Add this smacked cucumber dish to a Sichuan feast with lip-smacking mapo tofu and dumplings in hot and sour broth.


  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tbsp fine sea salt
  • 3 cloves, finely chopped garlic
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp (see cook's notes) chiu chow chilli oil


  • STEP 1

    Put the cucumber onto a chopping board and use a clean rolling pin to bash the cucumber until it softens and splits in places. Cut the cucumber into quarters lengthways, then into chunky bite-sized pieces. Tip into a bowl, sprinkle with the salt then tip into a colander suspended over a bowl. Leave to salt for 1 hour in the fridge.

  • STEP 2

    Meanwhile, put the garlic, rice vinegar and caster sugar into a bowl and whisk. Chill while the cucumber salts.

  • STEP 3

    Run the cucumber under gently running cold water, then drain really well. Tip into a bowl and add the dressing and chilli oil. You can eat straightaway but they will get better the longer they’re left.

Cook's notes

  • Chiu chow chilli oil originates from southern China and is made from preserved chilies and garlic blended with soy bean oil. Lee Kum Kee brand is a good one and is available from large supermarkets.

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Adam Bush Chef Portrait
Adam BushDeputy food editor

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