Most Asian families have a favourite recipe for this salad a version of which is served with meals at any time of day. I make it as a side dish for pretty much all my curry or Asian BBQ menus. My version uses tomato, cucumber and wafer thin slices of red onion with plenty of fresh coriander and a simple dressing of lemon, salt, cayenne pepper and roasted ground cumin seed. I’ve been known to add some wafer thin slices of celery too. It’s worth making a tablespoon or so of the roasted cumin seeds as it’s so nice in other dishes or mixed with sea salt for seasoning roast lamb. You don’t need to be too exact with the quantities, it’s a homely dish (low carb and vegan too) so just play with the proportions to your taste.
Serves 4 as a side dish
- 1/2 finely sliced red onion
- 1 or 2 large ripe tomatoes cut into small chunks
- 1/3rd of a large cucumber – de-seeded and cut into half moons
- 1 handful of finely chopped fresh coriander, stalks and leaves
- the juice of a lemon
- 1 pinch of chilli power
- 1/4 tsp roasted ground cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Add a couple of tablespoons of cumin seeds to a small frying pan and dry roast them for a few minutes. They will darken and smell fragrant, just be careful not to burn them. Put them onto a side plate to cool down and then grind them in a mortar and pestle or an electric spice grinder. Store in an airtight spice jar.
- Add the lemon juice, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt together in a mixing bowl.
- Prep the onion, cucumber and tomato.
- Add the onion to the lemon juice mixture first and leave it to sit for half an hour – this will prevent the onions from tasting harsh and raw.
- Add the tomatoes, cucumber and coriander. Mix thoroughly. Add a little more salt or cumin to taste.
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