Fresh, light and bursting with bold flavors! This Crunchy Thai Cucumber Salad is a little sweet, a little spicy and a whole lot of good!
I had my first experience using fish sauce you guys. I’ve always been a little nervous to use it for fear of using too much and having a fishy tasting dish. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I opened the bottle and took a sniff, but I can’t lie, it wasn’t pleasant. There was some definite funk in the smell and I almost considered not using in this Crunchy Thai Cucumber Salad. But the majority of Thai recipes call for some amount of fish sauce, so I decided to just go with it and see what happened.
The end result was actually incredibly delicious or I wouldn’t be sharing this recipe with you. That pungent funky fish smell that hit me in the face when I opened the bottle wasn’t detectable in the salad, thank God!
So why add it to this cucumber salad in the first place? This liquid umami adds a signature flavor that is present in many Asian dishes. It’s boldness adds an unmistakeable flavor to meats, vegetables and noodles. Because it’s fermented the flavor becomes extra intense, so when using it use it with a light hand. Trust me you want to break out the measuring spoons for this stuff, don’t just pour it in unless of course you enjoy the flavor of fermented fish.
To balance out the intense flavor of the fish sauce in the vinaigrette for this Crunchy Thai Cucumber Salad there is also lime zest and juice, rice vinegar, garlic powder and honey for sweetness. Once this simple but flavorful dressing is whisked together it’s poured all over thinly sliced English cucumbers, red onions, chopped cilantro and a jalapeño for some heat. The final component making this salad extra crunchy are roasted peanuts. Sprinkle the peanuts on just before serving to ensure that they don’t get soft because nobody likes a soggy wet nut in their salad. The salad is best eaten the day it is made, but I did enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day although the salad had lost some of it’s crunch. This salad is rich with flavor, refreshing and perfect to go alongside your next meal!
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