The Recipe

Chinese Cucumbers

As Ann Shen from Guilin, China, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, Maine

Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 4-6

1 long or 2 smaller cucumbers
2 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar*
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3-4 Tbsp Chinese chili paste* (Red chilis in oil with Sichuan pepper, salt, and peanuts)
4 green onions, sliced into thin circles
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro

The goal is to have equally long, wedge-shaped segments of cucumber to stack into a neat pile. To do this, divide the cucumber into equal parts by cutting it into equally sized segments, about 2 inches long. Then cut the segments in half lengthwise and then cut the haves lengthwise again into to wedges. On a serving platter, stack the cucumbers on top of each other like a wood-pile in a rectangularly shaped stack. Pour the vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce over the cucumbers and around them on the dish.  Spoon Chinese chili paste on top and around the cucumbers. Sprinkle green onions and cilantro on top.

*Find these at an Asian market near you, or online. Click on "See how to do it" at right for photos of what the products look like. For the black vinegar you could substitute red wine, white wine, rice, cider vinegar, or balsamic with a little water added to it. For the chili paste, you could use anything hot - try some chili flakes sauteed in oil, chili oil, or the more mainstream Sambal Olek chili paste (this is much hotter so use only 1 Tbsp) - and add a handful of whole peanuts.

Copyright Lindsay Sterling 2014