Organic Spa Blog

Food Friday: The Exotic Table

Photo by Aliya LeeKong

In our upcoming March/April issue, we feature an interview with Aliya LeeKong, chef and author of the beautiful new book, Exotic Table (AdamsMedia). LeeKong is a chef without borders: her background is Indo-Pakistani and Tanzanian, and her culinary influences also draw from Istanbul, Lima, Cape Town and New Orleans and more.

I’ve been enjoying LeeKong’s recipe for Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Yuzu-Honey Dressing, which is perfect for the depths of winter. The creamy avocados add heft, the citrusy yuzu is refreshing and the cucumbers give the recipe a crispness and bite that is a perfect antidote to this winter’s blanketing cold. It is easy to prepare, beautiful to look at and absolutely delicious!

Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Yuzu-Honey Dressing, serves 4

When one of my favorite neighborhood sushi spots closed, I was really disappointed at not being able to eat my beloved cucumber and avocado salad, so I tried to recreate it at home. Here it is, and it’s now a staple salad for me during avocado season. The creamy avocados and crisp, watery cucumbers pair beautifully with the sweet, yuzu-spiked dressing and the nutty crunch from the sesame seeds. Enjoy!

3–4 Persian cucumbers, chopped
2 ripe Haas avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and chopped
½ teaspoon black sesame seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon white sesame seeds, toasted
small handful of cilantro, finely chopped

For the dressing:
2½ teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons yuzu juice (see sidebar)
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons sesame oil
salt, to taste

In a bowl, toss together the cucumbers and avocados with the sesame seeds and cilantro.

For the dressing, whisk together the soy sauce with the rice vinegar, yuzu juice, and honey. Slowly drizzle in the sesame oil, whisking continuously. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Toss salad with dressing, adjust seasoning, and serve immediately.


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