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Another simple classic: Smashed cucumber 拍黄瓜


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This is getting pretty trendy in the UK.  I personally think this is partly to do with calling it "smashed cucumber" or "smacked cucumber" - makes it sound more exotic.


The cucumbers here aren't the knobbly kind you get in China and I don't think they're as tough so I'm always a little hesitant when giving it a whack.


I love these cool "salads" though and I see this as a gateway salad to the slightly more involved 拌三丁 and the heroin-level Korean 拌花菜.

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@Publius -- I moved it to a footnote at the end and changed it to a smaller-font type. (If you insist, I will remove it entirely. Just wanted to give credit and thanks where it was due.)




@somethingfunny and @zander1 -- I had no idea it was so popular in the UK.


Right about the different type of cucumber. The kind I buy in Texas is different from these long, knobby Chinese ones too. They might just disintegrate and fly all over the room if punished the way this recipe requires. I would approach them with less vigor the first time for sure.




Extra points quiz: Anyone know where 黄瓜 gets its name? Does "yellow melon" seem like a strange way to describe a green vegetable?




It's from the yellow flower on the end of the immature vegetable.



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Yummy as always. Until recently I did not know that Chinese cooks smash their garlic. As it turns out, maybe two weeks ago, I saw it in this Mandarin Corner cooking video (Youtube, at about 2'50''). I could swear Eileen (the host) is giggling while using her 菜刀 - maybe, as suggested by abcdefg, she's thinking about something else than the garlic.

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@laurenth -- She's in fact talking about a supervisor or boss she hates while slapping the garlic. (What a cute and lively teacher! I would volunteer to be her sous chef any day of the week.) 


Crushing the garlic that way is supposed to coax it to release its aromatic oils better than if it were just sliced. Similarly, slapping the cucumber into submission causes it to release some flavor elements that would be lost if it were just sliced. (At least that's the theory.)


The garlic she's using is the standard kind, referred to as 大算, with several cloves 蒜瓣 per head or bulb 蒜头。Once it is crushed, it becomes 蒜泥 or 蒜茸。You will often see those words on menus as well as in recipes. A common example would be 蒜泥炒菠菜 sauteed spinach with crushed garlic.





The kind of garlic I usually buy here is slightly different in that it doesn't have cloves; each head of garlic is all one piece. It's called 独蒜 or 独头蒜。In addition to being quicker to peel, it has a somewhat milder flavor. 





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