Cucumbers, as super refreshing as they can be, are also pretty boring. That’s because their smooth, solid surface doesn’t allow for much sauce or dressing absorption. The solution: smashing. Lots of Asian cuisines use this technique to change the veggie’s taste and feel--all while making it a more efficient vehicle for other flavors. Here’s how to do it.

smashed cucumber 1

Step 1: Smash

Take a fresh, firm-fleshed cucumber (with its skin on or off, your call). Rest a knife flat on it, and with the heel of your hand, pound the knife strongly but carefully…of course. (Just like you’d remove the peel from a clove of garlic.) If you’re wary of sharp objects, use a rolling pin or wooden mallet instead.

smashed cucumber 2

Step 2: Separate

Using your hands, separate the smashed cucumber into reasonably sized pieces, discarding the watery seeds.

smashed cucumber

Step 3: Salt

Sprinkle salt atop the smashed and separated pieces, and place aside for 30 minutes. This softens the skin even further and turns the outer layer into a delightfully bright-green color.

smashed cucumber 4

Step 4: Savor

Smashed cucumbers can be eaten on their own or turned into a flavor-packed salad. We like to add some garlic, rice-wine vinegar, chile oil and a few other ingredients for this Thai-inspired version.

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