Smacked Cucumber Salad with Smoky Almonds
March 13, 2020
This is the easiest but most satisfying small plate cucumber salad and is the perfect best buddy for any Chinese meal. I like to serve this whenever I’m making dim sum. The cucumber is beautifully infused with garlic and has a gentle zing from the vinegar. The whole salad is brought together with the beautiful gloss of sesame oil and topped with smoky, salty flaked almonds.
- Yield: 4 Servings 1x
- 4 T flaked almonds
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1 t liquid smoke
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 t chinkiang vinegar (chinese black vinegar)
- 1 t agave syrup
- 2 t light soy sauce
- 1 t toasted sesame oil
- ¼ t Koran chilli flakes
- ¼ t white sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180c and line a baking tray with parchment.
- In a small bowl, toss the flaked almonds with the fine sea salt and the liquid smoke.
- Spread the almonds out onto the parchment and bake them for between 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Watch them like a hawk as they’ll burn very quickly.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Place the cucumber on a chopping board, and with the flat side of a knife or with a heavy cast-iron pan, smack the cucumber until it breaks apart. Try not to use a knife – wherever possible break the cucumber into pieces and place into a bowl.
- In an empty jam jar with a lid, add the garlic and the vinegar. Shake up well and leave for a few minutes (this allows the vinegar to cook the garlic slightly, removing that raw garlic taste).
- Add the agave syrup, soy sauce and sesame oil to the jar and shake to combine.
- Dress the cucumber with the dressing before sprinkling with the chilli flakes, sesame seeds and smoky almonds.
This recipe is super quick and easy, but for all you visual learners out there, here’s a breakdown of the steps.
Keywords: Cucumber salad, recipe
Toast the Almonds
Dress the almonds in the liquid smoke and a little salt, before spreading out onto a baking tray and popping in the oven. These guys LOVE to burn so don’t leave the kitchen. Keep an eye on them until they’ve JUST picked up some colour. Leave to cool.
Smack the Cucumber!
No, that isn’t just the name of the salad. We actually need you to do it. Tearing the cucumber apart means it has a much rougher texture, rather than being sliced. This means it soaks up much more of the flavours in the dressing and it makes a huge difference to the overall mouthfeel of the dish. Just be careful you don’t spray your kitchen with cucumber seeds!
The most important part of this step is that you add the garlic and the vinegar first. The acidity of the vinegar cooks the garlic slightly so you won’t find the flavour overpowering. This is a good idea for all salad dressings where you intend to use garlic. It’s also a good idea to use a jam jar to shake everything together – it really makes life easier.
The last step, once your cucumber salad is dressed, is to top with all the little extras. I love Korean chili flakes (Gochugaru) because they have so much flavour but aren’t overpowering when it comes to heat. They also make the salad pop visually! Finish with your smoky almonds and you’re good to go!