After I lived in China over 10 years in the past, I tasted smashed cucumber salad (拍黃瓜, pai huang gua) for the primary time. It’s a easy dish of cucumber items tossed with a number of garlic, vinegar, and seasonings. Rising up, I didn’t eat many Chinese language dishes that featured uncooked garlic. I used to be pleasantly shocked by how addictive such a easy dish could possibly be.
In some Chinese language menus, you may also see cucumber salad known as 涼拌黃瓜 (liang ban huang gua), which accurately interprets to chill tossed cucumbers. All these salads are fairly related: uncooked cucumber items tossed with uncooked garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, and different seasonings.
Chinese language smashed cucumber salad is an effective facet dish that’s easy to organize however delivers in taste. As a matter of reality, I typically simply eat the salad with rice for dinner and it’s so satisfying.
HOW TO MAKE CHINESE SMASHED CUCUMBER SALAD
When making cucumber salads, I like utilizing cucumbers with tender seeds. That’s why Persian, Japanese, or English (scorching home) cucumbers work nice for this smashed cucumber salad recipe.
Personally, I believe Japanese cucumbers style the very best as a result of they’ve a delicate candy taste. I discover Persian and English cucumbers a bit bland these days. I often purchase Japanese cucumbers on the Sacramento farmers markets. You can even discover them in Japanese grocery shops like Oto’s Market. If Japanese cucumbers will not be straightforward to seek out, use Persian or English cucumbers.
Japanese cucumbers may be fairly thick, particularly ones that I discover on the farmers market. Due to the thickness, they are often troublesome to smack complete with a knife. That’s why I like to recommend slicing the cucumber in half lengthwise.
Then, place the cucumbers, lower facet down. Place the facet of your knife over the cucumber. Utilizing the fleshy a part of your palm, smack the knife, till the cucumber begins to separate. Proceed doing this alongside the size of the cucumber. The bigger floor space of a meat cleaver makes it excellent for this job. Lastly, slice the cucumber diagonally.
Persian cucumbers are typically smaller and have extra tender pores and skin than Japanese cucumbers. For those who’re utilizing Persian cucumbers, it’s best to be capable to smack them complete with out having to slice them first.
SHOULD YOU SALT THE CUCUMBERS?
It depends upon your choice. Most cucumber salad recipes will inform you to toss the cucumbers with a pinch of salt. Then, you let the cucumbers relaxation for 15 to twenty minutes in order that the salt can draw out extra moisture. For those who hate watery cucumber salads, then you definately’ll completely need to do that salting step.
I’ll be sincere, I typically don’t trouble to salt the cucumbers beforehand. I often wait till I’m nearly to serve dinner earlier than tossing the smashed cucumber items with the sauce. I believe that I can style the pure sweetness of the cucumbers higher this manner. That mentioned, in about quarter-hour, a pool of water will type on the backside of the salad bowl. I don’t thoughts this liquid in any respect. As a matter of reality, that liquid is nice for flavoring jasmine rice.
Within the recipe and the cooking video, I present instructions on salting the cucumbers simply in case that’s what folks desire.
MAKING HOMEMADE CHILI OIL
I like utilizing my home made chili oil as a element of the sauce for this smashed cucumber salad. For those who’ve made my chili oil earlier than, you’ll know that I like utilizing contemporary garlic and ginger to make the oil extra aromatic. I additionally like utilizing a mix of normal chili flakes (under left) and gochugaru (under proper), Korean crimson pepper flakes (typically translated as crimson pepper powder).
The chili flakes are the crimson pepper flakes that you could find within the spice aisles of your grocery retailer. They need to have a medium degree of spice. I often purchase chili flakes from The Allspicery, which is a Sacramento spice store.
I like utilizing gochugaru for my chili oil as a result of it has a delicate spice and light-weight smoky taste. Extra importantly, it turns the chili oil into an exquisite shade of crimson that’s unparalleled. You’ll find gochugaru in Korean supermarkets in massive baggage. I additionally like utilizing Mom-In-Regulation’s gochugaru as a result of they arrive in small jars. It’s an excellent measurement for those who don’t use gochugaru typically.
To make the oil, add all of the spices to a heat-proof bowl (ceramic or chrome steel is nice).
Then, warmth 1/3 cup of oil over medium-high warmth for two to three minutes, till the temperature of the oil reaches 325ºF to 350ºF and the oil appears skinny and runny. You need to use any impartial flavored oil like vegetable, grapeseed, almond, or avocado oil. Don’t warmth the oil hotter than 350ºF as a result of the gochugaru will burn.
Fastidiously pour the recent oil over the spices. Let the oil infuse for no less than half-hour.
WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVER CHILI OIL
You solely want 2 tablespoons of the chili oil for the smashed cucumber salad, so you should have leftover chili oil. I like to recommend tossing it with noodles or utilizing it to season fried rice or stir fries. Attempt to use the sauce inside per week due to the contemporary ginger and garlic within the chili oil. Retailer the chili oil within the fridge. For extra inspiration, right here’s a listing of dishes that you should utilize with the chili oil:
SAUCE FOR SMASHED CUCUMBER SALAD
For the cucumber salad sauce, you’ll want the chili oil, freshly grated garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil.
