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Image1 cucumber (about 300g)

4 tsp salt

1 tbsp finely chopped garlic

4 tsp caster sugar

2 tsp light soy sauce

4 tsp Chinkiang (brown rice) vinegar

2 tbsp chilli oil

a pinch or two of ground roasted Sichuan pepper (optional)

Lay the cucumber on a chopping board and smack it hard a few times with the flat blade of a Chinese cleaver or with a rolling-pin. Then cut it lengthways into four pieces. Hold your knife at an angle to the chopping board and cut the cucumber on the diagonal into 4-1cm slices. Place in a bowl with the salt, mix well and set aside for about 10 minutes. Combine all the other ingredients in a small bowl. Drain the cucumber, pour over the sauce, stir well and serve immediately.

Fuchsia Dunlop