Aa-jaad a.k.a. Thai Cucumber Salad

Food is much like music.  Good food is a symphony in your mouth with different flavors and textures!

I think this is one of the reasons why Thai food is so popular.  Each dish will have a leading flavor balanced by other flavors to make it sublime. Cooking Thai food is certainly an art form. 

Many Thai dishes also call for certain side dishes to complement them in order to give another textures and contrasting flavors. It's never boring to eat Thai food (or at least it shouldn't!). This cucumber salad never fails to perform. It usually accompanies dishes that are rich and sweet. Most commonly it is served with satay and peanut sauce.  It also goes very well with panang curries  or mussaman curries. To me this is a MUST when I make pork belly panang curry.  The leading flavor should be sour, not sweet, followed by salty and sweet.  This is a good dish to have in your repertoire and it's so easy.

Cut a cucumber lengthwise, then slice it crosswise thinly.  I prefer English or Persian cucumbers for their thin skin. For regular cucumber, peel it first and also take out some seeds.  Put your sliced cucumbers (about 1 cup) in a bowl, then add thinly sliced shallots (1 small shallot), jalapeño pepper ( about 1/2 jalapeño), and coriander. 

Now make the dressing.  Mix one tablespoon of rice wine vinegar (I prefer it to regular vinegar for its mild flavor) with 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.  Stir well to dissolve sugar and salt completely.  Just before serving, pour the dressing over the cucumber salad and toss well.  If you mix it too far in advance, the cucumber will exude water and will not be as crunchy.  Feel free to double or triple the recipe!

I am sure you can find other ways to serve this refreshing salad.  What about top your pulled pork sandwich with a spoonful of this cucumber salad?  Yummmm!