Sichuan Smashed Cucumber (Cold dish)

During summers, the fresh crispness of the cucumber paired with the acidity of the vinegar, the sweetness of the soy sauce and sugar, and the floral notes of the cilantro makes for a refreshing, flavor-forward dish that’s hard to stop eating. The cold nature of the dish offsets the heat even more, and creates an enticing flavor profile that can be modified based on your personal spice tolerance.


  • medium English cucumber
    • 1/2 teaspoon

      kosher salt

    • 4 cloves


    • 2 to 3 sprigs

      fresh cilantro

    • 2 tablespoons

      granulated sugar

    • 1 tablespoon

      Sichuan Sauce for Salad (or your favorite Sichuan peppercorn sauce)

    • 1 tablespoon

      rice vinegar

    • 1 tablespoon

      regular or light soy sauce

    • 1 tablespoon

      spicy sesame oil or toasted sesame oil

    • 2 tablespoons

      roasted peanuts


    1. Using the flat side of a large chef’s knife or butcher’s knife, firmly tap (or crush) the entire length of 1 medium English cucumber to release its juices. Cut the cucumber into bite-sized pieces, and place in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and toss to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop 4 garlic cloves and 2 to 3 sprigs fresh cilantro (about 1 teaspoon).

    2. Drain the liquid from the cucumber. Add the garlic and cilantro and stir to combine. Add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon Sichuan sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon spicy sesame oil, and toss to combine. Top with 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts.


    Make ahead: This salad can be made up to a day ahead, and will help flavors permeate the cucumber even further. However, this will also result in a spicier salad, so adjust proportions accordingly. Add the peanuts right before serving.

    Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.