OK, so you may never read mmm-yoso again after this recipe.... The Missus and I were shopping at Zion Market, when I noticed good quality English Cucumbers priced at 2 for a buck! Suddenly the idea I had of doing a silly 3 dollar Thursday had gotten even better. I could try to bring this in at under a buck. Again I chose a recipe from Land of Plenty. And just like my Pan Fried Perilla with Cucumber recipe, I again stir fried cucumber(ever so briefly). I realize stir-frying cucumber may sounds strange to most folks, I know it was to me. I distinctly remember the first time I dug to the bottom of a wonderful hot pot, only to bring up a translucent mass of wilted iceberg lettuce. Over the years I've gotten used to it, and in many cases really enjoy vegetables that I ate raw growing up cooked. And those who really can't even think about eating a warm piece of cucumber, don't worry, you'll eat this dish the day after making it, chilled.
This recipe is so easy, and without nature's warning color, the bright and blazing red to warn you, the dish looks fairly benign, but it can be pretty "mala" (numbing hot).
Like most recipes, I've made a few adjustments to suit my taste, and I'm sure you'll do the same if you try this recipe out. I added some Clear Chinese Rice Vinegar and sugar, to help round out the rather straight-forward numbing-heat. I also found that due to the rather uncomplicated flavor of the dish, peanut oil should be used. This dish also uses whole Sichuan Peppercorn. Lastly, is this really a $1 dish....well, you figure it out, 50 cent cucumber plus ingredients, all of which I had in my pantry. I guess if cucumbers weren't on sale, it might be a 2 dollar Tuesday, or something like that.
Spicy Cucumber Salad
1 large English Cucumber
2 Tb kosher salt
2 Tb Peanut oil
6-8 Dried Red Chilies, with the top snipped and seeds removed
2 tsp whole Sichuan Pepper(not roasted)
1 tsp Clear Chinese Rice Wine
1/2 tsp white sugar
2 tsp Sesame Oil
- Peel the cucumber and slice into 2 - 2 1/2 inch lengths, Cut in half lengthwise, and remove seeds. Cut into quarters, than eighths lengthwise, into a baton shape. Place cucumbers into a colander set over a bowl and add salt. Mix well, and set aside for at least 2 hours to draw moisture out of the cucumber..
- After the salting period is complete, shake the cucumber and drain well. Dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
- Heat a wok over high heat until smoking. Add the peanut oil, and swirl to cure the wok. Add dried red chilies and Sichuan Peppercorn and turn the heat to medium. When the chilies are scalded and fragrant add the cucumber.
- Stir fry the cucumber for a few seconds, add vinegar and sugar, and stir to coat, and dissolve sugar.This process should not last for more than 10-12 seconds. Do not brown the cucumbers.
- Remove the cucumber from heat, add sesame oil, and remove to a container. When the dish has cooled, place into the refrigerator overnight.
You can eat this like any cold dish or pickle.