Plant It Forward

Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid’s Spicy Cucumber Salad

Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid's Spicy Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumbers or a few smaller
  • cucumbers (about 1 lb)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 5 Thai dried chiles, or 3 for milder heat
  • ½ jalapeño, minced
  • 7 Sichuan peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup packed torn cilantro leaves

Instructions

  1. Peel the cucumber (optional), leaving some thin strips of peel on if you wish, for a decorative effect. Cut lengthwise into quarters and discard the seeds (optional). Use the flat side of a cleaver or large knife to bash the cucumber pieces several times. Cut the pieces lengthwise into thinner strips, and then cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths. Place in a medium bowl.
  2. 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, jalapeño, and peppercorns and stir fry for 20-30 seconds. Pour this over the cucumbers. Sprinkle on the salt and mix well.
  3. Mound the salad in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle on the cilantro leaves and serve immediately. Note: 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.
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