Prepare your tastebuds friends. They’re in for a big party.
This Smashed Cucumber & Crispy Rice Salad is a big, uber-tasty bunch of crunchy stuff piled onto a big, hot bunch of crispy stuff. You know how much I like my crunch in a salad, so this is kind of like my dream salad. It is all about the incredible crunch factor paired with a dressing I could drink by the glass and a big old pile of carbs. Yep. It’s good.
Around this time of year I’m starting to feel the gentle pull toward spring foods. Not quite enough to put away my slow cooker, but I am definitely starting to think more and more about blueberry muffins… and now that I’ve said that out loud I will definitely be baking some of those this weekend.
It is unusually warm here this week and so I’m feeling a little more like salad than soup, but I still want a little warmth in my food. So, instead of having a big old bowl of cold, crispy greens, I made a big old bowl of dressed, crunchy cucumbers… and then I piled them on top of hot, crispy rice. And holy, holy yum. Please make this friends, it is just as good as it sounds.
Smashed Cucumber & Crispy Rice Salad, the details…
You might be wondering why in the world it’s necessary to smash the cucumbers with a meat tenderizer instead of just cutting them up like a normal person would. The answer, my friends, is not because it is incredibly fun and satisfying to bash cucumbers although it is, in fact, very very fun. The answer is because the smashing gives the cucumbers a rough texture, and that rough texture creates all kinds of nooks and crannies which are perfect dressing catchers. And this dressing is so good that I’m definitely on team more = better.
So, we smash up the cucumbers and toss them with salt to draw out a little extra liquid and give them extra flavour. Then we’ll whisk up a quick & easy (but incredibly yummy) dressing, toss it with the cucumbers and make our rice.
As with any type of fried rice, it is best to use cooked, cooled rice for this recipe. You don’t have to, it’s just so much better. I like to cook the rice in coconut oil because the slight coconut aroma mixes so well with the rest of this dish. We’ll spread the rice out in a skillet with the hot coconut oil and let it crisp. Don’t mess with it too much. Let it sizzle away and get crispy, then give it a toss and let it sizzle again. When it’s all hot and crispy we’ll serve it right away with those delicious cucumbers piled on top. Give the whole thing a good sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds & cilantro and tuck in.
Tips, tricks, substitutions
- Rice- I use long grain Jasmine rice for this recipe, but you can use pretty much any rice, so feel free to substitute in what you have.
- Oil – I use coconut oil to fry the rice because the slight coconut flavour really works in this dish. You can sub in whatever oil you have though.
- Chili Garlic Paste – I can find asian Chili Garlic Paste in all my local grocery stores, but if you can’t find it, just use a bit of hot sauce and a small minced garlic clove.
I like to use a spiky edge of my meat tenderizing mallet (similar to this one) because not only does it easily flatten out the cucumbers, but the spikes also create dents in the outside of the cucumbers which trap even more dressing.
Let me know what you think!
Smashed Cucumber & Crispy Rice Salad
- 4-5 baby cucumbers
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp chili garlic paste
- 1 1/2 cups leftover cooked rice cooled
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Lay the cucumbers on a hard surface and bash them with a meat tenderizing mallet or a rolling pin until they’re slightly flattened. You don’t want to completely obliterate them, you just want them to kind of break apart so there are lots of rough edges for the dressing to soak into.
- Cut the smashed cucumbers into 1 inch chunks and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle with a big pinch of salt and toss well. Set aside while you make the dressing.
- To make the dressing whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and chili garlic paste in a large bowl.
- After the salted cucumbers have sat for 5-10 minutes, add them to the bowl with the dressing, leaving any excess liquid behind.
- Toss with the dressing and set aside.
- Melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add in the rice and spread it into an even layer. Leave it to sizzle away for about 2 minutes and then give it a mix. Let cook for another couple of minutes and once it’s crispy, spread it out on your serving dish.
- Top immediately with the cucumber salad and then top with toasted sesame seeds and chopped cilantro.
If you like this Smashed Cucumber & Crispy Rice Salad Recipe please go try my Recipe for Kale Cucumber “Seaweed” Salad. Another asian style salad that I think you’ll love.