- Course: Cold Appetizer, Side Dish
- Skill Level: Easy
- Cost: Inexpensive
- Favorited: 45 Times
In this salad, the cucumbers are first dressed with a little vinegar, then dressed again with hot oil. The contrast of smooth chile-warm oil and crisp fresh cucumber is a knockout. The salad has a mild but not aggressive heat made with the 5 dried red chiles. Note that the cucumbers will soften if they’re left standing, so don’t pour the hot oil over them until just before you wish to serve the salad.
- 1 large or 2 medium European cucumbers (1 to 1¼ pounds)
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 5 Thai dried red chiles, or 3 for milder heat
- ½ jalapeno, minced
- 7 Sichuan peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup packed torn coriander leaves
Peel the cucumber, leaving some thin strips of peel on if you wish, for a decorative effect. Cut lengthwise into quarters and scrape off and discard the seeds.
Use the flat side of a cleaver or large knife to bash the cucumber pieces several times. Cut the pieces lengthwise into thinner strips, then cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths. Place in a medium bowl.
In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar and sugar. Pour over the cucumber, mix well, and set aside.
Place a wok or skillet over high heat. When it is hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Toss in the dried chiles, jalapeno, and peppercorns and stir-fry for 20 to 30 seconds. Pour this over the cucumbers. Sprinkle on the salt and mix well.
Mound the salad in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle on the coriander leaves and serve immediately.
The traditional way to make this uses 3 tablespoons of oil, giving a well-oiled texture that may be undesirable. If you wish, try both and see which you prefer.
© 2000 Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid
This recipe serves 4.