Absolutely addictive Indian cucumber salad, full of salty, sweet, sour and spicy ingredients like coconut, lime, chili, roasted peanuts and crunchy mustard seeds.
Indian-spiced cucumbers with the crunch of roasted peanuts, the heat of chili pepper and the flavor of popped mustard and cumin seeds. Just the thought of that particular combination of ingredients is refreshing and hunger-inducing at the same time.
This Indian cucumber recipe is super-flavorful and quick to make, and the tart citrus, spicy chiles, and crunchy roasted peanuts really amplify the nature of cool cucumbers. The balance of salt, sugar and spice remind me of my favorite salad and noodle dishes from Southeast Asia, which tend to be fresh and exciting to eat.
I found the basis for this recipe — Khamang Kakdi, or kakdi salad — in the cookbook How to Cook Indian, which I recommend as a great resource in any serious cook’s library. It’s a big book, with a broad collection of easy and delicious-sounding recipes from all over India.
I love the utter simplicity of this salad. With just a few spices, a hit of citrus, crunchy toasted peanuts and the sweet coconut, plain cucumbers are transformed into a complex and flavor-packed salad. Definitely not ordinary.
Be warned, the combination of spicy, sweet, sour and salty makes this salad a slightly addictive little snack, in the best way!
indian-spiced cucumbers with peanuts and lime
Yield 2 - 4 servings
- 1 English cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried chili, such as Aleppo or Maras
- 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil (I use organic canola)
- 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon dried spearmint (optional) or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- Put the cucumber, serrano pepper, dried chili, 1/4 cup of the peanuts, 2 tablespoons of the coconut, lime juice, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Toss gently.
- Heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the mustard seeds. When they start to sizzle and pop, stir in the cumin, and remaining 2 tablespoons coconut. Turn off the heat.
- Pour the mustard seed mixture over the cucumbers and toss everything together (it will sizzle). Taste to make sure the salad has a good balance of salty-sweet-hot adding more salt, sugar, chili or citrus to taste.
- Serve in bowls sprinkled with the remaining peanuts and mint.