Vegetable side dishes are very important in Taiwan, since pretty much all the Taiwanese have at least one vegetable side dish with every meal (and usually a soup at the end). No matter how many vegetables are in the “main dish.” 涼拌黃瓜(liang ban huang gua) Cold Cucumber Salad is one of several very popular side/vegetable dish in Taiwan. Especially during the long hot summer, which accounts for about 9 months of the year, or so it feels to me.
The cucumbers they grow and use in Taiwan are a bit different than what you will find in a your average American grocery store. Much skinnier, a bit like a miniature English Cucumber. Which of course is the cucumber I use here. Make this dish several hours in advance to let the flavors meld, it will keep for several days in the fridge.
- 1 medium English cucumber
- 1/4 carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 5 slices of ginger, cut into matchsticks
- 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced or minced
- 1 red chili pepper, sliced
- 1 T. sugar
- 2 T. white vinegar
- 1 T. sesame oil
- Cut the cucumber into two inch lengths. Split each length into sixths or eighths lengthwise. Put the cucumber pieces in a nonreactive colander, salt liberally and toss to coat evenly. Leave the cucumbers for 30 minutes then rinse in cold water, gently squeeze out any extra water.
- Put the cucumber, shredded carrot, shredded ginger, sliced garlic, and the sliced chili pepper in a bowl. Add the sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil and toss to mix. Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (stirring occasionally).