In professional Chinese cuisine emphasis is placed on knife skills. Armed with just a chopping board and a cleaver, chefs can create various shapes out of the same ingredients, a skill which I admire. I haven’t been trained to use knives to that extent, so I rely heavily on kitchen gadgets. Of course there is nothing wrong with this, one downside though is storing all those tools, not an easy task in the Chinese kitchen. :P
The other day I read a friend’s blog describing how to cut this dragon-like shape from vegetables. At the beginning I thought it was complicated, but after I tried it a few times I found it fairly easy. The trick is to use a sharp knife and take care not to cut it all the way through each time. This method of cutting has the added advantage of letting the sauce soak into the pieces; distributing the flavor evenly over the dish. Just try it, I am sure you will have some fun creating a dragon out of a cucumber. ;-)
Kitchen Gadgets: Saucepan
- 2 medium sized cucumbers
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 dry chilli peppers
- ½ tsp whole Sichuan peppers
- ½ tsp Chinese dark vinegar
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Place the cucumber on the cutting board and thinly slice it across taking care not to cut all the way through.
- Carefully turn the cucumber over on to the other side, place the knife at 45 degree angle towards cucumber, thinly slice it, again without cutting it through.
- Carefully place the finished cucumber dragon in a circle on the plate.
- Add the oil to a small saucepan, add the chilli peppers, the Sichuan peppers and the salt, turn on the lowest heat and cook for about 90 seconds.
- Pour the heated oil with the peppers over the cucumber, then sprinkle with the vinegar
- Crush the garlic and sprinkle it over. Enjoy!