Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cucumber surprise!

I look forward to every Friday, it’s my CSA pick up day. I bring my favorite basket to Jamie at Tangletowns and he would patiently go over the content of the box and transfer all the produce to my basket. I forgot my basket today. We went over the content briefly and  I had to take the box home. On the bottom of my Week 8 CSA box, came a nice surprise - a large pile of cucumber!!

I love cucumber, but this is a lot of cucumber! It’s time for a little pickling. I thought I would make one of my mother’s dishes this week – “Smacked” cucumber. It is a classic Shanghainese appetizer. Mother showed me this recipe a few years ago when she visited me. It is kind of a funny recipe. You do hit the cucumber with the back of the knife. I am not sure why they do that, but I do notice when you smack the cucumber chunks, it loosen the seeds and there is definitely less seeds in the pickle.

As usual, I modified it a bit (don’t tell Mother, okay?)

Smacked cucumber pickle, Shanghai style

4 Medium cucumber
1 tsp salt
½ cup Japanese Rice vinegar
1/3 cup honey
½ tsp salt
¼ cup Shoyu
1/8 cup Asian sesame oil
1 clove garlic, peeled (option)
Clean the cucumber, slice into ½” think pieces and then cut each piece in the center into half circles.
Place a piece of the cucumber on the cut flat end, place the knife on top and lightly smack the piece
I don’t really smack down on the cucumber full force with the knife (Mother does that..),  I prefer placing the back of my knife on the cucumber, then press down with my hand. .
it will split into 2 pieces. In the pic you are looking at Left: the cucumber sliced into 1/2" rounds.
Then the slice is cut in half, put in the position ready for some smacking. Then finally the smacked cucumber. Discard the seeds. (if these is no seed, don’t worry about it) Please do not smack the pieces too hard, you will ended up with cucumber paste.
Place the cucumber in a large bowl.
Sprinkle with ½” of salt, set a side for about 15 mins.
In a Stainless steel or non-corrosive pot, mix vinegar with honey, stir. Bring to simmer, till the honey combine with the vinegar, (please make sure you taste the mix, you may want a little more honey if you prefer a sweeter pickle).
Add ½ salt, bring to a boil.
Add Shoyu. If you want the light garlic flavor, add the 1 clove of garlic now.
 Let it simmer for a few mins. 
Meanwhile, raise the cucumber in cold water, and drain
Add cucumber to the vinegar mix. Turn off the heat
Add sesame oil. Toss well
Transfer the cucumber and liquid to a glass jar. Let it marinade in the fridge. It is ready to eat in about 2-3 hours. Store in the fridge and use the pickle within a week

To serve: Place a few spoonfuls in a bowl, and then sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds
It is wonderful as a cold side dish to accompany grilled meat, especially chicken.
Sometimes, I would cut the pieces into smaller chunk and mix in with my tuna salad. 


No comments:

Post a Comment