Burmese Cucumber Relish
2 large green cucumbers
125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup malt vinegar
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons oriental sesame oil
2 teaspoons instant minced garlic, or 2 tablespoons sliced garlic
1 onion, finely sliced or 2 tablespoons crisp fried shallots
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Peel cucumbers, halve lengthways and scoop out any seeds. Cut the cucumbers into thick strips, then cut strips into 5 cm (2 in) pieces. Bring vinegar, water and salt to the boil in a non-aluminium saucepan and drop in the cucumbers to cook briefly, keeping them crisp. Drain and leave to cool.
Heat peanut and sesame oils and fry the garlic on low heat until pale golden. Drain. Fry onion until golden brown if using raw onion. Roast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan, stirring constantly, until they are evenly golden brown. Turn onto a plate to cool. When the oil is cold, dress the cucumbers with 3 tablespoons of the oil, mixing well. Put into a small dish and top with the onion, garlic and sesame seeds.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)