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Smacked Cucumbers
from: Jen

A common appetizer in the Hunan province of China, smacked cucumbers got their name because of the way you whack the cucumbers with the flat of a cleaver blade to encourage them to absorb the flavors of the dressing. From the Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook.

SERVES 4

  • 1 (13 ounce) cucumbers

salt

Version 1

  • 2 teaspoons salted chilies, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2-3 pinches sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • chili oil

Version 2

  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili pepper flake

Place the cucumber on a cutting board and whack hard, several times, with the flat of a cleaver blade, so the vegetable splinters and opens up with jagged cracks, then chop it into bite-size pieces.

Place in a bowl; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and leave about 30 minutes.

When the time is up, drain off the water in the bowl.

To make Version 1, add the chopped salted chiles, garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt to taste; mix well and leave for a few minutes to let the flavors blend. Just before serving, add the sesame oil and chili oil to taste; toss and serve.

To make Version 2, add the garlic and vinegar to the cucumber with more salt to taste, mix well and set aside for a few minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate. Heat the oil in a wok over a high flame until smoking. Scatter the chili flakes over the cucumber, then sprinkle the hot oil over, which will sizzle; mix well and serve.