Smashed Cucumbers with Chinese Black Vinegar0
If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the look-out for healthy, delicious, vegetable-based side dishes that come together quickly and can be on hand for almost any meal. Ta da! Here’s a recipe that doesn’t even involve any cooking, just some pantry ingredients (well, they’re in my pantry — you might need to buy them, but then you’ll have them) mixed up in the Magic Bullet for a delicious, and indeed authentically Chinese, side dish. The use of Chinese black (Chinkiang) vinegar here gives a distinctive, vaguely smoky tang, and you can mix up as many or as few other Chinese ingredients to provide as simple or more complex a dish as you like. My version is spicy with sweetness from sugar, depth of flavor from sesame oil and soy, and a good bit of bite from fresh garlic.
Plus, if you have a flair for the dramatic, you can smash these cucumbers with a side of a cleaver (the smashing apparently helps them soak up the dressing) to really impress your friends. Or you can just smoosh them down on the cutting board, like I did. Up to you, really.
Smashed Cucumbers with Chinese Black Vinegar Recipe
- 1 cucumber, peeled if you like, smashed on the counter then cut roughly into 1 inch cubes
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tbl Chinese black (Chinkiang) vinegar
- 1 tbl roasted peanuts
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp hot chili oil (optional)
- Blend peanuts in the Magic Bullet until roughly chopped. Remove to bowl.
- Blend garlic in the Magic Bullet. Add vinegar, oils, sugar, and soy sauce and blend just slightly.
- Toss cucumbers with vinegar blend in a big bowl. Serve, garnishing with peanuts.