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Kitchen Scoop: Toasted sesame oil gives cucumber salad distinct flavor

By Alicia Ross
Universal Uclick

Some sort of fresh cucumber salad always graced the dinner table during my childhood.

Often it was as simple as sliced cucumber, apple cider vinegar and a good dose of ground black pepper. Other times it was “fancied up” with tomato or onion and a tiny sprinkle of sugar to take the bite out of the vinegar. Ingredients were mostly inspired by what was in the pantry or garden.

Today’s recipe for Asian-Style Cucumber Salad is a modern celebration of the flavors that are available to just about everyone. Now that my “pantry” includes international seasonings, I can go global with even a simple cucumber salad.

Finishing the salad with a splash of toasted sesame oil is the secret to that full-bodied Asian flavor we have come to love. If you’re not familiar with the ingredient, it’s easily found on most major grocery shelves in the Asian food aisle. It is best to refrigerate the sensitive oil after opening to ensure freshness until you finish the bottle. Just allow it to come to room temperature before adding it to your recipes. Enjoy!

Asian-Style Cucumber Salad

2 cups kirby or pickling cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small fresh tomato, seeded and finely chopped

¼ cup purple onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup rice vinegar

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. fresh crushed ginger

½ tsp. salt

⅛ tsp. red pepper flakes, or more to taste

In a medium bowl, combine the vegetables. In a small bowl combine the vinegar, oil, sugar, ginger, salt and red pepper. Add the dressing to the fresh veggies and toss to coat well.

Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 8 hours until ready to serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving has about 46 calories, 1.2 grams fat (trace saturated), no cholesterol, trace protein, 6.4 grams carbohydrates, 0.6 gram dietary fiber, 293 milligrams sodium.

Alicia Ross is the co-author of three cookbooks. Contact her c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, email, or visit


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