Smashed Cucumber Salad with Yuba

Chewy, slippery tofu skin offers textural intrigue in this refreshing Chinese appetizer.


    • 5 oz. (¾ cup) dried or fresh yuba (tofu skin) sheets, cut into 1-in. pieces
    • 3 small cucumbers
    • ½ tsp. kosher salt
    • 1¼ tsp. sugar, divided
    • 1 Tbsp. Sichuan chili crisp
    • 1 Tbsp. light soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp. Chinese black vinegar
    • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (1 Tbsp.)
    •  Sesame seeds and finely chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish


  1. If using dried yuba, fill a medium pot about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the yuba and cook over high heat until they soften and turn pale, 4–5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cut the cucumbers crosswise into approximately 3-inch lengths, then halve each piece lengthwise. Using the flat side of a cleaver, smash the cucumbers to crack the skin. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and discard. Cut the cucumbers into bite-size pieces (about 1 inch). Transfer to a large bowl, add the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the sugar, and toss well. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. (This will extract some water from the cucumbers.)
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the chili crisp, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and the remaining sugar.
  4. Drain the cucumbers of any extracted water. Add the tofu skin and the chili-crisp mixture and toss well to mix. Transfer to a platter, garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro, and serve.

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