Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spicy Sichuan Cucumber Salad

Growing up in Chengdu, Sichuan, the summers were relentlessly hot and humid. The summers in NJ can be just as brutal. Whenever the temperatures rise, the last thing I want to do is to hover over a stove and put my sweat into making a meal (literally). That's why a Sichuan style liang ban dish is my go-to recipe for these hot summer days.

The literal translation for liang ban is "cold mix"; a liang ban dish is always served cold at room temperature. It is essentially a salad, usually with shredded or sliced vegetables, but cooked meats or noodles can also be used. It typically serves as a simple and flavorful side dish, much like a Korean banchan.

This cucumber recipe is my favorite, mainly because it's so easy to make that I can whip it up in minutes. The flavors also never disappoint, a perfect combination of salty, sweet, tangy, aromatic, and some heat. The sliced cucumbers readily absorb all the flavors and every bite is crisp and refreshing.

1  English cucumber
2  cloves of garlic
1 tbsp  chili oil (ex: Lao Gan Ma Hot&Spicy Chili Oil)
1 tsp  sugar (heaping)
2 tbsp  soy sauce
1 tsp  dark vinegar
2 tsp  sesame oil

1/2 tsp  ground Sichuan peppers (use it if you've got it!)

1. Cut the cucumber in half length wise and then thinly slice it.

 2. Add all the dry ingredients followed by all the wet ingredients.

3. Mix well, then dig in! Now, wasn't that easy?
(Below: served as a side dish to accompany a sweet potato porridge.)


  1. What can I substitute the.chili pill with...I don't do

    1. hi Giovanni! you could probably just leave the chili oil out :)