Lunar New Year

Smacked Cucumber Salad

February  9, 2018
6 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Makes 4 cups
Author Notes

A simple, piquant side dish, you'll want to make a big batch of this so you can serve it as part of a feast, or something to eat alongside any meal.

Featured In: Extra-Long Noodles Star in This Lucky, Scrumptious Lunar New Year FeastHsiao-Ching Chou

What You'll Need
  • 5-6 Persian cucumbers or 1 small English cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chili pepper
  1. Trim the ends of the cucumbers. Starting at one end of a cucumber, place the flat of your knife (or a rolling pin) on top of the cucumber. Gently but firmly strike the blade with the heel of your palm to smash the cucumber (“so the vegetable splinters and opens up with jagged cracks” or “so it splits”). Cut into bite-sized pieces, and set aside in a medium bowl. Repeat this for the rest of the cucumbers. If there are any large sections, you can cut through them.
  2. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the medium bowl and mix well. Cover and let the cucumbers marinate on the counter for at least 30 minutes before serving. Store the cucumber in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • chezjenne
  • Hsiao-Ching Chou
    Hsiao-Ching Chou
  • katrin
  • Allen Lau
    Allen Lau
Hsiao-Ching Chou is the author of "Chinese Soul Food: A Friendly Guide for Homemade Dumplings, Stir-Fries, Soups and More." She lives in Seattle with her family. Text her cooking questions via her messaging service: 206-565-0033.

8 Reviews

chezjenne November 21, 2021
This recipe is fun and easy. I usually add another veggie like shredded carrots or chopped radish for color. I've made it several times and it's a true Favorite in my house. Thank you!!
katrin November 1, 2019
This salad is amazing!!! No need to substitute anything as it fits into the multicultural dining palette of our table. I would never even dream of replicating anything authentically Chinese. The flavour is balanced and no need to add extra salt. I had it with the steamed fish
Allen L. March 11, 2019
I think the addition of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds would be amazing with this recipe, and if adventurous, perhaps some nigella seeds as well!

Rules are made to be broken ;)
karencooks February 19, 2018
So easy and delicious although I felt they needed a little salt.
Hsiao-Ching C. February 20, 2018
Soy sauces vary in salinity. So, it's totally fine to add a pinch of salt, if you feel it's needed.
Ttrockwood February 11, 2018
Basalmic vinegar??? No..... i get that black vinegar may be more difficult for readers to find but in this recipe i would use unseasoned rice wine vinegar. Basalmic vinegar isn’t right for a chinese dish.
I LOVE smacked cucumbers and make them often using black vinegar and a bit of toasted sesame oil. Often i’ll have it for lunch with some baked marinated tofu and rice to catch the delicious excess cucumber marinade.
txchick57 January 25, 2022
right I use the black vinegar
txchick57 February 11, 2018
I made a big bowl of these yesterday and ate the whole thing. Delicious.