Asian Cucumber Salad: the spicy side recipe from TikTok

Total time: 15 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
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By Cookist

Classic smashed cucumber is a popular Chinese recipe. Cucumbers are smashed, then marinated in a flavorful and spicy dressing. This Asian cucumber salad variation became popular after going viral on TikTok. It’s a refreshing, vegetarian salad recipe that’s both quick and easy to make.

This salad is packed with flavor. Expect to find notes of garlic, spice, savory, and just a touch of sweetness and tartness. The cucumber texture is still crunchy which makes it even tastier. To make it you will need fresh cucumbers and a handful of pantry ingredients for the dressing. This includes soy sauce, garlic, rice oil, chili oil, sugar, and sesame seeds.

What Cucumbers To Use For Asian Salad?

What’s great about this recipe is that any cucumber variety will work. You can go for Persian cucumbers, English cucumbers, or even small pickling (or snacking) cucumbers. It all depends on your taste!

Asian Cucumber Salad Ingredients

Cucumbers – look for fresh, firm cucumbers that don’t have broken skin.

Soy sauce – low sodium soy sauce (not dark soy sauce).

Garlic cloves – use fresh garlic, not powdered garlic.

Rice oil – you can also add sesame oil for more flavor.

Chili oil – use your favorite chili oil or make your own.

Sugar – use granulated or caster sugar.

Sesame seeds – use toasted white sesame seeds or black sesame seeds.

Green onion – also called scallions.

How To Make Asian Cucumber Salad

Cut the cucumbers, sprinkle with salt, and pour water into the bowl. Drain the water and mix it with all the rest of the dressing ingredients. Easy as it is.


To make the dish gluten-free, use tamari sauce instead of soy sauce. If you have a soy allergy, you can also opt for coconut aminos.

For a bit of zing, you can also add a dash of rice vinegar.

If you don’t like the heat from the chili oil, you can use sesame oil instead. If you can’t find chili oil, you can use any plain, neutral oil and use red pepper flakes instead.

What To Serve With Asian Cucumber Salad

Serve the Asian Cucumber Salad with your favorite Asian main dish: Chicken Teriyaki, General Tso’s Chicken, or Thai Curry.

Asian Cucumber Salad Variations

While this salad has more Japanese and Chinese flavors, it’s super easy to customize according to your liking.

For a Thai-inspired flavor, add peanuts (or peanut butter), and a dash of lime juice.

For Korean-inspired flavor, add a generous dash of sriracha.

Add fish sauce for an umami flavor.

How To Store Asian Cucumber Salad

The Asian cucumber salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. In fact, it’s often tastier when eaten on the second day, as it gives more time for flavors to develop.

The salad is not suitable for freezing, the cucumber will lose its texture and become mushy.

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1 tbsp
Soy sauce
2 tbsp
2 cloves
rice oil
1 tbsp
Chili oil
1 tbsp
1 tbsp
Sesame seeds
2 tbsp
Green onion
2 tbsp


To cut the cucumbers in an accordion shape, you will need two chopsticks. Place them next to the cucumber, and use them as a cutting guide. Cut the cucumber into slices without cutting straight through.

Separate the cucumber slices by pulling apart the cucumber slightly (without breaking it).

Place the cucumber in a bowl.

Sprinkle with salt, then use your hands to massage the salt into the cucumbers. Don’t skip the salting step. It helps the cucumber to release excess moisture. If you skip the step the cucumbers will become watery and will have a watered-down flavor.

Pour water over the cucumber.

Meanwhile, mix the spicy dressing ingredients. Drain the water from the cucumbers and add the dressing.

Mix well until all the cucumber is covered with the dressing.

Serve and enjoy!


Don’t feel like spiralizing the cucumber? You can simply create slices, or smash the cucumber.

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