This Asian cucumber salad recipe is ready in minutes with sliced cucumbers tossed with sesame oil, chili flakes and spicy Sichuan peppercorns, so light refreshing!
The Best Asian Cucumber Salad with Sichuan Flavors
If you're looking for a cucumber salad that everyone will remember, this Asian Cucumber Salad recipe is everything you need.
I've always enjoyed a good cucumber salad. They're light and refreshing, but can often be a little boring. Not so with this recipe.
This is a Chinese version of the dish from the Sichuan province, where spices rule supreme.
The crisp cucumbers are imbued with the flavors of sesame oil, warming chili flakes, and vibrant Sichuan peppercorns, known for their tongue-numbing sensation. It's particularly easy to make ahead of time, and best served cold.
It's also an attractive looking dish, extremely inviting for those who love cucumber, and even to those who may shy away from them.
You'll definitely convert people with my version of the recipe.
Let's talk about how to make Asian cucumber salad, shall we?
Asian Cucumber Salad Ingredients
- Cucumber. Any cucumber will work for this recipe, a regular cucumber from the market, English cucumber, even mini cucumbers, as long as they're nice and fresh.
- Salt. For seasoning and draining the cucumbers of excessive moisture.
- Vegetable Oil. For stir frying.
- Crushed Dried Chilies. I like to crush up dried Sichuan chilies if I can find them, but spicy chile de arbol is great for this, or just use common red pepper flakes.
- Sichuan Peppercorns. For that wonderful tongue-numbing quality.
- Sesame Oil.
- Chili Crisp. Chili crisp is a spiced chili oil with crispy bits. You can make this recipe without it, but I highly recommend the addition, as it is so huge on flavor. Try my homemade chili crisp recipe, which I think is the best around.
- Toasted Sesame Seeds. For garnish.
How to Make Asian Cucumber - the Recipe Method
Slice the Cucumbers. Slice the cucumber into bite-sized pieces, either lengthwise or in wedges. You can core out the seeds and pulp if desired before slicing.
Drain the Liquids. Transfer to a small bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix and let sit for 30 minutes to drain. You can skip this step if you're in a hurry.
TIP: Salting the cucumbers will allow the water to drain from them, resulting in a crunchier cucumber salad.
Dry the Cucumbers. Drain the liquid and dry the thinly sliced cucumber slices.
Stir Fry the Spices. Heat the oil in a wok or large pan to high heat. Add the crushed chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. Stir fry for 30 seconds to darken, but do not burn the ingredients.
Stir Fry the Cucumbers. Add the cucumber slices and stir fry for 10 seconds only, just to warm them. You don't want to cook them through or they will soften.
Toss with Oils. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with sesame oil and chili crisp (if using).
Garnish and Serve. Garnish with toasted white or black sesame seeds and chill. Best served cold.
Boom! Done! Your Asian cucumber salad is ready to serve. This is so easy to make, the perfect side dish, with all those wonderful spices and Sichuan flavor.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The key to success with this recipe is stir frying the cucumbers very quickly, only briefly to warm them, which retains their wonderful crunch.
- Prepare your Asian cucumber salad hours in advance in order to let the flavors mingle and develop.
- For additional flavor variations, consider adding soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, or black vinegar.
- If you're coring the cucumbers, save the discarded pulp and use it to make refreshing cucumber water, or dehydrate it to make cucumber powder, which can be used as a seasoning.
This recipe will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container. No need to heat it, as it is best served cold.
This is not a dish you can freeze, as the cucumbers will become soft and mushy.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this Sichuan spiced cucumber salad recipe. Let me know if you make it and how you served it. I hope everyone enjoys it!
It's naturally gluten free.
Cookbook and Ingredient Recommendations
Amazon Affiliate links, my friends!
If you love spicy and bold Chinese cuisine, I highly recommend this cookbook, which highlights Chinese food from the Sichuan province. I'm learning very much from this book and used it to adapt this recipe.
- The Food of Sichuan, by Fuchsia Dunlop (affiliate link, my friends!)
- Chili Crisp. I make a homemade version, but there are many great brands available. Try them all!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Szechuan Chicken
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Mapo Tofu
- Dan Dan Noodles
- General Tso's Chicken
- Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)
- Cashew Chicken
- Dragon Chicken
- Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)
- Hot and Sour Soup
- Shuizhu Yu (Boiled Fish In A Seething Sea Of Chilies)
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe (Sichuan Style) – Qiang Huanggua
- 1 large cucumber
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons crushed dried chilies see options below
- 1 teaspoon whole Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon chili crisp optional
- Toasted sesame seeds for serving
- Slice the cucumber into bite-sized pieces, either lengthwise or in wedges. You can core out the seeds and pulp if desired before slicing.
- Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix and let sit for 30 minutes to drain.
- Drain the liquid and dry the cucumber slices.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large pan to high heat.
- Add the crushed chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. Stir fry for 30 seconds to darken, but do not burn the ingredients.
- Add the cucumber slices and stir fry for 10 seconds only, just to warm them.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with sesame oil and chili crisp (if using).
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chill. Best served cold.
I could not find the link to the chili crisp option. Also, does this recipe use the Asian cucumbers that I see in the market, or do regular American cucumbers work too? It looks like a delicious salad, but I want to make sure that I get the ingredients right before I serve it the first time to friends.
Mike Hultquist says
You can make this with regular cucumbers, Steve. It's very good. Here is the link to the chili crisp: https://www.chilipeppermadness.com/recipes/chili-crisp/
Raimo Tarkkonen says
Great recipe! Found this one first and got guided to chili crisp recipe. So its a double slam.
Mike Hultquist says
Boom! Thanks, Raimo! Glad you found some recipes you like! =) Thanks for sharing your comments!
Vincent Eva says
Thank you for the recipes received to date. This cucumber salad is going to be a real hit here in South Africa. Thank you so much
Mike Hultquist says
Wonderful! Thanks, Vincent! Enjoy!