Skip to content

Cool as a Cucumber

June 13, 2012
Hungarian cucumber salad

In the heat of the summer, a cool, chilled salad is always refreshing.  However, Hungarians also know how to make that cool and tart taste amazing!

Cucumbers and garlic combine great – just like in tzatziki.  Add a vinegar dressing, sour cream, and a hint of paprika, and you have the refreshing, tart, but creamy Hungarian cucumber salad.

For the freshest taste, use English cucumbers.  Cut off the ends and peel them, then slice them as thin as possible.  While I’m generally not a fan of mandolin slicers – too high risk/reward ratio when it comes to slicing fingers into your salad – this is one of the few cases they are really useful.  Alternatively, you can even use the slicing side of a 4-side box grater, or just a good sharp chef knife.  To serve 4-5 people, use two medium-sized cucumbers.

Cucumber slices

Cucumber slices

Place the cucumbers in a bowl, salt them lightly, and add a good 5-6 cloves of garlic to them, pressed or mashed finely.  Let the whole mixture stand for 5-10 minutes.  While the cucumbers get rid of some of their juice, prepare the dressing.  In a measuring cup, combine about 1 cup of water, a tablespoon or two of white vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar, and a little salt.  Taste the results, and adjust the tartness to your taste.

Wring out the cucumbers, removing the excess salt and juices, and put them in the serving bowl of your choice.  To taste, you can even add some more garlic at this point – another clove or two.  Add the dressing, and stir.  Chill for a few hours before serving, so that the flavors can really come together.

Cucumbers with the fixin's

Cucumbers with the fixin’s

Upon serving, put a huge dollop of sour cream in the middle, and sprinkle everything with a hefty dose of paprika, so when you stir it all together at the table, it will have a creamy, pink-ish juice.  This salad is a great accompaniment to almost anything, but it definitely crowns good BBQ food!

Sour cream and paprika

Ready to be stirred in

Using a mason jar, or especially a hinge-lid one like these (image from, via Google), this salad can store in your fridge for almost a week if you store it sans sour cream; but even with the dairy stirred in, it keeps for a few days.  So if you are getting ready for a busy week of heat – just prepare a larger batch ahead of time, and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick side to almost anything.

Hungarian cucumber salad

Hungarian-style cucumber salad

Enjoy your meal!

Serious image credits are due to my amazing mom on this post – she happened to be making some just as I was writing this post, and took pictures for me, making the post even more authentic with photos straight from Hungary!

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: