Smacked cucumbers

Smacked cucumbers

  • serves 4 as a side
  • Easy

By ‘smacking’ the cucumbers in this Sichuan side dish you create more rough surfaces – all the better for soaking up the zingy pickle


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



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


  • 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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Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 106
  • Fat 2.6g
  • Saturates 0.3g
  • Carbs 19g
  • Sugars 16.1g
  • Fibre 0.8g
  • Protein 1.3g
  • Salt 3.9g