Chinese Smashed Cucumbers

This is quite possibly one of the easiest, most satisfying “salads” (no lettuce involved) to throw together if you need another aspect to your meal.
Chinese Smashed Cucumbers, or pai haung gua, is the perfect combination of spicy, sweet, tart, crunchy and goes well with many dishes.  This dish is sort of a version of a very mild Chinese pickle, in my opinion, satisfying your craving for something crunchy, sweet and salty all at once.
The most recent time I have had this dish was actually while eating the Dim Sum brunch at DC hotspot, Maketto and it inspired me to make my own.
What you need:
1 large cucumber, cut into large chunks
3 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp white sugar
3 Thai or Vietnamese chilies, sliced OR 1 tsp chili flakes OR 1 tsp chilies in oil (fix to taste)
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt to taste
1.  Chop up your cucumbers in to large chunks and set aside.
2. In a bowl start on your dressing.  Whisk together the rice vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and chilies.  At this point adjust the flavor to your specific liking.  Personally, I like it heavy on the vinegar for a tart pickled taste and heavy on the chilies because I like it spicy.  If it is too hot, add more sugar or soy.  Just make sure you taste it.
3.  Toss the cucumbers in the dressing and put in a bowl to serve.
4.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and you are good to go!

So easy and delicious!  The perfect side dish for any meal!  (Especially something hearty and warm!)

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