Pic of Szechaun-style smashed cucumber salad

Szechaun-style smashed cucumber salad

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Szechaun-style smashed cucumber salad

Side Serves 2 25 min
Smashing cucumbers is great. Not only is it fun, but the taste benefits are exceptional. The process of smashing it releases the moisture in the cucumber, making it less-watery and concentrating the flavour, as well as making it more absorbent when you add a dressing or a marinade.

Cook's notes

Cover the cucumbers with cling-film or a clean tea-towel if you don’t want cucumber juice all over the kitchen.


  • 1 large cucumber, or 2 mini cucumbers
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • chilli flakes
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 spring onion
  • toasted sesame seeds or roasted cashew nuts
Image of Szechaun-style smashed cucumber salad


Prep time: 25 min
  • Step 1

    Assess your cucumber: if there’s any thick bits of skin, then peel them off, otherwise leave the skin on. Get a heavy rolling pin and smash the cucumber so that it splits, hitting it hard enough so that it crushes and releases its moisture but not so hard that it pulverizes. Cut into rough chunks, roughly 2-3 cm thick.
  • Step 2

    Sprinkle with sea salt and mix, then transfer to a colander and place over a bowl in the fridge for 10 mins.
  • Step 3

    Finely grate or crush the garlic clove. Combine the honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and chilli flakes in a medium-large bowl, adding the lemon juice slowly at the end, tasting as you go, until the balance of sweet and sour suits your taste.
  • Step 4

    Finely slice the spring onion, and toast the seeds or nuts in a dry frying pan (if not already toasted/roasted).
  • Step 5

    Remove the cucumber from the fridge, shake the colander to drain off any excess juices, and discard the liquid in the bowl.
  • Step 6

    Transfer the cucumbers to the bowl with the dressing in and mix thoroughly. This can be eaten straight away, but will benefit from marinating for up to 2 hours.
  • Step 7

    To serve, finished with the spring onions and seeds/nuts scattered on top.

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