SICHUAN SMACKED CUCUMBER IN GARLICKY SAUCE (Chinese suan nip ai huang gua, for four)
“The cucumber is smacked before cutting to loosen its flesh and help it absorb the flavors of its sauce. Try not to smash it to smithereens!” Fuchsia Dunlop
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
½ teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
½ teaspoon Chinkiang vinegar
2 tablespoons chili oil
a pinch or two of ground roasted Sichuan pepper (optional)
1. Lay the cucumber on a cutting board and smack it hard a few rimes with the flat blade of a Chinese cleaver or a rolling pin. Then cut it, lengthwise, into four pieces. Hold your knife at an angle to the chopping board and cut the cucumber on the diagonal into 1/8 to 3/8 inch slices. Place in a bowl with the salt, mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Combine all the other ingredients in a small bowl.
3. Drain the cucumber, pour over the sauce, stir well and serve immediately.
from Fuchsia Dunlop, Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking