I love every bite of the holidays. I loved the mashed potatoes and the pies and the cornbread stuffing and everything else. And I’m not going to look back with regret.
I am, however, not going to continue eating this way indefinitely. And this salad is why I’m not so sad about that.
Lots of us are crazy about Thai food, what with all those bright, vibrant flavours, exciting textures and the play of sweet and sour and salty happening in so many ways. And classic Thai ingredients like lemon grass, chilies and coconut milk are now popping up at grocers all over the country. You’ll find it’s fun and easy to work them into your home cooking.
This simple salad features crunchy cucumbers enhanced with just a bit of citrus, soy sauce and a few other Thai ingredients. Cilantro is an herb people usually love or hate; few people feel “meh” about it. So if it’s not your thing, or someone at the table doesn’t like it, serve it on the side and let people add it to their own salads as they wish. You also could substitute Thai basil.
If you want to bump up the flavour even more, substitute fish sauce for half of the soy sauce. It will add a layer of delicious pungency to the dish.
Thai cucumber salad
Start to finish: 15 minutes
2 large English cucumbers
1 jalapeno pepper
2 teaspoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice (freshly squeezed is best in a recipe such as this)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup salted cocktail peanuts, lightly crushed
Peel the cumbers, then slice them in half lengthwise. Using a teaspoon, scrape down the centre of each half to remove any seeds. Slice the cumber halves crosswise into thin slices. A mandoline is best, but a knife is fine. Trim the jalapeno, slice in half lengthwise, then remove the seeds before mincing.
In a large bowl, combine the jalapeno, shallots, soy sauce, lime juice and sugar, then stir to combine. Add the cucumbers and toss to combine. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl or platter, then top with the cilantro and the peanuts.
Nutrition information per serving: 80 calories; 45 calories from fat (56 per cent of total calories); 5 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 320 mg sodium; 7 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 5 g protein.