Cucumber and Red Onion Pickle

Marinated cucumber is (probably) the most popular type of cucumber at our lunch table. Tenkeis mother always marinated them in white vinegar, sugar, and salt; in Japan I’ve eaten very small cucumbers marinated in rice vinegar and sugar, then laced with shiso pepper and seaweed. Inspired by a visit to a Thai restaurant, this version is strong on sweet and sour and has a bit of a kick to it. If you can’t get hold of “English” cucumbers which are long, narrow, have thin skins and soft, edible seeds (also known as burpless cucumbers!) peel and de-seed them before using. Here I use 1 part sweet to 2 parts sour, but you can adjust the ratio to suit your own taste.


About 15 cm (6 inch) length of English seedless cucumber
¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 medium red onion
2-3 teaspoons sambal or minced chilies (or enough to make it nice and spicy to your taste)
40 g-60 g (¼ – ⅓ cup) sugar

120 ml (½ cup) white vinegar
Salt to taste
Few leaves of fresh coriander (cilantro) for garnish (optional)


  • Dice the cucumber and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Dice the onions.
  • Combine the vinegar, sugar and sambal or chilies and put in a small pan.
  • Put the pan on a medium flame, bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the red onions. Cover and turn the flame low and  simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove from the flame.
  • Drain the salted cucumber, rinse and pat dry with a clean tea towel/paper towels if needed, then stir in.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Leave to cool down for a few minutes before serving.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.