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Sweet and Sour Thai Style Cucumber Pickles with Ginger

Updated on November 18, 2011

Sweet, Sour, Spicy, Cool and Addictive!

My first encounter with sweet and spicy pickles (other than the Southern bread-and butters of my childhood!) was at a restaurant called Wild Ginger in Seattle. What a revelation! I was also new to the Asian philosophy of sweet, sour, spicy and bitter balanced in a single dish. I couldn't wait to try to duplicate it.

This was years ago, and I did more horrific damage to more cucumbers than I can relate. All I can say is I finally figured it out. The lovliest thing is that how simple it is - a little handful of ingredients, and it's wonderful.

I love this with all kinds of Asian dishes - not just Thai. I do lots of Satays, and also lots of classic Chinese-American and Japanese dishes. This absolutely simple little pickle is a fabulous side for any of them. It's light, crunchy, cool and delightful. Make it as spicy as you wish - I often skip the heat entirely when I'm serving my kids. Or take it to the moon - like I do for myself! It's also quite nice paired with the Asian Spicy Slaw - great contrast of flavors and textures.

For 2 servings, or to top 6 Bangkok Breakdown Burgers:

1 Cucumber (I use either American or English hothouse cucumbers)

2 Tbl rice wine vinegar*

2 Tbl white sugar

1 tsp Thai chili powder

2 green onion tops, sliced diagonally

  1. Partially peel cucumbers. If you have an American cucumber, peel it completley. English hothouse cucumbers don't come waxed, as their American counterparts do, so the peel is edible.
  2. Slice the cucumbers lengthwise. Using a simple place spoon (like for your cereal!), scoop out the seeds and discard.
  3. Place cucumber on a cutting board, and slice very thinly, on the diagonal.
  4. Place all ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and toss gently to combine. Chill for an hour and serve.

*You can significantly alter the flavor profile of these by alternating the vinegars. I've used Asian black and red vinegars as well as rice wine. My favorite is the simplest: rice wine vinegar, available in regular grocery stores. But give the others a try as well if you can find them. They're delicious as well.


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    • shirinakter profile image

      Shiin Akter 4 years ago

      Wow Water my ......................

    • DixieMockingbird profile image

      Jan Charles 8 years ago from East Tennessee

      Thanks J.S. - I certainly will - and I appreciate the great comments!

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 8 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Welcome to HubPages! I can see that you already have a great start! I am sure that you will be very successful here.

      My wife is South East Asian (Cambodian) and I have had many great experiences with Sweet-Sour-Spicy foods. I have tried many "weird" (to me!) dishes including crickets fried with peanuts (surprisingly tasty!), raw baby shrimp, among other things.

      I like spicy but I can't keep up with my wife's tolerance for spice! I would like to follow you on HubPages and I hope you will do the same! Check out my Hub about Cambodia!