Happy Chinese New Year and a Cucumber Salad

Happy Chinese New Year to all in this year of the Goat! In Chinese astrology, goats are described as peace-loving, kind and popular. They can be helpful and trusting but also ‘clinging’ and resistant to change. Were you born in the following years 1931, 43, 55, 67, 79, 91, 2003, 2015? If so, it’s your year!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACelebrating Chinese New Year here in Australia, means planning a few little dishes from that wonderful country. A refreshing salad for a hot day, Cucumber salad Yunnan Style makes use of the current cucumber and chilli glut. My addition of tuna is not traditional but transforms the salad into a light lunch. Leave out the tuna if using the salad as a side dish.

cucumbers galore
cucumbers galore

I am using my apple cucumbers as these have appeared in plague proportions. They are too seedy for most dishes, but with seeds removed, work well in this quick and easy salad.

Cucumber Salad Yunnan Style.

  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and seeded.
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of castor sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-2 hot chilli, seeded and sliced finely
  • 1 can of tuna in oil, drained and flaked
  •  A little Sichuan pepper oil or sesame oil to dress
  • chopped coriander leaves
  1. Peel and seed the cucumbers, cut the cucumbers vertically then diagonally into 3 cm chunks place in a bowl. Toss with the vinegar, sugar and salt and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer.
  2. When ready to serve, add chilli slices, flaked tuna and coriander leaves.
  3. Dress with a drizzle of Sichuan pepper oil or Sesame oil.

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Additions and subtractions.

  • Add more chilli if you grow the milder variety.
  • If using small Lebanese cucumbers, use more and leave half the skin on in strips.
  • add toasted sesame seeds.
  • For a Japanese twist, add cut up thin strips of nori seaweed and dress with toasted sesame and sesame oil.
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30 thoughts on “Happy Chinese New Year and a Cucumber Salad”

  1. love cucumbers, although I don’t remember the last time I ate an apple cucumber. Planning some small Chinese dishes for dinner tonight, this will be a last minute addition! Thanks for the inspiration and Gong Hey Fat Choy

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  2. Yes, apple cucumber is a bit seedy but really nice. Brought back memories of picking them off the fence from my little swimming pool when I was a kid in the backyard at Preston 🙂

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  3. Happy Chinese New Year to you! I’ve never seen an apple cucumber before. They look less wet than the standard ones we get here. They remind me of the small ones you get in Greece that are labeled as “dry” cucumbers since they grow in drier conditions. Must look them up.

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    1. Apple cucumbers are often called lemon cucumbers too. They are very seedy but the remaining flesh is pleasant enough. They may well be drier than most other varieties too. Time spent in the fridge helps to make them crisp. They do need help, as they are not my most popular cucumber.

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  4. Looks delicious, Francesca. Lovely photo too. I eat tuna salad fairly regularly so will try this version soon. The chilies are about the only things the grasshoppers have ignored!!

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  5. Beautiful photo and salad Mrs Italian! Mum used to grow these cucumbers, haven’t seen them for a while. When I changed my blog theme, WP ‘unfollowed’ me from a number of blogs, just working it out, hello again!

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      1. They’re not bad in smoothies! Sounds weird I know but very nice with strawberries, almond milk and a little bit of honey. That mucilaginous quality of cucumbers actually gives a similar ‘body’ to the smoothie as you get from banana…

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