Inspired by Ottolenghi’s ability to make the humble cucumber taste like no cucumber you’ve ever eaten before*, I devised my own Middle Eastern flavoured pickled cucumber salad.

* You really must try Ottolenghi’s cucumber recipes: cucumber and poppy seed salad from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and cucumber salad with smashed garlic and ginger from Plenty.

Serves 2


1/3 whole cucumber

1/2 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp sherry or red wine vinegar

2-3 tsp pomegranate molasses

1/2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

salt and pepper


  1. Halve the cucumber lengthways, scoop out the seeds then slice very finely.
  2. Put the cucumber in a bowl with the other ingredients (adding only 2 tsp pomegranate molasses at this stage) and mix well.
  3. Taste for seasoning and if you like a little more tang add the remaining teaspoon of pomegranate molasses.
  4. It’s best if you can let it sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes for the flavours to develop and to allow the cucumber to soften.