Saturday, January 05, 2013

Recipe for Wake-Up-Your-Mouth Thai Cucumber Salad

Thai Cucumber Salad
This Phase One Thai Cucumber Salad is perfect as a side dish for any main dish with Asian flavors.

(For A Month of Daily Phase One Recipes, this cucumber salad with slightly spicy Thai flavors is something I'd never get tired of eating, and when I'm doing Phase One I'd especially enjoy a light salad like this with lots of flavor.  The salad has mint, which could be replaced with cilantro or even extra green onions if you prefer.)

I'm a huge fan of Thai Cuisine, known for dishes that contain a balance of spicy, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and savory (or Umami) flavors. I love how the many flavors work together so well in this cucumber salad with a spicy Thai-inspired dressing, even if some of the ingredients I've used are not authentically Thai. This light cucumber salad is a perfect side dish for grilled meat, seafood, or tofu, but I probably eat this most often as a quick main-dish salad for a very flavorful summer lunch.

The dressing for the salad has lime juice, Splenda or Stevia In the Raw Granulated Sweetener (or sugar if you don't care about it being sugar free), Green Tabasco sauce, and garlic, and the Umami flavor notes come from fish sauce. This Asian condiment (with a strong aroma but fantastic flavor) may be an unusual ingredient for some readers, but I'd never make this without it. (Thanks to Lydia for teaching me about Three Crabs Fish Sauce, which is now my favorite brand, and also to my step-sister Karyn for bringing me some Three Crabs Fish Sauce from San Francisco!)

Cut up cucumbers into bite-sized pieces. (I've made this with European cucumbers, garden cucumbers, and also small Persian cucumbers, and all were good. I wouldn't use waxy cucumbers from the grocery store for this salad.)

Whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, Splenda or sugar, Green Tabasco, and garlic puree to make the dressing.

You can chop the mint, but my mint leaves were quite large so I sliced them into chiffonade strips.

Combine the cucumber pieces and chopped or sliced mint in a bowl, then stir in the dressing. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Top the salad with a generous amount of chopped peanuts and serve immediately. (This salad doesn't keep very well, but you probably won't have any leftovers!)

Wake-Up-Your-Mouth Thai Cucumber Salad
(Makes 3-4 servings, recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, August 2001.)

2 European cucumbers or 4 fresh garden cucumbers or mini Persian cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped or sliced fresh mint (measure after chopping)
1/4 cup (or more) chopped peanuts
salt and pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 T Fish Sauce (I like Three Crabs Fish Sauce, but if you can't find that I'd look for one that says Thai Fish Sauce)
1 1/2 T Splenda, Stevia In the Raw Granulated Sweetener, or sugar
1 tsp. green Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 tsp. garlic puree (sometimes called ground garlic in Asian food stores)

Cut ends off cucumbers, then partially peel, leaving thin strips of peel in stripes along the cucumber. Cut striped cucumbers in half lengthwise, then in 1/2 inch slices. Wash mint, dry well and chop coarsely or slice into chiffonade strips. Coarsely chop peanuts.

Mix dressing ingredients. Combine chopped mint and cucumbers in plastic bowl, add dressing and stir a few times so cucumbers and mint are completely coated with dressing. Pour into serving bowl, season with salt and pepper if desired, sprinkle chopped peanuts over and serve immediately.

This doesn't keep well; the taste of the mint completely overtakes the other ingredients if it's refrigerated overnight, so make as much as will be eaten right away. (It might work to cut the cucumbers, chop mint, and mix the dressing and keep refrigerated for a few hours, but toss the salad together right before serving.)

South Beach Suggestions:
Cucumbers are a great low-glycemic food choice, and with the substitution of Splenda for the sugar, this recipe would be perfect for any phase of the South Beach Diet. Even if you used sugar, this still wouldn't have that much sugar in a serving. It would taste great with Forbidden City Chicken, Sauteed Scallops with Garlic, or Pork Chops with Balsamic Glaze.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Salad Ideas with Cucumbers:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad with Dill from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Lime, Mint, and Feta from Kalyn's Kitchen
Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cucumber, Onion, and Parsley Salad with Feta from Kalyn's Kitchen
Spicy Cucumber Salad with Thai Basil and Sesame Seeds from Kalyn's Kitchen
Thai Cucumber Salad (Yum Tang Gwa) from Chez Pim
Thai Cucumber Salad from Cookin' Canuck
Julia Child's Cucumber Salad from A Veggie Venture
Cucumber Salad with Mint and Feta from Simply Recipes
Cool as a Cucumber Salad from Gluten Free Goddess
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. Delicious, Kalyn! I've got a different version of spicy cuke and radish salad that I adapt from a Rachael Ray recipe -- spiced up cucumber is one of my favorites. If I can ever get past eating my naked cucumbers straight out of the garden this summer, I'll definitely try out your version. Maybe by then I'll have my mint back, too!

