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Chunky Bacon and Cucumber Salad

(Sichuan 'kai-wei' Salad)

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  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil

  • 6 long dried chillies

  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns

  • 1 star anise

  • 100g/3½oz smoked lardons, cut into 1cm thick pieces

  • 1 medium red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

  • 2 tablespoons clear rice vinegar or cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

  • 200g/7oz cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and sliced into 1cm/½ inch thick wedges

  • 1 pinch of sea salt

  • 1–2 pinches of dried chilli flakes

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon chilli oil

  • 1 very small handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

  • dry-roasted peanuts (optional)


  • 1.

    Heat a wok or pan over a high heat and add the groundnut oil. Add the dried chillies and Sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry for a few seconds until fragrant.

  • 2.

    Add the star anise, lardons and chilli and stir-fry until the lardons have turned golden brown at the edges.

  • 3.

    Add the rice wine or sherry, vinegar and sesame oil and stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the cucumber and stir-fry for a few seconds.

  • 4.

    Season with the sea salt, dried chilli flakes and lime juice.

  • 5.

    Place on a serving plate, drizzle over the chilli oil, garnish with the chopped coriander, sprinkle over some peanuts, if you like them, and serve immediately.



  • To help vegetables cook in the wok, add a splash or two of water to help create some “steam” whilst stir frying.

  • Use msg free products where possible.

  • Groundnut oil can be substituted with vegetable oil, sunflower oil or corn oil.

  • A large number of dishes can be adapted to suit vegetarians. Look out for where you can substitute the meat for tofu or vegetables and use vegetarian sauces.

  • Use low sodium soy sauce where possible
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