Mizeria is a traditional Polish Creamy Cucumber Salad that has been enjoyed for generations across Eastern Europe. Its simple yet delightful combination of cucumbers, sour cream, and dill creates a refreshing and light dish perfect for hot summer days or as a side dish for any meal.
What is Mizeria?
Mizeria literally translates to misery. It sounds terrible, let's eat Misery Salad, don't let the name mislead you! Mizeria a delicious, simple, rustic, cucumber salad using sour cream and sharp Eastern European Cucumbers as the base.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Refreshing and Light - a wonderfully light and refreshing salad that is perfect for hot summer days. The cool and crisp cucumbers combined with the creamy sour cream create a satisfying and cooling sensation.
- Simple and Quick - only need a handful of ingredients and minimal preparation, Mizeria is a recipe that can be whipped up in no time.
- Versatile - can be served as a side dish alongside grilled meats, roasted chicken, grilled trout or even as part of a salad bar.
- Healthy - cucumbers are a great source of hydration as they are mostly composed of water. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals.
- 2 Cucumbers - Long English are easiest to find
- Sour Cream or Smetana - the base of the creamy dressing
- fresh Dill - a staple in Slavic cooking
- White Vinegar - the acid to cut through the cream
- small White Onion - sweet onions are less sharp than yellow onions
- Salt and Pepper
How to make Mizeria
Well this is the easy part. Just thinly slice it all up, mix and serve. Some people like to use a mandolin slicer when cutting the cucumbers, but I think the slicer is just another thing to wash up afterwards.
- Prepare Cucumbers - wash the cucumbers thoroughly under cold water. If desired, peel the cucumbers for a more delicate texture. Slice the cucumbers into thin rounds and place them in a large bowl.
- Make Creamy Dressing - in a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, fresh dill, white vinegar, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Mix - pour the sour cream mixture over the sliced cucumbers. Gently toss the cucumbers to ensure they are evenly coated with the dressing.
- Cover - the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. This step also helps to chill the salad.
- Stir - before serving, give the salad a final stir to redistribute the dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed by adding more salt, pepper, or dill according to taste.
- Serve - enjoy chilled as a side dish or a refreshing salad.
What Type of Cucumbers Are Used in Mizera?
Eastern European Pickle Cucumbers are the traditional cucumber that are used when making Polish Creamy Cucumber Salad. As the cucumber skin is bitter, you might prefer to peel before slicing into the salad.
Alternatively, Long English Cucumbers are sweet and are readily available in supermarkets. Or you can substitute with Persian Cucumbers or Lebanese Cucumbers.
Variations and Recipe Tips
- Lemon Twist - add the zest of one lemon to the salad. It will add a burst of citrus flavor that complements the creaminess of the sour cream.
- Creamy Yogurt Substitute - if you prefer a lighter option, you can replace the sour cream with Greek yogurt. It adds a tangy flavor and reduces the overall calorie content of the dish.
- Herb Substitution - dill is the traditional herb used in Mizeria, but you can experiment with other herbs like parsley, mint, or chives. Each herb will bring its unique flavor profile to the dish.
Recipe Tips and FAQs
- If you prefer a crunchier salad, leave the skin on the cucumbers. Otherwise, peel them for a more delicate texture.
- Use fresh Eastern European cucumbers for the best taste and texture. Look for firm cucumbers with smooth skin.
- Let the salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together.
- Adjust the amount of homemade sour cream and dill according to your personal preference. You can add more or less depending on how creamy or herby you want the salad to be.
- No sour cream or yogurt? Try using a bit of Kefir instead.
Can You Make Mizeria in Advance?
This is a Yes and No answer! You can prepare the ingredients in advance, but just don't salt or dress the cucumbers with sour cream. If you do, it will become soggy. It's best made and served right away.
Can I Use English Cucumbers Instead of Regular Cucumbers?
Yes, English cucumbers can be used as a substitute as European Cucumbers can be hard to find. They have a slightly milder flavor and fewer seeds, but they will work well in this recipe.
How Long Can I Store Mizeria?
Mizeria is best enjoyed fresh, but it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. However, keep in mind that the cucumbers may soften over time, so it's best to consume it as soon as possible for the optimal texture.
Can I Add Other Vegetables or Ingredients to Mizeria?
While the traditional Mizeria recipe consists of cucumbers, sour cream, and dill, you can certainly customize it to your liking. Some popular additions include radishes, cherry tomatoes, or even feta cheese for added flavor and texture.
Other Slavic Salads You Need To Try!
- Creamy Radish Salad
- Vinegret Beet Salad
- Olivier Potato Salad
- Creamy Cucumber and Tomato Salad
- Shuba Salad with Salmon
- Korean Carrot Salad (not actually Korean!)
The shared history of Slavic and Eastern European nations extends to the foods we all enjoy across our cultures (pre and post Soviet). Mizeria is a delightful dish that brings together the coolness of cucumbers, creaminess of sour cream, and freshness of dill. It's a simple summer salad that can be prepared in no time. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- 2 Long English Cucumbers sliced
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup fresh dill chopped
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- ½ small white onion thinly sliced
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Wash the cucumbers thoroughly under cold water. If desired, peel the cucumbers for a more delicate texture. Slice the cucumbers into thin rounds and place them in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, fresh dill, white vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Pour the sour cream mixture over the sliced cucumbers. Gently toss the cucumbers to ensure they are evenly coated with the dressing.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. This step also helps to chill the salad and enhance its refreshing nature.
- Before serving, give the salad a final stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed by adding more salt, pepper, or dill according to your preference.
- Serve the Mizeria chilled as a side dish or a refreshing salad. It pairs well with grilled meats, roasted chicken, or as part of a salad bar. Enjoy!
©PetersFoodAdventures.com *originally posted Aug 2017, updated May 2023