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Chinese Style Smashed Cucumber Salad

Chinese Style Smashed Cucumber Salad

Chinese Style Smashed Cucumber Salad

My blogger hat blew off just before Christmas, caught in a whirlwind of social events and mundane food preparation, but now summer holidays are in full swing and the pace of life has slowed to a gentler rate and I’m back wishing you a bounty of fresh produce, great food and good health for 2018.

January in Brisbane is hot, they call it “storm season”. While the thermometer may register temperatures in the low 30s the high humidity level intensifies the feeling that your living life in a sauna. Other than fans and aircon, late afternoon tropical storms are the only relief, but often they skirt by us and if we do get a downpour, the modifying affect is welcome but short lived.

The weather intensifies the desire for fresh fruit, cooling salads and cold beer.

Cucumber is a vital ingredient as part of many of the summer salads I serve for week night dinners, but it’s fresh elegantly restrained flavour and delicious crunchy texture give it the kudos to stand alone too.

This is a relatively new salad for us but it’s a salad that has kept me coming back over and over again, not only for the delicious flavour  but also for it’s simplicity in preparation. All you need is patience while the salt extracts the excess water from the cucumbers so my tip is to make that your first task when preparing dinner.

Asian Style Smashed Cucumber Salad serves 4

3 Lebanese cucumbers, total weight about 500g

11/2 teaspoons sea salt flakes

dressing:

1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic infused oil

2 teaspoon light soy (I used tamari)

1 teaspoons Asian toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon castor sugar

1 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns, toasted and ground to a powder

1 teaspoon black sesame seeds, toasted*

1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, toasted

Cut the cucumbers into chunks ensuring that each piece has a piece of skin attached. Put the cucumber on a tray then use a potato masher to gently smash the pieces until they have broken a little. Stop before they become pulp.

Tip the cucumber into a colander and sprinkle over the salt.

Allow the cucumbers to drain on the sink for about 15 minutes.

Rinse off the salt, then pat the cucumber pieces dry with a clean tea towel, then transfer to a bowl.

Whisk together the vinegar, tamari, garlic and sesame oils and sugar.

Pour the dressing over the cucumbers then toss to combine.

Sprinkle over the toasted seeds and peppercorns then serve immediately.

*TIP: When toasting black sesame seeds, mix with some white sesame seeds so it’s easy to see when they have become a toasty colour.

 

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

35 comments on “Chinese Style Smashed Cucumber Salad

  1. chef mimi
    January 22, 2018

    This is wonderful. It’s very similar to what I make. It may not be on my blog anymore – I’ve been removing so many posts from 2012 and 2013 as the result of bad photography!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 23, 2018

      Now you mention it, I remember it caught my eye. I updated photos rather than deleting posts, couldn’t bear to scrap them…

      Like

      • chef mimi
        January 23, 2018

        I copy and paste the text first, that is, if I remember to do it!

        Like

  2. chefkreso
    January 17, 2018

    I love cucumber salad, never prepared it Chinese style, sounds lovely especially with Sichuan peppercorns 🙂

    Like

  3. chef mimi
    January 16, 2018

    This isn’t working!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 16, 2018

      Thanks for letting me know Mimi, somehow it had got deleted. Thanks goodness for the “restore” button, back where it should be..

      Like

      • chef mimi
        January 16, 2018

        Ah, okay, I’ll go check it out!

        Like

  4. marymtf
    January 15, 2018

    Chinese black vinegar, garlic infused oil, Asian toasted sesame oil. I’m going to have to go shopping. Sounds worthwhile, though.
    You are obviously a dedicated mother and grandma, Sandra, to live in such steamy conditions. I’m having a hard enough time with the occasional 38 degree day. It’s been a mild summer here so far, thank goodness.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 15, 2018

      The glorious winter makes up for the summer humidity. I’d give my eye teeth for one of Melbourne’s delicious cool changes anout now. The ingredients you listed are very useful, you won’t be sorry you added them to your pantry

      Like

  5. Lisa @ cheergerm
    January 13, 2018

    Will certainly give this a whirl, however, being the lovely cucumber lover in this family I will save it for when there are more peeps here. Happy New Year!

