Mala Cucumber Salad

Mala Cucumber Salad

Simple but So Delicious! This is a typical Chinese appetizer to accompany a cold beer. Enjoy!


  • 1 Japanese cucumber or 3 Persian / pickling cucumbers
  • Garlic - minced
  • Chinese Laundry Dan Dan Sauce - 1.5 tbsp or to your liking


  • Cleaver or a knife with a wide blade

So we are going to share with you an unconventional way to cut your cucumbers. It’s unconventional by the Western standard, but it’s widely practiced in China. What you will need is a cleaver. If you don’t have a cleaver, find the kitchen knife with the widest blade instead. Not only is this a quick method for chopping cucumbers, it also gives the cuts more texture to carry sauces and seasoning. 


  1. You’re going to smash the cucumbers with the face of the cleaver / knife until the cucumbers have broken apart lengthwise into at least 3 pieces. If you’re using a western kitchen knife, you can hold the knife with its face on the cucumber, and then use your fist to impact the face of the knife facing up. 
  2. Chop the broken cucumbers into ½ inch to 1 inch long pieces. You can find an instruction video below. 
  3. Once cucumbers are all chopped up, simply throw in the minced garlic and Chinese Laundry Dan Dan Sauce, toss until everything is well coated with sauce, and it’s ready to serve.

  Check out our Instagram video below for this recipe:


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Frequently asked questions

  • What is Mala Cucumber Salad?

    More than a normal salad, this is a delicious appetizer, best to accompany your cold beer. The character “ma” refers to the mouth-tingling sensation unique to the Sichuanese peppercorn, and the character “La” means spiciness in Chinese. Unique chopping style: The cucumber is cut using the traditional method, which is still used in China’s kitchens. Rather than chopping it straight with a knife, the cucumber is shattered with the face of a cleaver or knife first before dicing. This gives the cucumber diced more texture for the velvety sauce to hold on to. Other ingredients: It tastes extra delicious from regular cucumber salad because it is tossed into the mixture of Sichuan Spicy Dan Dan sauce and garlic.

  • Is Mala Cucumber Salad Spicy?

    Sichuan Spicy Dan Dan sauce used in the recipe makes it mildly spicy, and exciting tingly.

  • Can I adjust the level of spiciness in this recipe?

    Certainly, you can use the sauce according to your preference. If more spiciness is liked, add more sauce than usual, and vice versa if you desire less spice.

  • How long does it take to make Mala Cucumber Salad?

    As the video shows above, the recipe is quite simple to make. It would hardly take 10 minutes before you can enjoy it with a cold refreshing beverage.

  • How long will the Mala Cucumber Salad last in the fridge?

    It is recommended to consume this mala cucumber salad soon after making it. You can store it for up to a couple of days but it will release some water due to the garnishing of the sauce.

  • Can I use other types of cucumbers in this recipe?

    The recommendations are to use 1 Japanese cucumber or 3 Persian / pickling cucumbers. If you can’t have these cucumbers, go for your preferable ones.

  • What other dishes can I serve with Mala Cucumber Salad?

    Mala cucumber salad is a starter or side salad and can be served with various other dishes including Tofu, rice, soups, Noodles, and others.

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