Spicy Cucumber Salad is a refreshing salad with a crisp, tangy, and invigorating taste. Bursting with fresh ingredients and a zesty kick, this salad is a favorite at picnics and barbecues, and as a delightful side dish to complement any meal.
Homemade Salads are the best! You can customize them any way you want and enjoy them as a side dish or main dish.
Asian Cucumber Salad
Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad is refreshing and requires simple preparation. It has the essence of Asian cuisine with the perfect balance of flavors, texture, and aromas. With its crunchy cucumbers, zesty dressing, and a hint of heat, this salad has become a beloved side dish, appetizer, or even a light meal in its own right.
We love to serve it as a side dish during the summer times and family gatherings. This is probably our most beloved salad because it is easily customizable, and is ready in about 5 minutes. The salad combines a harmonious blend of sweet, salty, spicy, and sour tastes.
- Frech cucumbers: Crisp and crunchy cucumbers are the star of the show. Asian cucumber varieties like Persian or Japanese cucumbers are often used for their thin skin and tender flesh. These cucumbers are usually thinly sliced or cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Freshly minced garlic cloves
- A bit of freshly grated ginger
- Rice vinegar
- Soy sauce (low sodium is a good option)
- Sesame oil
- Sugar (adjust to taste)
- Red pepper flakes or finely chopped fresh chili pepper (adjust to your desired level of spiciness)
How to make Asian Cucumber Salad?
- Prepare the Cucumbers: Start by washing the cucumbers thoroughly. You can peel them if you prefer, but it’s not necessary, especially if you’re using thin-skinned varieties like Persian or Japanese cucumbers. Then, slice the cucumbers thinly. You can use a knife, a mandoline slicer, or a vegetable peeler for thin ribbons.
- Salt the cucumbers: Place the sliced cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle them with a pinch of salt. Toss to evenly distribute the salt. Let them sit for about 10-15 minutes. This step helps draw out excess moisture from the cucumbers, making them crisp and ensuring the salad isn’t too watery.
- Prepare the Dressing: In a separate mixing bowl, combine the minced garlic, grated ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and red pepper flakes or fresh chili pepper. Adjust the sugar, and chili to your taste preferences.
- Rinse and Drain the Cucumbers: After the cucumbers have sat for 10-15 minutes, rinse them under cold running water to remove the excess salt. Drain them well and use a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to pat them dry.
- Combine: Place the drained cucumbers in a large mixing bowl. Next, pour the prepared dressing over the cucumbers.
- Toss and Chill: Gently toss the cucumbers with the dressing until they are well-coated. Then, cover the bowl and refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the cucumbers to absorb the dressing.
- Garnish and Serve: Just before serving, garnish the Asian cucumber salad with toasted sesame seeds, chopped green onions, and fresh cilantro leaves if desired. These toppings add an extra layer of flavor and texture.
- Add Protein: Boost the salad’s protein content by adding grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu.
- Soba Noodle: Combine the spicy cucumber salad with cooked and cooled soba noodles for a heartier dish.
- Vegetables: Experiment with different vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, or bean sprouts for added crunch and color.
- Cucumber Ribbon Salad: Use a vegetable peeler to create cucumber ribbons for a different texture.
- Add tomatoes: Feel free to chop in some fresh tomatoes.
- Add nuts: For some extra texture and flavor, add some roasted nuts to the salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of cucumbers are best to use?
For the best results, it’s recommended to use thin-skinned cucumbers like Persian or Japanese cucumbers. These cucumbers have a crisp texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor. However, you can use regular English cucumbers if you can’t find the Asian varieties.
How do I slice cucumbers for cucumber salad?
Cucumbers can be sliced thinly with a knife, a mandoline, or a vegetable slicer. You can also use a vegetable peeler to create cucumber ribbons for a different texture.
Can I make it gluten-free?
Yes, you can make the salad gluten-free by using gluten-free soy sauce or tamari in place of regular soy sauce. Ensure that all other ingredients in the salad are also gluten-free.
Can I make cucumber salad ahead of time?
Yes, it can be made ahead of time. However, it’s best to add the dressing just before serving to keep the salad crisp. If you plan to prepare it in advance, store the sliced cucumbers separately from the dressing and other ingredients, and combine them shortly before serving.
How do I keep it from getting watery?
To prevent the salad from becoming too watery, you can salt the cucumber slices and let them sit for about 30 minutes. Then, rinse and pat them dry before assembling the salad. Using seedless cucumbers can also help reduce excess moisture.
More easy and delicious salads:
- Opt for fresh, firm, and crisp cucumbers. English cucumbers or Persian cucumbers are ideal choices due to their thin skin and minimal seeds.
- Also, if using regular cucumbers, consider peeling and seeding them to reduce bitterness and excess moisture.
- Slice the cucumbers uniformly to ensure consistent texture and flavor in each bite. A mandoline slicer or a sharp knife can help achieve thin, even slices.
- Adjust the quantity and type of spicy elements, such as chili peppers or red pepper flakes, to match your heat tolerance.
- Also, feel free to add various fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, or basil to it.
- Refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before serving, and consider placing the serving bowl in the refrigerator as well to keep it cool during your meal.
Spicy Cucumber Salad is a refreshing salad with a crisp, tangy, and invigorating taste. Bursting with fresh ingredients and a zesty kick!
- 6 Persian cucumbers sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon chili oil
- 1/3 teaspoon sugar or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1/3 teaspoon chili flakes
First, slice the cucumbers and add them to a bowl. Also, add salt, and stir them, let them sit for 10 minutes.
After that, drain any liquid accumulated in the bowl.
After the cucumbers have sat for 10-15 minutes, rinse them under cold running water, drain, and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Add them back to the bowl.
Next, add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. For best results let the salad chill for 30 minutes before serving.
Also, you can serve it immediately, or refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.