Thai Cucumber Salad is sweet and spicy while being cool and refreshing. Just a handful of ingredients and in a few minutes you have the perfect summer side dish!
With some recipes, I’m always left wondering what to make along with it. Like recently when I made satay, I was like “now what should I make as a side to that?”
After a quick Google search I was lead to a recipe for Thai Cucumber Salad. The only bummer was it called for Thai red chiles. In all my visits to several different grocery stores, I’ve never once saw Thai chiles in the produce section. Maybe it’s my area or a Michigan thing, but it bums me out that I can’t find it for recipes. However I found a cheat. I mix in a little sambal oelek and just like that, you get the delicious heat and the red specks.
But let’s back up a bit so I can explain this recipe. What you have here is a quick pickle situation. Sliced cucumbers and red onion are tossed in a sweet vinegar syrup, the sambal oelek and garnished with three kinds of fresh herbs and chopped roasted peanuts.
I could make a meal out of this Thai cucumber salad, it’s that good. And the whole chilled salad with herb-y, sweet and spicy heat has me obsessed.
To make this Thai Cucumber Salad Recipe you will need:
- 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 English cucumber
- 1/2 a medium red onion
- 2 teaspoons sambal oelek
- 2 teaspoons each chopped basil (Thai basil if you can find it) cilantro and mint
- 1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts.
What is Rice Vinegar?
Rice vinegar is a mild yet slightly sweet vinegar made from fermented rice.
To start, in a small saucepan measure and add in the 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar.
Next bring it to a boil and then reduce to medium and simmer until syrupy. About 5 minutes.
Then pour the vinegar syrup into a mixing bowl to cool.
In the meantime, prep the remaining ingredients. Slice the cucumbers and onions, and chop the herbs and peanuts.
Once the vinegar syrup has cooled, add in all of the cucumbers, onions and the sambal oelek.
Next, grab tongs to toss to combine.
Then let the cucumber soak up the syrup for about 5 minutes before tossing one more time and then transferring to a serving dish.
Finally, right before serving, top with the chopped herbs and roasted peanuts.
The first time I made this, I had zero clue what it would taste like. So I snagged a cuke slice and red onion and popped it into my mouth.
It was delicious!
Sweet and spicy but then the herbs came in and woke my tastebuds up. And the flavor reminds me of bread and butter pickles but BETTER and the spice just rounds this salad out so nicely. It has the perfect balance of sweet, spicy and delicious. Try serving this salad with grilled chicken satay or next to burgers or as a side salad to seafood.
This salad is super crisp served right away and still delicious the next day. Either way, I have a feeling you’re going to love how incredibly easy and tasty this Thai cucumber salad recipe is!
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