Chinese language Smashed Cucumber Salad (拍黃瓜)

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After 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 lot of garlic, vinegar, and seasonings. Rising up, I didn’t eat many Chinese language dishes that featured uncooked garlic. I used to be pleasantly stunned by how addictive such a easy dish could possibly be.

In some Chinese language menus, you may additionally 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 comparable: uncooked cucumber items tossed with uncooked garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, and different seasonings.

Chinese language smashed cucumber salad is an efficient aspect dish that’s easy to arrange however delivers in taste. As a matter of truth, I generally 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 the most effective as a result of they’ve a delicate candy taste. I discover Persian and English cucumbers a bit bland these days. I normally purchase Japanese cucumbers on the Sacramento farmers markets. You can too discover them in Japanese grocery shops like Oto’s Market. If Japanese cucumbers are usually not straightforward to search out, use Persian or English cucumbers.

PREPARING CUCUMBERS

Japanese cucumbers may 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, lower 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 good 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. Should you’re utilizing Persian cucumbers, it is best to be capable to smack them complete with out having to slice them first.

Excess liquid from salting cucumbers

SHOULD YOU SALT THE CUCUMBERS?

It relies on 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. Should you hate watery cucumber salads, then you definately’ll completely wish to do that salting step.

Excess liquid from garlic cucumber salad

I’ll be sincere, 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 stated, 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 individuals want.

Making chili oil

MAKING HOMEMADE CHILI OIL

I like utilizing my selfmade chili oil as a part of the sauce for this smashed cucumber salad. Should you’ve made my chili oil earlier than, you’ll know that I like utilizing contemporary garlic and ginger to make the oil extra aromatic. I additionally like utilizing a mixture of normal chili flakes (under left) and gochugaru (under proper), Korean pink pepper flakes (generally 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 really like utilizing gochugaru for my chili oil as a result of it has a delicate spice and lightweight smoky taste. Extra importantly, it turns the chili oil into a fantastic shade of pink that’s unparalleled. Yow will discover gochugaru in Korean supermarkets in large luggage. I additionally like utilizing Mom In Regulation’s gochugaru as a result of they arrive in small jars. It’s measurement should 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 utilize 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.

Fastidiously pour the new oil over the spices. Let the oil infuse for at the very least 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’ll 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 contemporary ginger and garlic within the chili oil. Retailer the chili oil within the fridge. For extra inspiration, right here’s an inventory of dishes that you should utilize 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 might be able to serve your meal. That means the cucumbers gained’t change into too soggy or limp.

Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad

CAN I MAKE THIS SALAD AHEAD?

Sure, you may 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 individuals. You may double the recipe to make a bigger batch. You’ll 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

Elements

Chili Oil

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

Cucumber Salad

  • 1 to 1 1/4 kilos Japanese cucumbers, (see notice 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 can too 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 that 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 don’t want the oil to be any hotter as a result of the gochugaru will burn. Should you don’t have a thermometer, warmth the oil for two minutes simply to be on the protected aspect.

  • Very rigorously pour the new oil over the spices. (See notice 4) Let the oil infuse for at the very least half-hour.

Make Cucumber Salad

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

  • Place the cucumber halves, lower 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. Make certain to smash alongside the whole 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 notice 5) You don’t want to rinse the cucumbers. (See notice 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 might be 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 really like utilizing gochugaru for my chili oil as a result of it has delicate spice and a light-weight smoky taste. Extra importantly, it turns the chili oil into a fantastic shade of pink that’s unparalleled. Yow will discover gochugaru in Korean supermarkets in large luggage. 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 can too use Persian cucumbers or English (sizzling home) cucumbers.
  4. Some individuals have requested me should you can simply add the spices into the saucepan with the new oil. You may however you run the danger of burning the spices as a result of the heated saucepan retains a whole lot of warmth. If you wish to do that, then I’d suggest heating up the oil to a decrease temperature, like 300ºF to make sure that the spices don’t burn.
  5. To be sincere, I don’t all the time 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. Should 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. The truth is, I like utilizing the liquid to season rice. 
  6. If you’re involved about salt consumption, you may cut back the soy sauce for the cucumber sauce by about 1 teaspoon.

Vitamin

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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