Holy cucumbers, Batman! I have tons of them pouring out of my garden right now. Are you growing them, too? Even if you’re not, cucumbers are at their peak season right now, so they’re super inexpensive at grocery stores and farmer’s markets, not to mention extra tasty.
I grew up eating tons of that classic tomato cucumber salad – you know the one – with basil, red onions, olive oil and red wine vinegar. It’s a solid dish, but I’m so completely and totally bored of it. This recipe for Thai Cucumber Salad is bold, spicy (only if you want), and waaay more interesting.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice, from about 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 medium-large shallot
- 1/2 - 1 whole jalapeño or other chile pepper, adjust amount depending on desired level of heat*
- 2 medium cucumbers, peeled only if the skin is bitter or thick, seeded only if they're huge and unpalatable
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro, loosely packed**
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped peanuts
- Mix together the sugar, lime juice and fish sauce until the sugar is fully dissolved. Next, peel and thinly slice the shallot and add it to the bowl. Let it hang out here while you prep the other ingredients. It will help flavor the dressing, and will also start to pickle and mellow out. Thinly slice the jalapeño and add it to the bowl.
- Next, thinly slice the cucumber and add it to the bowl along with the cilantro. Mix everything together and then spoon it into a serving dish. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts on top and serve immediately.
- *Thai bird chiles, serrano chiles, or your favorite pepper can be substituted here. If you're very sensitive to heat, remove the seeds from the chile first, substitute a milder pepper, or leave it out all together.
- **If you're not a fan of cilantro, substitute Thai basil or fresh mint instead.
- I use a mandolin to make super thin, even slices, but a sharp knife will get the job done just fine.