Smashed Cucumbers (拍黃瓜)

Smashed cucumbers tossed in a fragrant, tangy garlic chili oil dressing. Refreshingly crunchy, spicy yet cooling — the perfect hot day dish as summer nears.

A classic method in many regions of China and Taiwan alike. Each vendor, each household seems to do it a little differently — this is my take. I love how the cucumbers take on a completely different texture once they’re smashed; all those craggy bits and crevices are perfect for soaking up that incredible sauce. 


Smashed Cucumbers (拍黃瓜)

5 from 6 votes
Recipe by George L. Course: SidesCuisine: Chinese, TaiwaneseDifficulty: Easy
Servings

3

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

5

minutes

Smashed cucumbers tossed in a fragrant, tangy garlic chili oil dressing. Refreshingly crunchy, spicy yet cooling — the perfect hot day dish as summer nears.

Ingredients

  • 3 Japanese (or other Asian) cucumbers

  • 5 grape tomatoes, halved

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 4 cloves garlic, very finely minced or grated

  • 2 red chilis (like heaven-facing), chopped

  • 1 tablespoon chili oil (preferably homemade)

  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Directions

  • Prepare the Cucumbers. Start by trimming off the ends on each side. Lay them on a large cutting board and one-by-one, smack a few times with the flat side of a wide knife (I use a cleaver) or rolling pin. Note: If you’re scared about flying cucumber seeds in your kitchen, you can wrap the cucumbers in a towel before smashing. Stop when the cucumber is about half of its original height and just split open. Be careful not to beat it into a pulp. For most Japanese (or other Asian) cucumbers, you should see a rib of seeds in the middle — I recommend removing them, but you can leave them be if you’d like. Slice the smashed cucumbers on a sharp diagonal into bite-sized pieces. Place all the pieces into a large bowl and toss with salt. Let stand for about 10 minutes.
  • Dress the Cucumbers. The cucumbers should have released some water, which will gather at the bottom of the bowl. Pour out that water and add the rest of the ingredients: grape tomatoes, garlic, red chilis, chili oil, light soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sugar. Toss and adjust flavors as necessary. Note: This dish is adaptable to a non-spicy version, and it’s just as good! Simply replace the chili oil with vegetable oil (or neutral oil of choice) and remove the red chilis. In place of spicy flavors, you can optionally add more toasted sesame oil (about 1 tsp more) and 1-2 more cloves of garlic.
  • To serve. Chill the finished dish in the fridge for ~1 hour to allow flavors to infuse. It is best served cold!

Notes

  • Choice of Cucumbers. The ideal cucumber for this recipe is thin-skinned (won’t need to peel) and nearly-seedless. My favorite one is the Japanese cucumber (also known as kyuri), as its flavor and texture is superior for a salad like this. You can also use Persian or baby cucumbers, in which case you won’t need to de-seed them.

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Beth Hurley
Beth Hurley
1 month ago

DELICIOUS and super easy to make! Thank you!