VIETNAMESE CUCUMBERS (for 8 to 10)
4 large cucumbers
salt and pepper
Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam) or Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
a 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into fine julienne
palm sugar (available in Asian or Indian markets, or substitute raw brown sugar)
serranos, jalapenos or fresh Thai chiles
2 or 3 limes
thinly sliced scallions or sweet onion
- Peel the cucumbers, cut them in half lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon if they are large. Slice the cucumbers into thickish half-moons and put them in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle lightly with fish sauce, then add the ginger and a couple of tablespoons of palm sugar. Toss well, and let the cucumbers sit for 5 minutes or so.
- Add a good spoonful of finely chopped serrano or jalapeno chilies (seeds removed, if desired, to lessen spiciness) or finely slivered Thai chiles. Squeeze over the juice of 2 limes and toss again, then cover and refrigerate until serving.
- Just before serving, add a fistful of roughly chopped mint and basil leaves. Taste and adjust the seasoning with lime juice as well as salt and pepper. Garnish with thinly sliced scallion or paper-thin slices of sweet onion.
from David Tanis, A Platter of Figs