I’ll take my cucumbers SMASHED thanks!! This Cucumber Salad is made using an Asian technique – bashing the cucumbers so they burst open and the sesame ginger dressing creeps into all those cracks and crevices.
It’s a unique way to prepare cucumbers that creates unique textures and flavours. Try it once and you’ll be addicted for life!
Smashed Cucumber Salad
While one might assume this is a bit of gimmick – because seriously, who thinks to BASH cucumbers for a salad, bruising them into oblivion, smushing this otherwise crisp, juicy vegetable – Smashed Cucumbers is genuinely a way of preparing cucumbers that’s used across much of Asia.
In fact, I was prompted to share “my” version after my mother recently shared her Japanese version of Smashed Cucumbers.
It also helps that she brought some around as part of a bento box lunch set she delivered to me and my team one day! After seeing how obsessed everyone was with the cucumbers (seriously, they went before the Karaage!), it prompted me to share my version.
Smashing the cucumbers until they burst open lets the dressing get right into all those cracks and crevices!
How to make it
Here’s how to make Smashed Cucumber Salad:
- Use anything heavy to bash the cucumbers until they burst open. I use a meat mallet (the smooth side, not ridged faced). Rolling pin, pestle or even a can will do. Don’t bash to the point of oblivion. They just need to bust (see the video);
- Salt lightly – this is mainly to draw excess liquid out. We don’t squeeze out every drop of liquid, but we do want to draw some of the water out, otherwise it ends up really watery;
- Toss with dressing. I also like to add green onions and coriander – I find it give it that extra tasty factor. But I still make it without!
What you need for Smashed Cucumber Salad
And here’s what you need.
You can make this with long cucumbers (Telegraph / English cucumbers) or the more common standard cucumbers (called Lebanese cucumbers in Australia).
The difference between the two types is that the long cucumbers are not as watery / juicy inside so they have a slightly more intense cucumber flavour. It’s useful when you don’t want the natural juiciness of cucumbers to water down the flavour in a salad when you munch your way through it.
For this particular Cucumber Salad, either will work. Use 2 long ones, or 3 to 4 standard cucumbers.
What to serve with Cucumber Salad
This is a cucumber salad with Asian flavours so it is ideal served with anything Asian. Chinese, Japanese food (see my mother’s website RecipeTin Japan), Thai, Vietnamese.
The big chunks of cucumber make it ideal hot weather food and because it’s so refreshing, it’s my natural choice for spicy foods such as:
- Thai Chilli Basil Chicken
- Sticky Baked Chinese Chicken Wings
- Spicy Thai Chicken Stir Fry
- Spicy Korean Pork Stir Fry
- Spicy Chilli Prawn Pasta (Shrimp)
- Asian Chilli Garlic Prawns (Shrimp)
It’s fantastically satisfying, making this Cucumber Salad. Just think – bad day at work, the kids are driving you mad, come home to prepare dinner and you get to vent your frustration by BASHING the food.
And really, really tasty. I’m confident you’ll love this! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Smashed Cucumber Salad
Recipe video above. This is an Asian way of making cucumber salad that’s utterly addictive! Cooling salad for spicy food and hot weather, smashing the cucumbers so they burst open makes the dressing get into right into all those cracks and crevices. Plus, it’s just really satisfying to make!!
- 500g/ 1 lb cucumbers ((4 medium or 2 long cucumbers, Note 1))
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp coriander/cilantro (, roughly chopped)
- 1/4 cup green onions (, sliced)
- 1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil (, toasted (Note 2))
- 1.5 tsp ginger (, freshly grated)
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Bash the cucumbers until they split open on the sides (see video) using something heavy like the smooth side of a meat mallet, rolling pin, pestle or even a can.
- Cut into 2.5cm/1″ chunks then place in a bowl.
- Sprinkle with salt, toss, leave for 20 minutes.
- Drain excess liquid in the bowl.
- Shake or mix Dressing well.
- Drizzle over cucumbers, sprinkle with coriander and green onions. Toss and serve immediately.
1. Cucumber type – use 2 long cucumbers (Telegraph/English Cucumbers) or 3 medium standard cucumbers (called “Lebanese” cucumbers in Australia, these are the most common variety).
2. Sesame oil – toasted sesame oil is brown and has more flavour than untoasted (which is yellow). Default sesame oil sold in Australia is toasted, untoasted is harder to find.
3. Coriander is optional. Green onion is ideal – can sub with finely sliced red onion, eschallots/shallots/French onions or chives.
4. Nutrition – the sodium level looks high because it includes all the salt used to draw excess liquid from the cucumbers. But much of this salt is discarded.
Life of Dozer
Feeling sleepy in the warm afternoon sun….