  2. I love this and I love nam pla and nuc mong but a little goes a long way.

  3. Yum! My mouth would wake up to this!


  4. I think I do remember this dish when you first posted it. I will be sure to try it especially now that our cukes have started coming in! I'm so excited :) Thanks for posting it again.

  5. Genie, post your recipe so we can try it, now that I'm having my radish fetish.

    Steven, you're right!

    Paz, if you like spicy and Thai flavors you'd love it.

    JMom, I'm so excited someone noticed the recipe. I wasn't getting many comments in those days.

  6. Sounds great! This is perfect since I just had a party with mojitos and happen to have some leftover limes and mint.

    Just found your blog doing a search for Phase One recipes (it's been an indulgent summer and am going to get back on track tomorrow). Your recipes look great! I'm so glad I found your site--I think this will help a lot in my quest to lose a few pounds!

  7. Melanie, good luck with phase one. This salad is really good, I love it. Glad you like the blog.

  8. Hi Kalyn! Just popping by to say hello... going to head to the grocery store after work and pick up the ingredients for this yummy salad! Hope you are doing well and my mom says HI!

  9. Hi Kendra,
    Nice to hear from you. Your blog seems to be doing so well! Hope you like the salad; it's one of my favorites! Hi back to your mom too.

  10. Ooooh, my taste buds are tingling! I think cucumbers are really overlooked. They're so cooling and refreshing, and definitely can be the star of many summer salads.

  11. Perfect salad for the heat we are having here.... love the lightness and kick...

    thanks, Kalyn

  12. Lydia, you'll like this because it has that spicy kick you love. (Feel free to add more hot sauce if my wimpy version isn't hot enough for you!)

    Pearl, thanks! I love this salad.

    SallyBR, this is very refreshing when it's just too hot to cook!

  13. My mouth is going to love this one!

  14. This is such a refreshing salad. I really like the addition of mint to perk things up.

  15. Now that is the salad I want. Made me hungry lets see if there is any cucumber in fridge.

  16. Sensiblecooking, this is definitely one of my favorites!

  17. This looks incredible! I have really enjoyed your recipes. Thanks for sharing.


  18. Angela, thanks! (And I am making this today for lunch myself.)

  19. I can practically taste how good thi is just by reading the ingredients list. Sweet, salty, tangy and crispy -- you just can't go wrong. ;)

  20. Carolyn, I agree. Totally love this salad!

  21. I stumbled upon your blog by chance. I love the look of your blog and the content is very good. This Thai cucumber salad looks easy to make and delicious. I shall have a go at it!

  22. Thanks for the recipe! I made it last night substituting lemon for lime and added a bit of chili sesame oil. Delicious!

  23. Sarah, I think your variations sound good.

    I recently made this salad and added strips of leftover flank steak that I warmed a bit in pan. I thought this dressing went well with the steak too.

  24. Fort Lauderdale CateringOctober 20, 2010 at 7:45 AM

    This really looks very tempting and sure is healthy as well. Will absolutely try this salad. It looks very fresh and the combination of ingredients here makes it a very promising dish to serve even to guests!

  25. Stumbled onto this while looking for a fish recipe and it is SOOOOO GOOD!! Simple to make and the flavors are absolutely divine. Leftovers? I just added it all to a big salad and used as a healthy dressing! One of my new favorite recipes.

    thank you!

  26. Jasey, so glad you liked it!

  27. I made this for lunch today and served it alongside Stephanie O'Dea's "Almost Rotisserie Chicken" in the CrockPot.

    Didn't have fish sauce, so substituted Worcestershire Sauce and it was yummmmers good!!!

  28. So glad you liked it. I wouldn't have thought of subbing Worcestershire for fish sauce, but I can see it would work. Very smart!

  29. I am still thinking about this salad. SO GOOD. I was telling my husband about it. I just love, love, love your recipes.

  30. Lindsey, thanks! Glad you liked it and it was so fun to finally meet you!

  31. I NEVER tire of thai flavors! This sounds like such a great salad.

  32. Joanne, I could seriously eat this all year round!

  33. I love that you reppost these gems from the archives. I am going to pick up some persian cucumbers and make this as a side dish with my oven fried chicken this week - sounds awesome!

  34. Alyssa, if you like Thai flavors you are going to LOVE this!

  35. I made this today and it's great.....I did make a couple of changes to it though. I don't care for mint so I left it out and added about 1/2 t. of cilantro paste to the dressing. And instead of green Tabasco I used Siracha (sp) hot sauce. It's a very tasty salad and I will be making this again and again. :). Thanks Kalyn for another winning recipe.


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