In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Smashed Cucumber Chow.

After sharing this video on YouTube, the comments were very interesting. From “Why?”, to “Only a man would do this”, and “brilliant on it’s own or on the side of grilled salmon”. Chow is basically a quick spicy pickle we make in the Caribbean. Usually made with tart fruit (like green mango or Pommecythere aka golden apple ) and enjoyed as a snack by both kids and adults alike. Except adults tend to enjoy it better when there’s beer and cocktails involved. Note! typically the cucumber is cut into slices or wedges when this chow is done the traditional way.

You’ll Need…

2 Medium English Cucumbers (any cucumber will work)
1 tablespoon sea salt (divided)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 Wiri Wiri Peppers (any spicy pepper will work)
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon Shado Beni (chopped) * Cilantro will work too
2 shallots (or a small red onion – sliced thin)
1 lemon (juice)
1 tablespoon Korean pepper paste (Gochujang)

Important! If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the full list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. If you cannot source Wiri Wiri (coffee) Peppers, any spicy pepper will work.

Wash the cucumbers, then smash then using a rolling pin or as in my case, my wooden pestle. It will get messy! Then give the pieces a rough chop. Finally, add the pieces to a bowl and toss them with 1/2 the salt mentioned above.

The salt will do two things for us. It will help to pull out some of the water or tart juice from the cucumbers and two, in doing so allow the cucumbers to absorb the flavors we’ll add later.

As this sit in the salt, place the remaining salt, garlic and Wiri Wiri peppers in your mortar and crush to a paste. After 30 minutes, drain the cucumber to get rid of the liquid which will naturally sprout.

Now top the drained cucumber with that crushed pepper/garlic paste.

Basically all you have to do after is add all the other ingredients mentioned and give it a good toss.

The Korean pepper paste (Gochujang) is NOT traditional to this recipe (nor the shallots), but ever since our trip to Seoul a few years back I just enjoy adding it to this type of chow. There’s a deep fermented (almost smoky too) flavor it adds to the finished chow, that takes it to different level (IMHO).

I like placing it in a container with a lid and allow it to chill in the fridge before I tuck in. As a snack or a spicy salad, there’s no denying that it’s refreshing and an excellent way to make use of cucumbers.

Drop me your comments below, tag me on Instagram and don’t forget you can now get my cookbook – The Vibrant Caribbean Pot, 100 Traditional And Fusion Recipes @

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  1. December 10, 2021 / 7:54 pm

    Always appreciate your creativity and ideas that I had not thought about. Thanks!

    June 15, 2021 / 5:11 pm

    Can I use the garlic pepper sauce in jar

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