It all happened so fast. One minute I was jogging along my favourite tree-lined path in the woods, taking in the beautiful sights, smells and sounds of nature, and the next–crack! I still don’t know if that sound came from the root I tripped over or my rolled ankle. *shudder* Whichever it was, my summer fitness routine suddenly flashed before my eyes.
I write this post from my couch where I’ve been sitting, ankle propped up and iced, since I got home hours ago. Walking is out of the question at the moment (luckily I’m a good hopper!), and it’s looking like I’ll have to skip my workouts this week. Nothing like a little reverse motivation right at the start of summer!
Rather than get discouraged, though, I’m going to use this downtime to work on a few fresh summer recipes that have been bouncing around my head lately, just waiting to be typed out. New burger recipes (meat, vegetarian and seafood versions), grilled vegetables, hearty summer salads (like this vegetarian chef’s salad or red quinoa tabbouleh), cold soups. And I’m still sticking with my fewer processed condiment pledge. Sometimes it takes a little setback to get focused and even more motivated than before.
Anyhow, back to the food! This Thai cucumber salad is the perfect dish to kick-start summer. It’s ideal for those days when your fridge isn’t exactly brimming with stuff but you still want a healthy homemade meal. It makes a great side dish to serve with other Thai-inspired eats (think coconut curries, stir-fried meat and vegetables, sticky rice, noodle dishes) or alongside a simple roast chicken for a weeknight dinner.
Although the recipe is very simple and requires just a few ingredients, the flavour is amazingly complex with lots of palate-pleasing umami. This is all thanks to the fish sauce. If you’ve never cooked with fish sauce before, don’t worry – it smells and tastes more like soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce than what you might be imagining. It’s a staple on Thai cuisine, so if you’ve ever dined at a Thai restaurant then you’ve likely already eaten plenty of fish sauce without knowing it :)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- A pinch of sugar (or more to taste, up to 1 tbsp)
- 1 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and cut into bite-size chunks
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, sliced into strips
- 1/2 cup crushed peanuts
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Arrange the cucumbers and red peppers on a serving platter or bowl. Pour the dressing overtop and mix to coat the ingredients evenly. Top with the peanuts and cilantro. Serve cold or at room temperature.
- To make this dish vegan, simply substitute the fish sauce for light soy sauce.