Sichuan cold dishes like these mala cucumbers are perfect summer starters or sides. This Summer Special includes the main ingredients you'll need to make them:
- 1 2-ounce package Big Red Pao (da hong pao) Sichuan Peppercorns
- 1 4-ounce package Facing Heaven (chao tian) Chili Peppers
Please see individual product pages for more details on these products, here and here
Qiang Huang Gua
- Cut one long, English cucumber in half vertically, scoop out the seeds, and cut into batons about 3 inches long and 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide. Salt generously and leave to drain in a colander for 30 minutes or so.
- Add 2 tablespoons oil to a hot wok and immediately add 5 to 6 facing heaven chilies and 1 teaspoon red Sichuan peppercorns.
- Stir-fry the spices until they are just starting to darken, then add cucumber and stir-fry briefly so that all cucumbers are exposed to hot oil. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, mix well, and plate. Serve at room temperature.
- Snip chilies in half and retain seeds for heat, or leave seeds out for a milder dish
- If using Mala Market Sichuan pepper, 1 teaspoon should be plenty; if using less potent peppercorns, you may need more
Get recipes for three other variations on Sichuan cucumber here