A spicy and refreshing Asian cucumber salad. Easy to prepare and makes a great side to your meals!

salad on a plate next to herbs and limes
Why it works
What is great about this spicy Asian cucumber salad is that it is light, crisp, and refreshing. I love it during barbecues and outdoor meals alongside a cool glass of blackberry lemonade.

We only need a few ingredients to put it together, and the dressing is perfect for making in bulk to use in absolutely anything and everything.

The recipe originates from the book Xi’an Famous Foods by Jason Wang and Jessica Chou. It is a great book full of amazing recipes authentic to the authors’ lives and is such a joy to cook through.

xi’an cookbook

Ingredient breakdown
Let’s go over the main ingredients of the salad. It is a simple one, so there isn’t a ton to review!

Cucumbers – You should use Persian cucumbers, or any other small variety. It will make cutting the cucumbers easier and give you a nicer crunch.
Peppers – The recipe is a spicy one, so you should use longhorn or jalapeno peppers. You can use red or green longhorns. I prefer using green to give the salad a fun monochromatic look.
Garlic – You should use garlic puree. You can make your own, use a garlic press, or buy premade garlic puree.
Soy sauce – I like to use low-sodium soy sauce, but you can use whatever your favorite kind is.
Vinegar – The original recipe calls for black vinegar. I cannot always source it. I’ve used rice vinegar and a splash of mirin.
Chili oil – There is a recipe for homemade chili oil, but I typically use store-bought chili oil. It is faster, easier, and just as flavorful.
Sesame oil – Just a dash of sesame oil rounds out the flavors. You can omit, if needed.

closer up of cucumber salad
How to cut cucumbers
Typically, this spicy cucumber salad is made with large, rough pieces of cucumber, but to switch things up, I decided to cut them into ribbons.

To do a rough cut salad, cut both the ends of the cucumber off, then using the wide side of a knife or a mallet, smash the cucumbers lengthwise until they form cracks along the sides. Cut into 1.5-inch chunks.

To make ribbons, cut off both ends of the cucumbers, then use a vegetable peeler to glide along the length of the cucumber. Once you get to about the middle, flip then repeat the process until you just have the very middle of the cucumber left.

You can also cut the cucumbers into rounds or medallions. Cut off both ends of the cucumber, then cut into thin slices.

The recipe originally calls for you to prep the cucumbers and peppers before mixing the dressing together and letting them marinate. I prefer to make the dressing ahead of time to let the flavors of the dressing to really meld together.

My best tip is to quadruple the dressing recipe or more and keep it in an airtight container for you to use any time.

Asian Cucumber Salad
Amanda Powell
A delicious and refreshing spicy Asian cucumber salad with a gorgeous twist on serving


2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili oil*
2 teaspoons black vinegar*
2 teaspoons garlic puree
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sesame seed oil
4 Persian cucumbers
2 longhorn peppers or jalapeno peppers


Mix together the soy sauce, chili oil, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic puree, salt, and sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.
2 tablespoons soy sauce,1 tablespoon chili oil*,2 teaspoons black vinegar*,2 teaspoons garlic puree,½ teaspoon salt,½ teaspoon sugar,½ teaspoon sesame seed oil
Slice the cucumbers in your preferred method. Slice the peppers thinly
4 Persian cucumbers,2 longhorn peppers or jalapeno peppers
Mix together the cucumbers and peppers, then coat with the dressing. Let it sit for no more than 10 minutes. Enjoy!
*You can use homemade or store bought chili oil, preferably the kind that has pepper flakes in it. Rice vinegar also works if you cannot find black vinegar.
Serving: 1g
Calories: 236kcal
Carbohydrates: 26g
Protein: 5g
Fat: 15g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g
Sodium: 1416mg
Fiber: 4g
Sugar: 11g