Southeast Asian Quick Cucumber Pickles

SEA Quick Cucumber PicklesI love these simple cucumber pickles. Throughout the summer cucumber season I keep a jar in the fridge. Traditionally, in Southeast Asia they are most often eaten with grilled meat and steamed rice, but I also enjoy these pickles with fish or vegetables. For a quick lunch, try them with scrambled eggs and rice. Making tacos for dinner? Add some of these pickles. Be bold and creative. Believe me, they go with almost anything.

Southeast Asian Quick Cucumber Pickles


  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced into 1/8″ moons
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and sliced into paper-thin slices
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar, or to taste


Heat the sugar and vinegar together, stirring to dissolve. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and cool. Place the cucumbers, onion, and chili in a glass jar or ceramic container. Pour the vinegar/sugar mixture over the cucumber, onion, and chili. Place a lid on the jar and shake to distribute the vinegar solution over the vegetables.

Try to let this relish cure for 3 hours before eating. However, I’ve been known to eat it almost immediately! It will keep for several days in the refrigerator. The cucumbers will loose their crispness, but will develop more flavor as they stand in the liquid.

For a variation, try one of the following:

  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 1 clove garlic, minced and added to the vinegar/sugar sauce as you heat it
  • 1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds and 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted, ground peanuts sprinkled on top before serving
  • Minced cilantro to taste


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