Cool Spicy Cucumbers with Peanuts & Lime

Cucumber and lime. Just the thought of those two ingredients refreshes me. Plus they go together like …. bread and butter, gin and tonic, sugar and spice.

It’s hotter than an Inferno where I live, which is typical. We went straight from our schizophrenic spring weather to a sweltering heatwave within a week’s time. Ready or not, it’s time to let the season guide my menu cravings.

I turned to one of my favorite hot-weather flavor profiles – tart citrus; fresh, spicy chiles and cool-crunchy cucumbers. To me, that combination points in the direction of Asia and India.

I found the perfect recipe for what I had in mind with this Indian cucumber salad, Khamang Kakdi, in How to Cook Indian, one of my newest cookbooks. I think this book will become a definite favorite of mine. It’s huge, with a broad collection of easy and delicious-sounding recipes. There are no photos at all, but somehow that isn’t a problem since the information is so thorough and the design so appealing.

I love the utter simplicity of this salad. With just a few spices, a hit of citrus, toasty peanuts and a sweet exotic touch of coconut, cucumbers are transformed into something complex and unordinary.

Be warned, it’s a slightly addictive little salad.

Cool Spicy Cucumbers with Peanuts & Lime

Serving Size: serves 4

Ingredients

  1. 1 English cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  2. 1 Serrano pepper or 2 jalapenos, finely chopped
  3. 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
  4. 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  6. 1 teaspoon sugar
  7. 2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil (or olive oil)
  8. 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Instructions

  1. Put the cucumber, chile pepper, peanuts, 2 tablespoons of the coconut, lime juice and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the oil in a small saute pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop, stir in the cumin, salt and remaining 2 tablespoons coconut. Turn off the heat.
  3. Pour the mustard seed mixture over the cucumbers and toss everything together. Taste to make sure it's salty-sweet enough for your taste.

Notes

Adapted from a recipe in How to Cook Indian by Sanjeev Kapoor

http://familystylefood.com/2011/06/cool-spicy-cucumbers-with-peanuts-lime/

Quick Summer Side Dish: Spicy Corn with Mustard Seeds

Fresh corn sauteed with chiles and mustard seeds
When did weekends become all about running around and less about sitting around? A few months ago, almost ten years after our first baby arrived and we’d parted ways with leisurely weekend mornings, we resubscribed to the Sunday New York Times. I like seeing the blue plastic bundle waiting for me on the front stoop – it gives the impression that I am a person who has time to read the newspaper.

I can’t say I’ve ever managed to read the whole paper; a half hour spent with the Book Review and the Arts and Leisure section on Sunday mornings seems to be my limit before I’m off and on with the day.

This past Sunday, my promise to grill ribs for dinner had to be postponed at the last minute, as I found myself at Home Depot shopping for home improvement projects right around dinner time. Time for Plan B! I made a quick dash to the store to buy some chicken to throw on the grill and fresh corn for 25 cents an ear.

I was inspired by this recipe which appears in the July issue of Sunset magazine. It’s from a new cookbook by Ruta Kahate called 5 Spices, 50 Dishes: Simple Indian Recipes Using Five Common Spices.

It was delicious! I used just one chile pepper, and found it gently spicy. I also added some lime juice for a little extra flavor. This is a 5-minute recipe, especially if you use frozen corn.

Slicing the kernels off the cob can get a little messy, though. I managed to splatter corn juice all over T and his Times crossword puzzle.

Spicy Corn with Mustard Seeds
makes 4 servings
6 to 8 ears corn (or use 4 cups thawed frozen corn)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 or 2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Salt
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
1 -2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, to taste1. Slice kernels off corn, if using fresh.

2. Heat vegetable oil in a wok or sauté pan over medium-high heat, add mustard seeds, and cover. When seeds stop popping, lower heat to medium and add chiles; stir 30 seconds.

3. Stir in turmeric. Add corn and salt to taste. Toss, turn heat to low, cover, and cook until corn is tender, about 5 minutes (cook frozen corn about 1 minute). Stir in cilantro and lime juice. Serve warm.

Ruta Kahate, Sunset, JULY 2007 5 Spices, 50 Dishees

Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food