Hungarian Cucumber Salad (Uborkasalata)

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While I've made this dish many times, I don't have the recipe anymore, so I stole one from Epicurious and modified it a bit. I saved the introduction as it provides a nice "old world" context.

A Bit of Background

With little or no refrigeration and often only impure water available until the twentieth century, ordinary people did not risk eating fresh vegetables that couldn't be peeled or shelled. Cucumber, beet, or cabbage salads were about the only ones used in Eastern Europe, and cooked salads featuring eggplant or broiled peppers were served in many Mediterranean countries. Lettuce, the base of most crisp salads we eat today, had to be cleaned in sterilized water and eaten immediately.


2 medium or large cucumbers

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch of sugar

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 tablespoons of water

1/4 cup of sour cream (real, not lowfat or fat free)

1/4 cup of onion

Sweet paprika

1. Peel the cucumbers and slice them very thin. Lay out on a sheets of paper towels (on a counter or table), sprinkle with salt and let stand for 30-60 minutes. Squeeze water out of the slices by periodically pressing on them with a paper towel.

2. Cut onion into quarters and then slice thinly.

3. Combine the sugar, vinegar, onions, and water. Add the cucumbers and marinate for a few hours. To serve, sprinkle paprika on top of the salad and place a large dolop of sour cream on the side for dipping or for mixing in.