This traditional Sichuan dish is so flavorful and perfect for summer as a side with BBQ or dumplings.
2-3 cucumbers, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 large garlic clove
1.5 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp Chinese Black Vinegar (see note)
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
Black sesame seeds and chopped peanuts to garnish
Toss peeled, chopped, and deseeded cucumbers in a ziplock bag with kosher salt. Smash gently with a mallet or skillet to flatten. This speeds up the sweating process. Dump contents of bag to a colander and drain for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, smash garlic clove in a mortar and pestle and add black vinegar. Let mixture sit 15 minutes also. Whisk soy sauce, oil, and sugar to vinegar mixture. Place cucumbers in a bowl. Top with dressing and sprinkle sesame seeds. Top with chopped peanuts.
This wine is FUNKY. The Grüner Veltliner grape is primarily grown in Austria and is super versital. It’s a brilliant pairing for Chinese and most other Asian cuisine, but it’s also a perfect pairing for most salad courses as it stands up to bitter greens better than a Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a wonderful pairing because it picks up where the black vinegar fades off. Plus it’s a liter for that price! Normal bottles are 750ml. This is 1000ml, and the fun pop soda cap says ‘drink me now’ so I did!
Note: I found the Chinese black vinegar at Seafood City on Olive just east of 170. If you haven’t been you must go! Take the kids. It’s better than the zoo, thanks to the large area of live seafood in tanks. You will not get the smell out of you nose for days. Plan to spend time just wandering the isles. Pick up some odd candy you have never tried. But grab a bottle of fish sauce if you like Asian foods. A splash in a sauce or a dressing is super flavorful. I should have added it to this recipe!