Crunchy Cucumber Salad With Crushed Peanuts

Makes 4 servings

by Ruta Kahate

My mother showed me this salad recipe 20 years ago, and I still make it
exactly the same way. Fresh and complex tasting at the same time, it's
hard to improve upon. Anyone who eats this salad at my home ends up asking
for the recipe, so I thought I'd share it with you as well.

2 English or other unwaxed cucumbers, chopped into 1/4-inch dice (about 3
1 medium green serrano chile, minced (seeded first, if you prefer)
1/2 cup peanuts (preferably raw, but toasted, unsalted ones will do)
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or more if needed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

Place the diced cucumbers in a medium bowl along with the chile. Using a
coffee grinder or food processor, pulse the peanuts until they are reduced
to a coarse powder. (You don't want big chunks of peanuts, and you don't
want a fine powder; stop grinding somewhere in between.) Add the peanuts
to the cucumbers along with the lemon juice, salt and sugar, and mix well.
Taste and adjust the salt, sugar and lemon juice as needed. The salad
should be slightly tart.

Make the tadka: Place the cayenne in a little pile on top of the salad. Do
not stir in yet. Heat the oil in a small skillet or butter warmer over
high heat. When it begins to smoke, add the mustard seeds, covering the
pan with a lid or spatter screen. As soon as the seeds stop sputtering,
pour the oil over the cayenne. Stir the dressing in and serve at room
temperature or cold.

-- From "5 Spices, 50 Dishes"

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