Sichuan Style Dressed Cucumber
Sichuan Style Dressed Cucumber

Sichuan Style Dressed Cucumber

There are countless dressed Cucumber preparations, both in Western and Eastern cuisines. A particular variety involving salted Cucumber pieces is especially popular in Asian cookery, particularly in Japan and Korea. This bold and quite fiery version has its roots in Western China, and is pungent with scorched chili, Sichuan pepper, and the tang of Black Vinegar.


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Japanese Cucumber Salad
Japanese Cucumber Salad

Japanese Cucumber Salad

This very simple little preparation is an example of a Japanese Sunomono, or ‘vinegared’ dish. There are all sorts of variations on the general theme but this is about as basic as it gets. You can, if you like, simply use plain rice vinegar for the dressing but, today, we will be using a pre-made Japanese Nihaizu Seasoned Vinegar.


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Sesame Cucumber Salad
Sesame Cucumber Salad

Sesame Cucumber Salad

There are many cold dishes in Asian cuisine featuring cucumbers which are first salted and then later served in a dressing of some sort. Sometimes, the cucumber is allowed to ferment slightly in order to produce a nice lactic acid pickle and, at other times, as here, the salting time is just brief enough to soften the flesh and make it receptive to flavorings. Today’s dish definitely falls within the latter category. It doesn’t hail from any particular cuisine but would be equally at home on a Chinese, Japanese, or Korean table.


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My Taiwanese Pickles
My Taiwanese Pickles

These Taiwanese Pickles were inspired by a dish of ‘Taiwan Pickled Vegetable’ served to me at a Dim Sum Restaurant. That version was also composed of slivers of Red Bell Pepper, Cucumber and Ginger, and the dish was obviously a salt-macerated ‘quick’ pickle. The pickling medium (more of a dressing really), was quite sweet, just a little sour, and had just a faint touch of chili heat…

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Keto-Friendly Cucumber Gunboats
Keto-Friendly Cucumber Gunboats

These Keto-Friendly Cucumber Gunboats are my own creation make a great low-carb alternative to the Japanese sushi specialty known as ‘Gunkan Maki’ in Japanese, or ‘Battleship’ Sushi in English.

 For those who haven’t experienced it yet, Battleship Sushi is very much like Nigiri sushi in that it is a topping on top of an oblong pad of sushi rice. In the ‘Gunkan’ case, however, the topping is ‘loose’ rather than a single solid piece, and it is held in place with a collar of Nori wrapped around the rice. The ‘Battleship’ name, comes, of course, from the rather boat-like appearance of each piece.

The fillings I used for this post (shown from left to right in the above picture) are Shrimp Salad, Egg Salad, and a preparation of Smoked Salmon Strips in a light dressing of oil and lemon juice. Practical considerations made it preferable to make ‘rounds’ rather than rectangles, but the ‘Gunboat’ name still works, I think…


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