I love this time of year as it means cucumbers–and lots of them! I make soups, salads, pickles (recipes to come!) almost on a daily basis. I always have a large stash in the fridge. One of my favorite side dishes is Szechuan Cucumbers, based on an old Eating Well recipe that I’ve changed so many times it’s become my own. It is reminiscent of a wonderful Thai restaurant that is no longer in business; at dim sum they offered a small plate of crunchy, spicy cucumbers with just the right amount of acid. It was heaven and I would have been happy just eating plate after plate of cucumbers if I could. And now that I have a recipe, I can!
I made this the other evening while waiting for the fish to finish cooking for dinner; it’s fast, easy, and delicious with almost no calories! (Note, that evening I didn’t follow my on instructions to leave in the fridge or an hour or so!) I have made substitutions through the years: yellow onions instead of red, peeled cucumbers, no ginger, no peanuts, eaten right away, and while it is still tasty, it’s not perfect. This is one instance where it is best for the recipe to be followed, in my opinion!
• 2 cucumbers, sliced horizontally, seeded, and cut into half-moon slices
• 1 jalapeno, minced
• ½ small red onion, thinly sliced (or more, depending on the size of your cucumbers, if they’re large, use more onion)
• Minced ginger, about a tablespoon or more to taste
• ½ cup rice vinegar
• 4 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari
• *1 Tablespoon sugar (*Note: The original recipe called for sugar, but I usually leave it out. Feel free to use if you want to balance out the vinegar and soy sauce.)
• ¼ cup chopped peanuts
In a bowl, add the cucumber, onion, pepper, and ginger and mix. Measure out the liquid, mix together, add to the bowl, and mix again. Place in refrigerator for an hour or two before serving. Right before serving, give it one last stir, add the chopped peanuts, and enjoy!