A 5-minute cucumber salad to use up those gorgeous cucumbers from the farmers market! Nutty, flavorful yet refreshing, a great side dish to noodle or rice dishes.
When cucumbers are in season, they are everywhere!! Cucumbers here are mostly for pickling, but in Taiwan most cucumbers are eaten fresh. The variety is slightly different from the pickling cucumber, they are more crunchy and has a higher water content. We found some of this variety at the Amish tent in Rochester downtown farmers market, they are longer and skinnier, still kind of prickly, firm, and snaps in half easily.
I love this recipe because you don’t even have to chop anything if you don’t want to. You can smash your garlic, cucumber, mix your sauce and everything together then it’s done! Smacking the cucumbers open with the flat side of the knife (or a rock) makes the surface of the cucumber rough and uneven so it can trap more sauce and flavor in.
Most people toss their cucumbers with salt to get rid of some of the moisture in the cucumbers, but my grandma showed me that tossing it with a bit of sugar actually makes the cucumbers crunchier, juicier, sweeter and tastier!
The TOASTED WHITE SESAME PASTE | 自製現磨麻醬 works really well with the crunchy cucumber, a good contrast and balance of light crunchy cucumber and the heavier nutty sauce. We like our extra garlic in the dish, makes it more pungent. If you like it spicy, try adding a dash of homemade Mala hot sauce, it goes magically well together, it was my grandpa’s favorite way to eat cucumbers!
If you don’t want to make your own toasted sesame paste, you can also buy it here: Wang Zhihe Pure Sesame Paste 王致和純芝麻醬
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Cucumber Salad with Sesame Dressing
- Cut cucumbers into 2″ (5cm) pieces, then crush them open with the flat side of your knife
- Add 1tsp sugar to a bowl and toss with cucumber pieces, let sit for 5 mins as you prepare the dressing
- Add the sauce in Step 3 to the cucumbers. The dressing might seem a bit dry but the cucumbers will release moisture as it is tossed together with the sauce
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for 30mins to let the sauce marinate into the cucumbers
- Smacking the cucumbers open with the flat side of the knife (or a rock) makes the surface of the cucumber rough and uneven so it can trap more sauce and flavor in them.
- Sugar helps keep cucumbers crunchy, juicy and sweet.