Whether you need a light and tasty side dish to pair with your perfect cheeseburger or are simply in the mood to enjoy a plate of refreshing fare, cucumber salad is always a solid choice. Even though you can combine cucumbers with many different ingredients and condiments to make a delightful salad, for those of you after a dish that can bring the heat but also has a unique blend of specific ingredients, look no further than Asian cucumber salad. Topped with a saucy blend of sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice vinegar, Asian cucumber salad not only stands out for its signature umami taste but also for how the cucumbers in this salad are prepared.
To make the most of this flavorful dish, your beloved cucumbers must be smashed. Yes, you read that right. Next to the savory Asian-inspired dressing, cucumber salad also contains a varied combination of chopped shallots, green onions, chili crisps, and sesame seeds. For these bright and crispy vegetables to soak up this flavorful sauce and grab hold of those extra ingredients, you need more variance in your salad other than the smooth surface of cucumber rounds. Simply put, regular cucumbers won't have the same flavor and won't be able to soak up all the added flavors from the dressing either.
How To Effectively Smash Cucumbers For Your Next Asian Cucumber Salad
To make the most delicious Asian-inspired side dish, try and buy seedless cucumbers so you don't have to worry about the texture difference of individual seeds after your vegetables have been smashed. Think beyond your standard cucumber salad recipe and utilize the flat edge of your knife or another handy kitchen utensil to smash those bright and crunchy veggies. Lay your chef's knife flat against your cucumber and hit the blade a few times with the palm of your hand. Alternatively, hold your cucumber on one end and use a rolling pin or meat mallet to give the length of your cucumber a few good hits until you begin to see noticeable cracks. To minimize any mess, you may want to try covering your cucumbers in plastic wrap before you begin smashing.
Once you've gently and effectively given these vegetables enough purposeful hits, cut the cucumbers down the middle and chop. To ensure your cucumbers stay crisp and don't leak moisture, sprinkle some salt over them and let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes before draining off any excess liquid. Tenderizing cucumbers in salt adds extra flavor and gives your veggies a nice, delightful crunch. Now that you know how to effectively smash your next batch of cucumbers, let's get into the various ways you can use these veggies to make a delicious salad.
There's More Than One Way To Make Flavorful Asian Cucumber Salad
Out of all the varied instructions that come with this unique recipe, smashing cucumbers might be number one. Those chopped green onions and spoonfuls of chili crisp now have more surface area to cover and more delicious places to hide within those broken cucumber pieces. However, when it comes down to the ingredients needed to make this flavorful dish, you have greater culinary freedom. Lean into the varied world of chili crisps and make your cucumber salad extra spicy, or tone down the heat by omitting this ingredient altogether. Instead, heat a small amount of your preferred cooking oil before adding it to your prepared salad. The warm oil mixed with the added dressing will give your cucumbers a more savory and inviting feel and taste without the added chili. To imbue this refreshing salad with extra last-minute texture and flavor, mix in some raw shredded carrots and top with a handful of chopped cilantro.
Once your Asian cucumber salad has been prepared, you should aim to consume this side dish within a day. Since cucumbers are roughly 95% water, they will continue to leach moisture once they've been cut or smashed, which can affect the overall flavor of this bright and tasty salad. Now that you've learned the wonders of mushy cucumbers, why not try smashed pickle salad next?
Read the original article on Daily Meal.