Spicy Cucumber Salad

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Cucumbers are very refreshing when it is really hot, and here in Sichuan spicy foods are seen as a source of relief from the humidity. Most spicy cucumber salad recipes that I run into are very sweet, and I wanted to get away from sweetness and make a salad that was clean, sharp, and spicy. A Uighur restaurant in town serves a little plate of something very similar with their zhua fan dish of rice cooked with lamb and vegetables. A few spoons of this also goes well with dishes that are rich and mild like fried rice or noodles. I ate the ones pictured with a beer, which was also perfect.

The ground red pepper I am using is quite coarse, very like Korean gochu karu. Here in China it is very fragrant and mixed with sesame seeds. Slice one med English cucumber or two smaller ones into slices and salt them; let the slices stand for a few hours to drain. To the cucumber slices add three tablespoons of white vinegar (can use cider or rice vinegar, but use a bit more) and one teaspoon of coarse ground red pepper or cayenne, or more to taste. Slice a mild to medium red pepper into small pieces and toss the mixture together. (I don’t recommend using the very hot bird’s eye or Hunan peppers unless you are a serious chili head.) Store in the fridge for a few hours for flavours to blend; keeps for a few days.


Bobbisox said...

For flavor, would the green serrano chilis work? They are less spicy then the Thai but have a great flavor so I could use more. Would that be too much chili for the salad? I love hot, sour cucumbers.

Anonymous said...

As long as you don't overdo the heat they should be fine.