Cucumber & Bean Sprout salad with Spicy Peanut sauce

zpfile001Back in the 80’s when I lived in San Francisco I would frequent Hunan Restaurant on Kearny St. and always ordered the cucumber and bean sprout salad…among other things.  On subsequent girl’s trips up to SF I would sometimes swing by the restaurant on my way to the airport and grab a to go order of the salad and their garlic chicken to bring home for dinner. They have subsequently closed that large restaurant, but apparently there are some off-shoots of it, Henry’s Hunan, from family members and former cooks at the restaurant. I haven’t been to these newer ones but the menu has many similar dishes.

Anyway, before I left SF I purchased this recipe book at the restaurant…as you can see it’s been very loved and used over the years…

IMAG0556My favorite recipe by far is the Rich Hot and Sour Dressing (he calls it “rich hot and sour dressing” but I call it “spicy peanut sauce” because it reminds me of the sesame noodles at Empire Szechuan in NYC…although a bit thinner, like dressing)  There’s a recipe in the book for bean sprout salad with cucumbers and carrots, but it calls for blanching the bean sprouts and that’s just not necessary…and I’m not a fan of carrots.  I use this dressing on a simple bean sprout, cucumber and shredded chicken salad….and sometimes I add brown rice…or just toss the dressing into pasta….so many options.  You can double the recipe and keep it in the fridge for probably up to a week…although it probably won’t last that long because you’ll finish it quickly!  It’s that yummy!!

assemble your ingredients…mise en place

Spicy (or not) Peanut Sauce

2 TBS crunchy peanut butter (you can also use sesame see paste)
2 TBS soy sauce
4 TBS vinegar (or to taste…I usually use less and add it at the end)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 TBS sesame oil
2 TBS veg oil
1 TBS finely minced ginger
1 TBS finely minced garlic
1 TB finely minced scallions (green onions)
1 TBS white wine
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp cayenne….(optional if you’re not a fan of hot and spicy)
…you can also add a bit of hot red pepper oil which will make it even more spicy

mixed all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.  It’s that easy!  I usually make the main bowl of it without the cayenne because my daughter isn’t a fan of spicy….and then I just sprinkle the cayenne on my plate/bowl.

Cut 2 cucumbers into matchsticks
1 lb bean sprouts
shredded chicken (optional)


Just toss the sauce with the cucumber, bean sprouts and chicken.  So refreshing! Enjoy!  My mouth is watering as I type this because I love this sauce!

个饱 (that loosely means “Bon Appetit” in Chinese!)

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

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