will first sizzle and then the caramel will dissolve into the water. Then we add soy sauce (or vegan fish sauce), the rest of the sugar, and boil for a few minutes.
Finally, combine the brine, cucumber slices, garlic, and chili, and refrigerate for at least 48 hours before enjoying!
WHERE TO USE CUCUMBER PICKLES?
These pickled cucumbers make the perfect topping for white rice, savory oatmeal, or soups like this Cozy Red Rice Vegetable Soup. It can also be used in sandwiches, burgers, salads, etc!
What's great is that you can keep them for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Spicy Pickled Cucumbers
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or vegan fish sauce)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 small chili minced
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and discard. Cut the cucumber into thin slices widthwise (about ⅓-inch). Transfer the cucumber slices to a mixing bowl and add the salt. Stir using a spoon or your hands to coat the cucumbers with the salt. Let it rest for about 1 hour.
- In the meantime, add one tablespoon of sugar to a medium sauce pan. Heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar melts and starts to caramelize. As soon as you get a caramel with a golden brown color, add the ⅓ cup of water. Be careful as it will sizzle.
- Add the rest of the sugar and the soy sauce. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the caramel has dissolved. Remove from heat and let it cool completely.
- Squeeze the cucumber slices to remove as much water as possible. You can use your hands or a nut milk bag. Transfer the drained cucumber slices to a clean jar. Add the lime juice, minced garlic, and chili. Cover with the caramel sauce and stir to combine. Cover the jar with a lid and let it rest at least 48 hours in the refrigerator.
- Enjoy on top of white rice, in sandwiches, burgers, and more! These pickles will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.