Nothing is louder than cucumber to symbolize “freshness.” With 95 percent water content and less than 35 calories per a medium size, cucumber is one of the summer’s superfood. Whether adding a few slices to a bottle of water, or to chomping on them as a low-calorie snack, or to use them in variety of salads and even cold soups, cucumbers do wonders to your body.
Perhaps salads are where cucumbers are commonly used in both Mediterranean and Persian cuisine. Cucumber salad is a famous ingredient to be added to different original foods in different regions; for instance, in Greece, the salad contains Kalamato olives; in Turkey and Lebanon people add a combination of fresh herbs like dill, mint, parsley and scallions to the cucumber salad.
Shirazi salad, unique to Persian Gulf region, however, is quite unique in both the ingredients and taste. Using white onion not only adds to the crunch but gives it a pleasant zing with its strong astringent taste. The addition of dried mint makes it easy on the digestive system with the promise to subside bloating. So go ahead and quench that summer thirst with this refreshing Shirazi cucumber salad!
Prep time: 10 min.
Ready in: 15 min.
4-5 Persian cucumbers, washed and finely diced
2 medium Roma tomatoes, washed and finely diced
1 medium white onion, peeled and finely diced
1 large lemon
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ tablespoon dried mint, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
1- The cucumbers can be used with skin on or half-peeling them. The best cucumber for Shirazi salad is Persian cucumber for its fresh scent. However, seedless English cucumbers can be used as well. The whole point is to use cucumber that has fine seeds or no seeds. The pickle cucumbers give this salad a soupy look and therefore, it is best not to use them. The regular cucumbers also have too many seeds and thick skin that is not suitable for this dish.
2- Dice cucumber, tomato and white onion finely. The salad is traditionally prepared with white onion. However, if you favor a milder taste, red onions can be substituted for white onions.
3- Whisk together olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, dried mint and salt and pepper and put aside. The salad is usually served mixed with the above ingredients. Chill before serving.
The Shirazi cucumber salad is great as a refreshing snack enjoyed alone. Served as a side dish, it sophisticatedly compliments dishes like Green Bean Rice, Sour Cherry Rice, fish and all sorts of kebabs. Noosh-e jān!