This simple cold salad is a fairly straightforward interpretation of the kind of side dish you are likely to be served in almost any Chinese restaurant in Beijing. Cucumber Salad is sometimes cool and refreshing, and other times mind-blowingly spicy. In some restaurants you’ll find extremely simple Cucumber Salads, some consisting simply of cucumber and vinegar. At the next place you could be served something equally complicated. My interpretation blends two of my favorite Chinese ingredients in a simple dressing that I learned to make while in Beijing. Enoy!
Close up of the finished salad. Photo by my sister, Sarah. Thanks!
- 2 English Cucumbers
- 2 Hot Red Peppers (fresh or dried, seeded & coarsely chopped)
- 4 cloves Garlic (peeled & halved)
- 1/4 cup Sesame Oil
- 1/2 cup White Rice Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- 1/8 cup Pepper Flower Oil or Lucky Trio Oil(this ingredient is optional, but I highly recommend adding it)
- 2 teaspoons Sesame Seeds
- 1/2 cup Rehydrated Wood Ear Mushrooms
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Cilantro leaves
Start by mixing your dressing. Combine the oils, vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl and whisk them until the sugar dissolves. Give it a quick taste, and adjust it if necessary. Add the garlic and chile peppers to the dressing and set it aside. Next, chop the mushrooms into bite sized pieces and toss them into a large mixing bowl. Chop the Cilantro leaves coarsely and add them to the bowl. Now it’s time for your cucumbers. Chop your cucumber into bite sized sticks, similar in shape to carrot sticks, but about half the length. Toss them into the mixing bowl as well and mix them together with the mushrooms and cilantro. Add the dressing (freshly whisked) and sesame seeds right before serving the salad. Keep the dry salad cool and covered while you are waiting to serve it.
Filed under Asian, Salads
OK, I lied. I couldn’t keep away from this blog for a whole week! I didn’t even make it a whole day! I have another post to make after this one. I need to show off my sweet little buddy, Gia! After that though… ZIP. Nada. Zilch. No more talky talky. (We’ll see) ANYWAY
My favorite breakfast lately has been strawberry yogurt topped with granola. Delicious! The only problem is that packaged granola is very expensive. To make matters worse, there is a certain man in the household who can plow through a box of granola in record time, making this very expensive grocery item disappear fast! Lucky for my pocketbook that I can be a very industrious woman when it comes to saving some dime. I found some simple granola recipes and after a few batches I perfected this all-around delicious blend of oats, honey and sesame. Dried fruit would be a great addition to this recipe. Just toss in 1/4 cup of your favorite dried fruit along with the oats and seeds. It is so easy to prepare that I cannot imagine ever going back to buying pre-made. The only problem now is that Mr. S. Bobleo seems to think he has his own personal granola factory. He likes this granola more than the store bought!
Honey Says Me Granola
4 cups Rolled Oats or Plain Oatmeal
1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/8 cup Olive Oil
1/8 cup Vegetable Oil
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil (the stinky Chinese kind)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3/8 cup Honey
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients. In a second, smaller bowl, stir together wet ingredients. Mix them well, then pour the mixture over the dry ingredients. Mix the granola very well so that all the oats are coated. Spread the mixture evenly over a baking sheet. Bake for ten minutes. Remove from oven and flip the granola over using a spatula. Bake for another ten minutes or until golden brown. Let the granola cool completely before bagging it up. It will get crunchier, the cooler it becomes.
PS – Our friend, Mr. Sharp was making fun of me (while stuffing his mouth with delicious homemade granola) that I’ve gone past hippie status. “Even hippies buy granola”, he said. Apparently I’ve gone past granola by making granola? Does that make me like… Wheatgerm?