Chef's Recipes

Smashed cucumber salad

"In Hong Kong, this refreshing much-loved salad is considered the perfect summer dish," says Tony Tan.

By Tony Tan
  • Serves 2 - 4
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"Smashing or bruising a cucumber cracks the skin and releases the seeds, leaving the flesh in gorgeous jagged pieces," explains Tan. "The cucumber is then salted to draw out the moisture and concentrate the flavour, and a simple dressing creates a salad in minutes. Every Chinese family has variations of the dish. Some add ground Sichuan peppercorns, others sesame paste. My mother added chopped dried shrimps. By all means experiment; just don't whack the cucumber to smithereens."
This recipe from Hong Kong Food City by Tony Tan (Murdoch Books, $49.99) has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.


  • 1 large cucumber or 2 Lebanese cucumbers (about 300gm)
  • 1 handful coarsely chopped coriander, to garnish
  • 2 tsp finely chopped pickled chillies
  • 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp clear rice vinegar, or to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 tbsp chilli oil, or to taste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil


  • 1
    Place the cucumber on a chopping board and whack it gently with a cleaver a few times until it splinters and opens up with jagged edges. Cut it into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with 1⁄2 tsp salt and leave for 15-20 minutes, then drain and place the cucumber in a bowl.
  • 2
    For the dressing, put the chillies, garlic, vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Stir in the chilli oil and sesame oil.
  • 3
    To serve, pour the dressing over the cucumber and garnish with coriander.
  • undefined: Tony Tan