New recipes

Sichuan cucumber salad recipe

Sichuan cucumber salad recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Vegetable salad
  • Cucumber salad

This salad is spicy, light, refreshing and packed full of flavour. Serve as cold starter.

3 people made this

IngredientsServes: 3 - 4

  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into 5cm strips
  • 5 dried red chillies
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown soft sugar
  • 5 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons hot chilli oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:5min ›Extra time:10min marinating › Ready in:25min

  1. Place the cucumber strips onto a serving plate and set aside.
  2. Dry-fry the dried chillies in a frying pan until fragrant. Let cool and coarsely grind.
  3. Make the sauce by mixing together the garlic, spring onion, ground chillies, soy sauce, dark brown soft sugar, chilli oil, black vinegar and roasted sesame seeds. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the sauce over the cucumber and toss well. Marinate for 3 minutes and serve.


Instead of cutting the cucumber into strips, use a spiraliser.

Recently viewed

Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(3)

Reviews in English (3)

Whoa, man, I thought I liked spicy food. I cut the peppers back to 4 (considering it also has chili oil), and this was still too hot for me. I really liked the flavor of the dressing, so I will try this one again with 2 peppers, taste, and if necessary, bump up to 3 (maybe, I'm a wimp?). If you REALLY like it hot, go with the way it's written, otherwise, I'd suggest you start out with fewer peppers, and add more to suit your taste. I also think it may be just as easy to add some crushed red pepper flakes instead of "dry-frying" the whole peppers and grinding (with no sacrifice to taste), but just my opinion.-08 Feb 2015

Sichuan Smashed Cucumber Salad + Hot Chili Oil

After being mostly absent in October, I’ve made it my mission to try and post two new recipes a week. I’m still playing catch up. But! I wanted to pop in really quickly and bring you this not-very-seasonal-but-still-totally-necessary recipe. Sichuan Smashed Cucumber Salad + Hot Chili Oil.

My introduction to this cool and crisp snack was recent, when my dude and I hit up Portland, ME. We had some time to kill before checking into our Airbnb, so we snuck into a dumpling house for a little nosh. After two flights in stuffy airplanes, the thought of a refreshing cucumber salad sounded so good.

And it was love at first bite.

We devoured the entire bowl in minutes. Everything about it was perfect: the nuttiness from the sesame oil, the tanginess from the rice vinegar, the contrast of sweet and salty from the soy sauce, and the heat from the hot chili oil. My husband and I just looked at each other and, between crunches, agreed that we needed to make this at home. On the reg.

It helps that it’s so easy whisk > smash > toss > eat.

Sichuan Smashed Cucumber Salad + Hot Chili Oil.

Sichuan cuisine is known for being pretty fiery. This cucumber salad acts as a cooling palate cleanser to nibble on between spicy bites—but it also works as a fab appetizer.

Here’s a random fact for you that might be helpful in some sort of trivia one day: one of the main ingredients, Sichuan peppercorn, was banned in the US from 1968 to 2005. Not because of its heat (which would actually make a better story), but because it was found to be capable of carrying citrus canker—a disease that affects citrus species. (Today you learned!)

These days you should be able to find legit Sichuan peppercorns at Asian markets without any issue. But! Instead of sending my tongue into a numbed and tingly frenzy, I decided to use hot chili oil instead you could also use chili flakes.

If you make this dish, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme! I love seeing your creations, and you could be featured in my monthly newsletter <3

Sichuan Cucumber Three Ways: Hot-and-Sour, Mala and Sesame (Pai Huang Gua)

Sichuan knows how to treat a cucumber: with spice! Here are three cucumber preparations, using three different forms of chili pepper, and resulting in three very different tastes. The first is hot-and-sour and similar to a Western quick pickle with the addition of pickled or fresh red chilies. The second is mala, the smacked cucumber smacking strongly of that incomparable toasty chili and tingly Sichuan pepper taste that makes mala so addictive. And the third is so flavor-packed with chili oil, sesame paste and yacai preserved vegetable that it makes you wonder why you never thought to combine these things with cucumber before.

Yet despite the spice, somehow they all manage to remain cool cucumbers.

We eat the hot-and-sour cucumber pickle as a garnish for bao or an acid offset to a fatty dish such as hong shao rou. The other two cucumber dishes are called pai huang gua, or smashed cucumber salad, and are powerful enough to act as substantial side dishes.

Smack the lovely cucumber pieces along their backs with a rolling pin or heavy knife to break them down a bit

So let’s get started. First you’ll need English cucumbers, which are relatively seedless but you’ll still want to scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Partially peel each half in stripes with a vegetable peeler. For the hot-and-sour recipe, cut the halves in thin, half-moon slices. This is easiest done with a mandolin if you have one. The other two recipes use smashed cucumbers. Just smack them on the back with a rolling pin or large knife to break the skin and fibers and allow them to absorb more sauce.

