15 September 2009

Thai Cucumber Salad - Yum Tang Gwa

My lovely cousin is in town this week. While we were out at dinner last night, we were talking about the things she missed most while working abroad. A nice home-cooked meal was something that was mentioned. So I asked her what type of food did she feel like having and if she was free to come over to dinner tonight. She replied .. "Yes... Thai food please".

Darn.. She picked the one cuisine that we probably make the least at home.

Cantonese, Italian, Steak, Casseroles and Japanese type cuisine dishes would be what we usually stick with.

But, alas.. Thai it was. I opted for my Thai Chilli Mussels (just because it was a work day, and its simple enough to whip up in a flash), I did add more liquid and coconut cream so it also doubled as a soup. I made a pot of Green Curry Chicken (full recipe to come later) and a Thai Cucumber Salad as a side dish to help offset the fullness of the coconut milk in the other dishes.

This is based on a recipe I found on Chez Pim's site. I changed it slightly to just stir frying the shallots and sprinkling in some already fried shallots I had in my pantry instead. I also drained some of the water out of the cucumber by tossing some salt through it. And added some lime zest to give it a bit more zing. :)

Thai cucumber salad - Yum Tang Gwa
Original recipe from Chez Pim - Thai Cucumber Salad

  • 2 large cucumbers (peeled then sliced thinly)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup of mint (roughly ripped by hand)
  • 1/4 cup of basil leaves (roughly ripped by hand)
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves
  • 1 cup of shallots (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • sprinkle of dried fried shallots

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • Grated lime zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon of palm sugar
  • 2 red chillies (finely chopped) <-- You can add more if you like.


  1. Peel and cut the cucumbers into thin slices.
  2. Toss the cucumber in some salt, and let stand for 30 mins or so in a colander.
  3. Place a pan over low heat, add the coconut flakes and stir constantly until they are evenly brown. Set aside.
  4. Wipe the pan clean, add some oil into it and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the shallot slices and stir fry, stirring occasionally, until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. To make the dressing, first you nuke the palm sugar (in a bowl in the microwave) for 20-30 seconds just to melt it and make it easier to blend with the other ingredients. Then add the fish sauce, stir to blend. Add the lime juice, zest, then the rice vinegar. Taste it and see if you need more acidity, if so, add more rice vinegar to taste. Add the chopped chilli
  6. In a salad bowl, add the cucumber slices. Reserve a bit of the coconut, and the herbs for garnish. Dump the rest into the salad bowl. Pour in about 2/3 of the dressing, toss well.
  7. Taste it and see if you'd like a bit more dressing, then add more as needed. Sprinkle with the fried shallots, coconut, and herbs and serve.


  • Due to time constraints, I didn't bother with deseeding the cucumber before slicing it. In retrospect, the next time I make this again, I will probably take the time to deseed the cucumber.

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