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Loni's Cucumber Pickles with Chinese Black Beans

From Barbara Tropp, China Moon Cookbook

Serves: 8-10


  • 1/2 c. dried black mushrooms
  • 1.5 lbs. English cucumbers, cut lengthwise in half, seeded, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch moons.
  • 1 tbs. kosher salt
  • Aromatics:
    • 1.5 tsp. garlic, minced
    • 1 tbs. ginger, minced
    • 3/4 tsp. dried red chili flakes
  • Sauce:
    • 2 tbs. brown sugar
    • 2.5 tbs. balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 tbs. corn or peanut oil
  • 1 tbs. Japanese sesame oil
  • 1.5 tsp. Szechuan peppercorns
  • 6-8 fresh water chestnuts, peeled, cut into thin half-moons
  • 2 tsp. Chinese black beans (not rinsed)
  • 1 small Fresno chili, cut into thin rings


  1. Cover mushrooms with cool water. Soak until supple, about 1 hour. Drain, rinse, squeeze out water, remove stems, and cut into quarters or sixths.
  2. Toss cucumbers with salt. Let stand 1 hour, then drain. Rinse with cool water. Drain again.
  3. Combine aromatics. Combine sauce.
  4. Heat large heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add corn oil and sesame oil, swirl to glaze pan. Add Szechuan peppercorns, let infuse for 30 seconds, adjusting heat so they bubble without blackening. Add waterchestnuts, mushrooms, black beans, and chili rings. Add cucumbers and toss until hot, about 30 seconds. Stir the sauce, add to pan. Raise heat, bring to simmer, stirring.
  5. Scrape mixture into a shallow dish and let cool, stirring to redistribute the sauce. Seal and refrigerate overnight.


  • Used one dried chili pepper, whole, instead of chili flakes. Wasn't notably hot.
  • Used an Anaheim chili instead of Fresno. This was also rather mild.
  • Fresh water chestnuts are relatively hard to find: I shop at a supermarket-sized Vietnamese market, which usually stocks them. Canned water chestnuts lose all of the sweet, milky taste of fresh, so aren't much use as a substitute.

Keywords: Chinese, Pickles, Cucumber.