Cucumber Craziness 

Whilst I’m at it, I might as well share some of my favourite cucumber recipes. So far, I can offer Chinese 拍黄瓜 (2 versions), Taiwanese 凉拌黄瓜 (pictures to follow)and Korean pickled cucumber 오이나물, all of which make for great cold starters or side dishes.

Chinese cucumber I:

拍黄瓜literally means beaten/smashed cucumber, and that is exactly what you do.

Ready to get rid of some pent-up anger? Need to relieve some inner tension?

This is, most certainly, one of the tastiest (if slightly messy) ways of doing so!

For best results, use a proper vegetable knife or cleaver.

Place the cucumber on a chopping board and remove any object in the near vicinity.

Use the flat side of the blade to smash the cucumber (I usually cut the cucumber into a few pieces first to somewhat reduce the splashing) until it breaks apart.

Cut the fragments into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt.

Next, mince garlic and, optionally, crush some dried chillies. Mix with cucumbers.

Then add vinegar ( I prefer white rice vinegar for this dish, but brown vinegar will do nicely, too), a hint of soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil.

Place lid on bowl and shake well, then serve immediately.

Chinese cucumber II:

This is a somewhat spicier version with peanuts, chopped, not smashed 🙂

You need:

1 cucumber, obviously.

soy sauce (light), about 1.5 tsp

1tbsp salt

1 spoon of sugar (you can also use honey instead, too sickly sweet for my liking tho)

1-2 spoons of vinegar (white rice or dark)

1 tbsp of sesame oil

1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced

chilli flakes

a handful of untreated peanuts

Preparation:

Slice cucumber length-wise and cut into 3cm strips.

Mix soy sauce, salt, sugar and vinegar in a small bowl.

Heat sesame oil in a small pan, add chilli flakes and stir-fry over low heat to release the fragrance. As you take the pan off the heat, put in garlic and stir, then mix the content with the ingredients in the bowl. pour over cucumber, toss lightly and place in refrigerator.

Before serving, roast peanuts in little oil until they turn a golden brown. Sprinkle over cucumbers and serve.

This dish tastes even better on the second day, provided you have any left!

Korean cucumber:

This is a very easy, quick-to-make side dish, also perfect for bibimbap (see previous blog post). For best results, pickle several hours in advance and place in fridge.

Slice cucumber into very thin slices, mix with salt and leave for 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Drain off excess liquid in a colander and gently squeeze cucumbers dry. Return to bowl.

Mix rice vinegar with sugar and chilli powder (or sweet pepper powder). Cover bowl and place in fridge. Serve chilled.

As for the Taiwanese version, I don’t have any pictures just yet, but the recipe goes as follows:

Cut cucumber into strips (similar to Chinese cucumber II).

Heat 2 spoonfuls of white vinegar, add two spoons of sugar and wait until it has completely dissolved. Let mixture cool down, then pour over cucumber.

Add chillies if required and place in the refrigerator for at least a few hours.

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