"This simple recipe combines sophisticated flavors of sweet, acidic, and savory," Wang says. "Smashing the cucumbers releases their distinctive aroma and helps them absorb the dressing."
- 2 English cucumbers
- 2 garlic cloves
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- Chinese red pepper flakes (optional)
- Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and place on a cutting board, cut sides down. Press the flat side of a large knife against the curved top of the cucumber and press down gently to smash. Repeat along the length of each cucumber half, then cut into chunks.
- Smash the garlic cloves with the flat side of the knife and place in a colander with the cucumbers. Sprinkle with salt and toss to coat. Set the colander over a bowl and let the liquid drain about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the drained cucumber and garlic to a large bowl. Add the vinegar and toss to coat, then drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes if desired.
- Use English cucumbers, which have a more concentrated flavor. Plus, their thinner skin makes smashing easier, Wang says.
- Recipe by Chao Wang, chef at Hunan Slurp in New York City.