Put that knife away! The cucumbers in this fun salad are prepared by beating them with a stick. Spicy and nutty with a citrusy punch from the Sichuan pepper, this cucumber and tomato salad is loaded with potent flavors. It comes together in mere minutes and makes for a delightfully refreshing side salad that’s perfect for your next Asian themed dinner.
The trick is to pound the cucumber with a rolling pin. It’s a great way to relieve some stress, and it also breaks the cucumbers up into bite-size pieces. The jagged surfaces of the pounded cucumber absorb the dressing like a sponge, which means there’s no need to wait around while they marinate.
While I used tomatoes that were big enough they needed to be sliced, if you use cherry tomatoes, you could literally put this together with nothing but a plastic bag and a stick; something to think about the next time you go camping. Although the dressing for this salad was inspired by the original bang-bang chicken (which was also pounded with a stick), this would be equally good with a lemongrass, lime and fish sauce dressing, or a whole grain mustard and black pepper vinaigrette.
Spicy Cucumber Tomato Salad
- 2 teaspoons doubanjiang (chinese spicy bean paste)
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon black vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
- 7 ounces cucumbers (2 japanese or 3 lebanese)
- 4.2 ounces tomatoes (2 small tomatoes)
- To make the dressing, add the doubanjiang, soy sauce, sesame oil, black vinegar and ground sichuan pepper to a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Wash and trim the ends off of the cucumbers.
- Use a rolling pin to pound the cucumbers. You don't want to hit them so hard that they turn to mush, but you want them to start crumbing into long strips. Break up any remaining large pieces with your hands and then add them to the bowl with the dressing.
- Slice the tomatoes into wedges and add them to the bowl as well.
- Toss to coat evenly and adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve immediately.
Yield: Makes a Side Salad for 2
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.