Sunday, 9 October 2011

chilli garlic cucumber in sesame oil

We're right in the middle of spring now. Flowers are growing, hemlines are shortening... and I am sneezing. Oh hay fever, how I do detest thee.

I'm not partial to pumping myself full of chemicals, but I had a terrible season last year, so when the first symptoms struck this time around, I surrendered immediately. Tablets and sprays, here I come! So far, they seem to be working. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, I still like the idea of getting a little boost from natural remedies. Garlic is purported to be good for fighting hay fever. Apparently chilli also helps. With that in mind, I made this easy Chinese-inspired cucumber salad over the weekend.

chilled cucumber in a chilli garlic sesame vinaigrette

Boy, this may be a simple recipe, but it sure is potent. The cucumber is hacked up like firewood, bombarded with minced garlic, scattered with chilli and drenched in sesame oil. Subtlety be damned, this is a dish that shoves itself deep into the receptors of your taste buds and smirks, "here I am!"

chilled cucumber in chilli garlic sesame vinaigrette

2 lebanese cucumbers (or 200-250 g / 1/2 lb of any cucumber), peeled and cut into chunky sticks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Chinese sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese white rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or 2 teaspoons light soy sauce)
1/8 teaspoon raw sugar

Toss all ingredients together till well-combined.
Cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Lightly toss again just before serving.


While sharp and satisfying at the time of consumption, this cucumber dish WILL result in hours of gloriously pungent breath. Not recommended for romantic dates, unless both parties have a garlic fetish.

Now, I have no idea whether this did anything to alleviate my hay fever, but I'm sure it did me good anyway. If you've had any success with natural remedies, do let me know!

chilled chilli garlic cucumber in sesame oil

42 comments:

  1. Subtlety be damned indeed! I'm with you on the hayfever thing. Our street is a shocker for that I think.

    Love this simple, fiery recipe! Perfect for the warm weather.

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  2. This looks perfect! I can imagine how the heat from the chilli is balanced from the coolness of the cucumber. And it's made with ingredients I can find in my pantry already, woot! Hope you're feeling well, Leaf! Rest well! =)

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  3. Thanks Yas! I hope you've been coping with it well.

    Thanks Winston! It's especially nice during warmer weather, I think. :)

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  4. Fabulous! Even if it didn't provide immediate relief, all that chilli and garlic has to be good for you!

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  5. I looked at the first line and felt incredibly jealous. the weather here in the uk is getting increasingly colder ): wish it was spring. the cucumbers look really fresh and yum!

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  6. I get hayfever alot and I have a cold at the moment. I think I should give this a go!

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  7. This would go perfectly with congee!

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  8. I think so, Foodycat!

    Aww, Shu Han. Autumn is a lovely season, too, though. :)

    Oh no Apple, feel better soon. I like sipping on hot ginger tea or a warm honey and lemon when I have a cold.

    Thanks for the idea, Michelle! :D

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  9. Weeeeird. I almost never, ever eat cucumber, and yet at this exact moment I'm munching on some with hummus at a friend's place. But seriously, haven't in years! That random unimportant comment aside, this looks lovely :)

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  10. I too suffer from hay fever, it is a nightmare at the moment. I am all about the sprays and pills, but a wet cloth on my face also makes me feel good after a sneezing attack. LOVE this salad. Would be great on its own or as a side dish with steamed chicken. YUMMO!

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  11. I fortunately do not suffer from hayfever, but this just sounds good and healthy and delicious! Hope you find something that works for your hay fever soon! :)

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  12. Oo.. this somehow reminds me of the little "entrees" that you receive in some Chinese restaurants.. love it :)

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  13. Well, well... clearly, we're made for each other, Hannah. ;)

    Thanks for the wet cloth tip, Anna! And pairing this cucumber salad with steamed chicken is an awesome idea! :D

    Thanks, Ashley. :)

    Thanks, msihua. :)

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  14. My kind of flavours, a nice refreshing salad but I will refrain from eating before a meeting :0)

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  15. Thanks Rita!

    peasepudding, sounds like a plan. ;)

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  16. I think this is a beautiful recipe that I always order in Sichuan restaurants. It's so easy and I wonder why I have not done this at home, especially in summer!

