Mush­room and Cu­cum­ber Salad (Liang Ban Huang­gua)

SERVES 4; photo p. 91 To­tal: 15 min.

SAVEUR - - Yunnan -

Adapted from Tushen Shiguan, an or­ganic restau­rant in Kun­ming, China, this re­fresh­ing dish fea­tures cu­cum­bers and any kind of ed­i­ble sea­sonal fun­gus the chefs might have on hand. Wood ear mush­rooms, pic­tured here along with an­other moss-like Chi­nese fun­gus, are oc­ca­sion­ally avail­able fresh at Asian mar­kets and green­mar­kets in the U.S., but if you can’t find them, dried ones are avail­able on­line.

½ cup thinly sliced fresh wood ear mush­rooms, or sub­sti­tute ⅓ cup dried One 10-inch piece of English cu­cum­ber (1 lb.) 3 medium gar­lic cloves, minced (2 tsp.) 1 fresh red Thai chile, finely chopped 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. Shanxi vine­gar, plus more to taste 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Chi­nese light soy sauce, plus more to taste

1 In a small, heat­proof bowl, add the mush­rooms and enough boil­ing wa­ter to cover. If us­ing fresh mush­rooms, let the steep for 20 sec­onds; if us­ing dried mush­rooms, let them soak for about 5 min­utes. Drain, dis­card­ing the soak­ing liq­uid, and rinse well with cold wa­ter. Set aside while you pre­pare the cu­cum­ber.

2 Cut the cu­cum­ber in half length­wise, and place each half cut-side down on your cut­ting board. Smack each piece with the side of a cleaver or a large knife to flat­ten it slightly (this will break down some of the flesh). Scoop out and dis­card the cu­cum­ber’s seeds, then cut each cu­cum­ber half cross­wise into 1½-inch­long pieces.

3 Trans­fer the cu­cum­ber to a medium serv­ing bowl. Add the drained mush­rooms, gar­lic, chile, vine­gar, and soy sauce, and toss to com­bine. Taste and ad­just the sea­son­ing with more soy sauce or vine­gar as needed. Serve the dish at room tem­per­a­ture, or re­frig­er­ate un­til cold and serve chilled.

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