This zingy smacked cucumber salad is the ultimate refreshing side. Ready in just 5 minutes, it’s as easy as whacking some cucumbers with a rolling pin, chopping them up and tossing with a salty, spicy dressing.
I can’t even tell you how obsessed I am with this cucumber salad. It seems like a weird thing to be obsessed with I know, but seriously. It’s just SO good.
Smacking the cucumbers might seem strange (even though it’s extremely satisfying!) but smacking them actually means you’re creating lots of craggy bits in the cucumber for the dressing to cling to. This means you’re getting maximum flavour in a short amount of time. No need for long marinating or pickling, this guy is ready to go straight away.
There are no fancy ingredients in this salad, so you should be able to find everything in your cupboard or at a supermarket. Along with the obvious cucumber, there are a couple of key ingredients in the dressing.
- Light soy sauce. Use light rather than dark here for a lovely, savoury hit.
- Chilli oil. The salad does have a little bit of a spicy kick from the chilli oil, but the heat is tempered down by the other ingredients. If you’re worried it’ll be too spicy, you could just add ½ a tablespoon of chilli oil. Try making my homemade chilli oil for an even more delicious flavour hit.
- Rice vinegar. This is my favourite vinegar to use in general so I always have some in my cupboard, but you could use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar if you don’t have any.
How to make the salad
Start with the fun part – smacking the cucumber! Take a rolling pin and lay your cucumber on a flat surface. Carefully smack it a few times, moving up and down the cucumber until it splits and cracks. There will be cucumber juices flying around, so it gets a little messy.
Chop the cucumber into small chunks. I like to do this by cutting it in half, then cutting each half again down the middle and cutting it into long strips. Then I just cut the strips into chunks. Add the cucumber to a small bowl and set aside.
Add the minced or grated garlic (I like using a Microplane as I find it easier to clean than a garlic press!), soy sauce, chilli oil, rice vinegar and salt.
Give everything a good mix to coat the cucumber well. Transfer to a serving plate and eat right away.
Got a question?
It definitely does have a spicy kick from the chilli oil, but it’s quite mild. If you’re worried about the spice level, use 1/2 tablespoon of chilli oil instead.
You can smack and chop the cucumber into chunks and mix the dressing ingredients together in advance (up to 3 days), but I wouldn’t mix the cucumber and dressing until you’re ready to serve. The longer the cucumber sits in the dressing, the more liquidy it becomes.
This is one of my favourite salads because it’s so versatile! I’ve shared 3 of my favourite ideas below, but I love this salad alongside grilled chicken or salmon with some rice, tossed through soba noodles (the dressing makes the most unbelievable sauce), on top of a dip like labneh or as a fresh, zingy side to dumplings or bao.
This fun, albeit weird, way to prepare the cucumber for this salad does actually serve a purpose. When you smack the cucumber, you’re bruising the flesh and breaking the texture down a bit. This means that the dressing can penetrate the cucumber a lot faster so you don’t need to marinate or pickle the cucumber before serving. It gives you more flavour in a shorter amount of time, which makes it a win-win in my book!
Three ways to use this salad
- Use it in sesame soba noodle salad
- Enjoy it with miso grilled chicken
- Load it on top of creamy super smooth hummus
Like this recipe? Here are some others you might enjoy!
If you make this recipe let me know in the comments below! I love hearing how you get on with my creations.Print