Chinese sweet-and-sour cucumber

I know don’t how it happened it’s the last day of February already! Since I don’t have a full-time job and spend most of my days at home, they became so much shorter. Things that used to take me an hour or so to do, now I struggle to finish within a day. Something is definately wrong, or maybe I should just admit I became suuper lazy lately. I didn’t even manage to update the blog for the last month. Mostly because I’ve been sticking to some simple recipes, not really worthy of note; but also I’ve been unable to take photographs that would be nice enough. To be honest it’s greyinsh outside pretty much all of the time (urghh!) so the lighting is terrible, I have no way of overcoming it. Again laziness.
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On the brighter side, I recently bought a really fantastic cookbook, Fuschia Dunlop’s ‘Every Grain of Rice‘ (thank you Taobao). The evening I got it, I spent whole night reading it, showning my husband almost every photo, and getting super exited about every recipe. Now, I’ve heard great things about Fuschia’s books, some people say that previous books are even better, but I haven’t had a chance to read them yet. Nevertheless, I recommend ‘Every grain of rice‘ to anyone who has interest in chinese cuisine. You get authentic and simple recipes, plus the dishes are delicious and much healthier then the restaurant versions.  I have quite a lot of chinese cookbooks, but to be honest reading and using them is quite overwhelming for me at that point.
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Since getting ‘Every Grain of Rice’ I”ve tried several recipes already, today I want to share sweet-and-sour cucumber recipe. This was the first thing I made using Fuschia’s recipes, because everytime I go to chinese restaurant this is my absolute fav appetizer. The recipe is simple, but before coming to China, I would never think of making cucumber this way, so I think it’s worth sharing!.

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Ingredients: (from Fuschia Dunlop ‘Every Grain of Rice’)
1 cucumber (approx. 300g)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp Chinkiang vinegar (I love this vinegar, probably put a little bit more there)
1 tsp light soy sauce
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Smack your cucumber with a rolling pin. Peel the skin and cut into smaller pieces. Add the rest of the ingreadients and mix nicely.
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That’s the version I like to serve, original recipe doesn’t call for peeling the cucumber. You can add some chilli oil if you fancy something really hot.
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Coca-cola Chicken Wings

Chinese love for chicken wings is quite strong. They like spicy, oily things and can eat it no matter what time. Every chinese restaurants that serves ”western” food has their version of chicken wings, and KFC is the most profitable fast-foods chain. Sometimes when I walk around city, it feels like KFC is on every street, every corner. The food in KFC is really bad, much worse than western restaurant, not tastewise, but qualitywise. There I said it, I don’t like chinese chincken wings. My husband on the other hand loves them. I had no choice, but learn to prepare something better, something that he would love even more. Well, I never would have thought that would be so easy. Those coca-cola chicken wings are extremely easy, fast to make and absolutely fussless. No added fat and amazing smell. I feel like I’ve been making those once a week for a year now and still we’re not bored.

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Ingredients:

10 chicken wings
1 can original coca-cola
2 tablespoons salt-reduced light soy sauce
spring onion, to garnish
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Clean the chicken wings under cold water, pat dry with chicken towels.
In a saucepan, combine the chicken wings, coke and soy sauce. Liquid should cover the chicken wings completely. The general idea is: 1 can coke, 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Use more liguids when needed.  If you have more people to feed I highly recommend making a lot of those, as far as I’m concerned everybody loves those!

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Cook until most of the liguid is gone and the rest forms thickish glaze, about 30 minutes on medium heat. That’s it. Put on a plate and garnish with spring onion 🙂 Eat.
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