5 Minutes Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe

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Hot and humid days call for cucumber salad: crisp, cold, and easy to toss together in minutes. Cucumber salad recipes vary across countries and cultures, but the Chinese version typically gets savoriness and umami from soy sauce, tang from rice vinegar, and sweetness from a bit of sugar. Fragrant garlic and sesame oil round out the flavors. Depending on regional and personal preferences, recipes might also include chili and peppercorns for heat, or scallions, cilantro, or other herbs for freshness. 

Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe

Serves: 2 people
Prep time: 4 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute

1 small (8-ounce) English cucumber
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon soba tsuyu soup base (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Cut off the ends of the cucumber and cut it in half crosswise. Then, quarter each half lengthwise, so you have 8 long spears. Lay the spears cut side-up and carefully use the flat side of your knife to slightly smash them. Chop the spears into 1/2-inch pieces and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. To make the garlic oil, add the vegetable oil and minced garlic to a small pan over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  3. Add the salt, sugar, soba tsuyu soup base, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and garlic oil to the cucumbers. Mix well and serve immediately.

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