Spicy cucumber salad

March 26, 2010 § 4 Comments

This recipe is a riff on a popular dish that my mother makes, especially in the summer when cucumbers are abundant. We often eat it along with grilled chicken and potato salad – the American kind with mayonnaise and hardboiled eggs, as we are a multicultural food household.

However, I have a famous love for all things spicy, so here’s my version of my mom’s cucumber salad. I also switched to English cucumbers because a) I have two in the refrigerator and b) I like that there aren’t too many seeds. However, if you only have normal cucumbers your salad will turn out fine, as my many years of cucumber-salad-eating can attest.

I recommend serving this alongside any Asian-style food, or with anything grilled. The combination of crunchy, refreshing cucumbers with grilled food is something that everyone should experience.

This recipe is good for one serving. Simply multiply the amounts by how many people you want to serve and you’re good to go.

In a bowl, combine a tablespoon or so of sesame oil.

Then add about three tablespoons of rice wine vinegar.

Add in two to three tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce.

And a tablespoon or so of chili garlic sauce.

For one serving, I used about 1/4 of an English cucumber. I just measured the leftover cucumber, which is fourteen inches long and about one and a half inches wide, so about three to four inches of cucumber per serving (the things I do for food blogging…). However, in my humble experience, this salad is really popular, so you might want to make more than one serving per person.

Anyways, thinly slice your cucumber. Toss the cucumbers around in a bowl until coated. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of sesame seeds on top (this is optional – my mom has never added sesame seeds to her salad but I have a jar so why not, and fortunately it tastes great).

Taste and see if you need a bit of salt. Serve right away!

If you’re making this in advance, such as for a picnic or barbecue or potluck, I recommend simply storing the dressing separately from the cucumbers and mixing right before serving. If you’ve got a lidded container, just add cucumbers and dressing and shake. If you let it sit around too long, the salt in the soy sauce and the chili garlic sauce (or if you added any salt to taste) tends to draw out the water in the cucumbers.

By the way, a good ratio to keep in mind for making any kind of dressing/vinaigrette is:

  • one part oil
  • three parts vinegar/lemon juice
  • up to three parts of other stuff (mustard, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, buttermilk, etc.) (I would not recommend combining all the ingredients I just listed together, for the record…)

Spicy cucumber salad

Serves one


  • 1/4 of a seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • One tablespoon sesame oil
  • Three tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • Two tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • One tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • One tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)

Combine first five ingredients and stir (or shake in a lidded container). Sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds, if desired. Enjoy immediately.


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