Saturday, June 22, 2013
Tragically, I had eaten very few dumplings before I moved to Toronto, so you could perhaps say that I've been trying to make up for those lost years of eaten dumplings now. Whenever I'm in Chinatown and in the mood for lunch, I'm inescapably drawn towards dumplings - steaming hot, dipped in soy sauce and sriracha, to be consumed en masse and rapidly. I never leave a dumpling place without feeling at least somewhat walrus-like, but in a deeply satisfied way.
But all this preamble about dumplings should not obscure the dish this post is actually about, and that dish is cucumber smash.
Before the devouring of dumplings, we always start ourselves off with cucumber smash. A plate heaped high with chopped cucumbers doused in soy sauce, loaded with garlic, and topped with fresh cilantro will arrive at our table and we all happily dig in. It's refreshing, crunchy, with a big garlicky punch - when I say this dish is loaded with garlic, I mean it. And it's awesome.
So, besides this salad having one of the best names ever, it's ridiculously good, especially considering how simple it is. The key is using lots of garlic - do not be afraid to go to town with the garlic here. Trust me, it will be worth the garlic breath.
This dish is perfect for summertime, and can be whipped up in minutes. Eat it up quick though, because it tastes best the day it's made.
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
4 - 6 garlic cloves, minced
1 very large or 2 medium english cucumbers
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and minced garlic in a large bowl; set aside.
2. Half, quarter, and roughly chop the cucumber, and add to the dressing. Toss to evenly coat the cucumber in dressing and garlic.
3. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the salad and serve immediately, or within a few hours. This salad tastes best when made fresh, as after several hours the cucumber lose their crunch.