Spicy Cucumber Salad (vegan)
– 1 large or 2 medium European cucumbers
– 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
1. Peel the cucumber, leaving some thin strips of peel on if you wish, for a decorative effect.
2. Cut lengthwise into quarters and discard the seeds.
3. Use the flat side of a cleaver or large knife to bash the cucumber pieces several times.
4. Cut the pieces lengthwise into thinner strips, then cut crosswise into 2-inch lengths. Place in a medium bowl.
5. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar and sugar. Pour over the cucumber, mix well, and set aside.
6. Place a wok or skillet over high heat. When it is hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the pan.
7. 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.
8. 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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