So why a smashed cucumber? The difference is apparent in the first bite. Sliced cucumbers are smooth and the surface does not absorb the flavour as much. Whereas, smashed cucumbers help gives the pieces nice ragged edges, all the better for holding the garlic vinegar goodness.
I make cucumber salad quite frequently because it is easy and addictive. The vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, and pepper flakes are such simple ingredients, but they make this dish all yummy. It is a common dish to find on the menu at Chinese Restaurants and can be easily re-created at home!
Traditionally, this dish is made by smashing the cucumber with the side of a cleaver. I’ve found that it was easiest for me to smash the cucumber with my heavy mallet. After smashing, I roughly chop the cucumbers into chunks and toss it together with the other ingredients.
Smashed Asian Cucumber Salad
1 Large Cucumber, 1/2 Teaspoon Salt 1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce 2 Cloves Garlic, Crushed 2 Tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar 2 Teaspoon Sesame Oil 1 Tablespoon Sugar 2 Teaspoon Chili Oil (or click here for Homemade Chili Oil)
Garnishes: Small handful of chopped cilantro Sprinkle of Sesame Seeds (optional if your chili oil does not have sesame seeds)
Wash the cucumbers and pat them dry with a clean towel.
Make the vinaigrette in a bowl. Stir until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved. Set this aside.
On a cutting board, using the flat side of the heavy mallet, or a side of a cleaver, smash the whole cucumber until they begin to crack and open.
Next chop the cucumbers roughly into bite-size chunks.
Toss the cucumber with the remaining ingredients in a bowl until well dressed.
Let the cucumbers marinate in the vinegary garlicky goodness for about 10 minutes.
Serve, garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro.