Wild Salmon with Vietnamese Cucumbers: Vietnamese Cucumbers


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes

By David Tanis

Published 2008

  • About

This easy salad is more like a relish and can be made according to your own taste: very spicy, which is how I like it, or quite restrained. Its virtue is that it can refresh almost any dish. Look for palm sugar in Asian or Indian markets, or substitute Mexican piloncillo or raw brown sugar.


  • 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
  • Serranos or jalapeños or fresh Thai chiles
  • 2 or 3 limes
  • Mint sprigs
  • Basil sprigs
  • Thinly sliced scallions or sweet onion


    Peel the cucumbers, cut them lengthwise in half, 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 jalapeño chiles (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 till 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 scallions or paper-thin slices of sweet onion.