a quick asian-style pickle: cucumber, tomatoes and red onion

a quick asian-style vegetable pickle
While my father's favourite sandwich of pickled beetroot and piccalilli is not for the faint-hearted, it was not enough to put me off pickles or chutneys; I grew up eating them with just about everything.

But one of my favourite accompaniments to a Malay curry was the small bowls of finely chopped cooling vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumber that were simply dressed with a little vinegar, sugar and perhaps soy or fish sauce. Although I have to confess it was as much for the prettiness of little bowls of brightly coloured vegetables as it was for the flavour.

Now I often make a version of these quick pickles when I don't want a heavier lime relish, or dense, sweet chutney or a thick hot sambal. This light pickle can be served almost immediately but benefits from a few hours marinating. It comes to work with me in my lunchbox and often, when I can't be bothered to cook is just stirred through some leftover couscous - yet another of life’s simple pleasures.

Skill level: Easy

1 x small cucumber, de-seeded and finely diced
8-10 x baby plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1 x small red onion, very finely chopped
100ml rice or white wine vinegar
2-3 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce or fish sauce (nam pla)
a pinch of chilli flakes

  1. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, soy (or fish) sauce and chilli flakes in bowl; Make sure that the sugar has dissolved before adding the chopped vegetables.
  2. Cover and marinate for at least 1 hour in order that the flavours combine, although the vegetables will stay crisp for at least 1 more day if stored in the fridge.

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