Smashed Cucumber Salad

By America’s Test Kitchen | March 23rd, 2022

An Asian-inspired dish that soaks in the flavorful dressing

Inspired by pai huang gua from the Sichuan region of China, this smashed cucumber salad exposes more surface area to soak up the dressing. From America's Test Kitchen

This recipe is inspired by Pai Huang Gua, a dish that originated in the Sichuan region of China. When it comes to the main ingredient, why should you smash the cucumbers instead of neatly slicing them? When you smash them up, you expose more surface area and create little nooks and crannies that the flavorful dressing can sneak into.

Smashed Cucumber Salad

Serves 2

Recipe note: If you don’t have Persian cucumbers (the small ones), you can use one larger English cucumber, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into three equal lengths (but it will be harder to smash).

  • 5 (3-ounce) Persian cucumbers
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted


  1. Place cucumbers in a bag and seal. Smash with a skillet until each cucumber is flattened and split into 3 or 4 spears.
  2. Place a colander in a bowl. Tear cucumber spears into small pieces and place in colander. Add salt to cucumbers and toss to combine. Let cucumbers sit for at least 15 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
  3. While cucumbers sit, stir vinegar, soy sauce, oil and sugar in a second bowl using a wooden spoon until sugar has dissolved.
  4. Transfer drained cucumbers to the bowl with the dressing and stir to combine. Discard drained liquid. Sprinkle cucumbers with sesame seeds.

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