Saturday, September 27, 2014

Crunchy Indian Cucumber Salad

Cayenne pepper in a little mound, waiting for you to pour on the tadke.   Once you stir it in, it looks so pretty and colorful.   NOTE:  This salad sounds spicy but it's not. 

If you are serving Indian food and need a salad to compliment the meal, why not try this non-yogurt dish?  I've been a huge fan of Indian food since we lived in India, but I somehow burned out on traditional raita made with yogurt.  I didn't care to eat it nor did I want to make it.  A few years ago, this recipe appeared in our local paper:   "Crunchy Cucumber Salad with Crushed Peanuts".  The original posting says it's from "5 Spices, 50 Dishes' by Ruta Kahate.  

  • 2 English cucumbers, chopped into 1/4 inch dice, about 3 cups (sometimes I just use one cucumber)
  • 1 medium green serrano chile, seeded & minced (I usually use jalapeƱo)
  • 1/2 cup peanuts (toasted, unsalted are best, but sometimes I use salted & add less salt later) 
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (don't skimp on this--add more if you need to)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I use 1/4 tsp.)


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (I use 1/2 tsp.)

Mix the cucumbers and the chile in a bowl.  Using a coffee grinder or food processor, pulse the peanuts until they are reduced to a coarse powder. (I usually just chop them up with a knife.) Add the peanuts to the cucumbers along with the lemon juice, salt and sugar and mix well.  Place the cayenne in a little pile on top of the salad but don't stir it yet. 

TADKE: Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan.  When it begins to smoke, add the mustard seeds, covering the pan with a lid or spatter screen (or paper plate).  As soon as the seeds stop sputtering, pour the oil over the cayenne. (I like to watch it sizzle.)  Stir and serve at room temperature or cold. 


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