Saturday, November 7, 2009

Spicy Sichuan Cucumber Salad

Finally getting around to posting my Sichuan meals from a couple of weeks ago. I adore Sichuan food. Even though i'm not great at handling ultra spicy food, there's something incomparable about Sichuan cusine, with the heavy lashings of pepper, spice, garlic, and salt that makes me salivate just thinking about it. The one thing that irks me though, is that at places like Dainty Sichuan, i can't find anything other than boiled rice as a palate cleanser! My mouth is searing from the moment i walk in, with no salvation until i literally run to the gelato shop after dining. This dish is a little bit toned down, and the cucumbers has a nice cooling effect on the palate.

  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1 tsp dried, crushed chilli
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sichuan peppercorns
  • Sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1tbs brown sugar
  • Cooking oil
  • 1tps chilli paste

Peel the cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise, and then each strip again in half to give four strips. Using a knife, remove the seeds and pith. Cut the remaining strips into large bite sized chunks. 

Toss the cucumber and the salt together in a bowl and set aside for 10 minutes to draw out moisture.
Heat a small pan on medium heat.
Add the oil, then garlic and sichuan pepper. 
Cook until fragrant then remove from pan and set aside to cool. 
Drain the cucumbers in a sieve.
Mix the vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and chilli paste in a bowl. 

Pour all mixtures over the cucumbers in a bowl, and toss.
Redfridgerate until cold.

This dish works will as an accompaniment salad for other sichuan foods. It's a little less extreme than most Sichuan dishes, and the cucumber has a cooling, cleansing effect on the palate. I, however, don't mind scoffing this salad alone as a quick lunch in summer with a nice Sauvignon Blanc.

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