Fiery Smashed Cucumber Salad
If you’re a chilli addict like me, you’ll love this dish.
For this is no ordinary cucumber salad. This dish was inspired by the ‘hot salad’ we used to buy from the Xinjiang restaurant opposite our old apartment in downtown Shanghai.
Xinjiang food refers mainly to Uyghur cuisine and is characterised by the use of lamb, mutton, tomatoes, peppers (capsicum) and onion, with lots of dumpling, noodle and rice dishes. Our favourite dishes were this salad, completely addictive mutton kebabs flavoured with cumin, Szechuan peppercorns and chilli (watch out for an upcoming recipe), and a fragrant lamb pie.
When my husband was travelling – his job took him all over the Asia Pacific – I would sometimes stop at the Xinjiang restaurant on my way home from work. My regular order was six mutton kebabs, this hot salad, and a serve of rice.
This smashed cucumber salad is a wonderful study in contrasts; it’s lip tinglingly hot yet cooling at the same time. It’s a great side dish to any kind of barbequed meat.