Chinese Smashed Cucumbers (Pai Huang Gua)
Dear Chinese Smashed Cucumbers,
Where have you been all life? You are a beautiful salad with so much umami and deliciousness and I’m so glad I met you!
Guys, this salad is something special, for sure! Plus, it is super easy to make; simply cut and smash some cucumbers, add some salt and sugar to dry out the cucumbers a bit. Add rice vinegar (or white vinegar if you don’t have rice), sesame oil, soy sauce, chili oil, chili onion crunch and copious amounts of garlic and you have the most delightful salad 👍!!!
Salad Inspiration – A few weeks back, we had a tasty lunch at Hong Asian Noodle Bar in Dover, New Hampshire. This gem of a restaurant is the newest addition in town and I would definitely recommend it. Upon arriving and opening the menu, we were immediately drawn to the Pai Huang Gua because how can you not love a cucumber salad with the chef’s spicy sauce 😉. And boy am I glad we ordered that item because it was so flavorful and THAT SAUCE was something special for sure! Of course we needed to tantalize our taste buds with many other menu items, i.e. Pork Soup Dumplings, Katsu Don, Hong tan-tan Japanese Ramen, Bubble Milk Tea and Fresh Lemon Green Tea!
After researching the salad post lunch and discovering Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch in my pantry, Jackie was ready recreate the some deliciousness 😋!
Salad Ingredients and Preparation – English Cucumbers or Persian Cucumbers are best to use because they’re skinny and seedless cucumbers. At Hong Asian Noodle Bar the salad was described as a spicy sauce and this recipe is no different because of the chili oil and chili onion crunch. I would suggest using both because it makes the salad. Of course you could go without, but it certainly won’t be the same.
How to Serve – Serve at room temperature or cold. Serve on it’s own or with a yummy protein like my Chili Lime Chicken.
Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad (Pai Huang Gua)
- 2 large english cucumbers, cut into large quarters or thicker slices
- 1 TBSP kosher salt
- 1 TBSP white sugar
- 1 TBSP rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp chili oil
- 2 tsp chili onion crunch
- 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
- sesame seeds, toasted
- cilantro, chopped
- Once you've cut your cucumbers, add the salt & sugar and allow the cucumbers to drain for 1 hour. This step removes the moisture from the cucumbers and is helpful in building delicious flavor.
- Add the vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, chili oil and chili onion crunch to a small mixing bowl.
- Rinse the cucumbers and pat dry with a paper towel. Add to a medium mixing bowl.
- Add the chili sauce and garlic and mix well.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and/or cilantro, enjoy and cheers 🥂.