Salting-and-waiting lessens both water content and bitterness

For any of the Sichuan cucumber recipes, you’ll want to salt the cut pieces and let them drain in a colander to remove some bitterness and water from the cucumbers and partially “cook” them. In my testing, I tried at first to skip this step, and the sauce became too watery and diluted and the cucumbers were a little bitter. So give yourself half an hour or more to salt the cucumbers. It also makes for a nicer texture.

The key ingredients to mala cucumbers are dried chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns toasted in oil plus a dash of low-acid rice vinegar

The mala cucumbers have just a touch of white rice vinegar, but are mostly sauced with a bit of heated oil flavored with chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. I used small, hot chilies for this, but you could use larger, milder ones and snip them in half. Don’t be chintzy with the peppers or Sichuan pepper, however, as you want a strong flavor to do the cucumber justice.

While it would be lovely to retain the bright red color of the chilies in the final dish, you really need to cook the chilies and Sichuan pepper enough to release their full fragrance and toasty flavor. Be careful not to burn them though. When the oil is hot and fragrant, pour it over your bowl of cucumbers and mix well.

The goal is to toast the peppers until they smell super fragrant but are not burned

Mala on the plate, with Sichuan chilies and Sichuan peppercorns

For the sesame cucumbers, you’ll need a couple of specialty items, namely Chinese sesame paste and the Sichuanese preserved mustard green stems called suimi yacai. This is a fantastically unique combination along with some rice vinegar and fresh garlic.

Cucumber + sesame + yacai, oh my!

I adapted the sesame cucumber recipe from Chinese cuisine authority Fuchsia Dunlop it appears as a variant of her smacked cucumber recipe in Every Grain of Rice. It’s far too special, however, to be seen as a second choice—especially after it gets a drizzle of homemade chili oil.

Chili oil is the crowning touch

I’ll admit now that these three recipes show my bias, since the most popular cucumber dish in China is probably smashed with lots of fresh garlic. But since no one in my family likes to eat too much raw garlic—we prefer our spice in the form of chili pepper, as you can tell—I’ll direct you to Maggie’s recipe at Omnivore’s Cookbook for the classic pai huang gua with garlic.

Recipe: Sichuan Cucumber Salad

If you have a well-stocked Sichuan pantry you already have the two key ingredients for Sichuan Cucumber Salad: sichuan peppercorns and mild dried red chilis. Even though it earns the sobriquet “Mala” which means “hot and numbing” in Mandarin, this is actually a cool and refreshing salad which goes well with an assortment of hot and cold dishes perhaps for a summer picnic. 4 appetizer portions.

1 whole cucumber
½ t Kosher salt
2 t neutral oil
¾ t Sichuan peppercorns
8 or so dried Sichuan red chilis
1 t toasted sesame oil

Method: peel the cucumber if it has thick waxy skin otherwise leave skin on. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and pulp discard. Cut each half into thirds then cut lengthwise into batons approximately the dimensions of French fries. Mix thoroughly with salt and rest at least 30 minutes.

Wash off salt in a colander and dry the cucumber pieces with a paper towel. Lightly crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle. Cut dried chiles into thirds with scissors and discard any seeds that fall out.

Heat the oil in a medium-hot wok and add peppercorns and dried chiles heat about a minute until they become fragrant. Add cucumber and toss with oil until warm and thoroughly coated, no more than a minute. Transfer to a serving dish and toss with sesame oil. Chill until ready to serve cold.

Note: no substitutions available. If you don’t have the two key ingredients, get them before you try the recipe. Do NOT replace Sichuan peppercorns with regular black peppercorns, or mild Sichuan chilis with much hotter American chilis.

  • 1 (8-ounce) package shirataki noodles, drained
  • 3 dried Thai chilies or 1 teaspoon chili flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste or tahini
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese Chinkiang or black vinegar (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and thin stems
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts crushed lightly under a pan or in a mortar and pestle

Transfer shirataki noodles to a colander or strainer. Rinse under cold running water for 30 seconds, then set over a bowl to drain while you make the sauce.

Crush the dried chilies in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder until it has the texture of store-bought crushed red pepper flakes. Place in a heatproof container along with Sichuan peppercorns. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Pour the hot oil over the chilies and Sichuan peppercorns (it should sizzle vigorously). Let stand 5 minutes while you prepare the rest of the sauce.

