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Uborkasalata (Cucumber Salad)

(recipe, Carolyn Banfalvi)


Every Hungarian family, it seems, has its recipe for salad dressing. This vinegar, salt, and sugar dressing is super-simple, and ubiquitous in Hungary. The key is to keep tasting the dressing and make adjustments to suit your taste before you pour it on the cucumbers.


  1. 2 large cucumbers (peeled if they are waxy, and seeded if they are very ripe)
  2. 1½ tsp. salt
  3. 1 cup water
  4. 1 tsp. sugar
  5. 3 Tbsp. white vinegar
  6. 3 Tbsp. sour cream
  7. 1 medium onion, minced (optional)
  8. Sweet paprika, for garnish (optional)


  1. Slice the cucumbers very thinly, preferably with a mandoline. Sprinkle with half of the salt and set aside.
  2. Prepare the dressing in a small bowl by mixing together the water, remaining salt, sugar, and vinegar. The sour cream can either be mixed in with the dressing, or served as a garnish on top of the cucumbers.
  3. Pour the dressing over the cucumbers, and add the onions if you are using them. Ideally, the salad should sit for 30 to 60 minutes before serving. Garnish just before serving with a sprinkle of sweet paprika.


Culinate editor's notes: Short on cucumbers? Add thinly sliced radishes to the salad. Also, beware of the water called for in the dressing; even if you reduce it down to 1/2 cup, you will still have vegetables sitting in a sloshing pool of water that needs to be drained before serving. Add just enough water as needed to thin the sour cream, whisk thoroughly, and then dress the salad.