When sharing a huge Chinese dinner at a restaurant, I'll always make sure I order two or more vegetable options. I do tend to get a little carried away with my ordering, so it's not too long before the waiter is smiling through their teeth wondering when I'm going to stop. I ALWAYS over-order! With all my choices I pretty much always order a cucumber salad - a wonderful, cooling salad - that offers fragrance and texture in equal measure. It feels like it should be difficult to put together, but it's really not. It's all about assemblage!
A perfect balance of authentic Chinese flavours.
Like most Asian cucumber salad recipes, sesame oil is the hero of the day! One of the most alluring flavours on the planet - a little goes a long way. The smoky, nutty flavour is so distinctive and absolutely one of my most favourite flavours - I can not get enough! A sesame cucumber salad is the perfect accompaniment to many different Chinese dishes, especially spicy - the cucumber has unique qualities to aid cooling of the mouth. That said, it'll sit well with pretty much anything - vegetables, fish, chicken - everything!
Assemble this cucumber salad in no time at all.
Other than waiting for the cucumber to release some of its liquid, this salad is a cinch to put together - 5 minutes, tops! It's important (not essential) to draw out some of the water from the cucumber first. We're already removing the seeds (that trick with a teaspoon is a game changer, right?!) but the flesh also has a lot of water, which can mess with the overall flavour and appearance of the dressing. Removing the excess water by salting and sugaring, gives a firm texture while seasoning the cucumber in a unique way. You might think it's a pain to do - but try it both way and you'll see how the salad has a more authentic finish when you salt first. Just saying.
So, get ready to have a super easy and quick Chinese salad under your belt for the next time you want to experience authentic Chinese restaurant food, without putting your shoes on and leaving the house. And why have take out, when you can takeaway this amazing recipe?!
Serving suggestions & other Chinese recipes
If you're serving this cucumber dish at home with a homespun Chinese spread of your own, why not try one or more of my other delicious recipes.
How to make my Chinese Cucumber Salad
- 1 cucumber (large English/hothouse cucumber)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- Cut cucumber in half, and using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds and discard. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and then cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Toss the cucumber pieces into a sieve over a bowl and then sprinkle over the salt & sugar. Mix a little and then leave for 20 minutes to let the moisture seep out.
Making the dressing
- Whisk together the salt, sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut oil, minced garlic and minced ginger. Set aside.
- After 20 minutes, tumble the cucumber onto a clean tea towel. Gather up and squeeze out the excess moisture, be firm but don’t utterly destroy the cucumber inside!
- Tip the cucumber back into a bowl and pour over the dressing. Toss gently then decant to a serving platter. You can chill the cucumber salad up to 6 hours – it’s best served cold! Just before you serve, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Nutrition (per serving)
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