Sunday, January 17, 2010

Shirouri cucumber pickles

In a tiny Izakaya in Tokyo called Shinsuke is a recipe made known to me via a Christmas present from Myron's god-parents Anthony and Connie. Japanese tapas bars or Izakaya was unknown to me up until last year when we first visited Zakkushi- a local eatery on 4th Avenue and Burrard in Vancouver. My good friend Helen brought us there when we decided to meet and her kids were lovin' the skewered momos and chicken teriyaki don.

Ever since then, I've been learning about these appetizers, morsel-sized and absolutely addictive. This recipe calls for shirouri summer squashes but it's the dead of winter in Vancouver, and we must flex and do creatively what mother nature does not provide. I tried Japanese cukes and they worked out beautifully...which is the reason why I am feeling good enough to blog this publicly. So, if you're feeling somewhat in the mood for a little something on the side, this'll probably whet your appy.

Two Japanese or Korean cucumbers (roughly 6-7 inches)
White sesame seeds
Sesame seed oil

1 heaping tsp sea salt
1 cup (240ml) water

1. Cut off both ends of cucumber, then in half.
2. Core the halves with a sharp paring knife
3. Taking one half at a time, carve the halves into a continuous 1/4 inch (6mm) thick ribbon at a 45 degree angle.
4. Do this gently to avoid splitting.
5. In a medium bowl, make the brine and soak the ribbons until lightly salted, about 1-2 hours.
6. Hang the ribbons to dry where there's a breeze circulating until the skin is a little wrinkled, about 3 hours.
7. Cut into 2 inches in length and add a few drops of sesame oil.
8. Sprinkle sesame seeds and serve chilled.

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