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Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad on a plate with chopsticks holding some up.
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Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad (拍黄瓜)

Enjoy Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad bursting with flavor from a spicy vinaigrette made using vinegar and homemade chili oil!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 mins
Total Time12 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Servings: 4
Calories: 80kcal
Author: Jeannette

Equipment

  • cleaver (or any utensil to beat at the cucumbers)

Ingredients

  • 3 cucumbers (3 medium or 2 large)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 3/4 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (1/4 tsp for the sauce and 1/2 tsp to marinate)
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce (or to preference)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp black vinegar (or to preference)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp chili oil (or to preference; we use a homemade version)

Instructions

  • Cut off the ends of each cucumber.
  • Use a large flat utensil like a cleaver or meat mallet to smash the cucumbers one at a time. You want to smash them until they've collapsed into themselves. Avoid over-smashing because they'll turn into mush.
  • Slice them diagonally, roughly 1cm (0.4") thick.
  • Place each cut piece into a large bowl and mix 1/2 tsp salt through. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine the light soy sauce, black vinegar, garlic, sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, sesame oil and chili oil.
  • After the 5 minutes of sitting, pour the cucumber liquid out of the bowl so you're left with just cucumbers.
  • Stir through the sauce and serve immediately as is!

Notes

  • Mash some garlic. Use a mortar and pestle to mash half of the garlic so it can infuse better into the sauce. Leave the other half finely chopped for texture.
  • Add vinegar a little at a time. The tang in black vinegar can go from mild to sour very quickly. Pour in a little at a time and taste as you go to get the perfect balance for you.
  • Make this dish just before serving. The longer the fruit sits with the sauce, the more time it has to soften and lose its crunch.
  • Use firm cucumbers. These will stay crisp compared to the softer ones.
  • Leave the excess sauce behind. Mix the ingredients together, then scoop just the cucumbers and aromatics out to serve. Leave the vinaigrette in the bowl so it doesn't turn the fruit into mush.
  • Great cucumbers for this salad include the English, Persian/Lebanese and Kirby variety.
  • You can use your favorite chili oil condiment like the one from Lao Gan Ma or our Sichuan Garlic Chili Oil.
  • We used Chinkiang black vinegar for this recipe. If you prefer the dish more sour, add more of the vinegar or use less soy sauce. Likewise, if you like it less tangy, use less vinegar or add more soy.
  • This is a simple version of the dish, but you can jazz it up by adding sliced chili, coriander/cilantro, spring onions/shallots, peanuts or sesame seeds.

Nutrition

Calories: 80kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 693mg | Potassium: 328mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 162IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg