When summer hits and I’m looking for a light and refreshing snack, this copycat Din Tai Fung cucumber recipe is a go-to of mine.
The contrast of its spicy and salty flavor against the refreshing lightness of the cucumber is a total winner.
This is a really great dish to serve as an appetizer, a side dish, or just by itself if you’re looking for a tasty but healthy treat.
This recipe has some big, bold flavors and is a seriously yummy dish for anyone who hasn’t tried it before. Give it a try this summer and enjoy its sizzling taste.
What is the Din Tai Fung cucumber dish?
It’s a delicious and summery recipe based on the dish served in Dai Tai Fung. This is a super popular West Coast-based restaurant.
The hero ingredient is cucumber which has been marinated in some beautifully balanced flavors.
It’s hit up with Mirin, sesame oil, garlic, chili, and earthy sesame oil. It’s a pretty close to perfect kind of summer dish.
The cucumber sits in this marinade for a good couple of hours before serving it, so the whole is just drenched in flavor.
Ingredients you’ll need
Here’s a list of the ingredients you’ll need. I love having these ingredients in my cupboard as they extend to a lot of Asian dishes that I make at home.
- 8 cucumbers
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 3 TBS rice vinegar
- 2 ½ TBS granulated sugar
- 1 ½ TBS Mirin
- 1 ½ TBS sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ TBS chili oil
- 1 Fresno chili pepper, minced
Din Tai Fung cucumber recipe
Here are the simple and satisfying steps to making this recipe:
Wash your cucumbers and slice them into ½-inch thick rounds. Place the rounds into a bowl.
Sprinkle 1 ½ tsp of salt onto the cucumbers. Toss the cucumbers around in the salt and set them aside in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Rinse the salt off the cucumbers and pat them dry.
Make up the dressing by whisking together the rice vinegar, Mirin, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and salt in a small bowl or jug. Set the dressing to one side.
Toss the cucumber rounds in the dressing and allow it to marinade for about 4 hours. You can push this marinating time to overnight should you want to.
Pile the cucumbers onto a plate. Serve with a little of the marinade drizzled over it as well as the chili oil and Fresno chili.
Tips for making the perfect Din Tai Fung cucumber salad
- Use Persian or English cucumbers to make this recipe seriously delicious. They contain the least amount of water and have thinner skins than some of the other cucumbers, making them easier to marinade and eat. They are also seedless, which is preferable in this recipe.
- Don’t skimp on the cucumber’s time in the salt. This is because the salt dehydrates the cucumber a little. This process is super important as it stops the water from leaching out into the marinade and diluting the flavors.
- If you don’t have rice vinegar, you can absolutely use regular red wine vinegar instead.
- I like making and using homemade chili oil for this recipe, although that’s a recipe for another day!
How to store cucumber salad?
This recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can also pop this recipe into a glass bowl and cover the top with plastic or a lid.
Another important note is that storing this in the fridge ensures the smell of garlic doesn’t penetrate your fridge!
This is not a freezer-friendly recipe.
Can I make the Din Tai Fung cucumber salad ahead of time?
Absolutely! One of the joys of this recipe is that it can be prepared ahead of time. You can make this recipe up to 3 days ahead of serving.
If you want to take it further in terms of saving time, you can salt the cucumbers overnight and prepare them the next day.
I love finding recipes that can be prepared a little ahead. This time-saving trick is a lifesaver if you have a busy week ahead.
Are cucumbers good for you?
Yup. There are so many benefits to including cucumbers in your diet. Here are a few of them:
- Nutrient dense. Despite being made up of 96% water, cucumbers are full of vitamins and nutrients. The notable ones are vitamins K and C, potassium, manganese, and magnesium.
- They are packed full of antioxidants which are known to get rid of free radicals, which can cause chronic illness from long-term exposure.
- Cucumbers are super hydrating.
- They have blood sugar-lowering abilities.
- Great for your metabolism and keeping you regular.
- Are a quick and easy addition to a lot of meals and salads.
How long do cucumbers and vinegar last?
Cucumbers and vinegar last about 3 days. Anything longer will result in a slimy, soggy cucumber that’s just not great.
It is nice to know that this dish can be made a couple of days ahead of time, just for planning purposes.
How do you keep cucumbers crispy?
The trick to keeping cucumbers crisp is in the dehydration process. By allowing the cucumbers to sit in salt, you are ensuring they leach out their internal water.
This means the cucumber rounds will be filled with marinade rather than leaching water into the marinade and cause a watery mess.
The dehydration process gives the cucumbers a lovely crisp texture.
How do you keep cucumber salad from getting watery?
Just as with keeping them crisp, the process of laying the cucumber rounds in salt is what ensures the dish won’t become watery. If the cucumbers aren’t first dehydrated, they will absolutely become watery as their internal water will seep out and dilute the marinade.
Din Tai Fung Cucumber Recipe (Asian Cucumber Salad)
- 8 cucumbers
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 TBS rice vinegar
- 2 1/2 TBS granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 TBS Mirin
- 1 1/2 TBS sesame oil
- 3 Cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 TBS chili oil
- 1 Fresno chili pepper, minced
- Wash your cucumbers and slice them into ½-inch thick rounds. Place the rounds into a bowl.
- Sprinkle 1 ½ tsp of salt onto the cucumbers. Toss the cucumbers around in the salt and set them aside in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Rinse the salt off the cucumbers and pat them dry.
- Make up the dressing by whisking together the rice vinegar, Mirin, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and salt in a small bowl or jug. Set the dressing to one side.
- Toss the cucumber rounds in the dressing and allow it to marinade for about 4 hours. You can push this marinating time to overnight should you want to.
- Pile the cucumbers onto a plate. Serve with a little of the marinade drizzled over it as well as the chili oil and Fresno chili.
Wrapping it up!
So, if you’re hunting for a summer sizzler of a recipe, look no further. Reach for my version of a Din Tai Fung cucumber recipe.
I’m obsessed with the lightness and freshness of this salad that hits me with a little sting of chili at the end. Give it a go!