Wednesday, January 19, 2022
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Chinese language Smashed Cucumber Salad (拍黃瓜)


Once I lived in China over 10 years in the past, I tasted smashed cucumber salad (拍黃瓜, pai huang gua) for the primary time. It’s a easy dish of cucumber items tossed with a number of garlic, vinegar, and seasonings. Rising up, I didn’t eat many Chinese language dishes that featured uncooked garlic. I used to be pleasantly shocked by how addictive such a easy dish could possibly be.

In some Chinese language menus, you may also see cucumber salad known as 涼拌黃瓜 (liang ban huang gua), which accurately interprets to chill tossed cucumbers. All these salads are fairly related: uncooked cucumber items tossed with uncooked garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, and different seasonings.

Chinese language smashed cucumber salad is an effective aspect dish that’s easy to arrange however delivers in taste. As a matter of truth, I typically simply eat the salad with rice for dinner and it’s so satisfying.

Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad

HOW TO MAKE CHINESE SMASHED CUCUMBER SALAD

SELECTING CUCUMBERS

When making cucumber salads, I like utilizing cucumbers with tender seeds. That’s why Persian, Japanese, or English (sizzling home) cucumbers work nice for this smashed cucumber salad recipe.

Persian cucumber, Japanese cucumber, English cucumber

Personally, I believe Japanese cucumbers style one of the best as a result of they’ve a refined candy taste. I discover Persian and English cucumbers a bit bland these days. I normally purchase Japanese cucumbers on the Sacramento farmers markets. You may as well discover them in Japanese grocery shops like Oto’s Market. If Japanese cucumbers aren’t simple to search out, use Persian or English cucumbers.

PREPARING CUCUMBERS

Japanese cucumbers might be fairly thick, particularly ones that I discover on the farmers market. Due to the thickness, they are often troublesome to smack complete with a knife. That’s why I like to recommend slicing the cucumber in half lengthwise. 

Preparing Cucumbers Collage

Then, place the cucumbers, minimize aspect down. Place the aspect of your knife over the cucumber. Utilizing the fleshy a part of your palm, smack the knife, till the cucumber begins to separate. Proceed doing this alongside the size of the cucumber. The bigger floor space of a meat cleaver makes it excellent for this job. Lastly, slice the cucumber diagonally.

Smacking Persian Cucumber

Persian cucumbers are usually smaller and have extra tender pores and skin than Japanese cucumbers. In the event you’re utilizing Persian cucumbers, you must be capable of smack them complete with out having to slice them first.

Excess liquid from salting cucumbers

SHOULD YOU SALT THE CUCUMBERS?

It is determined by your choice. Most cucumber salad recipes will let you know to toss the cucumbers with a pinch of salt. Then, you let the cucumbers relaxation for 15 to twenty minutes in order that the salt can draw out extra moisture. In the event you hate watery cucumber salads, then you definitely’ll completely need to do that salting step.

Excess liquid from garlic cucumber salad

I’ll be trustworthy, I typically don’t hassle to salt the cucumbers beforehand. I normally wait till I’m nearly to serve dinner earlier than tossing the smashed cucumber items with the sauce. I believe that I can style the pure sweetness of the cucumbers higher this fashion. That mentioned, in about quarter-hour, a pool of water will kind on the backside of the salad bowl. I don’t thoughts this liquid in any respect. As a matter of truth, that liquid is nice for flavoring jasmine rice.

Within the recipe and the cooking video, I present instructions on salting the cucumbers simply in case that’s what folks desire.

Making chili oil

MAKING HOMEMADE CHILI OIL

I like utilizing my do-it-yourself chili oil as a part of the sauce for this smashed cucumber salad. In the event you’ve made my chili oil earlier than, you’ll know that I like utilizing recent garlic and ginger to make the oil extra aromatic. I additionally like utilizing a mix of normal chili flakes (beneath left) and gochugaru (beneath proper), Korean pink pepper flakes (typically translated as pink pepper powder).

Red pepper flakes and gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)

The chili flakes are the pink pepper flakes that yow will discover within the spice aisles of your grocery retailer. They need to have a medium stage of spice. I normally purchase chili flakes from The Allspicery, which is a Sacramento spice store.

I like utilizing gochugaru for my chili oil as a result of it has a refined spice and lightweight smoky taste. Extra importantly, it turns the chili oil into a phenomenal shade of pink that’s unparalleled. You will discover gochugaru in Korean supermarkets in large baggage. I additionally like utilizing Mom In Regulation’s gochugaru as a result of they arrive in small jars. It’s a great measurement in the event you don’t use gochugaru typically.

To make the oil, add all of the spices to a heat-proof bowl (ceramic or chrome steel is nice).

Then, warmth 1/3 cup of oil over medium-high warmth for two to three minutes, till the temperature of the oil reaches 325ºF to 350ºF and the oil seems skinny and runny. You should use any impartial flavored oil like vegetable, grapeseed, almond, or avocado oil. Don’t warmth the oil hotter than 350ºF as a result of the gochugaru will burn.

Rigorously pour the new oil over the spices. Let the oil infuse for no less than half-hour.

Leftover Chili Oil

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER CHILI OIL

You solely want 2 tablespoons of the chili oil for the smashed cucumber salad, so you should have leftover chili oil. I like to recommend tossing it with noodles or utilizing it to season fried rice or stir fries. Attempt to use the sauce inside per week due to the recent ginger and garlic within the chili oil. Retailer the chili oil within the fridge. For extra inspiration, right here’s a listing of dishes that you should use with the chili oil:

Ingredients for cucumber salad

SAUCE FOR SMASHED CUCUMBER SALAD

For the cucumber salad sauce, you’ll want the chili oil, freshly grated garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil.

