Tam Tang Kwa (Cucumber Salad)

from The Next Supper

This salad is something I made on a weekly basis, with either cucumbers or cabbale. The southeast Asian elements of this salad — lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, chili — are so universally appealing that I have happily made variations using raw broccoli, chicken, fish and so on. I’ve omitted the traditional garnish of dried shrimp, as I don’t know a way to buy them without contributing to the slave-labour supply chain of shrimping in Thailand.


½ cup roasted peanuts, crushed

5 bird’s eye, Thai or arbol chilie

2 tsp sugar*

2 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp fish sauce

10 Persian cucumbers (those are the little ones)

1 cup cherry tomatoes


If you have whole peanuts, unroasted, put them in a plastic bag and smack it against the counter until they are broken up. Then toast them in a pan on medium heat until you can smell the peanuts, about 5 minutes.

In a pan on medium heat, toast chilies until they are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Snap them in half and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and stir.

Use the hilt of your knife to smack the cucumbers, just enough to break them up a bit so the slices are in uneven shapes, and the juices start flowing. Slice cucumber into chunks. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Toss the cucumber and tomato with the dressing. Adjust to taste. Garnish with peanuts.

Serve with rice or noodles.

*A lot of Thai recipes call for heaping spoonfuls of sugar. Try substituting honey or stevia.

Nada’s Tips & Tricks: This is a refreshing salad to go with any meal. Add a protein, and it becomes a fuller dish. If people around the table don’t like fish sauce or the heat of the chilies, play with it until you get the right combination for you. I used honey and it played down the sweetness…great for those watching their sugar intake. 

Content and images used with permission by Corey Mintz. https://coreymintz.ca/