Refreshing and easy, this spicy Asian cucumber salad recipe comes together in under 15 minutes and is full of delicious flavor! Seasoned with fresh herbs and tossed in a spicy soy sauce blend, eating cucumbers have never been so tasty!
This spicy Asian cucumber salad recipe is a great way to get some healthy nutrients in while tasting absolutely delicious! Intrigued?
It’s the perfect side dish to whip up on any occasion, and definitely makes use of some pantry staples!
Loaded with fresh herbs and a zesty soy sauce blend, this easy spicy cucumber salad can also be tailored to preference and easily customizable!
This post will go over everything you need to know to create this spicy Asian cucumber salad recipe.
Recipe difficulty: Simply chop and toss….no doubt a beginner level recipe
Rich in nutrients and antioxidants, this is one of those spicy cucumber salad recipes that makes use of some favorite Asian spices for a nutritious dish! Perfect for a refreshing side salad with a sauce that can be repurposed on your main dish! (This sauce is seriously too good to not have more of on your meal!)
Sam’s Pro Tips for the Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe
Salt the Cucumber
In this crunchy Asian cucumber salad, the MOST important tip is to salt the cucumber! This will prevent the salad from getting too much liquid from the cucumber.
Once the cucumber is salted, prep the other ingredients as it sits in the bowl. You’ll find after 10 minutes some of the juice has been released and can be drained. No need to wash unless you find the cucumber too salty!
I used English cucumbers to get a nice crunch, which holds nicely in this salad. Plus, there is no need to peel the skin as its thin enough to eat!
Don’t Have Chili Sesame Oil?
We discussed this in our Chicken and String Beans Recipe | Ginisang Sitaw, as this is an Asian favorite!
You can make your own if you have sesame oil and red pepper flakes, it will be close enough! Chili sesame oil should be pretty easy to find in either the Asian section of the grocery store or the Asian market.
Make sure to check out our Top 5 Crazy-Cheap Ingredients You Need for Filipino Cooking and Where to Find It from my free resource library for more recommended Asian ingredients to keep in your pantry!
Serve the Same Day
For the BEST flavor and consistency, plan on serving this Asian cucumber salad recipe immediately after serving!
If there are leftovers, you can store in the refrigerator for only a day after before you’ll notice liquid may start to build. You can easily drain some of the liquid to your preference when serving.
Side note, the flavor sometimes is better the next day as the sauce has thoroughly infused the cucumber!
Key Ingredients – Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe
Below are some key and optional ingredients for this recipe:
- Cucumber: Use a firmer cucumber for best results in this Asian spicy cucumber salad recipe! I used two English cucumbers for nice, crunchy slices while keeping the skin on. Way easier to prep!
- Garlic: Minced garlic is the best way to get that ultimate flavor on the cucumber. Only two minced garlic cloves are used. As in one clove per cucumber.
- Cilantro: The freshness of the chopped cilantro brightens this dish and gives incredible flavor. Beautiful and healthy!
- Ground ginger: For that slight zing in every bite, a teaspoon of ground ginger is mixed into the sauce. Using ground ginger makes this way easier to prepare than fresh ginger.
- Sesame seeds: The sesame seeds make this salad look picture ready and gives an earthy taste. Don’t skip on this!
- Soy sauce: Super common in Asian cooking! For this crunchy Asian cucumber salad, there is not a specific brand I’m recommending as we will be mixing the soy sauce with different seasonings.
- Rice vinegar: This is the ultimate ingredient and common in Asian dishes. Rice vinegar definitely packs a punch, so a little will go a long way. We used 2 tablespoons in the salad.
- Honey: To balance the spiciness, a dash of honey is added for some sweetness to create a sweet and spicy cucumber recipe perfect for anyone as the spice level is quite mild. Check out our Nutritious Honey Baked Salmon with Dijon Mustard for more honey recipes!
- Sriracha: The sriracha combined with the chili sesame oil increases the spiciness and creates a beautiful dark red sauce that can be used on meats or even seafood.
- Chili sesame oil: By mixing the chili sesame oil with the hot sauce, you’ll get a vibrant reddish-orange color to the sauce. Plus, it will add to the spiciness in the dish.
- Lemon: Just a dash is needed! Plan to have some lemon wedges on the side for guests that may want extra!
- Red pepper flakes: You will most likely get all the spice you need from the Sriracha and chili sesame oil, but a little bit of pepper flakes won’t hurt right? This is totally optional but will really add to the spice level.
- Chili garlic sauce: Don’t have Sriracha? You can use chili garlic sauce instead, which has a medium spice level and will pair well with the soy sauce.
- Lime: Instead of a lemon, you can use the juice of a lime if preferred. Sometimes I use this interchangeably in my easy spicy cucumber salad depending on what I have! Serve the salad with some lime wedges on the side if using.
More Variations to this Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad Recipe
There are a few ways you can variate this spicy Asian cucumber salad recipe. Here’s how:
- Add more vegetables or fruits: For some added vegetables or fruits, you can add shredded carrots, halved grape tomatoes, or even sliced bell pepper. The color and flavor will be amazing! Prep time may need to be adjusted accordingly.
- Need some quick side dish ideas? Side dishes easily turn a main dish to a complete meal with different choices. If you want more dishes with rice vinegar, our Asian-Inspired Easy Cold Pasta Salad Recipe | 7-Ingredients Only is a refreshing cold pasta salad perfect for those summer days! Or our Fresh Mango Pico de Gallo Recipe for Your Tropical Snack uses sweet mango mixed with jalapenos for a sweet and spicy snack!
- What can I pair with this dish? Warm weather means barbecue! Our Filipino Pork Barbecue Skewer Recipe Perfectly Glazed will be your perfect barbecue recipe as the pork is marinated in a sweet and tangy sauce. Or our 15-Minute Asian Chili Garlic Butter Shrimp with Sprite is a quick seafood dish that will compliment this Asian cucumber salad recipe well!
Looking for some awesome printables that are totally FREE? Our favorite! Check out our FREE LIBRARY for our Grocery Checklist or Top 5 Ingredients you Need for Filipino Cooking printables to help you on your cooking journey!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Should I peel a cucumber before putting it in a salad?
Depends on the type of cucumber used. English cucumbers have a thinner skin, so it works perfectly in this spicy cucumber salad.
What happens when you put salt on cucumber?
The salt draws out the moisture from the cucumber and prevents your cucumber salad from getting too much liquid.
How long can you keep cucumber salad?
Plan to serve this spicy Asian cucumber salad recipe the same day for the best flavor and consistency. If there are leftovers, store in the refrigerator a maximum of one day.
How much juice can you get from one lemon?
Usually, 1 lemon can yield 3 tablespoons of juice depending on the size of the lemon.