Combine garlic, ginger, sesame paste, vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar in a large bowl and stir with a spoon to combine. Carefully pour the chili-infused oil into the bowl through a fine mesh strainer (add only half of the chili sauce if you prefer a less spicy dish). Discard dried chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. Stir sauce to emulsify, adding a few drops of water if it is very thick (sesame paste can vary in thickness). Add cucumbers, scallions, cilantro, sesame seeds, and drained noodles. Toss to coat, adjusting seasoning with more tahini, sugar, soy sauce, or vinegar to taste. Transfer to a serving platter, top with peanuts, and serve.

Have Chinese cucumber recipes or tips?

If you have a cucumber salad recipe you prepare for your loved ones or tips on the recipes above, we’d love to see it here! Let us know in the comments.

Zhen Wei Feng is a fun destination dining experience in Brooklyn. Our talented chefs infuse authentic Chinese recipes with Japanese and French touches to excite the palette like never before. Our modern dining backdrop allows you to explore the crossover of long-standing traditional and new, fast-paced technology.

Come see what the buzz is all about and let us elevate your Asian fusion expectations.

What does smashing or crushing the cucumbers do?

It’s a fairly quick dish to make and includes a smashing step that is more than just fun, but purposeful. Smashing or crushing cucumbers creates pieces of rigid craters in the cucumbers.

After smashing, you end up with a wide range of textures for each piece: from crisp and sharp edges to tender and soft centers. This makes for a varied textural experience when eating and also allows for more surface area on the veggies to soak up the tasty dressing.

For this recipe, I liked to use persian cucumbers because they have a nice crunch and they have a sweet and mild flavor that pairs well with the dressing. The dressing for this recipe is a combination of chinkiang black vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, chile oil, sugar, and soy sauce.

While this dish has a lower vinegar content than other pickles, like atchara, the use of chinkiang black vinegar helps to bring in ample flavor. The addition of chinkiang black vinegar is necessary for its mild and complex flavor profile that does well to not overpower the cucumbers in this recipe.

15 Flavorful Cucumber Salad Recipes

From cucumber salads featuring sour cream and dill to more inventive recipes meant to mimic the flavors of classic cocktails, we have a rich variety of cucumber salad recipes we know you'll want to try.

Related To:

Photo By: Renee Comet ©Renee Comet

Creamy Cucumber Salad

When many people think of cucumber salad, they are probably thinking of this recipe. This is a great place to start for a proper Eastern and Central European-style cucumber salad. Cucumbers and sweet onions glazed with a tart sour cream and dill dressing make for a refreshing accompaniment to any main.

Ina Garten’s Creamy Cucumber Salad

If you can&rsquot decide between sour cream or yogurt in your cucumber salad, Ina Garten is here to ask, &ldquoWhy not both?&rdquo This simple yet luscious cucumber salad includes both yogurt and sour cream with a hint of champagne vinegar for extra tartness. Fresh dill keeps things traditional with its lemony aroma.

Cucumber Salad

Ellie Krieger&rsquos simple cucumber salad features a lot of the familiar elements, like dill and onions. However, it skips the sour cream, making this a much lighter take on a classic. As well, it makes a perfect side to rich and creamy dishes.

Michael Symon’s Cucumber Salad

Chef Symon is practically a hometown hero in Cleveland, Ohio, where the local food scene is heavily influenced by its many Eastern European immigrants. As such, cucumber salads like this one are a mainstay on many Cleveland tables. This recipe keeps things simple with the trifecta of dill, onions and vinegar to enhance the combination of cucumbers and sour cream.

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Mint

This salad is like a sunny Mediterranean day on a plate. Molly Yeh&rsquos recipe combines adorable Persian cucumbers with fresh lemon juice and mint for a classic flavor profile. The flavors are perked up even more with a sprinkle of za&rsquoatar, a Middle Eastern mix of intensely aromatic dried wild thyme and sesame.

Mint Julep Cucumber Salad

You read right, but don&rsquot dismiss this recipe as gimmicky. And don&rsquot think it&rsquos only good for Kentucky Derby parties. Honey, bourbon and mint leaves really play well together in a vinaigrette with firm, crisp Kirby cucumbers. It will definitely be a conversation piece for how innovative and tasty it is.

Creamy Dilled Cucumber Salad

This cucumber salad is packed full of Eastern Mediterranean flavors and is reminiscent of Greek tzatziki. Except that instead of being a sauce to drizzle on gyros and souvlaki, it&rsquos a nice, hearty salad. Plain yogurt provides a lighter richness than sour cream, while a combination of dill and mint provide a balance of lemony and tingly flavors.

Asian-Inspired Cucumber Salad

Do you have a jar of pickled ginger sitting in your refrigerator from that one time you decided to host a sushi party at home? It can be hard to think of something to do with those sweet-hot slivers other than pairing them with California rolls, but we have you covered. Japanese pickled ginger is the secret ingredient to this quick cucumber salad. A little hint of fresh jalapeño chile adds some heat.

