• Andrew Zimmern Cooks: Hot & Cold Cucumbers


Chengdu-Style Hot & Cold Cucumbers

By Andrew Zimmern

This is one of my absolute hands-down favorite recipes. Inspired by my travels in China, it’s a simple but unique cucumber salad. Salting the cucumbers is important, you need to draw out the moisture so you don’t end up with a watery stir-fry. Tossing them in a wok for a few seconds gives the cucumbers a silky texture and helps them soak up the sweet and spicy dressing.

Watch Andrew make this recipe:

Andrew Zimmern Cooks: Hot & Cold Cucumbers

Servings: 4

Total: 1 hour


  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons toban djan (fermented chile bean paste)
  • 1 fresh hot red chile, sliced in thin rings
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
  • 3 dried red chiles


Cut the cucumbers into ½ to 1-inch wide pieces. Place in a colander and toss with the salt. Allow to drain for 20 minutes in the colander. Drain the cucumbers on a paper towel.

Combine the sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, sugar and chile bean paste and reserve.

Preheat a wok over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the peanut oil, Sichuan peppercorns and dried chiles. Cook for a minute until fragrant, add the cukes, toss once, cooking for about 5-10 seconds max, and spill into a large shallow bowl. Pour the liquid seasonings over the cucumbers and cool in the refrigerator for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve.

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