This Asian cucumber, chili and sessame salad only takes 5 minutes to prepare and only 10 minutes to allow all of the flavours to infuse. It’s refreshing and tasty. The salad goes very well with pretty much any dish. Stir-fry, braised meats, noodles, and deep-fried goodies. You name it! I consider it one of the easiest side dishes to make on a busy weekday, to add color and nutrition to your dinner table.
All over, cucumbers are considered the ideal go-to fruit for hot weather and to accompany hot food. Versions of this salad, traditionally known as “pai huang gua”, are sometimes spiked with dried chiles and Sichuan peppercorns for more dimensions of flavor. The smashing process, a classic Chinese technique, cracks the skin, helps release the seeds and splits the flesh into appealing craggy pieces. Salting and chilling the cracked cucumbers give them the perfect cool, crunchy, watery mouth feel.
The crisp cucumber is mixed with plenty of garlic, drizzled with an appetizing blend of soy sauce, vinegar and sugar, then finished with a few drops of sesame oil. The sauce is light, yet it has a distinct sour flavor with a hint of sweetness, enhanced by the strong aroma of garlic.