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  17. Tell me about it! Sneezing, argh it is driving me nuts. I was at the beach this weekend and people need to take a page out of your blog and get themselves back into shape! That looks so delish :)

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  18. Thanks chopinandmysaucepan! I too was inspired by my local Sichuan restaurant, though I believe their version has been gently cooked so the end result is quite different.

    Thanks Cassandra! And hopefully you find something that works for you. :)

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  19. OH my goodness I need some of this immediately! Not only do I love garlic but it's good for hay fever too?! I've been suffering from such bad allergies lately.

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  20. Oh no! You mean there's something wrong with a garlic fetish? Seriously????
    I loooooove garlic, and would rather have a big piece of (gluten free) garlic bread to start a romantic dinner than anything else. Yumm...
    I also like cucumber pickles, and this recipe sounds delicious, is that 2 strikes against me now? :)

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  21. Hey Sylvie, I'm not sure how much garlic helps, and it probably depends on the individual as well. Some of my relatives use garlic and horseradish tablets during hay fever season with some degree of success. But either way, I'm still happy to up my garlic intake!

    Haha, The InTolerant Chef - I'd happily get to know you over generous servings of garlic bread and cucumber pickles. ;)

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  22. Hi leaf, if you like this recipe, I think you will enjoy our latest cold jelly creation which is my fave for a nice spring or summer day :)

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  23. I like how in your neck of the woods this is called lebanese cucumbers! Here in the US they are called Persian! No problem, the main issue is that they are crispy crunchy and taste fresh! I would look into herbal teas for your problem, but still the salad sounds perfect!

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  24. Oh no! How terrible to suffer so badly with allergies. I love this time of year for the gorgeous pollen smell, it would be terrible not to be able to enjoy it.

    Having said that I do love your delicious recipe using all that gorgeous garlic :)

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  25. Thanks chopinandmysaucepan, I've checked it out. ;)

    Thank you Taste of Beirut, I might look at the herbal tea options. And I didn't know they were called Persian cucumbers in the US. Either way, I love using them! :D

    Thanks Gourmet Getaways! My tablets and sprays seem to be doing their job, so other than one very bad day I've been doing well. Still happy to eat garlicky cucumber salads on top of that though. ;)

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  26. I usually make this with sesame oil and red chili flakes, a little soy sauce and sugar! simple but so good, as a side dish.

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  27. My mom makes something similar to this dish! Helpful... I didn't know garlic had such properties. I always have allergies so I'll just have stinky breath from now on!

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  28. i like your food pictures and want to invite you to share them on tastingspot.com

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  29. Looks amazing :) And anything with garlic is basically a must-eat. This recipe ends up in my favorites.
    Take care!

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  30. Very similar, tigerfish!

    Hi aki, I don't know how much it helps but it's worth a try - if it doesn't work, there's always pharmaceutical help. ;)

    Thanks foodie! I'll check it out.

    Thanks Marie-Anne. Let me know if you end up trying it. :D

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  31. Well, even though it's getting to be fall here I think this would be great to combat a case of the chills!

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  32. It's Fall here in NYC, but I would eat a salad like this any time of the year. Good luck with the allergies :)

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  33. This cucumber salad looks great! So crispy, with a flavorful dressing!

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  34. i really like your food pictures and want to invite you to try out tastingspot.com. it's for anyone that just wants another place to submit photos and share it will other foodies. It’s still in beta version, but would love for you to start adding some photos and help get it going.

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  35. That is a great looking salad and as a fellow hay fever sufferer perhaps I should give the garlic diet a try.

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  36. Luckily, my partner and I both LOVE garlic and don't mind garlic breath, so we'll be partaking of this excellent dish vigorously :P

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  37. As a fellow hay fever sufferer, you have all my support. It can spoil the nicest of springs. Luckily in the Northern emisphere hay fever is still far, far away in the future, but I'll start using this recipe just now, it may need a while to work :)

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  38. It's so much easier that way isn't it, JasmyneTea! :D

    Thanks lacaffettierarosa! I'm happy to say that I'm actually having quite a decent time this year. Wishing you all the best with the spring seasons to come. xx

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  39. Love this recipe think I may have to give it a go this weekend!

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