I simply love Thai cuisine! The food creations of this spicy cooking style is second only to my favorite Italian cuisine. I’ve been so fortunate to have been able to spend a good deal of time over the course of two years in Thailand . . . and in various regions of the country too.
While there, I had a wonderful woman from the university I was working with on some academic research, drive me everywhere, including taking me to the best restaurants. She knew what I loved and always ordered the food off the menu for me. . . I was never disappointed with her selections. One of the lightest dishes that I went crazy over (and still do) that bursts with flavor in your mouth, is the uniquely Thai version of cucumber salad. You can find this salad on the menus of nearly every Thai restaurant, but it will be difficult to find this creation, because from consolidating about 10 different recipes, I can claim this recipe as my own. I could literally eat the entire serving bowl of this stuff. I hope that you try it and feel the same! PS: This is not hot or fiery at all, as are many Thai dishes. However, if you want some heat, then just add it.
Before I provide the recipe below, I wanted to point out the place mat with the embroidered pink flowers in the next picture. This dainty place mat is just one example of the native, handmade crafts that I purchased in Thailand. I’ve always loved the combination of pink and green in my gardens and even decorated my home with those colors (sometimes dominant in rooms, and other times barely there in other rooms). The ceramic celadon plate is from Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, from the Baan Celadon pottery company. I don’t know how much of that celadon I purchased, but it is all over the house for use or for decorating accents. Celadon pottery is just exquisite!
- 2 cucumbers, seeded, cubed or sliced (you can also peel them if you like)
- ¼ cup red or white onions, chopped
- ¼ jalapeno pepper, seeded, and finely chopped (add only if you like spicy heat)
- 5 - 6 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
- 3 Tbsp. peanut oil
- ½ cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. Thai garlic chili pepper sauce (this is not HOT sauce at all)
- 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
- ¼ cup sugar
- Zest of one lime
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. white pepper
- Red pepper flakes (sprinkle on only as much as you like or eliminate for no heat addition)
- ¼ - ½ cup finely chopped unsalted dry roasted peanuts (optional)
- Blend all the dressing ingredients together.
- Mix in all of the chopped vegetables and herb, and peanuts (if you want the peanuts).
- Add more of any of the flavors that you prefer, which is the true Thai way.
- Garnish each plate with cilantro leaves and sliced limes.
- Serve with a patter of add-ins: lime slices, red pepper flakes, chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts, Thai sweet chili sauce, sugar, salt, etc. for your guests to add more of their favorite flavors.