Cucumber Recipes

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Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Vermicelli Noodles (Bun Ga Nuong) Recipe

Bún gà nướng xả is a fabulous and simple meal. It’s perfect for when the weather’s hot, and as you may have heard, California is experiencing quite a hot spell at the moment. Vietnamese grilled chicken marinated in soy sauce and lemongrass is served with vermicelli rice noodles, a few vegetables and Vietnamese dipping sauce (nước mắm) on the side.

In my opinion, what makes the dish is the marinade for the chicken. The sweetness from palm sugar and the spiciness from the lemongrass bring out the flavor of the meat. The chicken doesn't require a lot of preparation; just let the chicken marinate for an hour and you'll have a splendid meal in no time.


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Cucumber Tea Sandwiches Recipe

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

08.24.10 by Jackie

Cucumber sandwiches are the most delicious, easiest finger foods to make. All you need is sliced white bread, butter and of course, cucumbers. To enhance the flavor, I also spread a thin layer of parsley and garlic chive cream cheese spread.

We hosted a pool party today for Lya (my 13-year-old sis-in-law) and her classmates. I think everyone had fun, splashing in the water, chatting and reuniting right before school starts. They all seemed very hungry after swimming and the little cucumber sandwiches and other finger foods went fast!


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Cucumber Dill Salad with Tzatziki Dressing Recipe

I wanted to prepare a simple salad for dinner this evening, so I made a cucumber salad with a really easy to make tzatziki dressing.

Prepping the cucumber takes only a few steps. I wash, chop, salt and pat dry the cucumber slices and they're good to go. The tzatziki sauce is made of dried mint, dill and yogurt and is seasoned with salt and pepper. If you want to make it extra rich, you can add some sour cream or crème fraîche. Mix them together and you're ready to serve. That's it. Easy never tasted so good.


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Bi Cuon Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Spring Rolls) Recipe

The bì cuốn chay is a blend of bì chay, thick rice vermicelli noodles, baby cucumber sticks, Vietnamese mint and Thai basil wrapped in a bánh tráng (rice paper disk). It is served with a simple soy sauce-based dipping sauce called nước chấmnước mắm (fish sauce) or a peanut sauce (recipe follows in the tip section).

We had some bì chay yesterday. I served it with bún (thick rice vermicelli noodles). When served together, it is called Bún chay. In many ways, the dish is basically a deconstructed spring roll. That made deciding what to do with the leftovers really easy.  Without much effort, you'll get two meals out of the same dish. And did I mention that it is absolutely delicious?

If you crave the fried version for your main course, check out the recipe here.


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Fusion Raita (Indian Yogurt Sauce) Recipe

Raita (click on the link for the traditional version) is an Indian condiment made with yogurt. It is paired with a lot of spicy dishes like biryani, tandoori chicken or vegetarian cutlets because dairy products have a cooling effect when food is extremely spicy. If you follow Ted Allen's show, Food Detectives, you've probably seen the premier episode which asks "What is the best way to cool your mouth after eating spicy food?" After some experimentation it was clear that dairy was the most effective.

This particular recipe is my take on traditional raita. Similar to the Greek sauce called tzatziki, I add dill, lemon, and olive oil. Being French, I also add some Dijon mustard to add some more complexity to the flavor. 

I know, some people are going to balk at my additions, but I think that sauces are the highlight of a meal, so why not enhance them with a lot of flavor? Sometimes I also add cilantro or dill, depending on what's available in my garden. I'll try to post the traditional recipe soon so that you can make your own variations to your taste.


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