(click to enlarge)
Bean Thread & Cucumber Salad
Pacific Rim - Southeast Asian style
A very simple but refreshing and enjoyable Southeast Asian style salad for
warm summer days. You can vary the chili bite to suit your taste, but it
should not be too mild. It can be made at least a day ahead.
Bean Threads (1)
Serrano Chilis (3)
Chili Garlic (4)
Black Vinegar (5)
Palm Sugar (6)
- Soak BEAN THREADS in hot water (a little too hot for you to
hold a finger in). As always with food it's better to heat cold water
than to use hot tap water. Let soak for 20 minutes or a bit more. Drain
and chill in cold water, then drain again. Stretch out on the cutting
board and cut into lengths of about 3 inches.
- Cut CUCUMBERS into strips about 1/8 inch square and 2 inches or
so long. A julienning vegetable peeler is invaluable for this job. You
could also use the coarse side of a box grater, but crosswise slices
don't blend so well with the noodles (see Note-2).
- Chop CHILIS very fine and add to Cucumbers.
- Mix All Dressing Items, making sure the sugar is dissolved (I
run it to powder in my spice grinder so it dissolves faster).
- Mix together ALL Items and allow to rest for as long as
you can, turning now and then. If in a hurry, let sit at room temperature
and then chill for 1/2 hour or more in the fridge. Overnight in the
fridge is better. The longer it rests the better the flavors will blend
and the chilis will be less sharp.
- Garnish as desired (Note-7) and serve.
- Bean Threads: Around here thin bean
threads are most commonly in hanks of 1-3/4 or 2 ounces weight, but
other forms are also seen, including bulk.
- Cucumbers: Persian or similar cucumbers
which need neither peeling nor seeding are preferable, but if all you have
is waxed blimps peel them, split lengthwise and seed them. If you're using
a julienning peeler you can just peel (with a regular peeler), then use the
julienning peeler all around until you hit the seed mass.
- Serrano Chili: Of course you can use
other green chilis and adjust. With medium Serranos, 3 is rather sharp,
2 is medium and 1 is not quite mild. I use 3 for myself, 1 or 2 depending
on guests. For details see my Chili
- Chili Garlic Sauce: The almost
universally available Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce will do fine, or
anything like it.
- Black Vinegar: Chinese Chinkiang black
vinegar is easily available these days. Pearl River Bridge is a good
brand. If you don't have it, an "industrial" balsamic vinegar can be
substituted, or you can use regular rice vinegar for a lighter color
and flavor. For details see our
Vinegars and Souring Agents page.
- Palm sugar: If you don't have this you
can use Turbinado or some other light brown sugar.
- Garnish: Unsalted peanuts, freshly roasted
and crushed, are a very popular garnish in Southeast Asia, but I don't
really care for them that much. I usually garnish with cilantro leaves
or threads of Fresno chili.
- U.S. measure: t=teaspoon,
T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce,
#=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required
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