    Like

  6. Debi @ An Evolving Life
    January 13, 2018

    Glad the blogging hat is back on again. I never would have thought to bash cucumbers, but when you think about it, it probably produces a much sweeter cucumber by increasing the surface area to be salted and thus leaching some of its natural bitterness. On the list for summer when cucumbers are plentiful in the market.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 14, 2018

      Thanks Debi, you’re spot on with your assesment of how smashing a cucumber changes it

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Linda Duffin
    January 13, 2018

    Lovely recipe, Sandra, and great tip re the sesame seeds. Summer seems a long way off this side of the globe but I’m sure this is a recipe I’ll return to. Lx

    Like

  8. 10centsofdates
    January 12, 2018

    This looks delicious!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 12, 2018

      Thanks it’s a really harmonious combination of flavours

      Liked by 1 person

      • 10centsofdates
        January 12, 2018

        The idea of it sort of reminds me of the cucumber peanut salad they serve me with my Japanese Pan Curry and the quick pickles with nori that I saw somewhere and then made.

        Like

  9. Eha
    January 12, 2018

    Welcome back and a very, very late ‘Happy New Year’! Just love the new photo . . . . Love that salad also, and Ron dearHeart got ahead of me with the Szechuan pepper comment: fully agree! Black vinegar has to be added to the store cupboard .. . . Heat? Well, a few days back was 25 kms away from the hottest place on the planet . . . .

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 12, 2018

      Thanks Eha, I hope 2018 is good to you. You don’t have to be Einstein to know the planet is warming despite what the sceptics say. Stay cool as a cucumber…

      Like

  10. Francesca
    January 12, 2018

    Looks like your back in the land of living and cooking Sandra. This salad reminds me very much of some we had in Kuming and Sichuan provinces when there. I’m definitely going to need this soon, as our cucumbers are all self sown this year- they are everywhere. Thankyou, my kind of flavours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ladyredspecs
      January 12, 2018

      You’re welcome Francesca, the flavours are quite moreish but I figure eating cucumbers can’t do too much damage. The reality is I’m cooking as little as possible, finding it hard to be enthusiastic

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Beck @ Goldenpudding
    January 12, 2018

    I love cucumbers like this! We have a very similar recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop’s Every Grain of Rice…

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 12, 2018

      It’s amazing how recipes take on a life of their own and pop up everywhere. I was served a similar dish by a friend which led to this…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sounds like just the thing in your heat. Although the recipe is inviting even in our cooler winter weather. Wishing you a Happy New Year.

    Like

  13. Ron
    January 11, 2018

    This is a splendid side dish/salad. Refreshing in the warm weather for you guys Down-Under, but can also be bold and spicy on a chilly winter day. One of my favorite Chinese dishes and recipe is spot on to the one I use. The szechuan peppercorns make this dish. When I want to kick up the heat up, I just add a pinch (or two) of pepper flakes and tiny bit more of the szechuan peppercorns to the dressing. Thanks for a great post.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 12, 2018

      I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve made this cucumber salad in the passed month and part of the pleasure is the tingle left on your palate from the peppercorns. I’ll add a little chilli next time, thanks for the tip.

      Like

  14. katechiconi
    January 11, 2018

    Yes, your weather is sounding familiar, except we’re only getting boiling black clouds and high humidity, and the rain never appears. Still, they’re now talking about thunderstorms for next week, just when we were hoping to have our new windows fitted…. This cucumber salad sounds yummy. And I love the new photo, but where are the Red Specs?!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      January 11, 2018

      Redspecs frames downgraded to readers. You can rely on the weather to disrupt tradies at this time of the year, hope they manage to get the job done for you

      Like

  15. StefanGourmet
    January 11, 2018

    Welcome back, Sandra. Always weird to read about your summer in the midst of our winter. I’ll remember this recipe for the summer, but will use less Sichuan peppercorns.

    Like

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