Sweet and Spicy Quick Cucumber Salad


IMG_1464Another Thai influenced recipe, sweet and spicy cucumbers are a favorite. This one is so easy to put together, you can make it every day! It goes well as a side to just about any dish; the cool, refreshing, crisp cucumbers in the sweet and tangy sauce, with a peanuty crunch. This recipe is adapted slightly from one of my favorite cookbooks, Everyday Thai Cooking.

By now, farmer’s markets should be in full swing just about everywhere. I’m so lucky that I now reside in a place where there are year-round local farmer’s markets – fresh, local fruits & veggies all the time. It’s quite exciting! Even if you don’t have that luxury, I suggest you go as often as you can. Get to know your local farmers – they can tell you everything you’d ever want to know about the food you’re about to buy and eat. It helps you connect a bit more to the food cycle; to know how and when and why you’re getting this particular fruit/veg at that time, any difficulties in getting this or that, and also to get tips on how best to store/prep/eat what you’re about to buy. Perhaps even try some new things – as the growers are there to discuss flavors and techniques with you, making experimentation a bit less “scary.” It’s a win-win.

Last week, we even had the county “master gardeners” at a booth. We got to ask them all sorts of questions about growing our garden, specific to this area (as the market is about a mile from the house), which is infinitely useful. They gave me contact information and are happy to offer free help and advice, identify plants from pictures, etc. There is also a booth that does a cookbook swap each week – a great way to test out new books before buying. And a dude who sharpens your knives while you peruse the rest of the market. And don’t forget the live music playing each week! It’s something we look forward to each Sunday morning.

I was able to make this Thai salad using almost everything from the farmer’s market. Somehow, that just makes everything taste better!

In a large bowl, whisk together the following:

  • 1/4 C rice vinegar
  • 2 T white vinegar
  • 5 T sugar or 3.5 T agave syrup
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated on a microplane (or very finely minced)
  • 1-2 Thai chilis, thinly sliced (depending on how hot you like it)
  • large pinch salt
  • 1-2 T water (if needed; use water if the dressing is too tangy for your taste)

For the veggies, add:

  • 2 cucumbers, or 1 large English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced into 1/2 moons
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced into 1/4 moons
  • 1/4 C fresh chopped cilantro

Toss to combine, and let rest at least 30 minutes before serving. Top with crushed roasted peanuts prior to eating.

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