One of the Nepali favourites, this refreshing cucumber pickle, or salad is made fresh every day throughout the country to accompany breakfast, lunch or dinner. Mustard oil is one of the key ingredients for this pickle.
- 6 medium Lebanese cucumbers, peeled, seeded
- 1 tbsp salt
- ½ cup (75 g) sesame seeds
- 250 ml (1 cup) plain yogurt
- ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
- 60 ml (¼ cup) fresh lemon juice
- 2 fresh small green chillies, finely sliced
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- ⅛ tsp timur (ground Sichuan pepper) (see Note)
- 2 tbsp mustard oil (see Note)
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
- ½ tsp Jimbu (Himalayan herbs) (see Note)
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Shred the cucumbers into long matchsticks using a mandoline, or julienne peeler. In a colander, combine the shredded cucumbers and salt in a mixing bowl. Let them rest until the juices are released, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Strain and press and squeeze out as much water as possible.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and toast the sesame seeds, stirring constantly to prevent the seeds burning, until they give pleasant aroma and turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. Tip the seeds into a bowl, and let them cool. Transfer the seeds to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
Place the cucumbers in a bowl, and add the ground sesame, yogurt, coriander, lemon juice, green chillies, pepper and timur and mix well.
Heat the mustard oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is faintly smoking, add the fenugreek seeds and jimbu, and fry until they turn brown and fragrant, about 5 seconds. Remove the pan from heat and immediately add the turmeric. Pour into the cucumber mixture, mix well, cover, and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
• Timur, mustard oil and jimbu are available at Nepalese food stores. Mustard oil is also available Indian food stores. Alternatively, grind Sichuan pepper finely in a mortar and pestle and pass through a sieve for the Timbu.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto.