Hed Chef recipe: Whet your appetite with spicy enoki and cucumber salad
It may sound strange asking you to eat something spicy to whet your appetite in this hot and humid weather, but I find that this northeastern Chinese spicy cold dish of enoki mushroom and cucumber really does its job as an appetiser.
It is a go-to choice of a chef friend who orders this at a northeastern Chinese eatery to perk up his appetite whenever he is not in the mood to eat after a day of labour in the hot kitchen.
For my homemade version, I used Lao Gan Ma xiang la jiang (chilli sauce) in the seasoning.
Lao Gan Ma, which is Chinese for "old godmother", is a brand known for its spicy condiments.
The beauty of making this at home is you can adjust the seasoning to suit your preference.
If you intend to make this for a dinner party, keep the seasoning sauce separate from the enoki and cucumber. Mix in the seasoning just before serving.
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- 1.4 litres of water
- 200g enoki mushrooms, roots removed
- Pinch of salt (for boiling the enoki)
- 1 Japanese cucumber, sliced into 0.5cm-thick strips
- 3 garlic cloves (15g), finely chopped
- 10g fresh coriander, cut into 3cm pieces
- 3 to 4 tbsp Lao Gan Ma xiang la jiang (spicy chilli sauce)
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp white rice vinegar
- 1 flat tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
1. Bring 800ml of water to boil in a pot over medium heat.
2. Pour remaining water into a bowl and add ice.
3. Add a pinch of salt into the hot water.
4. Place enoki in the pot and boil for 30 seconds, then remove from pot. Drain away the water and place enoki in the iced water for 30 seconds. Drain excess water.
5. Place enoki, cucumber and garlic in a bowl.
6. In a small bowl, mix the Lao Gan Ma xiang la jiang, sesame oil, white rice vinegar, sugar and salt.
7. Pour the seasoning over the enoki and cucumber. Toss.
8. Garnish with coriander then serve.