> Main Dishes
> Spicy Beef and Cucumbers with Black Vinegar
- 1 medium cucumber (about 12 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- Kosher salt
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 red chilies, finely chopped
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons black vinegar (Chinkiang)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Steamed rice, cooked ramen, or chopped romaine (for serving)
- 1 1/2 cups mixed tender herbs (such as mint, basil, and/or cilantro)
- Lime wedges (for serving)
- Cut cucumbers crosswise into 4 inch-thick pieces. Using a rolling pin, meat mallet, of the flat side of a chef's knife, lightly crush cucumbers, then slice crosswise into 1/2 inch-thick slices; set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over high. Add beef and a pinch of salt; break up meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon then spread out in pan to create a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, until bottom side is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Break up meat with a spatula and turn over pieces. Cook until other side is browned and crisp and meat is cooked through, 5–7 minutes.
- Push meat to one side of pan and add garlic and chiles. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant and softened, about 2 minutes. Mix garlic and chile into meat. Add shallot and reserved cucumbers and cook, tossing occasionally and scraping up any browned bits, until cucumbers are softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. Set skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, until sauce is reduced slightly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon beef and cucumbers over rice and top with herbs. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.
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