It's really feeling like record heat isn't it? For some reason, I enjoy dishes like this, called Smacked Cucumber because you smack the cucumbers with the flat of a cleaver a couple of times before cutting. The sauce is that wonderful combination of sour-salty-sweet-spicy-numbing that I find refreshing.
Fuchsia Dunlop has a nice version in her latest book, Every Grain of Rice. I enjoy a bit more of everything, but the recipe in the book is a nice place to start. Even though it might not seem so; the version I made this evening has 6 cloves of garlic, which I grated into a paste. Because there's so much flavor, you may not notice just how much garlic is in this until after your meal.....garlic breath, the gift that keeps on giving. I also cut down on the normal 1:1 ratio of sugar to vinegar because the Missus enjoys this less sweet.
You can cut the cucumber whichever way you choose, either into quarters or use rolling cuts....I just do whichever I feel like. This is more than enough sauce for a pound of cucumbers....I just tend to like more sauce, which you can actually save and use for another batch.
Smacked Cucumbers - Pai Huang Gua:
1 pound Persian or Japanese Cucumbers
1 Tb salt
4 tsp Chinkiang Black Vinegar
2 tsp Sugar
2 Tb Chili Oil
4 tsp Premium Soy Sauce
1 tsp ground toasted Sichuan Peppercorns
2-6 cloves garlic minced
- Smack cucumbers with the flat of a cleaver to loosen and tenderize the flesh
- Slice/chop cucumbers as desired, salt and let rest for 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator (I like this chilled)
- Meanwhile combine the last six ingredients until sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust flavoring.
- Drain cucumbers and pour sauce over and mix. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
There you go......