Four Interesting Cucumber Relish Recipes
When we think of cucumber relish, we usually related it the hot dog or hamburger, two common uses. Hot dog and hamburger relishes contain cucumber as their principal ingredient, but the cucumber normally is pickled. You can make many variations of cucumber relish whether the cucumber is pickled or not. The dictionary definition of a relish is "something adding a zestful flavor to, or eaten with other food, to add flavor ".
Relishes differ from sauces in that the latter are smooth while a relish is more coarse, consisting of a chopped vegetable, combined with several other ingredients to provide a zesty flavor. There are recipes for relishes made from fruit, but these usually fall under the category of a chutney. Most of the time, when you purchase or eat a relish, it is going to be a cucumber relish of some kind.
If you look through the 4 cucumber relish recipes below, chances are you'll find one to your liking, and depending upon the food you serve, you might find more than one you can put to use.
Thai Cucumber Relish - In Thailand, cucumber relish is called ajard, and is usually served with a spicy Thai stew, curry, or fried foods. Ajard is a cucumber relish which has been flavored with fish oil, vinegar, shallots and garlic. Some cooks like to use a variety of different cucumbers in their ajard, creating a variety of tastes and textures. The gurkin and the lemon cucumber are especially popular additions to a relish recipe. The basic Thai Cucumber relish consists of the following: (1) 2 cups of peeled, thinly-sliced cucumbers (seeded), (2) a dressing made up of 1/4 tsp salt, 1 Tbs sugars, 1 1/2 tbs distilled vinegar, and 1 tsp fish sauce, (3) two or three of the following ingredients: 2 coarsely chopped Tabasco chilies, 2 thinly sliced shallot onions, 1 thinly sliced clove of garlic, 1 Tbs of chopped cilantro or chopped mint, a tablespoon of chopped nuts. Here you can improvise a bit, but it is these optional ingredients which give the relish a little "bite".
American Cucumber Relish - Mix together 4 cups of diced cucumber and 1/2 cup each finely chopped sweet onion, red pepper, and green pepper. Add to the mixture 2 cups of cold water to which 1/2 cup of salt has been added. This may seem like a horrendous amount of salt, but after the cucumber mix has soaked in this brine for two hours, drain the salt water away. Then add a cup of brown sugar, 2 cups of white vinegar, 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, and one tsp mustard seed. Mix everything well before serving.
A Jewish Kosher Relish - This cucumber relish includes a good helping of several other vegetables, all mixed together, packed into sterile quart jars, and set aside to chill for at least 36 hours before serving. To make this relish, start with 5 chopped cucumbers and add a pound and a half of diced tomatoes, 2 cups of finely shredded cabbage, 2 minced green peppers, 2 minced onions, a cup and a quarter of vinegar, a cup and a half of sugar, and 2 tsp salt. Simple enough.
An Indonesian Carrot-Cucumber Relish - This relish takes a bit more time to prepare than is the case with some other relish recipes, but is worth the effort. Start by placing 10 thinly-sliced cloves of garlic and 1/4 cup of virgin olive in a pan, and sauté for 6 minutes over medium heat. Next, add a tablespoon of fresh minced ginger, a teaspoon each of ground white pepper, curry powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, and ground nutmeg. Cook for another 2 minutes, then add 1 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and cook for 3 more minutes.
When cooking is finished, add 2 small unpeeled cucumbers (which have been cut first lengthwise, then thinly sliced), one cup of diced carrots, and finally stir in a thinly sliced red bell pepper. Allow the relish to come to room temperature, then add salt to taste, and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro. Cover and refrigerate. This relish will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days.