It’s possible that I needed an outlet for my frustration (the lazy days of summer are over, after all!), but when I read about the trend of smashing cucumbers, I couldn’t wait to pull out my kitchen mallet and make a delicious mess. Bashing cucumbers turns out to be a great trick – creating craggy surfaces for dressing to hide in makes for a much more flavor-packed and texturally interesting salad, and you can’t deny the fun of wielding a hammer in the kitchen. The sesame dressing is a rich counterpoint to cucumber’s cool, slightly bitter crunch, and you’ll fall in love with the Sichuan chile oil – I’ve been drizzling it on chicken and stir-fried greens all week. If you want to make a meal out of this dish, toss in some thinly sliced grilled steak and serve steamed jasmine rice on the side.

Bashed Cucumber Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette & Sichuan Chile Oil

Serves 4

Cucumber Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette & Chile Oil

By Camille Styles


  • 3 small-medium cucumbers
  • ¼ c sesame tahini
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar, plus a splash extra for drizzling
  • 2 T toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ c grapeseed, peanut, or canola oil, plus a splash extra for drizzling
  • pinch salt
  • pinch sugar
  • 2 T chile oil (recipe follows)
  • 1 small handful cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 T sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Chile oil:

  • ¾ c grapeseed, peanut, or canola oil
  • 2 star anise
  • ½ small cinnamon stick
  • ½ t Sichuan peppercorns
  • 3 T crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ t sugar


  1. In a small bowl, combine tahini, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, grapeseed oil (or oil of your choice), and a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Stir until smooth and set aside.
  2. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, then cut on the bias into 2” chunks. Place the pieces on a cutting board and bash them with a kitchen mallet or a small, heavy skillet.
  3. Place the pieces in a bowl and toss with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of rice wine vinegar and grapeseed oil (or oil of your choice).
  4. Place on a serving platter and drizzle generously with tahini vinaigrette and chile oil to taste.
  5. Top with cilantro and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Chili Oil Preparation: 

  1. Pour oil into a small saucepan and add star anise, cinnamon stick, and Sichuan peppercorns.
  2. Toast spices over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove spices with a slotted spoon and discard.
  3. Allow oil to cool for 5-10 minutes, then add red pepper flakes.
  4. Toast over low heat again until oil is fragrant and smells toasted. Remove from heat and stir in salt and sugar until dissolved.
  5. Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

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Comments (2)
  1. 1
    Patricia September 3, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Omg this sounds so refreshing! I’ll have to give it a try.

  2. 2
    xoxobellablog September 3, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Looks so yummy!