Milu (235 Kent Ave.), a casual Chinese restaurant with one other location in Manhattan’s Nomad neighborhood, recently opened a second location in Williamsburg. The menu is an “enthusiastic exploration of Chinese regional cuisines” that showcases dishes that Chef Connie Chung “loves to make, eat, and share.”

This week, Chef Chung has shared her recipe for marinated cucumbers with the option of making and using homemade chili oil. See how to make Milu’s marinated cucumbers and chili oil below and find last week’s Community Cookbook recipe here.

Milu’s marinated cucumbers as a side dish at Milu. Photo: Michelle Giang

Milu’s Marinated Cucumbers


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 (can use gluten free soy sauce)

1 tablespoon of Chinkiang black vinegar

3 tablespoons of chili oil, with sediment (can use store-bought or follow the recipe for homemade below)


  1. Slice the cucumbers on a bias, as thinly as you can, but only cutting about 3/4’s of the way through. (This is a very traditional cut, and also a great way to get as much of the sauce in/on the cucumbers as possible.)
  2. After scoring them, cut the cucumbers into 1-2 inch pieces. 
  3. Season the cucumbers with the salt and let sit at least an hour, but preferably overnight. (The salt draws the moisture out of the cucumbers to give you that crunch!)
  4. Once the cucumbers have released some of their liquid, rinse well with cold water. 
  5. Squeeze the cucumbers to remove any excess liquid, and set aside.
  6. Combine the garlic with the oil in a small pot. 
  7. Cook over very low heat until the garlic is tender and golden brown, 30-45 minutes. 
  8. Remove from heat and let cool. 
  9. Drain the oil (save this oil, it is super flavorful and is great on steamed veggies, or in a salad dressing). 
  10. Combine the roasted garlic with the sugar, soy sauce, black vinegar, and chili oil and blend until smooth.
  11. Dress the cucumbers with the sauce. 
  12. Enjoy immediately or keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Chili Oil 

Chili Oil Ingredients

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 any neutral oil)

1 cup of Sichuan chili flakes

1 teaspoon of salt

Chili Oil Directions

  1. Place the star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, Sichuan peppercorns, and cloves in a pot and toast over medium heat until fragrant. 
  2. Add the garlic and oil and bring to 375 F. 
  3. Remove from heat and let steep for 30 minutes. 
  4. While the oil is steeping, place the chili flakes and salt in a heatproof container. 
  5. Once the oil has steeped, check the temperature. (If the temperature has dropped below 300 F, return the oil to the heat and bring back up to 300 F.)
  6. Strain the warm oil through a fine mesh strainer into the chili flakes. 
  7. Stir and let cool.

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