My Moms Salted Japanese Cucumbers with Shichimi (chili pepper)
I have a black thumb. Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit my paternal grandfather’s amazing green thumb and ability to grow gorgeous rose gardens, tall beautiful sunflowers, wisteria nor every vegetable imaginable. My grandparents grew everything from fig trees, strawberries, avocado, lettuce, edamame, corn, potatoes, brown onions, green onions, peas, and of course Japanese cucumbers, to name a few.
An occasional container of basil, thyme and rosemary which typically dies within six months, is all that I can muster. I usually forget to water these and the rosemary is always the first to go, but the basil seems more resilient to neglect than you might think. Nevertheless, at least for a few months I always have a handful of fresh herbs for the picking and its always so much more affordable growing your own herbs than purchasing them from the market every time you need it.
Luckily, I’m often the recipient of fresh, home grown Japanese kyuri or cucumber, thanks to my parents and their fabulous gardening friends. My parents have several friends who are professional gardeners (an occupation popular among Japanese immigrants of my parents generation) and they grow the most amazing organic vegetables.
My BFF recently made a trip home to L.A. and she brought me back two Japanese cucumbers from her parents garden. Yay!!! They live about five minutes from my parents home and they often trade homegrown fruit and vegetables with each other. I’m often the lucky recipient of their trades since my Mom is always sharing her “gifts” with me to take home when I visit, but this week I was the lucky recipient of a fresh delivery.
See, it’s OK that I have a black thumb. I have good family and friends. ;)
I wanted to enjoy the cucumbers in it’s simplest form. I remembered how my Mom often served bowls of very fresh, simply cut Japanese cucumbers seasoned with salt and shichimi (7-spice chili pepper) at dinner time. The freshly picked aroma and flavor of those cucumbers is something I’ll always remember.
Thanks, Mr. & Mrs. S for the delicious kyuri! I’m so lucky!
- 1½ large Japanese cucumbers, cut into large pieces (about 4 cups)
- ¼ tablespoon to ½ tablespoon sea salt, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Shichimi (Japanese 7-spice chili pepper)
- Soy sauce for garnish, optional
- Using the back of a knife, gently scrape the prickles off the Japanese cucumber.
- Generously salt freshly cut cucumbers. Allow to pickle for about an hour.
- Sprinkle shichimi over the cucumbers.
- Refrigerate for 2 -3 hours.
- Serve with soy sauce, optional.