Spicy Cucumber Salad


  • Cucumbers
  • Sesame Oil
  • Chili Oil
  • Chili Powder
  • Garlic (minced)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar or Rice Vinegar
  • Brown or Turbinado Sugar
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Optional: extra chilis (serrano or Thai chilis would taste best)


  • Slice cucumbers (I used 4 Persian cucumbers, sclied about 1/4-inch thick which gives about 2c sliced cucumber)
  • Season cucumbers with 1/4-1/2 tsp salt and mix. Place into a mesh strainer that will sit on top of a bowl and then refrigerate for about 10 minutes while completing remainder of steps (salt draws out water from the cucumber and the bowl will catch the water which will then be discarded)
  • Make the sauce: combine 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp chili oil, 1 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar, and 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar or raw turbinado sugar. Mix together. For extra spice, add minced serrano peppers or Thai chili peppers (only if you can normally handle spice!)
  • Remove cucumbers from fridge and drain out the water – If it was not sitting in a strainer in the fridge, then let it sit an additional 5 minutes in a colander or strainer to let extra water out
  • Mix the sauce with the cucumbers. You can massage it in with fingers to really get all the spices in there but make sure to wear gloves and/or thoroughly wash hands with soap and water immediately to get all the chili oil off. I used a silicone spatula to mix it around because I could smell the heat!
  • Garnish with sesame seeds
  • Enjoy as a snack or side! I could easily finish off a bowl of these (and did)!


I used Persian cumbers which were the perfect circumference. If using English cucumbers then slice into half-moons.

I cut my cucumbers about 1/4-inch thick but thinly sliced is another option and will likely give more of a spice kick per mouthful. It’s nice to have thicker cucumbers for the cooling effect and crunch.

Of course you want to rinse your cucumbers prior to slicing but for optimal absorption of oils and spices, you want dry cucumbers so salting and draining steps are necessary for this. Salt will draw out water from the cucumbers.

Chili powders vary greatly. I highly recommend you at least get one from an Asian/Indian Grocery Store for best quality and spice level. You may be able to find Korean red chili powder (Gochugaru) at some grocery stores and that would be the type/texture you would want. If limited in options, use cayenne powder.

Shopping List

*Below are Amazon affiliate links to items I used for this recipe


Published by M

Physician. Yogi. Lover of all animals, especially my dog.

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