Chinese Cucumber Salad

12 Jul
by Francine

It is finally cucumber time!  We’ve been waiting to share this great tasting salad that Luke and I figured out how to make when he visited me in China last summer.

This is a common cold salad that’s available at many restaurants; although each restaurant prepares it a little bit differently…some add roasted peanuts and others sprinkle the salad with sesame seeds.  I really loved having this salad during the hot summer months (which are now a forgotten memory since I had to wear a jacket and scarf whilst picking strawberries. In June.)A photo of a little dinner guest

I love that they recently served this salad as a FarmerChef special.  While reading over this recipe, I felt like I was sitting at a plastic table, enjoying some barbecued meat on a lazy summer evening! 

And it reminded me of this photo.  That little girl kept toddling over to me to give me boiled peanuts as her mother called me aunty. :) (A shout out to Jo…take-er of the photo.)

Chinese Cucumber Salad

makes 4 servings
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce (a good brand is Lee Kum Kee)
  • 1 tbsp canola or another vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 dried bird chili, de-seededphoto of Chinese Cucumber Salad

First wash the cucumbers and cut off the ends. Halve the cucumbers cross-wise. Then cut into half lengthwise and then cut into quarters. Cut the seeds out and slice each quarter into 1 inch pieces.  Place the cucumber pieces in a large bowl. Generously salt and toss them, then refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the soy sauce, canola oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and chili powder in a separate bowl. Mince the garlic and cut the green onions into 1/2 inch pieces. Add the garlic and green onions to the dressing.

Cut the dried red chili into ¼ inch pieces and remove all the seeds. Add to de-seeded chili pieces to the sauce.

Remove cucumbers from the refrigerator and drain off the excess water. Pour the sauce over the cucumbers and stir to coat each cucumber evenly.

One note about the presentation—the oils quickly set so stir the salad once more before serving or throughout the meal.

Another thing you can do is reserve any leftover sauce (once the cucumbers have disappeared) as a marinade for a great stir fry!

Have you ever had cucumbers in a Chinese dish?  In Chinese the word for cucumber is huang gua (黄瓜) which translated literally, means yellow melon….it seems odd at first because cucumbers are green not yellow. But the yellow refers to the yellow flower of the cucumber.  Isn’t that fun!?


2 Responses to “Chinese Cucumber Salad”

  1. Julie July 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    What a great salad! Where do I find bird chili or what can I sub?

    • realocalcooking July 13, 2012 at 2:32 am #

      Thanks Julie! You could buy bird chilis from here. or you could buy them at an Asian grocery store. The Asian foods section of a larger grocery store might have them too! If you don’t love spicy food, you could just leave them out of this recipe and rely on the chili powder, but they do add a nice touch and you can use them in a number of Thai and Chinese dishes. A few go a long way…;) Let us know when you make this salad, we’d love to hear what you think.

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