Cucumber Salad! A Chinese Staple. By, Courtney Gould Miller
I’m thrilled to share with Hot & Healthy readers a recipe very much in keeping with MacKenzie and Marysia’s invocation of clean living, but with a little spice. I first learned this recipe when I was living in rural Southern China in the province of Guangxi. I was just learning to cook and couldn’t believe how easy and yet delicious this dish is. Once you make it, you’ll see why it’s a staple of the Chinese diet, and now mine.
1 half English cucumber per person (Hint: English cucumbers are the ones without seeds, and usually wrapped in plastic wrap at the grocery store.)
2 cloves Garlic per person, peeled
1/3 cup Rice Vinegar per person, or to taste
2 tbsp. Sesame Oil per person, or to taste (Optional: Substitute Hot Chili Sesame Oil for a portion of the Sesame Oil, either a few dashes or a full tbsp.)
Salt to taste
Optional: Red Onion or Scallions, to taste
1. Wash and dry cucumber(s). Lay cucumber(s) on a cutting board with the peeled garlic. Cut the cucumbers into large slices, either horizontally or on the diagonal. Smash the garlic with the flat blade of your knife and mince it finely.
This dish is a perfect complement to a warm and either sweet or spicy Chinese stir fry, depending on how much chili heat you infuse into the cucumbers. It’s also delicious with a steamed fish. With Chinese cooking, it’s all about balance of flavors, temperature, and spice. Enjoy!