I’m finally coming around to love cucumbers. Besides chowing down on them right off the vine (lemon cucumbers are my favorite candy), one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is in curry! As novel and counterintuitive as it may seem to cook cucumbers, the kiss of oil and spices takes them to new culinary heights, and makes perfect sense when you consider their close relation to the bitter melons used in many Asian cuisines. This simple dish comes in particularly handy in the peak of summer, when the harvest is piling up faster than you can consume it, no longer quite as fresh and crisp, and you need to throw together a quick meal.
A couple tablespoons oil
3-5 cucumbers, quartered and sliced
A teaspoon, or a few, of curry powder or garam masala, to taste
A splash or two of tamari (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
One small can or equivalent cooked garbanzos (optional)
A few sprigs cilantro or parsley (optional)
Sauté cucumbers in oil, then add seasonings and let them simmer in its own juices until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Play around with the spices — how about a few sprinkles of cumin, coriander, ginger, cardamon, or cayenne? A squeeze of lemon or lime is delicious as well. Add garbanzos and simmer for a couple minutes more. Great over rice, with a generous dollop of yogurt stirred in and a garnish of cilantro or parsley. You’d be hard pressed to find a faster, easier, tastier summer meal!