Chunky Bacon and Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

1 tbsp groundnut oil
6 long dried chillies
2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 whole star anise (optional)
100g/3½oz smoked lardons, cut into 1cm/½in thick pieces
1 red chilli, de-seeded, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 tbsp clear rice vinegar or cider vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
200g/7oz cucumber, halved lengthways, de-seeded and sliced into 1cm/½in thick wedges
pinch sea salt
1-2 pinches dried chilli flakes [CP: omit for heat]
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp chilli oil [CP: omit for heat]
1 small handful fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
dry-roasted peanuts (optional)

Preparation

Heat a wok until smoking and add the groundnut oil, then add the dried chillies and Sichuan peppercorns. Stir fry for a few seconds, or until fragrant.

Add the star anise (if using), bacon lardons and chilli and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the lardons have turned golden-brown at the edges.

Add the rice wine or sherry, vinegar and sesame oil and stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the cucumber and stir-fry for a few more seconds.

Season with sea salt, dried chilli flakes and lime juice, stirring well.

Pile the stir-fry onto a serving plate, drizzle over the chilli oil, garnish with the chopped coriander, sprinkle over some peanuts, if using, and serve immediately.

Ching-He Huang, Chinese Food Made Easy, BBC

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