A traditional side dish, polish cucumber salad, or mizeria, takes simple ingredients like cucumbers, sour cream, amd salt, and makes them into a light and refreshing salad that pairs well with just about anything!
My mom has a polish deli minutes away from her house. And when I say polish deli, I truly mean it. All of the packaging is in polish, all of the workers speak polish, there are vats of sauerkraut sitting around to scoop from. It's really a cool place!
One thing she often picks up from there is cucumber salad. A creamy dressing with very thinly sliced cucumbers and lots of fresh dill.
Before I share this recipe, know that this is only one way to make this dish. I purposefully kept it very basic and standard, but like any classic dish, there are as many different ways of making it as there are cooks!
I share below some additional variations on this classic recipe, in case you want to try out new ways. One thing is for certain, they are all fresh, delicious, and totally simple to prepare.
Ingredients in polish cucumber salad
- sour cream
- black pepper
How to prepare
Peel cucumbers and trim off ends. Using a mandolin, slice cucumbers very thinly. If you don't have a mandolin, a sharp knife will work. Just be careful!
Place sliced cucumbers into a bowl. Add salt and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. You will quickly see the cucumbers release a lot of liquid.
You can now drain or rinse your cucumbers. If you don't rinse them, your mizeria will obviously be more salty. Make sure you drain them well.
To the same bowl, add sour cream, chopped dill, and black pepper. Stir to combine.
Refrigerate until serving.
Salting your cucumbers?
If you have never made this dish before, you might be wondering about salting the cucumbers first. While not everyone does this step, it is rather traditional to do so. It softens up the cucumbers and they release their liquid which can be drained out or rinsed.
Some people even place salted cucumbers in a clean towel and squeeze more of the liquid out before adding the remaining ingredients.
Variations of Polish Cucumber Salad
- Add 1-2 tsp. of sugar for a little sweetness.
- Add a bit onion for more flavor. Either slice thinly with the mandolin, dice, or grate. Green onions could also be used.
- Add lemon juice or vinegar for some tang. Start with a tablespoon of either and taste and see before adjusting as needed.
- Instead of sour cream, greek yogurt, mayo, or even heavy cream are sometimes used.
What to serve with mizeria
Polish cucumber salad is so versatile, it can be paired with anything! From traditional favorites like polish cabbage rolls, to a simple salad to bring to your next bbq, this dish is sure to be a hit.
I know I lot of people like to use the just from mizeria to pour over mashed potatoes or baked potatoes, yum!
For main courses try meatballs, pork chops, or baked chicken breast.
Store finished cucumber salad in an airtight container in the fridge. It will last for a few days, but will likely get a little more watery as the salt continues to break down the cucumbers. The flavor of the mizeria will only get better as it sits for a bit and is given time to all marinate together!
Polish Cucumber Salad
- 1 medium sized cucumber
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. fresh dill chopped
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- Peel cucumbers and trim off ends. Using a mandolin, slice cucumbers very thinly. If you don't have a mandolin, a sharp knife will work. Just be careful!
- Place sliced cucumbers into a bowl. Add salt and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. You will quickly see the cucumbers release a lot of liquid.
- You can now drain or rinse your cucumbers. If you don't rinse them, your mizeria will obviously be more salty. Make sure you drain them well.
- To the same bowl, add sour cream chopped dill, and black pepper. Stir to combine.
- Refrigerate until serving.