Hong Kong's scorching summers seem to last forever and with at least one more month of heat and humidity to endure, it's tempting to subsist solely on salads, ice cream and cold drinks. But you can make more substantial meals without overheating the kitchen - or yourself. The following dishes require little or no cooking. Gai see fun pei (pictured) This is an easy dish because it uses the salt-baked or soy-sauce chicken sold at Chinese roast-meat shops. Purchase the chicken uncut and shred the meat into long strands. Fun pei are sheets of mung bean noodles. You can find them, tightly rolled, in the refrigerated noodle sections of some supermarkets. Like the more familiar fun see (dried mung bean vermicelli), fun pei doesn't need to be cooked; rather, you just soak it in hot water (I use boiled water from the kettle). There are many versions of the sauce for this dish. At some restaurants, it tastes like plain sesame paste, spooned straight from the jar. This version is more tasty, but should be made according to your preferences. ? cooked soy-sauce or salt-baked chicken 300 grams fun pei 1 Chinese or Japanese cucumber, about 100 grams Fresh coriander For the sauce: 60 grams Chinese sesame paste (don't use tahini) 1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced 15ml regular soy sauce, or to taste 15ml light soy sauce, or to taste A few drops of runny honey, or to taste 10ml rice-wine vinegar, or to taste 10ml Chinese sesame oil, or to taste Shred the chicken into long, thick strands. Combine the ingredients for the sauce then taste and adjust seasonings. If the sauce is too thick, add a little warm water. Finely julienne the cucumber. Boil a kettle of water. Cut the rolls of fun pei into 1cm-wide pieces and place them in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the fun pei pieces and let them stand for about one minute, or until they're translucent and pliable. Drain, rinse under cold water then unroll the pieces into long noodles. Pile the noodles onto a platter, add the julienned cucumber and top with the shredded chicken. Spoon the sauce over the top and garnish with sprigs of coriander. Cucumbers with garlic and sesame Don't worry about the large amount of salt in this dish - most of it is rinsed off. The salt draws the excess moisture from the cucumbers and makes them more crunchy. I learned to make this dish by whacking the cucumbers with the side of the cleaver. If done with enough force, the cucumber breaks lengthwise into four uneven pieces, which are then cut into bite-size sections. Because the interior of the cucumber is jagged, rather than smooth, it allows the vegetable to absorb more flavour. If you prefer a neater look, use a knife to cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise before cutting into bite-size pieces. This dish is a good accompaniment to gai see fun pei and chilled somen. 300 grams Chinese or Japanese cucumbers 3 heaped tsp fine salt 2-3 medium-sized garlic cloves, chopped 45ml Chinese sesame oil Rinse the cucumbers. Lay one on a cutting board and hit it sharply with the side of a cleaver, all the way down the length of the cucumber. It should break lengthwise into four pieces. Cut the pieces into sections 2cm to 3cm long. Repeat with the other cucumbers. Place the pieces in a colander, sprinkle with salt then use your hands to mix evenly. Let the cucumber stand for about 20 minutes then rinse thoroughly under cool, running water. Taste a piece: it should taste only slightly salty. If it's too salty, continue to rinse. Drain the cucumber then dry well with kitchen towels, squeezing out the moisture. Put the cucumber in a bowl and mix with the chopped garlic and the sesame oil. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Chilled somen with dipping sauce I learned to make this at the house of our Japanese neighbours in California. She served the noodles in bowls of ice water and guests had individual bowls of dipping sauce. The dashi (dried bonito and sea kelp) broth should be made in advance so it has time to chill. The somen (wheat noodles) are displayed in neatly bundled packs in the dried-noodle section of Japanese supermarkets. You can also use soba (buckwheat noodles, fresh or dried) or cha-soba (green-tea noodles). 400 grams dried somen For the dipping sauce: 15-20 grams kombu (dried sea kelp) 1 litre water 30 grams katsuo-bushi flakes 100ml Japanese soy sauce 50ml mirin Minced spring onions Ginger, finely grated Accompaniments: Japanese fish cake, thinly sliced (available at Uny, City'super and Great) Dried seaweed, finely julienned (it's easiest with kitchen shears) To make the dashi, soak the kombu in one litre of cold water for about two hours. Place the water and kombu in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook at barely a simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the kombu from the water, add the bonito flakes and immediately turn off the heat. When the bonito flakes sink to the bottom of the pan, strain the liquid into another container through a colander lined with a double layer of cheesecloth. Let the liquid drain naturally, without squeezing the cloth. Cool the dashi broth then refrigerate. For the sauce, mix 300ml of dashi with the soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Taste for seasonings then chill. Refrigerate the remaining dashi and use within three days. Boil a pot of water, add the somen and cook until tender but not overcooked. Drain the noodles and run under cold running water. Drain again and place in a large bowl of water with ice cubes. Portion the noodles into smaller bowls and serve with individual bowls of dipping sauce. Let your guests add spring onions and ginger to the dipping sauce and eat with sliced fish cake and seaweed. Cold beancurd This is good with the chilled somen. 1 block soft (sometimes called silken) tofu 60ml soy sauce 20ml sesame oil Spring onions, finely minced Fresh ginger, finely grated Drain the beancurd (tofu) and pat dry. Cut into four pieces and place on individual plates. Drizzle each portion with some soy sauce and sesame oil, top with the spring onions and ginger, and serve.