Saturday, October 13, 2007

Spicy Cucumber Salad Recipe with Thai Basil and Sesame Seeds

Spicy Cucumber Salad with Thai Basil and Sesame Seeds
The weekend has barely started, but all week entries have been pouring in for the Doubly Delish Celebration for two years of Weekend Herb Blogging. Be sure to vote for the favorite vegetable and favorite herb if you haven't already done it! If you'd like to submit a Doubly Delish recipe (including a vegetable and an herb) follow either of those links for more information.


Before the celebration ended, I thought I should post this recipe, since for a while I thought this would be my official entry, (before I tried the Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette that won my heart!) And I've been a bit shocked that so far there is not one vote for cucumbers, a vegetable I adore, and which I buy year-round at Costco. This recipe uses the European cucumbers which are never bitter, and I also managed to sneak in a bit of my frozen Thai Basil in the dressing. If you don't have Thai Basil, you could use regular basil or leave it out completely; this would still taste wonderful without it. This is another recipe that will be a definite repeater for me.

Peel cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds. I used the long English or European cucumbers, so I cut them in half to make them easier to handle.

Toss the cucumbers with 1 T salt (preferably Kosher salt) and let drain for 30 minutes. This is less necessary with European cucumbers, but it does make the salad less waterey.


Spicy Cucumber Salad Recipe with Thai Basil and Sesame Seeds
(Makes about 4 side-dish servings; recipe adapted slightly from The Best Vegetable Recipes.)

Ingredients:
3 medium cucumbers or 2 European cucumbers
1 T salt, for salting cucumbers to remove water (Kosher salt is best for this)
1 T toasted sesame seeds

Dressing Ingredients:
1 T soy sauce (I like Kikkoman brand)
3 T rice vinegar (not seasoned vinegar, which contains sugar)
1 T Thai Chili Garlic Paste (I use Dynasty Chili Garlic Paste, sold in the Asian Foods section of my grocery store, but any Asian type hot chile sauce will work)
1/2 tsp. minced garlic (I used garlic puree from a jar)
1 T Splenda or Agave Nectar (or use sugar, might need a bit more)
3 T Asian sesame oil
completely optional: 1 T finely chopped Thai Basil (I used my frozen Thai Basil; regular basil would work)

Instructions:
Peel cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds with a sharp spoon, then cut cucumbers in to 1/4 inch slices. Put cucumbers and salt in a colander and let drain for at least 30 minutes (This will probably take longer if using regular cucumbers from the grocery store. The original recipe called for weighting the cucumbers, but I didn't do that.)

While cucumbers drain, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, Thai Chili Garlic Paste, garlic, sweetener of your choice, and sesame oil. Stir in chopped basil if using. Let dressing ingredients hang out at room temperature so flavors will blend.

After 30 minutes, or when desired amount of water has been released, wipe cucumbers with paper towels and place in plastic bowl. (The goal is to remove water as well as most of the salt.) Stir in dressing, enough to coat cucumbers. You probably won't need all the dressing; save for another salad.

Toast sesame seeds for about 30 seconds in dry pan over very hot heat, then sprinkle over salad. (I buy pre-toasted sesame seeds from the Asian grocer, but I still toast them for a few seconds to release the sesame flavor.) Serve immediately and wait for compliments!


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South Beach Suggestions:
Without sugar, this is a perfect side dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. I would use Splenda for phase one or Agave Nectar for phase two or three.

More Fabulous Salads with Cucumbers:
(Recipes from other blogs may or may not be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Cucumber, Onion, and Parsley Salad
Wake Up Your Mouth Thai Cucumber Salad
Asian Cucumber Salad with Cilantro and Vidalia Onions
Cucumbers Caesar
Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Lime, Mint, and Feta

Two Grandmotherly Cucumber Salads from Habeus Brulee
Cucumber Salad with Mint and Feta from Simply Recipes
Spicy Cucumber Salad from Frugal Cuisine
Swedish Cucumber Salad from Gastronomy Domine
Spunky Cucumber Salad from Saffron Trailcounter customizable free hit

14 comments:

katiez said...

You're lucky that you can get them year round! Once August is over we don't see them and I don't even think of them...of course we absolutly pig out for June, July and August...
I'll mark this one for next summer...

Kevin said...

Cucumbers are one of my favorite vegetables. I pick at least one up at the grocery store every week all year round. I usually eat cucumbers plain and when I was thinking of my favorite vegetable I though "What vegetables have I enjoyed ~cooking~ with this year." Since I usually do not cook with cucumbers they did not even enter my mind... This cucumber salad sounds good. It reminds me of cucumber sunomono.

Katerina said...

I can understand why they aren't anybody's favorite - in everyone's top ten but not favorite. At least that is how I look at them. Maybe it is also because you can get them year round in lots of places. I am surprised to hear that isn't true everywhere!

Pam said...

I love asian cucumber salads! And I'll be freezing my thai basil tomorrow.

Anh said...

Kalyn.

A great use of Thai basil (I just had them for my beef noodle salad today)..

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Gadfry, I've got to do this one. I just know we'll love this one!

Maria said...

I am glad you were able to use some of your thai basil. This salad looks like it has a lot of great flavors going on!!

bindiya said...

Dear Kalyn, my first time here, just love your blog, the header made me smile, and cucumbers are a fav with me.

Kalyn said...

Katie, no idea where the cucumbers come from that we get in the dead of winter, but they're surprisingly good.

Kevin, me too, I never actually "cook" them, but they are one of my absolute favorites. This year though my garden cucumbers were terrible. I never found the type I wanted but I did discover two types I NEVER want to grow again. Next year, I'm even more determined to find sweet slice variety for the garden.

Katerine, agreed. I guess they aren't my favorite either, but definitely in the top ten.

Pam, good luck with freezing the Thai basil. Keep me posted on how you're using it.

Anh, thanks! Glad you liked it.

Tanna, I just LOVE that Thai Chili Garlic Paste. To me it's the best flavor ever.

Maria, it was great! Will make it for you sometime.

Meg Wolff said...

This is a nice recipe...I would only change it slightly and could have on a wide macrobiotic diet (which I follow). I'd probably use rice syrup for the sweetener. Thank you.

sheila said...

mmm that looks so good -my kids love cucumbers.

SixtyIsForty said...

Kalyn:
Reminds me of my trip to Thailand.
My mouth is watering in anticipation of the delightful taste of their chili salad dressings. Will have it tomorrow. Thanks!
Wanda

Deborah said...

I love love love cucumbers. So much, that I'll take them to work as my snack - which, for some reason, a lot of people find odd. This looks great.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful spicy salad and has that pickled asian flavor that I love. Made it with Asian ahi. Excellent.

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