Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sweet & Sour Cucumbers with Szechuan Peppercorns (Tang Chu Huang Gua)

A great summer appetizer since the cucs taste great whether cold out of the frig or at room temperature. I adapted this recipe from Huang Sau Yen's Chinese Culinary Arts for Today, one of my mom's cookbooks in Taiwan, which she bequeathed on me when I came to California in '83The Szechuan peppercorns are what distinguish this dish with their unique, aromatic, slightly tingly peppery flavor.

1 hothouse cucumber, cut into 3" lengths
1 tsp. salt
2 red jalapenos, seeded & julienned
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. Szechuan peppercorns
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. sesame oil

1. Cut the cucumbers into 3" long strips. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 tsp. of salt. Let sit for about 30 minutes, rinse, drain well, and place in a bowl along with the julienned jalapenos.

2. Heat 1 tbsp. of vegetable in a small saute pan. Add the Szechuan peppercorns and stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the sugar, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Bring to a boil. Pour the sweet-sour sauce over the cucumbers & jalapenos, mix well and let cool to room temperature.

3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.

Cut the cucumbers into 3" strips.

Add 1 tsp. of salt to the cucumbers. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Szechuan peppercorns, sesame oil, rice vinegar.

Julienned jalapeno & 1 tsp. of Szechuan peppercorns.

After 30 minutes, rinse the cucumbers and drain well.

Sweet & sour sauce: sugar, rice vinegar & sesame oil.

Saute the peppercorns in 1 tbsp. of oil for a few seconds.

Stir in the vinegar-sugar-sesame oil mixture and bring to a boil.

Pour sweet & sour sauce over the sliced cucumbers & jalapeno. Let cool to room temperature before serving or refrigerating.

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