Chengdu-Style Hot & Cold Cucumbers
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
- 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.