Time: 20 minutes, plus 40 minutes to cool. These spicy, sour pickles are very low in calories.
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cardamom pods, split
2 small dried hot red chiles, broken in half
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
1 piece (1 in.) fresh ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
6 Persian cucumbers, each cut into 4 spears, or 2 English cucumbers, each cut into thirds crosswise and then into 4 spears
How to Make It
Warm oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and cook until they pop, about 2 minutes. All at once, add remaining spices except for turmeric and cook, stirring, until spices are very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add turmeric and stir just until sizzling. Carefully add 1/2 cup water, the vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, garlic, and ginger. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
Pack cucumber spears into a deep bowl. Pour pickling liquid over them, weight with a small plate to keep submerged, and let cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes. Lift pickles out of brine to serve.
Make ahead: Chill, covered, up to 2 days (pickles will get more flavorful).