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Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe

This famous Chinese smashed cucumber recipe makes a crunchy and savory salad, side, or snack!


No Equipment Needed


Very Easy

Picture of the Asian cucumber salad on a plate.

A little cucumber salad for a fridge snack idea?

Nearly every example of this cucumber recipe suggests serving immediately, which has its merits. The longer the cucumber salad sits, the more crunch it loses and the more water it releases. However, I lived with a Chinese friend who loved to make a large quantity of this salad recipe to store in her fridge for days, and we would periodically spoon up a small bowl of marinated cucumbers as a healthier snack option.

Delicious and easy Chinese side dish for now or later.

Since my first experience with this Chinese dish was at my friend's house, I was surprised that other Asian cuke salad recipes didn't mentioned marinating it. My friend was also confused, saying she knew other people who stored it in the fridge. So she highly recommends that everyone try the marinated version, one of her favorite low calorie snacks!


Substitution for black vinegar or Chinkiang vinegar: This vinegar has a special, deep, rounded flavor that cannot be replicated. In a pinch you could use rice wine vinegar, but bear in mind they are extremely dissimilar and I don't recommend it.

Substitute for crispy chili oil: Any savory Chinese oil with chili flakes in it will do, but if you can't find it you could try mixing in a little gochujang instead. Or leave it out altogether.

Money Saving Tip:

Every ingredient in this recipe is cheaper from an Asian grocery store.

Let's Begin:

Picture of the ingredients for the cucuber salad.

Gather the ingredients.

Picture of the sliced cucumber.

Slice the cucumber lengthwise in half, then each side lengthwise again in half, until you have 4 strips.

Picture of the sliced cucumber being smashed.

Place the flat side of your knife against each strip and strike it with your hand, lightly smashing the cucumber.

Picture of the smashed cucumber strips.

Work down each strip individually until they are all lightly smashed.

Picture of the cucumber sliced into bite-sized pieces.

Line the lightly smashed strips up, and cut them into bite-sized pieces.

Optional step: Sprinkle the 1/2 tsp salt over the pieces, tossing them lightly, then allow then to sweat in a strainer over a bowl for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes discard the water that drained off and give them a light rinse, carefully shaking off any excess water.

Picture of the sauce mixed together.

Add the 1/2 tsp sugar with the 1 Tbs soy sauce and the 2 tsp black vinegar or Chinkiang vinegar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the 1 tsp sesame oil, 1-2 tsp chili oil, and 2 cloves garlic, minced finely, to the mixture and stir.

Picture of the sliced cucumber mixed with the sauce.

Pour the mixture over the cucumber pieces in a bowl and mix them all together.

Serve immediately, or store them in the fridge for later. If you store them for later, stir them occasionally so they marinate evenly.

Picture of plated cucumber salad.


What to serve with this Asian cucumber salad recipe:

This goes along well with any full spread of Chinese dishes, such as;

  • Mapo Tofu

  • Bao

  • Dumplings

  • Stir Fried Eggplants and Green Beans

  • Dan Dan Noodles

  • Biang Biang Noodles

  • Stir Fried Cabbage

  • Shui Zhu Yu

  • Fried Rice

  • etc.


This cucumber salad is good in the fridge for 4-5 days.


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