Cucumber Pickle Salad

This recipe from Alex Guarnaschelli ingeniously combines cucumbers in two forms. Fresh cucumbers are, of course, expected in a cucumber salad. Pickled cucumbers, however, are an unexpected addition. The briny pickles are just one of three layers of tartness in this recipe that includes a garlicky vinaigrette and homemade pickled red onions.

Cucumber Walnut Salad

This light cucumber salad recipe calls for Persian cucumbers, which are small, almost like baby English cucumbers. They&rsquore also incredibly juicy, and their flavor mingles with the tart vinaigrette to make a cool palate cleanser at any meal. Fresh parsley adds an herbaceous perfume, while walnuts lend this salad some crunch and richness.

Ponzu Smashed Cucumber Salad

Valerie Bertinelli&rsquos recipe for cucumber salad combines elements from different Asian cuisines for a boldly flavored yet refreshing accompaniment to a meal. Ponzu, a citrusy soy dressing from Japan, meets sambal oelek, a fiery chile sauce from Indonesia, to form the flavor base of this salad. Ginger, garlic, scallions and cilantro round contribute to this salad&rsquos nuanced flavors.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

This recipe from Rachael Ray is a riff on choban salad, a refreshing chopped salad from Turkey that is also popular throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. You only need a handful of ingredients to make this easy side, which you may already have in your kitchen. A fistful of Italian parsley gives this salad a fresh, green perfume that reminds us of summer.

Indian Cucumber and Yogurt Salad

We can&rsquot create a roundup of the best cucumber salad recipes without including a raita. Raitas are cooling yogurt-dressed salads from India that can include almost any type of fruit or vegetable. However, one of the most popular types of raita is made with cucumber. Aarti Sequeira gives us her recipe for cucumber raita flavored with mint and studded with golden raisins, which give this salad little bursts of sweetness.

Smashed Chinese Cucumber Salad

Smashed cucumber salads have been popular in many world cuisines for a very long time. You literally smash the cucumbers, which gives them jagged edges &mdash that soak up more dressing! And, trust us, you will definitely want Molly Yeh&rsquos umami-rich dressing penetrating every bite of this salad.

Asian-Inspired Hot-Sweet Pickle Salad

Rachael Ray gives us this recipe for quick pickles that also double as a salad. It&rsquos a recipe that mixes Central European pickling elements, like dill and bay leaves, with some ingredients typically associated with East Asia. What really gives this recipe its character, though is a healthy dose of tamari or soy sauce, which infuses the cukes with plenty of umami.

Sichuan Cucumber Salad

A cool, easy side dish that goes well with the Beef With Peppers.

Servings: 3 - 4
Related Recipes

Trim the ends from the cucumbers and cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds. Cut each half lengthwise into 1/2-inch pieces, then cut each piece crosswise on a slight diagonal into 1-inch lengths. Place the cucumbers in a medium bowl. Toss with the salt cover loosely and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, Szechuan peppercorn powder, hot bean sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and chili oil. Set aside.

Wash the cucumbers in cold water, drain them and dry them well with a paper towel. Return them to their bowl and add the sauce mixture, tossing to combine. Let stand, loosely covered, for 1 hour at room temperature or for up to 4 hours in the refrigerator. Serve the cucumbers in the liquid, either slightly chilled or at room temperature.

1 tbsp Chinese five spice

Score pork in lines 2cm apart crossways (you can ask your butcher to do this).

In a dish that will fit pork, combine all ingredients, except pork and salt. Marinate pork, being careful to keep skin clean and dry, in fridge for 3 hours or overnight.

When you're ready to cook it, bring pork to room temperature and pat skin dry with kitchen paper.

Preheat oven to 220°C. Transfer pork to baking tray, discard marinade and roast for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, sprinkle pork skin with salt, decrease oven temperature to 180°C and cook for another 30 minutes.

Turn oven grill to high, cook pork for about 20 minutes or until skin crackles and blisters (make sure it doesn't burn). Set aside to rest for 20 minutes, then carve along lines to serve.

Finely shred ½ Chinese cabbage and toss with juice of 1 lime and ½ tbsp sea salt. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Peel, halve lengthways and slice diagonally 2 Lebanese cucumbers.

In a frying pan, heat 2 tbsp rice bran oil and fry 2 cloves garlic, chopped, ½ chilli, finely sliced, and 2 tsp Sichuan pepper until fragrant.

Drain cabbage toss with cucumbers.

In a bowl, combine 2 tbsp rice vinegar and 1 tsp sesame oil. Add garlic mixture and toss into salad.