Your mandolin is your friend here, especially if you want your cucumber rounds so thin they’re like refreshing little whispers in the dressing. Proceed with caution if you like your fingertips, though. If you prefer something with more volume in the dish, skip the mandolin all together and use the ribbon attachment on your spiralizer (or a vegetable peeler, if you’re a gadget purist) to make long, thin ribbons. Gloves are a must when handling the Thai chili peppers-- unless you like to live dangerously. And if you want to add a fantastic textural lift to the dish, lightly toast the peanuts in a dry, medium-hot skillet until they're fragrant before you chop or crush them. Prepare to be dazzled with the delightful change that one simple variation can make.
- 3 large cucumbers peeled; trimmed and very thinly sliced into rounds
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- ½ cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 fresh red Thai chili peppers rinsed; seeded and diced
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and pressed
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
- ¼ cup peanuts crushed or finely chopped
- Toss the cucumbers with the salt in a large colander; drain in the sink for 30 minutes. The salt will pull the moisture from the cucumbers. Rinse the cucumbers with cold water; drain again and pat dry with absorbent paper towels, gently pressing to remove as much extra moisture as possible.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and vinegar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cucumbers, peppers, garlic, and cilantro; toss to combine and coat. Divide salad among serving plates and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Serve.