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Sides in the spotlight: what on Earth is smacked cucumber anyway?

Generally speaking, we at Mr Bao do not advocate the physical abuse of fruit or vegetables. No matter how frustrated our chefs get, we simply won’t have it – not on our watch. With one exception.

Cucumbers, it turns out, can be vastly improved with the application of some Asian food-cupboard staples and some not-so-gentle physical force. First, halve your cucumbers and sprinkle on a bit of salt – this helps draw out excess moisture. After you've rinsed them off and patted dry, chop them up into chunks and mix up the dressing – soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, chilli, sesame and a little bit of salt and sugar. Then, it’s time to get forceful. Using the side of a massive knife (or a rolling pin, or a heavy bottle, or your bare fists if it’s been a really bad day), simply clobber your cucumbers – this helps break the cell membranes which in turn lets the sweet, salty, fragrant sauce work its way in.

Okay, this is probably being a bit too aggressive.

Let them sit for a couple of hours with the dressing for the flavours to get acquainted and that’s it – an oddly moreish side that’s at once zingy and cooling, and one of your five-a-day to boot. Does wonders for your stress levels, too!

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