Sounds oddly cruel to smack a cucumber a few times before slicing it into a dozen pieces, but give it a try. It’s a method in Chinese cooking to bruise the veggie to soften it up, allowing it to mix well with the sauce.
This recipe for Smacked Cucumber in Garlicky Sauce – a Sichuanese appetizer commonly found in Chinese restaurants – was brought to our attention by Jean J., one of our most creative customers in the kitchen.
With her usual contagious excitement – and possibly surrounded at the time by one too many cucumbers from the garden ready to be smacked – Jean left us this message:
“Season with Spice to the rescue tonight! I was craving a recipe that asked for chili oil (Fuchsia Dunlop’s, Smacked Cucumbers in Garlicky Sauce). I lined up all my Season with Spice bottles and began to play. I used a dozen Chili Threads and a generous pinch of ground Bird’s Eye Chili powder. Perfect ~ Delicious ~ I may not ever make the recipe as originally written! :)”
Thanks for the recipe idea, Jean! Love the modifications you made to spice up the dish with Bird’s Eye Chili Powder, and how you added more flavor and color with a garnish of Chili Threads. We enjoyed this version of Smacked Cucumber in Garlicky Sauce appetizer last night before our dinner of Taiwanese Minced Meat Noodles. Such a refreshing, incredibly flavorful side dish before the main meal.