Quick Chinese Pickles– a Cooling Side for Barbecue or Spicy Food

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We just  had three days of record high temperatures in San Francisco, in the high 90s, which here qualifies as “blazing.”  At the peak of this weather, I faced the task of teaching my “Better Than Chinese Takeout” cooking class at the Palo Alto Adult School.  Since Palo Alto’s weather is always about 10 degrees higher than in San Francisco, I had some trepidation that cooking hot and sour soup and chile-laced kung pao chicken would not be appealing.  Thankfully, the cooling system did not let me down and we had a fun time.  This recipe is a bonus which was not included in the class menu, but goes well with it.  (Those of you who attended my recent salads class at the San Carlos Library will recognize this dish.)  For those out there who face hot weather by escaping their kitchens to throw something on the grill, try this out.  This is a flavorful side to anything you might grill, and also goes well with any type of spicy food.  These cucumbers, inspired by my mother’s recipe, are not truly pickled or fermented, but play the same role that those longer-processed veggies do– to add zesty flavor and crunch to a meal.   Enjoy!

And if you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like a chance to cook with me this summer, please visit my Facebook events page for updated listings.  Feel free to give me a “Like” while you’re there! Thank you!

Quick Chinese Pickles


1 cucumber (leave some skin on for color), sliced into 1 inch discs and then into quarters

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

½ tsp sugar

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

1 T rice vinegar



1.  Peel your cucumber, leaving some skin on for color, like this:



2.  Slice peeled cucumbers into 1 inch thick discs, then into quarters, to get nice chunks:

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3.  Place sliced cucumbers into a bowl, add all other ingredients and stir until well combined.

4.   Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving.


Nutrition info: 35 calories, 3 g carb, 2g fat, 1g protein, 97mg sodium, 2g sugar

6 responses

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