To mellow out the uncooked chunk of the garlic, I combine the garlic with rice vinegar and let that sit for quarter-hour. I just like the brightness of rice vinegar for the smashed cucumber salad. Different recipes I’ve seen use Zhenjiang vinegar (鎮江醋, or Chinkiang vinegar). Zhenjiang vinegar is a darkish vinegar that has a malty taste profile.
Don’t toss the cucumbers with the sauce till you might be able to serve your meal. That method the cucumbers gained’t turn out to be too soggy or limp.
CAN I MAKE THIS SALAD AHEAD?
Sure, you may put together the salad substances as much as a day forward. Simply retailer the cucumbers and the sauce individually within the fridge. Don’t toss the smashed cucumber salad till you’re nearly able to serve it.
Chinese language Smashed Cucumber Salad (拍黄瓜)
This salad serves 2 to 4 folks. You’ll be able to double the recipe to make a bigger batch. You should have leftover chili oil on this recipe. Toss the chili oil with noodles, rice, or dumplings. Refrigerate the oil and use it inside per week.
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili flakes, (see observe 1)
- 2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean pepper flakes), (see observe 2)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup oil, may be vegetable, grapeseed, or any impartial oil
- 1 to 1 1/4 kilos Japanese cucumbers, (see observe 3)
- small pinch of kosher salt, about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
- 3 cloves garlic, grated or zested
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili oil with spices
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Make the Chili Oil
The chili oil wants time to infuse so I like to recommend making this primary. You can even make it a day forward.
Add the minced garlic, minced ginger, chili flakes, gochugaru, and salt in a heat-proof bowl. You’re going to pour scorching oil into the bowl, so keep away from utilizing bowls that may crack (like glass and a few porcelains). I often use ceramic bowls however a chrome steel mixing bowl or a saucepan works.
Warmth the oil in a saucepan over medium-high warmth for two to three minutes, till the oil reaches 325ºF to 350ºF. You don’t want the oil to be any hotter as a result of the gochugaru will burn. For those who don’t have a thermometer, warmth the oil for two minutes simply to be on the protected facet.
Very fastidiously pour the recent oil over the spices. (See observe 4) Let the oil infuse for no less than half-hour.
Make Cucumber Salad
Slice off the ends of the cucumbers. Then, slice the cucumbers in half, lengthwise.
Place the cucumber halves, lower facet down. Then place the facet of the knife over the cucumber. Utilizing the fleshy a part of your palm smack the knife to smash the cucumber till it splits. Ensure to smash alongside the whole size of the cucumber. Then, slice the cucumbers diagonally, about 1/2-inch thick slices. Switch the cucumber items to a bowl.
Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the cucumbers and blend. Let the cucumbers sit for 20 minutes. Then, drain out the surplus water on the backside of the bowl. (See observe 5) You do not want to rinse the cucumbers. (See observe 6)
Add the grated/zested garlic to a bowl and blend it with the rice vinegar. Let that sit for 10 to fifteen minutes to mellow out the uncooked chunk of the garlic.
Add the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of chili oil (with bits of pepper and spices), sugar, and sesame oil.
Proper earlier than you might be able to serve the cucumber salad, toss the cucumber items with the sauce. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the cucumber salad for garnish.
- These are the usual crimson pepper flakes that you could find within the spice aisles of your grocery retailer. They need to be a medium degree of spice.
- I like utilizing gochugaru for my chili oil as a result of it has delicate spice and a light-weight smoky taste. Extra importantly, it turns the chili oil into an exquisite shade of crimson that’s unparalleled. You’ll find gochugaru in Korean supermarkets in massive baggage. I additionally love Mom-In-Regulation’s gochugaru, which is available in comparatively small jars.
- I like utilizing Japanese cucumbers due to their tender seeds and subtly candy taste. You can even use Persian cucumbers or English (scorching home) cucumbers.
- Some folks have requested me for those who can simply add the spices into the saucepan with the recent oil. You’ll be able to however you run the danger of burning the spices as a result of the heated saucepan retains loads of warmth. If you wish to do that, then I’d advocate heating up the oil to a decrease temperature, like 300ºF to make sure that the spices don’t burn.
- To be sincere, I don’t all the time salt the cucumbers beforehand. That’s both as a result of I neglect or can’t be bothered to take action. I additionally assume that I can style the sweetness of the cucumbers higher if I don’t salt the cucumbers. For those who don’t salt the cucumbers, a pool of liquid will type on the backside of the bowl of salad. I’m not bothered by the liquid. In actual fact, I like utilizing the liquid to season rice.
- In case you are involved about salt consumption, you may cut back the soy sauce for the cucumber sauce by about 1 teaspoon.
Serving: 1serving | Energy: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.1g | Protein: 2.4g | Fats: 8.7g | Saturated Fats: 1.3g | Sodium: 895mg | Fiber: 2.4g | Sugar: 4.8g