Sichuan Smashed Cucumber (Pai Huan Gua)

Pai Huang Gua – Chefs really have a way with cucumbers in China’s Sichuan and Hunan provinces. The “smashed” in the name refers to the technique of literally smashing cucumber halves with a cleaver so they better absorb flavors they’re dressed with.

Pi Huang Gua – Smashed Cucumber Salad

In Sichuan cuisine, hot and spicy foods are almost always eaten with a crisp bowl of crunchy pickled vegetables to offset the richness. This is a very simple version that is great with anything it's served with. Don't forget to smash.
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Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese, Sichuan, Western China
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Salt cucumbers: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • 1 medium English cucumber, partially skinned vertically
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Black vinegar
  • 1 small Fresh or pickled red chili, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Toasted sesame oil


  • Prepare Cucumbers – Cut cucumber in half longways. Scoop out any seeds with a spoon. Smash cucumber halves along the back with a large cleaver or frying pan to break them down a little. Cut in half again vertically and then cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces.
    Place cucumber pieces in a colander placed in the sink. Mix in 1 tsp salt and let drain for 30 minutes. Dry cucumbers with paper towels and put in a bowl.
  • Assemble Salad – Add garlic, chili pepper, vinegar, and sesame oil to the cucumber. Toss thoroughly and serve in a bowl.

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