RECIPE: Make JenChan’s Smashed Cucumber Salad

JenChan’s Smashed Cucumber Salad. 
Courtesy of Emily Chan

Combined ShapeCaption
JenChan’s Smashed Cucumber Salad. Courtesy of Emily Chan

The Smashed Chinese Cucumbers at JenChan’s are listed as an app, but I could make a meal of them, especially in the summer. What’s the secret to the delicious dressing? — Rick Floyd, Decatur

JenChan’s co-owner Emily Chan was happy to share this tangy dressing recipe that uses just a few ingredients. It makes 1 1/4 cups of dressing and can you can use as much or as little as you like. The remainder will store safely in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Most of the ingredients are available at a supermarket, but you’ll probably need to go to a store that carries Chinese groceries for the Chinkiang vinegar, a black vinegar made from rice and malt and typically used to dress cold salads. We found ours at the Buford Highway Farmers Market along with the lotus root for the garnish. In the produce section, we found steamed peeled lotus root in 1-pound vacuum-sealed packages. It comes both whole and sliced. We bought the whole roots so we could slice them thinly.

The C-Town Sauce is the house table sauce at JenChan’s and is available for purchase in 16-ounce bottles. It’s a spicy gluten-free sauce made with chiles, tamari, toasted sesame oil and pink peppercorns. Substitute with your preferred hot sauce to taste.

ExploreRecipes from metro Atlanta restaurants

JenChan’s Smashed Cucumber Salad
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Chinkiang or other black vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup C-Town Sauce (substitute with your preferred hot sauce, to taste)
  • 4 (6-inch long) cucumbers
  • Sesame seeds and Pickled Lotus Root (recipe follows), for garnish
  • Make sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, black vinegar, tamari, toasted sesame oil and C-Town Sauce. Set aside.
  • Slice cucumbers in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove and discard the seeds. Place the cucumbers cut-side down on a cutting board and use the flat side of a cleaver to lightly smash the cucumbers, then cut them into 1/2-inch slices. Put slices in a large bowl and add enough sauce to lightly coat. Do not overdress them. Let cucumbers sit 10 minutes, taste and add more sauce if needed. Garnish with sesame seeds and Pickled Lotus Root. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 167 calories (percent of calories from fat, 78), 3 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 15 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 1,389 milligrams sodium.

Pickled Lotus Root

Emily Chan says you can use whatever vinegar you prefer for these pickles: apple cider, white or rice vinegar. If you want the bright pink pickles you see in the photo, add a raw or cooked chopped beet to the pickling liquid.

Pickled Lotus Root
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • 1 pound lotus root, sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 small beet, chopped (optional)
  • In a medium saucepan, combine water, vinegar, salt, sugar and pickling spice. Bring to a simmer and let cook 10 minutes.
  • Put the lotus root and chopped beet if using, in a heatproof bowl. Cover with hot pickling mixture and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least 48 hours before serving. Can be stored, refrigerated, up to 2 months. Makes 4 cups.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per 1/4-cup: 26 calories (percent of calories from fat, 1), 1 gram protein, 5 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, trace total fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 156 milligrams sodium.

From the menu of ... JenChan’s, 186 Carroll St. SE, Atlanta; 404-549-9843,

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