Fresh and complex tasting at the same time, it’s hard to improve upon. Anyone who eats this salad at my home ends up asking for the recipe, so I’d thought I’d share it with you as well.
- 2 English or other unwaxed cucumbers, chopped into ¼-inch dice (about 3 cups)
- 1 medium green serrano chile, minced (seed first if you prefer)
- ½ cup peanuts, preferably raw, but toasted, unsalted ones will do
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or more if needed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ to ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
Place the diced cucumbers in a medium bowl along with the chile. Using a coffee grinder or food processor, pulse the peanuts until they are reduced to a coarse powder. (You don’t want big chunks of peanuts, nor do you want a fine powder; stop grinding somewhere in between!) Add the peanuts to the cucumbers along with the lemon juice, salt, and sugar, and mix well. Taste and adjust the salt, sugar, and lemon juice as needed. The salad should be slightly tart.
Make the tadka: Place the cayenne in a little pile on top of the salad. Do not stir it in yet. Heat the oil in a small skillet or butter warmer over high heat. When it begins to smoke, add the mustard seeds, covering the pan with a lid or spatter screen. As soon as the seeds stop sputtering, pour the oil over the cayenne. Stir the dressing in and serve at room temperature or cold.