About This Cucumber Noodles Recipe
Noodles are a big part of Asian cuisine and culture. However, a few years ago we saw a global influx of vegetable substitutions for egg noodles. Courgettes, gourds, even cabbage – you name it, we were spiralizing it and making noodles.
This recipe is incredibly refreshing, bright, and has a wonderful texture, but unlike a lot of raw dishes that lack potency, this dish has a kick of flavour.
The marriage of flavours between the soy sauce, honey and cashew nut butter, are exacerbated by the brightness of lemon, warmth of ginger and that wonderful allium from the raw garlic clove.
What’s more, although this recipe does call for some minor specialist equipment, it’s actually incredibly low effort and super fast. Coming home from a hard day of work? On the move and need a quick but nutritious meal between errands? Perhaps your body is craving a boost of nutrition? Then this is the recipe for you. Fast, fresh and delicious.
Most kitchens will now possess a spiraliser of sorts, and that is the secret to this recipe. However, you could make this dish by using a vegetable peeler and making ribbons with the cucumber instead.
What You Need for This Cucumber Noodles Recipe
- Cucumber – Cucumber is native to South Asia, but now grows on most continents. Being 96% water, cucumbers have the highest water content of any food which makes for a wonderfully bright and refreshing flavour. It’s also a fairly versatile ingredient in regards to flavour pairings and goes with a lot of other ingredients beautifully.
- Soy Sauce – A liquid condiment from China traditionally made from a fermented paste of soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and Aspergillus. A big player in a lot of Asian cuisine, and adds a unique saltiness that regular sea salt just cannot compete with.
- Cashew butter – Made from roasted cashew nuts, this nut butter has a similar consistency to thick peanut butter and adds a wonderful depth of flavour to the recipe.
- Honey – Nature’s nectar. Honey is made from honey bees, and is a wonderful natural sweetener. Due to its viscous nature, it also helps bind the mixture together.
- Rice Wine Vinegar – Rice wine vinegar, is made by fermenting the sugars in rice first into alcohol, and then into acid. It’s far less acidic than distilled white vinegar and has an almost sweet flavour. Unique in its taste and incomparable.
- Lemon – Needed to add a little sharpness and brightness to the dish. The rule to any meal is a good balance of salt, fat and acid, lemon being my chosen acid so it can cut through the soy sauce and honey and prevent the dish becoming too heavy and sweet tasting.
- Ginger – Fresh ginger is used in this recipe not only to add depth of flavour but also to add a bit of warmth and marries the other flavours of soy, honey and lemon together. Ginger is a fantastic substitution for most dishes that call for chilli if you aren’t a pepper-head!
- Garlic – Allium, glorious allium! A little goes a long way, and the finer the garlic the more intense the flavour; that’s why this recipe only calls for 1 clove but to be microplaned so it’s incredibly fine and almost paste-like.
- Scallions – depending where you are in the world, these green onions can be called scallions, spring onions, amongst other names. Another big player in a lot of Asian side dishes and as a garnish. Satisfyingly crunchy, more allium of course, and a wonderful flavour pairing with cucumber.
- Sesame Seeds – In this recipe, the sesame seeds are purely aesthetic. Although, you can add a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil in the sauce if you wanted to really add another level of depth, warmth and flavour to this brilliant raw dish.
- Cashew Nut Butter – You can substitute the nut butter for any other type. The flavour profile of peanut butter would be the best alternative, but it would work well with hazelnut and almond also.
- Honey – you can make this recipe completely vegan if you substitute the honey for the same amount of agave syrup. Maple syrup probably wouldn’t be suitable in this one due to the unique taste of the syrup.
- Rice Wine Vinegar – there really isn’t a flavor substitute for this one. However, if you’re struggling to source it, you can omit the vinegar all together or replace it with half the amount of oyster sauce for a deeper, saltier flavour.
Can I Make This Ahead Of Time?
We recommend that you eat this dish immediately. This is mainly to prevent the cucumber wilting, discolouring, oxidising and becoming a bit ‘naff’ looking. However, you can make the sauce ahead and leave it in an air-proof container and then when it comes to eating, just spiralise the cucumber and mix together!
Is It Safe To Eat Raw Lemon Peel?
Absolutely. In fact, lemon peel or zest has a tonne of vitamins and minerals. However, you should be mindful about what sort of lemon you’re purchasing and if they’ve been treated with insecticides or pesticides. You can still eat the lemon zest, but wash it well before zesting. To err-on-the-side-of-caution, I always buy organic lemons so I have the peace of mind they’ve not been treated.
Where Can I Find The Specialist Ingredients?
Most Asian grocery stores should carry Rice Wine. Nut butter has become so popular now, that you can always find it in health food shops, and most supermarkets. Failing those options, you can order these ingredients on Amazon or online grocery stores.
Cucumber Noodles with a Cashew, Soy and Ginger Dressing
Coming home from a hard day of work? On the move and need a quick but nutritious meal between errands? Perhaps your body is craving a boost of nutrition? Then this is the recipe for you. Fast, fresh and delicious.
Yield: 2 portions
How To Make Cucumber Noodles Step By Step
To begin, slice the ends off the cucumber and slice the cucumber in half. This will determine the length of your noodles. Using a spiralizer on the finest setting, push through the cucumber until your noodles are beautifully curly.
In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, honey, nut butter, rice wine vinegar. Using a microplane, grate in the lemon zest, ginger and garlic clove, mixing to combine.
Tumble in the cucumber noodles, mixing to ensure each strand has been fully coated.
Present in your chosen dish and scatter with the scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy immediately.
● You can easily scale this recipe up for parties, BBQs or to feed the entire family at a gathering.
● Don’t over handle the cucumber when you’re mixing it into the sauce. You want it to remain crunchy without releasing water into the dressing.
● If you want a thicker sauce, you can heat the dressing over low heat in a saucepan. Let it cool, and then tumble the cucumber in after.