Crunchy, crispy, and with the cleanest flavor, Asian Cucumber Salad is the best cucumber salad to have for lunch, dinner, or any time of the day as a snack. You just can’t mess up this fresh salad because, besides smashed cucumbers, it asks for so few ingredients!
After the heavy-duty holiday baking, our souls and stomachs were craving cleaner and lighter food. And an Asian cucumber salad made the perfect foil to the binge fest of December.
A cucumber salad in winter? I know most of you are zapped. Bear with me and try the smashed cucumber salad just once, and you'll be hooked for life.
The cool cucumbers against the backdrop of fiery chili oil and sharp vinegar make it a sensory heaven that you can have all year round. When summer ripens into autumn or the autumn blaze fades into winter. When winter grudgingly relents to the urgency of spring or spring blooms into summer once more.
WHY TRY THE ASIAN SMASHED CUCUMBER SALAD RECIPE
A refreshingly saucy salad that you can customize in dozens of ways
You can have it as a lunch salad or as a salad for dinner
It’s also a perfect complement to any number of meals
Quick and easy to make
WHAT IS CRUSHED CUCUMBER SALAD?
Smashed cucumber is a popular snack across Asia, found almost everywhere from streets to restaurants. The dressing used in the salad changes, giving rise to Korean smashed cucumber salad, cucumber Chinese salad, and even smacked cucumber in Tibet.
What doesn’t change is the process. Instead of cutting the cucumber, the salad relies on whacking it open. When you give the culinary vegetable a good wallop, the skin cracks and the crispy flesh splits into intact chunks mixed with tender rubble.
It’s the small, scraggy pieces that make all the delicious difference to the fresh salad because they absorb the flavors of oil, minced garlic, and vinegar lightning fast.
HOW TO MAKE ASIAN CUCUMBER SALAD?
Step 1: Wash your cucumbers thoroughly and dry them.
Step 2: Lay them down on your counter, skin and all, and with the flat side of a large knife, whack them.
Step 3: As you pound the cucumbers, you’ll find they burst open and split into four or so spears. Cut the smashed cucumber into about 1.5-inch pieces.
Step 4: Whisk salt, sugar, light soy sauce, sesame oil, and finely minced garlic with rice vinegar to make the dressing.
Step 5: Pour the dressing over the smashed cucumbers and toss to combine.
Step 6: Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds, drizzle a little chili oil, and garnish with fresh coriander.
Final step: serve!
CRUSHED CUCUMBER SALAD VARIATIONS
- The chili oil is wholly optional, and the smashed cucumbers are delicious without it. But if you want to make the cucumber salad spicy, oomph it up with store-bought or homemade chili oil.
- A fresh salad should be full of contrasts: rich and acidic, crunchy and creamy. So, another variation to try is adding crushed peanuts to give this Asian cucumber salad a solid crunch.
- Or you could use the green part of green onions. Add whatever is handy, or leave them completely out. Additional ingredients are completely optional.
- Some smashed cucumber salad recipes use grated ginger. I chose not to, but don’t let that stop you.
- The light soy sauce and the quantities of the other ingredients are to my taste. I suggest tasting the dressing before you toss it with the smashed cucumbers. Pander to your palate; increase or decrease any of the ingredients, if needed.
SMASHED CUCUMBER SALAD NOTES
I used tiny English cucumbers for this recipe for cucumber salad. They were crisp and not too watery. Plus, we ate the smashed cucumbers immediately. So, I didn’t have to salt the fruit (yes, cucumbers are technically fruits) in advance.
WHY YOU MIGHT NEED TO SALT CUCUMBERS?
Some cucumbers are full of moisture. If you don’t salt them, the water will pool in your salad bowl and turn them from crisp to soggy. So, if your cucumbers are watery, then I recommend tossing them with salt and letting them rest for a while. Squeeze the extra water, and then use the smashed cucumbers to make the salad.
WHAT CAN YOU USE TO SMASH THE CUCUMBERS?
A big knife and your hand will do a wonderful job of splitting open the cucumbers. You can also use a pestle, a rolling pin, or a meat mallet. The idea is to just smash and not beat it so hard that pieces pulverize.
HOW TO SERVE AN ASIAN CUCUMBER SALAD RECIPE?
But I’ve found that you can have smashed cucumber salad all by itself lonesome too, and it becomes the kind of meal that turns the dinner table into a spectacle of silence with only cutlery clinks in the air.
CAN YOU SERVE LEFTOVER CUCUMBER SALADS?
You’d think that cucumbers would get soggy and turn into mush, but surprisingly, they don’t. So, yes, you can serve leftover smashed cucumber salad. The shape holds, and the flavor intensifies.
RECIPES FOR HEALTHY SALADS
Half the joy of cooking is sharing it with others, which is why I’m always eager to hear from you. So go right ahead and drop a comment or reach out on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, or Facebook. I hope you love this smashed cucumber salad as much as we do!
Smashed Asian Cucumber Salad
- 2 Cucumbers I used small English cucumbers
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 2 tsp Light soy sauce
- 2 tsp Sesame oil
- 1 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
- 2 cloves Garlic, finely minced
- Fresh cilantro, Crushed peanuts, Toasted sesame seeds, Chilli oil Optional
- Place a cucumber on the chopping board. Use the flat part of a large knife to smash it.
- It should just burst open. Now cut it lengthways and then into 4-5 pieces. Place in a bowl.
- Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until the sugar dissolves.Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Pour over the cucumbers and mix well.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro, peanuts, toasted sesame, and chili oil.
- Serve and enjoy!