This spicy garlicky, vinegary crushed Chinese cucumber salad recipe is a fantastic accompaniment and something I enjoy eating alone. It’s delicate and spiced just enough to keep your taste buds begging to eat more.
I’ve eaten this dish at a few of my most favorite restaurants such as A&J as well as Din Tai Fung and it’s my go-to dish along with Chinese Xiao Long Bao, pork and shrimp Shumai and other salty and spicy foods.
After experimenting with a variety of variants, I’ve finally come up with an recipe that provides fresh and lightly picked cucumber salad at home you can prepare in advance.
Smashed cucumber salad can also be called “pai huang gua” and is an Sichuan dish that originates from China. It is typically served as a side dish that adds a crunchy flavor to your meals. This dish is lightly pickedled and is extra flavorful because of it’s degorging method.
I’m sure you’re thinking of a terrible name, but it can give us amazing results. Degorging basically involves sprinkles of salt on the vegetables and let them rest in the salt mixture for a time.
Salt helps purge some of the water from the veggies and lets the cucumbers absorb all the delicious sweetness of the dressing that you add in later. This is the same procedure that we employ in other pickled recipeslike atchara, do chua as well as sunomono.
It’s got a refreshing and tangy taste, and you do not lose the crunchy texture of this dish when you make it.
What can smashing or crushing cucumbers accomplish?
It’s quite simple to prepare and comes with the smashing process that’s not just enjoyable, but also purposeful. Crushing or smashing cucumbers can create fragments of craters that are rigid inside the cucumbers.
After smashing, you’ll will have a broad spectrum of textures for every piece of food: from crisp and sharp edges, to soft and soft middles. This gives you a diverse taste and can also provide an increased surface area on the vegetables that can absorb the flavorful dressing.
In the recipe I opted using persian cucumbers as they are crunchy and an astringent and sweet taste which is great to the dressing. The dressing in this recipe is a blend of chinkiang’s black vinegar, garlic, sesame oil sugar, chile oil along with soy sauce.
Although this recipe contains less vinegar than other pickles like atchara, the addition of chinkiang’s black vinegar can help to give the dish a rich flavor. The addition of chinkiang’s vinegar is essential for its subtle and complex flavor which is able to overwhelm the cucumbers in this recipe.
Optional chile flakes, sesame seeds
If you’d like to add an extra kick in your smashed cucumbers you can add dried chile powder to ramp the heat. To add more textures I also like to add toasting sesame seeds over the top.
Storage and serving
If you have any leftover cucumber salad Place your leftovers inside an airtight container and then store it in the refrigerator to ensure the optimal outcomes. While some people say this salad should be eaten in fresh form, it’s been my observation it’s still pretty crisp after sitting stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Contrary to the other “salads” cucumber is rather robust even after being in the dressing for salad.
If you’re looking for an old-fashioned salad, you could also prepare in an Asian salad dressing to serve with the vegetables and toppings you have at your home. There are a lot of simple Asian recipes as well as different healthy recipes for salads, like look at these salad recipes for the green goddess salad, green papaya salad and Vietnamese mango salad (goi xoai), too!
Easy Chinese Cucumber Salad Recipe (Smashed, Spicy & Garlicky)
- mallet, rolling pin, or meat tenderizer
- 220g persian cukes (each one weighs around 55 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 tbsp chinkiang black vinegar
- 3/4 tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Clean your cucumbers in running water, then cut the ends off. Place them on the top of a dish towel placed on your counter. Put a dish towel over the cucumbers so that they are covered.
- Use mallets or rolling pins to crush the cucumbers. You should smash them until they crack and break however, the cucumber remains intact in one piece. Make use of a knife to break the smashed pieces down into pieces of about 1/2 inch to make eating them easier.
- Put all the cucumbers in an unlit bowl. Sprinkle with salt in the most evenly you can to ensure that all cucumbers are covered in salt. Be careful in this step because even when mixing the salt, some will remain on the cucumber where you originally sprinkled it. Mix the cucumbers thoroughly and allow the mixture to rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Put the cucumbers in a strainer . Run through the cucumbers with water to get rid of any salt.
- Make use of your fingers to squeeze the excess water from the cucumbers. You'll want to get rid of as much water as you can so that the cucumber can absorb all the dressing without crushing the cucumbers.
- In a different bowl, mix the black vinegar chinkiang, sesame oil, sugar and soy sauce. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Mix the dressing in with the cucumber, and ensure that all cucumbers are covered by the dressing.
- Serve right away or put in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes to get the experience of having a cucumber salad that is colder.