Asian Ma-la Cucumber Fans
- One half pound Cucumbers, Japanese, or
- 1 teaspoon Salt, kosher
- 1 One half teaspoon Oil, peanut OR
- 1 One half teaspoon Oil, corn
- 1 teaspoon Ginger, thinly cut
- 1 One half teaspoon Garlic, minced
- One fourth teaspoon Chili, red, dry, flakes
- One fourth teaspoon Peppercorns, Szechuan, brown
- One half teaspoon Soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Vinegar, rice
- 1 One half tablespoon Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Oil, sesame
Remove the tips from the cucumbers, then cut them up into 2inch
lengths. Grasp cucumber lengthwise between chopsticks held in a
Vshape on a cutting board, then cut the cucumber crosswise at
1/8inch intervals into a fan (chopsticks prevent knife from cutting
clear through the cucumber.)
Toss the cucumbers with salt and set aside for thirty minutes to
Drain, rinse with cold water, then press gently between palms to
remove excess water.
Heat a wok or mediumsize heavy skillet over moderate heat until
hot enough to sizzle a bead of water slowly. Add corn or peanut oil,
swirl to glaze bottom, then reduce heat to low.
When hot enough to sizzle a ginger thread, add ginger, garlic,
chili, and peppercorns. Toss until fully fragrant, about ten seconds,
then add a pinch more chili if your nose tells you it’s needed.
Add cucumber, toss to combine, then add soy, vinegar, sugar, and
sesame oil. Toss until sugar dissolves and liquid is hot.
Taste and adjust with a bit more sugar if needed to bring out the
full flavor of the chili. Scrape the mixture into a shallow bowl and
set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
Before serving, remove most of the peppercorns.