This Chinese Sichuan Smashed Cucumber Salad borrows from a Xi’an sauce I once had. Cucumbers, garlic, and a secret chili ingredient was what I used to recreate this crisp, cool, tangy, spicy marvel. Best of all? Done in about 8 minutes with this low carb, vegan marvel.
Now here’s the thing. Once you make the dressing for this? You can use it over noodles, as a dipping sauce, or for a quick sip of goodness when no one is looking–not that I would ever do such a thing #itotallydidit #noregrets
I love Sichuan Cuisine as a rule. The combo of fresh herbs and hot tingling spices is just perfect, as far as I’m concerned. And I’m a huge cucumber fan with this Indian Cucumber Koshimbir probably being my favorite way to eat cucumbers.
But now with this one, I have given my old favorite some competition!
A little chili crisp oil on noodles? Heaven!
But I digress. What’s more, I need to give you an alternative for it, in case you don't have it. Your options are either crushed Sichuan peppercorns or in a pinch, red pepper flakes (the kind that come with your pizza. Yup. That simple.)
I’ll try to provide subs where possible. But if you like this dish you should get all the original ingredients I specify, and try it including the Chiangkiang vinegar which I use in most of my Chinese cooking.
If you’re looking for more delicious cucumber salads, check out this easy, refreshing Korean Cucumber Salad! If you’re looking for a delicious, spicy pickle recipe, this is the one.
EQUIPMENT YOU MAY NEED TO MAKE THIS SICHUAN SMASHED CUCUMBER SALAD
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- Peel the cucumber into long strips such that you're alternating one long peeled length with one long unpeeled length. When you're done, you should have a cucumber zebra, so to speak 😀 You're doing this to add a little color variation, and also to allow the sauce to flavor but not water-log the outside of the cucumber. This is a tiny affectation that you could skip entirely.
- Cut the cucumber into fourths lengthwise and then cut into chunks.
- Using the flat of your knife--or a cleaver if you trust yourself with one, I can't be trusted with one--roughly smash the cucumber on the side to smoosh it a bit. You want it to crack but not turn into cucumber purée.
- In a bowl mix all the sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust as needed.
- 15-20 minutes prior to serving, pour the sauce over the cucumbers.
- Add cilantro and crushed peanuts (which just totally complete this dish!) and mix well before serving.
- Use crushed Sichuan Peppercorns or red pepper flakes instead of the chili crisp oil, although that oil! Oh my!
- If you don't have Chinkiang Vinegar, use the mildest, least tart vinegar you have and give it a shot.
- If you have a peanut allergy, I'd try toasted pecans or skip entirely