It's Hot to Be Cool Thai-Inspired Cucumber Salad

June 11, 2010
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2, with dressing leftover
Author Notes

I've been on a quest for a while to create a creamy dressing that my husband would enjoy. He has a strong aversion to the tanginess of sour cream and yogurt, products that are linked with cucumbers in many recipes. So silken tofu and coconut milk became the base for this recipe. —Amber Olson

Test Kitchen Notes

Amber Olsen makes a great creamy cucumber salad that is exactly what you need on a hot day. The cool mint plays off the chiles in the dressing very well. The crunchy, spicy peanuts are a terrific touch.
—The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 large, cold cucumber, washed, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick slices
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • Thai hot chile oil, to taste
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup rich, creamy cold coconut milk
  • 4 teaspoons minced lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint
  • one 2-inch long Serrano pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 6 large mint leaves, finely julienned
  1. Place sliced cucumber in a colander over a bowl, sprinkle generously with salt and let sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or the duration it takes you to prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Put peanuts in a bowl and drizzle with the hot chile oil. Toss to coat all the nuts, then grind some nice sea salt over them. Toss again and set aside. Note: if you like really hot flavors, you could also sprinkle the nuts with a bit of cayenne to up the heat.
  3. Put the tofu, coconut milk, lemongrass, lime juice, salt, sugar, chopped mint, and Serrano pepper in a food processor and process until all the ingredients are blended well, scrapping down sides as needed.
  4. Turn the cucumbers out onto paper towels or a dish towel, blot with additional towels until the cukes are fairly dry of excess liquid. Put them in a bowl.
  5. For one cucumber, or two servings, use 1/4 cup of the dressing, toss, then the finely julienned mint leaves and 1/4 cup of the spicy peanuts. Toss again. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for later.
  6. Some options: I think some unsweetened shredded coconut would be nice to add to this, and I can see some finely shredded carrot as a garnish on top of each serving.
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11 Reviews

Sabine G. June 30, 2019
Fantastic! Light but complex flavors, refreshing, and just a beautiful combination!
Sabine G. June 30, 2019
I also topped with shaved carrots and it was a great addition! Love the color it gave it.
Cheryl July 8, 2017
Loved this! Used agave rather than sugar and no mint (which I'm sure would be super)--I'm not supposed to eat mint at this time.
Nina July 5, 2017
What is silken tofu and where can you buy it?
Theresa July 29, 2016
This looks like a salad I want to incorporate into my menus, BUT I am allergic to peanuts and tofu. I can easily substitute cashews or another nut, but what would you suggest to use in the dressing instead of tofu? A little ricotta perhaps?
Ali S. April 9, 2016
How do you think this would be with soba or rice vermicelli mixed in?
AntoniaJames June 17, 2010
Congrats, Amber, on a very cool (while at the same time, very hot) Editors' Pick!! ;o)
Amber O. June 20, 2010
Thanks for the recognition by you as well as you're finding the time to even comment!
AntoniaJames June 15, 2010
Sounds divine. Great, great recipe! I like that you can regulate the heat, so that people who like it very hot can sweat to their hearts' content, while those of us who don't can have it our way, too! I plan to make hot and not-so-hot versions of this later this week, on which I will report (of course!!) so stay tuned. ;o)
AntoniaJames June 11, 2010
Oh, to die for, absolutely to die for . . . this is simply gorgeous. I'm making some of this tonight, as I just happen to have picked up some fresh lemongrass a few hours ago, and have everything else on hand. Plus, it looks delicious!!! ;o)
Amber O. June 15, 2010
Just read your comment; thank you. We used the rest of the sauce on fish!