For a simple, quick pickle these are hands down my favorite. They’re so incredibly easy to throw together it’s hard to accept just how damn good they are. Believe it. They’re crisp and crunchy and strike the perfect chord of salty, sour, bitter and sweet. The sesame oil rounds things out with a mellow, toasted note. Plus they pack plenty of heat depending on how generous you are with the chili flakes. They go great with a bowl of Dan Dan Noodles.



Makes about 1 quart

-2 English cucumbers
-2 tsp salt
-1 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
-2 tsp sesame oil + extra
-1-2 tsp Sichuan or Korean chili flakes
-2 tsp brown sugar

1.     Cut cucumbers in quarters lengthwise and then slice into ¼ inch pieces at a 45-degree angle. Place in a large bowl and toss with the salt. Set aside for about 15 minutes.

2.     Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl. Pour mixture over cucumbers and toss to coat. Let the pickles marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Add a drizzle of sesame before serving. hey’ll keep for about a week. 

Note: I’ve seen a lot of similar recipes—perhaps more traditional ones—that call for you to smash or bruise the cucumber slightly before salting and marinating. The idea is that the bruised cucumber flesh absorbs the marinade quicker. I prefer to avoid this step and instead leave the cucumber pieces to marinate for an hour in the fridge. It results in a crispier, snappier pickle. But if you’re in a hurry, smash away.