Stay cool as a cucumber with this wonderful and fun way to serve cucumber salad. This spicy, cool and garlicky spiral cucumber salad goes with everything and is perfect for summer meals and barbecues. It is also perfect to serve for Chinese New Year coming up. The best thing is that you don’t need any special tools to spiral your cucumber, just a knife! This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader especially if you’re a fan of fresh salads.
This cucumber salad is not only fun but also tasty. It was a bit of a hit on TikTok although the recipe for the sauce there is more Korean. I adapted it to make this more of a Chinese cucumber salad. I made one batch for a dinner and it disappeared and then every time I have made it since it has been so popular that it disappears. It’s perfect as a side for not only Chinese dishes but also grilled chicken, beef and lamb.
Tips for Making this Spiral Cucumber Salad:
1 – Don’t worry if you can’t find baby cucumbers. Use a regular Lebanese cucumber and cut it in half and then treat each like two short cucumbers.
2 – The key to cutting these cucumbers in a spiral with just a knife and no special tools is to cut it on one side on the diagonal and then slip it over and cut it vertically. You have to get deep enough but not cut through. For your first time I’d suggest placing chopsticks on the side of the cucumber so that you don’t cut all the way through but after cutting a few of these I just freehanded it.
3 – Make sure to salt the cucumbers first. This draws out the extra moisture from the cucumber. You will then discard the water.
4 -Can I make this cucumber salad ahead of time? YES! This develops flavors really well and you can make it a day ahead. The cucumbers will soak up the sauce. The cucumbers are less crisp but still delicious.
5 – This is a wonderful side dish to serve with meat!
I took this cucumber salad to Monica’s house for New Year’s Eve (which seems like so long ago although it was only a week and a half ago!). What did you do for New Years Eve? We all wanted something that didn’t stand on too much ceremony because New Year’s is probably my least favorite occasion that has such a build up to it and rarely delivers. Jarringly, it also comes right during my favorite period of the year, that unknown period between Christmas and New Year’s where nobody expects anything from us and you have no idea what day it is.
I got dressed up because I love any chance to do so. Monica and I laughed when we saw each other because she was wearing a gnocchi t-shirt and prawn pants. Despite our very different fashion styles we are such good friends. Monica made some delicious toro tuna and salmon tiradito and then cooked some pork belly and wagyu on the binchotan and we wrapped these up and ate them in crisp nori squares and shiso leaves with dipping sauces.
We brought a couple of bottles of champagne, this cucumber salad and Tipsy Cake dessert. After that Mr NQN and I ended up in bed by 11pm. Mr NQN was asleep by the time that midnight rolled around and I woke him up to wish him a Happy New Year. It was a lovely low key New Year’s Eve that we sort of snuck up to because we didn’t want to scare it!
So tell me Dear Reader, how did you see NYE in? What do you think 2023 will hold? And do you like getting dressed up or are you more casual?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Spicy Spiral Cucumber Salad
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 30 minutes waiting time
Cooking time: 0 minutes
Serves: 4 as a side dish
- 250g/8.8oz baby cucumbers
- 2 teaspoons salt flakes
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons caster or superfine sugar
- 1 tablespoon chilli oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
- 1 small chilli, finely diced
Then turning over and cutting vertically
Step 1 – Firstly cut the cucumbers spiral style. Take each baby cucumber and cut through almost to the base on a diagonal. What helps is having chopsticks on each side to prevent it cutting through. Then flip the cucumber over and then cut vertically. The cucumber should now be able to be pulled in and out like an accordion.
Step 2 – Sprinkle salt flakes over the cucumbers and let sit for 30-60 minutes. Meanwhile mix the garlic, ginger, vinegar, sugar, chilli oil, sesame oil, sesame seeds and chilli together. Drain the extra water from salting the cucumber and pour over the chilli mixture and mix.