This Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad is the perfect side dish for your next picnic or potluck. It's light and refreshing, with a kick of heat from the sriracha sauce. And it comes together in just a few minutes - no cooking required!
So next time you're looking for a quick and crunchy Asian cucumber salad to take to a party, give this Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad a try. I think you'll love it, this is one of my favorite recipes to make during summertime.
This easy Asian cucumber salad recipe is inspired by the flavors of Chinese smashed cucumber salad and the oi muchim salad. I love the combination of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty flavors in Asian cuisine, and I wanted to create a salad that captured those same flavors. This salad has a bit of everything - sweet from the sugar, sour from the vinegar, spicy from the sriracha sauce, and salty from the fish sauce. I think it makes for a really well-rounded dish.
This salad pairs well with this Crispy Spicy Tofu
- English cucumbers or you can also use Japanese cucumbers you can find at the Asian market.
- toasted sesame seeds
- chopped fresh cilantro
- black pepper
- garlic powder or 1 garlic clove
- seasoned rice wine vinegar
- olive oil
- soy sauce
- sesame oil
- sriracha sauce or 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
See recipe card for quantities.
Notes on the ingredients
I like to use English cucumbers in this recipe because they are nice and crisp, but you can use regular cucumbers. Just make sure to remove the seeds before chopping.
You can find toasted sesame seeds in the spice aisle of most supermarkets. Or you can toast them yourself - just place them in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until they are golden brown.
If you can't find fresh cilantro, you can use parsley or mint instead.
Seasoned rice vinegar is just regular rice vinegar with a little sugar and salt added. You can find it in the Asian section of most supermarkets or in any Asian markets. If you can't find it, you can use regular rice vinegar or white vinegar.
Sriracha sauce is a spicy chili sauce that you can find in the Asian section of most supermarkets, or online. If you don't like spicy food, you can leave it out of the recipe.
You can top your the salad with green onions if desired.
Skin side up, pound the cucumber with a flat object or a rolling dough. Don’t put too much pressure, just enough so that the cucumber cracks a little.
With a sharp knife, cut the cucumber into 1-inch slices.
Add the cucumber to a medium bowl with sesame seeds and chopped fresh cilantro.
Gently mix everything until the cucumber are well coated with the sauce.
Hint: You can also let the salad rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the flavors develop even more if desired.
Instead of smashed cucumbers, you can also use thin slices of cucumber for a different texture.
For a sweeter version: add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the dressing
For a nutty version: add chopped peanuts or cashews
For a creamier version: add ½ cup of diced avocado to the salad
If you like spicy flavors you can even add chili oil to the dressing
I like to use rice vinegar in this recipe, but you can also use white vinegar or cider vinegar.
Rolling dough or flat object: to help press the cucumbers
Large bowl: You will need a large bowl to mix everything together
You can store the smashed cucumber salad in the fridge for up to 2 days. Store it in an airtight container for maximum freshness. You may want to remove the excess water if you are going to eat it the next day.
The smashed cucumber can absorb more sauce, giving it more flavors.
Yes, this helps keeps the cucumber in pieces, adds extra green color, and makes the smashed cucumber crispier.
This salad is delicious as a great side dish to a tofu dish, grilled meats or fish, or as an addition to your favorite toppings for rice bowls compounds.
The level of spiciness can be adjusted to your liking. If you want it to be spicier, add more sriracha sauce. For a milder version, leave out the sriracha or only add ½ teaspoon.
Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad
- 1 large Bowl
- 1 rolling dough or flat object
- 3 English cucumbers or any crisp cucumber with a thin skin
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds toasted
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- Wash the cucumber under cold water and place them on the cutting board, cut half lengthwise. Skin side up, pound the cucumber with a flat object or a rolling dough. Don’t put too much pressure, just enough so that the cucumber cracks a little. This will help the cucumber to absorb more dressing for the best flavor.
- In a small pan, dry roast the sesame seeds over medium heat until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool. Add to the salad bowl
- With a sharp knife, cut the cucumber into 1-inch slices.
- Add the cucumber to a medium bowl with sesame seeds and chopped fresh cilantro.
- In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients, and pour the dressing over the cucumber. Gently mix everything until the cucumber are well coated with the sauce.
- Serve cold and eat it with a pair of chopsticks if desired!
- You can also let the salad rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the flavors develop even more if desired.