I know I have lamented in the past about the lack of good Chinese food in the area, and it really is true. Craving some Szechuan chicken but dreading that heavy feeling in my stomach later, I once again took to one of my favorite cookbooks Mighty Spice by John Gregory-Smith.
The first part of our meal was this light salad which both Nick and I had seconds of. You can really prepare the chicken any way you please; it’s a great way to use some leftovers. The author cleverly has you remove the seeds from the cucumber, something I’d never done before but will now do forever going forward as it takes that mushy, watery element out of an otherwise crisp salad.
Usually a hater of salad dressings, I loved this sweet but salty but acidic homemade dressing which is a perfect balance of flavors. Unlike the bottled dressings I can’t stand, this complements the salad rather than overpowering it. This salad makes a perfect first course or lunchtime meal. Yum!
Szechuan Chicken & Cucumber Salad
- 2 1/2 cups chicken, cooked with skin and bones removed
- 1 cucumber
- 1 handful cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp veggie oil
- 2 tbsp red pepper flake
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 lemon, juice only
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Then, cut the cucumber in half and scrape out all the seeds and slice it into thin half moons. Combine the chicken, cucumber, and cilantro in a serving bowl.
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over low heat for about 2 minutes, until it starts to bubble slightly. Remove the oil from the heat and add the red pepper, black pepper, sugar, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Whisk everything together and then set aside for 5-10 minutes.
Pour the dressing over the salad, toss and serve.