Garlic and rice vinegar

To mellow out the uncooked chunk of the garlic, I combine the garlic with rice vinegar and let that sit for quarter-hour. I just like the brightness of rice vinegar for the smashed cucumber salad. Different recipes I’ve seen use Zhenjiang vinegar (鎮江醋, or Chinkiang vinegar). Zhenjiang vinegar is a darkish vinegar that has a malty taste profile.

Don’t toss the cucumbers with the sauce till you’re able to serve your meal. That approach the cucumbers gained’t turn into too soggy or limp.

Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad

CAN I MAKE THIS SALAD AHEAD?

Sure, you possibly can put together the salad elements as much as a day forward. Simply retailer the cucumbers and the sauce individually within the fridge. Don’t toss the smashed cucumber salad till you’re nearly able to serve it.

Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad


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Servings: 4

Chinese language Smashed Cucumber Salad (拍黄瓜)

This salad serves 2 to 4 folks. You possibly can double the recipe to make a bigger batch. You should have leftover chili oil on this recipe. Toss the chili oil with noodles, rice, or dumplings. Refrigerate the oil and use it inside per week.

Prep Time20 minutes

Prepare dinner Time5 minutes

Resting Time30 minutes

Substances

Chili Oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili flakes, (see be aware 1)
  • 2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean pepper flakes), (see be aware 2)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup oil, might be vegetable, grapeseed, or any impartial oil

Cucumber Salad

  • 1 to 1 1/4 kilos Japanese cucumbers, (see be aware 3)
  • small pinch of kosher salt, about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or zested
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili oil with spices
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Directions

Make the Chili Oil

  • The chili oil wants time to infuse so I like to recommend making this primary. You may as well make it a day forward.

  • Add the minced garlic, minced ginger, chili flakes, gochugaru, and salt in a heat-proof bowl. You’re going to pour sizzling oil into the bowl, so keep away from utilizing bowls which may crack (like glass and a few porcelains). I normally use ceramic bowls however a stainless-steel mixing bowl or a saucepan works.

  • Warmth the oil in a saucepan over medium-high warmth for two to three minutes, till the oil reaches 325ºF to 350ºF. You do not need the oil to be any hotter as a result of the gochugaru will burn. In the event you don’t have a thermometer, warmth the oil for two minutes simply to be on the secure aspect.

  • Very fastidiously pour the new oil over the spices. (See be aware 4) Let the oil infuse for no less than half-hour.

Make Cucumber Salad

  • Slice off the ends of the cucumbers. Then, slice the cucumbers in half, lengthwise.

  • Place the cucumber halves, minimize aspect down. Then place the aspect of the knife over the cucumber. Utilizing the fleshy a part of your palm smack the knife to smash the cucumber till it splits. Ensure to smash alongside your entire size of the cucumber. Then, slice the cucumbers diagonally, about 1/2-inch thick slices. Switch the cucumber items to a bowl.

  • Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the cucumbers and blend. Let the cucumbers sit for 20 minutes. Then, drain out the surplus water on the backside of the bowl. (See be aware 5) You don’t want to rinse the cucumbers. (See be aware 6)

  • Add the grated/zested garlic to a bowl and blend it with the rice vinegar. Let that sit for 10 to fifteen minutes to mellow out the uncooked chunk of the garlic.

  • Add the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of chili oil (with bits of pepper and spices), sugar, and sesame oil.

  • Proper earlier than you’re able to serve the cucumber salad, toss the cucumber items with the sauce. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the cucumber salad for garnish.

  • Serve the smashed cucumber salad with jasmine rice, coconut rice, or any of my rice recipes or noodle recipes.

Video

Notes

  1. These are the usual pink pepper flakes that yow will discover within the spice aisles of your grocery retailer. They need to be a medium stage of spice.
  2. I like utilizing gochugaru for my chili oil as a result of it has refined spice and a light-weight smoky taste. Extra importantly, it turns the chili oil into a phenomenal shade of pink that’s unparalleled. You will discover gochugaru in Korean supermarkets in large baggage. I additionally love Mom In Regulation’s gochugaru, which is available in comparatively small jars.
  3. I like utilizing Japanese cucumbers due to their tender seeds and subtly candy taste. You may as well use Persian cucumbers or English (sizzling home) cucumbers.
  4. Some folks have requested me in the event you can simply add the spices into the saucepan with the new oil. You possibly can however you run the chance of burning the spices as a result of the heated saucepan retains quite a lot of warmth. If you wish to do that, then I’d advocate heating up the oil to a decrease temperature, like 300ºF to make sure that the spices don’t burn.
  5. To be trustworthy, I don’t at all times salt the cucumbers beforehand. That’s both as a result of I neglect or can’t be bothered to take action. I additionally assume that I can style the sweetness of the cucumbers higher if I don’t salt the cucumbers. In the event you don’t salt the cucumbers, a pool of liquid will kind on the backside of the bowl of salad. I’m not bothered by the liquid. In reality, I like utilizing the liquid to season rice. 
  6. In case you are involved about salt consumption, you possibly can scale back the soy sauce for the cucumber sauce by about 1 teaspoon.

Diet

Serving: 1serving | Energy: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.1g | Protein: 2.4g | Fats: 8.7g | Saturated Fats: 1.3g | Sodium: 895mg | Fiber: 2.4g | Sugar: 4.8g

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