"Use the chopsticks!" my mother used to always tell me when I was little and would take a jar of these out of the fridge. I never listened of course, as I knew I'd eat my size in these delicious pickles so there was never any need to take them out of the jar with a clean pair of chopsticks. For some reason I was never a child that hated vegetables and the regular ingestion of a jar of these would prove testament to this.
Since moving out of home I realised that I hadn't eaten these for years and years and with a glut of cucumbers I pestered my mum for the recipe. And this is where the dance began. My mum is quite protective of her recipes and she is also one of those "a bit of this and that" cooks so when I asked her by email she responded
All you have to do is to peel and slice the cucumber and add salt ,vinegar and sugar. Usually I just do it by trial and error i.e. I'll taste it then add in more of what is required to my satisfaction.
I think you need more sugar than the other two. Lastly, add in chilli, pepper and sesame oil.
If you do have some cucumbers I do urge you to make one batch of these. They are so good indeed. And don't be put off by the amount of sugar in it - most of it ends up in the pickling liquid which you don't drink. After a bit of back and forth she gave me the quantities and I was pleased to note that it tasted pretty much just like I remembered it. Perhaps she is coming round. Dare I ask her for more recipes? Tell me Dear Reader, is your mum or grandmother similarly protective or quantity-vague when it comes to sharing recipes?
Cucumber Pickles - NQN's Mum's recipe
An original recipe by Not Quite Nigella
4 Lebanese cucumbers
3 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
a dash of pepper
a dash of sesame oil (optional)
chili, finely sliced
Step 1 - Mix all ingredients except for the cucumber in a medium sized bowl together. Don't worry, it will be thick and syrupy but the cucumbers have a lot of liquid.
Step 2 - Peel the cucumbers and slice in half lengthways. Slice into 6cms/1.5 inch batons and place in the bowl. Mix everything together with a spoon to combine and coat the cucumber. Allow to stand for 15 minutes by which time the cucumber liquid will combine with the seasoning. Place in fridge overnight by which time there will be a lot of liquid and then transfer to sterile jars.