Located at 235 Kent Ave., Milu is a casual Chinese eatery recently branching out with a second spot in Williamsburg after its original establishment in Manhattan’s Nomad neighborhood. This delightful restaurant presents dishes that Chef Connie Chung passionately makes, consumes, and loves to share. This week, she’s generously shared her renowned recipe for marinated cucumbers, with the choice of adding a personal touch with homemade chili oil.
Milu’s Marinated Cucumbers Recipe:
- 2 Persian cucumbers
- 4 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 7 – 10 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup of canola oil
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons of soy sauce (gluten-free soy sauce optional)
- 1 tablespoon of Chinkiang black vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of chili oil (with sediment). Can be store-purchased or homemade (see below).
- Prepare Cucumbers: Slice them on a bias very thinly, ensuring you only cut about 3/4 of the way. This traditional cut maximizes sauce absorption. Then, section the cucumbers into 1-2 inch chunks.
- Salting Process: Sprinkle the cut cucumbers with salt and let them sit, ideally overnight, or for at least an hour. This process draws moisture out, ensuring a delightful crunch.
- Rinse & Drain: Post the moisture-extraction process, rinse the cucumbers under cold water. Firmly squeeze to shed any leftover water and place them aside.
- Garlic Oil: In a pot, mix garlic with oil. Cook on low heat until the garlic turns golden brown, which should take around 30-45 minutes. Once done, cool it down, drain the oil, but retain it for future use, perhaps on veggies or in dressings.
- Blending: Combine the golden garlic with sugar, soy sauce, black vinegar, and chili oil. Blend this mixture until smooth.
- Dress & Store: Coat the cucumbers with the prepared sauce. You can savor them instantly or refrigerate for up to a week.
Chili Oil Recipe:
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons of Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon of cloves
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 cups of canola oil (or other neutral oils)
- 1 cup of Sichuan chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Toasting: Using a pot, toast star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, Sichuan peppercorns, and cloves over medium heat until you notice a fragrant aroma.
- Oil Mixture: Introduce crushed garlic and oil, heating until 375°F. Post-heating, allow it to steep for about 30 minutes.
- Chili Preparation: In a heatproof container, combine chili flakes and salt.
- Oil Straining: After steeping, ensure the oil is still above 300°F. If not, reheat. Now, strain the oil through a fine-mesh strainer directly onto the chili mixture.
- Cool & Store: Stir well and let it cool down.
Now you have two fantastic recipes straight from the expertise of Chef Connie Chung at Milu. Enjoy your flavorful journey into the world of Chinese cuisine!