My husband absolutely adores cucumbers. He can just wash a cucumber and start munching away. So keeping in line with my recent goal to learn to cook more Chinese food for my husband, I found this great recipe for Sichuan cucumber salad and made it for dinner one night. I was surprised by how quick and easy the dish was to make and it tasted like something I could order at a Chinese restaurant. We both loved it and I will be making this dish many more times in the future.
1 large or 2 medium-sized cucumbers, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablepoon sugar
2 teaspoons chili garlic paste
Cut the cucumber(s) in half lengthwise, then cut each half again so you have quartered strips. You can cut or scoop out the seedy middle section if you like or leave it if you want. Slice each strip into 3cm (1 inch) cubes. You can also slice the cucumber into longer strips, but that is just personal preference. Put the cucumbers in a bowl, and toss with salt. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes, as the salt draws out excess moisture from the cucumbers.
Heat a small pan on medium-low heat. Add vegetable oil, then add minced garlic and red chili flakes. Cook until fragrant, but careful to not to let the garlic burn. Set aside in a small dish to cool.
Drain the cucumbers through a strainer, and return them to the bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and chili garlic paste. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers. Add in the garlic and pepper that was cooling, and mix well. Serve at room temperature, or chill in the fridge for up to a day to serve cold. Enjoy!