Cucumber is a popular ingredient in many dishes throughout the world. In this era it captivated human attention nearly 4,000 years ago when it originated being used in India. The Greeks eventually caught sight and taste of this vegetable, and it soon spread as far as the Americas. Ever since, nearly every country that can cultivate or have cucumbers shipped in is smitten with the cuke (that’s slang for cucumber, by the way).
There are countless ways the cucumber is eaten. Although many dishes use the cucumber raw, there are many that also gently cook it. There are even cooling beverages that use cucumber, as it is definitely something that people enjoy during summer months. It’s quite refreshing! This specific recipe is also delightful to the eyes.
Here is the recipe for the Yin Yang Cucumber dish in the video. Give it a try and let us know in the comments how it turned out.
Cucumber 1 large
(have an extra cucumber set aside in case the first one ends up as practice)
Mashed Garlic 1/2 Tbsp
Minced Ginger 1/2 Tbsp
Soy Sauce 1/4 cup
Sugar 1 Tbsp
Honey 1/4 Cup
White Vinegar 1 Tbsp
Water 1/3 Cup
Salt 1/4 Tsp
Starting from one end of the cucumber and vertical to it, cut in about ⅘ of the way deep. Turn over the cucumber and turn knife about 35 degrees counterclockwise and cut in about the same depth. This will connect the cuts previously made. This might take some practice, so have a backup cucumber available. Make sure not to cut through all the way or you will end up with pieces of cucumber rather than one long slinky cucumber.
Marinate the cucumber with salt for an hour. This will draw the extra water out from the cucumber. Then take a napkin and wipe the plate to absorb all of the water.
Combine the peppercorns and dried chili with hot oil in a bowl, and let sit for a few minutes so that the peppers infuse the oil with flavor and color.
Then combine the other ingredients to make the sauce. After the sauce is made, lay out the cucumber in an S pattern if you like, as in this video the chef has decided to incorporate the Yin Yang symbol in the dish. There is a reason for that too. More on that later.
Then pour the dark sauce over the cucumber and balanced all over the plate. On one side, pour a bit of the infused chili oil, as this will add flavor and also add color to the one side to give it a genuine Yin Yang symbol look. Add the cucumber rolls as in the video for the dots in the symbol, and you’re done!
So, why is the chef using a Yin Yang symbol in this dish? It is likely because the dish itself is being used to demonstrate the cooling and warming aspects that certain foods have, such as the cucumber and chili pepper.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the cucumber is known to have cold or cooling properties on the body when consumed. Chili peppers and other spicy ingredients are known to have hot or warming properties. In this dish, the combination of the two creates a Yin and Yang balance between both properties.
This might be a dish to enjoy during the warm summer months. Perhaps in the evening as it has warming properties in it with the spices.