Smashed Cucumber (Pai Huang Gua)
Smashed cucumber, traditionally known as Pai Huang Gua, is the one of the most refreshing, flavourful and addicting ways one can prepare and eat a cucumber. It finds the perfect balance of spicy, salty and sweet and manages to retain all of those flavours amongst its craggly edges, thanks to cucumber being smashed instead of sliced.
1 large cucumber
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chilli oil or chilli crisp
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Slice the cucumber lengthwise. Use a rolling pin to smash the back of the cucumber, breaking it down but not turning it into mush.
Slice the smashed cucumber into roughly 2cm pieces, then add the cucumber slices to a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle the cucumber with salt and sugar, use your hands to massage it into the cucumber slices.
Let the cucumber sit in the colander for 15 minutes, to remove excess moisture. Transfer the cucumber pieces into a bowl, along with the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, chilli oil and sesame seeds.
Let the salad chill in the fridge for 10 minutes - which will make it even more refreshing - then serve it up!
by Valentina Concordia
Valentina is our Food Editor, who dreams up our tasty dishes and recipes for our social channels. She has loads of experience cooking up a storm in Italian kitchens, so it’s no surprise she can’t live without good-quality olive oil (don’t come between her and her olive oil) and fresh pasta.