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Sichuan Smashed Cucumbers with hot chili oil in a bowl.

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Sichuan Smashed Cucumber Salad + Hot Chili Oil

This Sichuan Smashed Cucumber Salad + Hot Chili Oil brings everything to the table. It's crisp, cool, sweet, salty, and spicy.


  • 2 large English cucumbers, washed
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tsp rice vinegar, or Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic, grated to a paste
  • 1 TBSP low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp unrefined sugar
  • 1 TBSP toasted sesame seeds
  • 1-2 TBSP hot chili oil
  • Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish


  • Wash your cucumbers well, then trim and discard the end pieces. Slice each cucumber crosswise into three equal parts. Place the cucumbers in large sealable freezer bag and, using a rolling pin, meat mallet, or small skillet, give the cucumbers a few good whacks to smash them. You want to be firm, but careful. After a few whacks, the cucumbers will flatten and naturally split into 3-4 lengthwise spears. Tear the spears apart, then break the spears into 1-inch/bite-sized pieces. Set the cucumber pieces into a colander and set the colander into a large bowl. Sprinkle salt over the cucumbers, toss to coat, and let them stand for 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, whisk the vinegar and garlic together in small bowl; let it stand for 5 minutes. (You'll get the best result if you use a microplane to grate your garlic into a paste.)
  • After 5 minutes, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar into the vinegar and garlic mixture. Whisk it well until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • Place the cucumbers in a serving bowl; get rid of any excess liquid that pooled in the bowl. Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and give them a light toss. Drizzle 1-2 TBSP of hot chili oil over the cucumbers and garnish them with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions. Serve immediately.


To toast sesame seeds, add them to a dry pan and place the pan over medium-low heat for about 3-5 minutes, or until they start to brown and become aromatic. Stir them a few times throughout the process to keep them from burning.