bits and pieces

Saturday, August 13, 2011

You don't make friends with salad! Tart and Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad

Sour and refreshing, with just a little bit of heat for balance. I could
LIVE on this salad. It's a great side for spicy meats and seafood.
First of all let me just say that this salad is HEAVEN. I love love love this. It's not even REALLY a salad. It's almost half way between a salad and a slaw. Slaw-ad? Sal-wad? Both of those sound foul. And this salad is NOT.

It's tangy, it's tart, it's crunchy and it's got a little bit of heat. Not enough that it lingers, but just enough warmth to cut the tartness. Basically, this salad is the best. Have it as a side, make it for a BBQ, hell - put it on top of your burgers. It's AWESOME.

I think you guys all really need to try this. This blog gets a kajillion more reads when I post something ludicrous like BLT hotdogs or pulled pork gnocchi poutine, but no one wants to try my salads! You guys are bad! Eat your vegetables! 



You may have noticed that recently I've been going through an asian-y food phase. This week alone I've had vietnamese twice, indian, sushi and thai. And the other night when I cooked a big giant dinner? ASIAN!

I find Asian-y food (in general) light and satisfying without being too heavy (the paneer tandoor I ate the other night excluded). I've been trying to eat relatively healthily. My body seems to be relaxing finally after the past year. Leaving Montreal and not walking 5-10 km/day seems to have changed my metabolism. Tragically this means I can no longer eat what I want with wanton abandon. Oh the horror! It seems I'm finally a grown up.



This salad is encroyable as an accompaniment for a light summer dinner. I baked a bunch of chicken for my lovely-boy and my Mom, made some wasabi smashed potatoes, and had this as a side. It was divine. I actually didn't eat any of my dinner because I filled up on my salad. It's hard being this perfect. This is SO good. I BESEECH YOU! TRY MY SALAD!

But seriously, next time you want something asian-y and green to go with your dins, make this salad. And then eat it all.

ingredients:
about 1/3 - 1/2 a cucumber
about 1/2 cup coleslaw mix.. you can buy this at the grocery store and I normally have a bag in my fridge. If not - you can totally do this salad with just the cucumber, just add more!
a couple tbsp of finely diced onion

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/8 cup water
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp soy sauce

1 dash of sesame oil
1 dash of garlic powder
and a tiny sprinkling of salt - seriously, the smallest pinch ever. You don't want to taste it at all, you just want the little bit of salt to make the cucumbers release some of their water. The soy sauce adds salt on it's own, so you really don't want to over salt this :(

other things you will need:
a knife for chopping
a cutting board, also for chopping
a spoon. 
a vegetable peeler - if you want to peel your cucumbers/peel them all fancy-like
a bowl + saran/a decent sized ziplock bag 
a small pot

  1. In a small pot, combine your sugar, rice wine vinegar, water, and soy. Bring to a boil, and boil until sugar is fully dissolved (not even a minute). Remove from heat and add chili flakes. Set aside to cool. 
  2. Prep your vegetables. I cut my cucumbers in half length-wise (the long way), and then peel off alternating strips. It makes the cucumbers pretty. Take your spoon and run it along the inside of the cucumber, pressing firmly to remove the seeds. It really doesn't matter if you get all of them, but try and get most. This will leave you with little 'u' shaped cucumber boats. Slice them thinly. 
  3. Dice your onion finely. Put all your veggies in a bowl OR into a ziplock bag (I use these for marinating all the time) - don't forget your coleslaw mix if you're using it! Throw a good handful in there.
  4. Go back to your dressing and add the dash of garlic powder and the dash of sesame oil. Stir to combine. Add to your vegetables, put your tiny sprinkle of salt on them. If you're using a ziplock bag, simply zip it up, give it a shake to coat and toss it in the fridge. If you're using a bowl, pour your dressing over your veggies and ensure they get a nice coat with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate. 
  5. You can leave this in your fridge for up to 2 hours.. anything more than that and I worry the vegetables could start to lose their crispness. I left mine in the fridge for about an hour, shaking the bag occasionally to make sure everything was getting a nice soak in the dressing.
  6. Remove the salad from the bag/bowl and serve. You'll want to actually take the salad out of the bag/bowl as opposed to just dumping it out. The salad has soaked in it's dressing for an hour or so, you don't want to serve it swimming in its tart dressing. Top with a sprinkle of roasted sesame seeds and enjoy!

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