Seemed to be a frequently asked question on why I have so many leftover cucumbers. I figured I should touch base on the story a bit. If you remember the NAAAP-Seattle Picnic that I cooked and served for its members, yep the leftover cucumbers were from that event. I had about 5 cucumbers left. I made dishes around it about 2-3 weeks ago or so (spread out), and I'm behind on posting them. So, here I am, blogging about the cucumber series -teehee. I have quite a few lined up in my queue as I've been slacking off and I only post twice a week. I have to say August is a crazy busy month for me. Birthdays, weddings, special occasions, events, personal arrangements, etc. Man they come every weekend!
Today's cucumber series # 3 is raw cucumber salad -South East Asian style. I don't like cucumber cold soup. It doesn't get along well with me. So, the better way for me is to make a salad. Plus, I already made a soup on the last post. Almost everything on this salad is raw. The dressing is very close to the one on the fried egg salad; just a few components are different. It's also used for papaya salad (Som Tom) in Thai cuisine. (Stella, here's to you! I hope I answered your question and that papaya tree near you can be used soon..smile)
Papaya salad has 2 different kinds -Thai style and Laotian style (with fermented fish and salted fresh water crab). They both are commonly found in Thailand and are famous in the North East of Thailand. The dressing I refer to on this post is the Thai version.
Cucumber alone doesn't ring my belly bell but other components help bring the dish right down my alley. Traditionally, a mortar and pestle are key pieces of equipment to make the dish. You pound, mix, and turn in rhythm like a popping dance. Since I don't have them, I need to find a way to fix my craving. It works just fine and I'm satisfied how it turned out. You will see those common 3 ingredients -lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar, again. Except this time we used palm sugar instead. I also found a good instructional video on how to make papaya salad and would like to share, in case you haven't experienced it! You will then "kinda" agree with me that my ad hoc method works -smile.
I found a good palm sugar and in fact it was my first time working with this bad boy. It was hard like stone! I knew I needed it melted but how? I cut it in a big chunk and was hoping a microwave would help. Nah ah..not at all, microwave was a bad idea. After it melted, it turned hard like a rock again; even harder. I went to another Asian market weeks after and saw different type of palm sugar. It was smaller and softer but didn't smell as good as the one I have.
Here's my ad hoc method.
Since my palm sugar is a hard big round disk, I used a cheese grater to grate it. It worked like magic. So, I grated it for a little over 1/2 cup and the rest was put back in a zip lock. I then used a knife tapping on cut green beans just like when you tap garlic one at a time. Cut cucumber into strips, and halved cherry tomatoes. Mix with dressing and use a wooden spoon to pound and mix. Oh, yes of course, I threw in dry shrimps and roasted chopped peanuts for sure!
|Tapped green beans|
|Dressing, dry shrimps, roated peanuts|
Raw Cucumber SE Asian SaladYield: 2 for main dish and 4 for side salad
1 English cucumber, thick julienne or cut to strip
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup 1" in length green beans
2 hard boiled eggs
1/4 cup dry shrimps
1/4 cup minus 2 tbs roasted peanuts
Dressing:1/2 cup grated palm sugar
3 tbs fish sauce
2 limes, juice
2 cloves garlic
3 Bird's eye chillies (medium spicy)
- Put garlic and chillies in a food processor; pulse 5 times or until they're coarsely chopped
- Place garlic chili mixture in a bowl. Add palm sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice. Whisk well until sugar dissolves. Taste to correction or your desire.
- Use a knife tapping on cut green beans just like when you tap garlic one at a time.
- Add all the raw veggies -cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, and green beans in a big bowl. Pour salad dressing over.
- Use a wooden spoon to mix, pound, and turn until everything is coated with dressing. This will take a few mins.
- Add dry shrimps, and peanuts except the 2 tbs. Mix and turn one more round.
- Divide it into a bowl and top with chopped peanuts. Serve with boiled egg.
- Enjoy the taste of SE Asia!
|Add all the raw veggies in a bowl|
|Pour the dressing over, and mix|