Cucumber and poppy seed salad

August 8, 2017
Family Verdict:


  • 500 g fresh cucumber (about 2-3 long green cucumbers, choose slim ones with small seeds)
  • 1 mild red chilli pepper thinly sliced - deseeded if you wish
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar or rice vinegar 
  • 5 Tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 Tbsp caster sugar
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds. Clice on the diagonal into approx 1cm widths

Mix the liquids and sugar together in a small bowl

Add all the other ingredients to the cucumber and mix together

Pour over the liquid and toss together

Chill for about 30 mins before serving.


Summer, Salad, Ottolenghi. 3 great words to introduce anything. This has rapidly become a firm favourite at any barbecue I do. It takes cucumber to new heights by partially picking it and adding heat from chilli. Fresh crunch with bite - it is really delicious.

This being Otto he specifies lebanese cucumbers, which are apparently smaller. I have never managed to find them so I have adopted it to conventional cucumbers and it works fine. Be sure to remove the central core of seeds from the cucumber as this cuts down significantly the amount of water that can leach from them, keeping the strenght of the pickle flavour. Incidentally,  I always cut the volume of liquid by a factor of two as otherwise it just seems too much (the reduced quantity is used below). But use your judgement. And the eagle eyed amongst you will notice that the sees on the picture are not poppy seeds (which are spherical) but black sesame (which are not). Oly reason is that I had them, but not poppy seeds. I think the black colour is the essential element - so you could use Nigella too I guess.

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