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Thai Cucumber Salad for Satay (Ajaad Recipe)

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Thai cucumber salad for satay is the perfect summer condiment for your next backyard barbecue, combining the crispness of cucumbers with sour white vinegar and a perfect blend of seasonings. This light and refreshing side dish is easy to make with simple ingredients, a must-try for all you salad lovers out there.

Thai cucumber salad for satay in a clay cup.

Don’t miss out on my favorite salads! Try som tum Thai (green papaya salad), long bean salad, and these crispy ground beef lettuce wraps.

What is Thai cucumber salad for satay

Thai cucumber salad for satay is a refreshing, crisp side dish featuring thinly sliced cucumbers, shallots, and a sweet and tangy vinegar dressing. Often served with chicken satay, this salad balances spicy and savory flavors.

Ajaad

In Thailand, we have a deep love for the irresistible combo of Thai chicken satay, Thai peanut sauce, and this fabulous Thai side dish known as ajaad (or ajat, ajad, achat).

Ajaad is the perfect sidekick for anything that can use an addition of refreshing Asian flavors. It’s sour, spicy, sweet, and crispy, this bowl of goodness has it all!

A Thai woman adding vinegar in a wok pan to a glass bowl with sliced cucumbers and shallots.

For an authentic Thai satay experience, you cannot overlook this Thai-style side salad for grilled food, which pairs perfectly with the smoky flavors of grilled pork like moo yang and crying tiger steak. But it’s not limited to satay alone, it also shines as the perfect summer condiment, adding a refreshing touch to your Thai food.

Pair it with tod mun pla (Thai fish cakes) or a spicy curry like Thai bamboo shoot curry.

A vibrant salad of shallots, cucumbers, and red chilies in a bath of vinegar, in a clay cup.

But this summer side dish is also a star on its own, you can easily turn it into a quick lunch or light main dish by making some extra.

Why try this Thai cucumber relish

Quick and easy: This exotic dish makes the perfect side dish for Thai dishes, and it’s so quick and easy to make. It’s a breeze to prepare, in just 10–15 minutes you’ll whip up a crunchy bowl of healthy cucumber. Add some crisp and vibrant flavors to your main dish.

Customizable: You can customize the heat and other flavors to your taste preference. With this recipe, you can personalize everything to suit your taste preferences.

Refreshing: This is one of the most refreshing dishes I’ve ever tried! It’s perfect for a hot summer day (which we have many of in Thailand).

Delicious: It’s surprising how flavorful and refreshing this salad turns out to be, there’s no more than 6 ingredients but the flavors are so satisfying with a delightful crunch you won’t get enough of.

Versatile: It can serve as a side-dish or as a light salad by increasing the portion. Additionally, you can serve it with an array of fresh vegetables for extra nutrition.

Thai cucumber salad with sweet chili sauce and fish cakes presented on a banana leaf.

Spice note

Let’s take a moment to talk spice. Chili peppers are a key ingredient in this Thai cucumber salad recipe, not only for making it more visually appealing, but also for adding a hint of spice.

That’s right, just a hint of spice! This relish is not supposed to set your lips ablaze. Just a touch of heat is enough. If you prefer a spicy salad, try Lao papaya salad.

In this recipe I used a spicy Thai chili (like the bird’s eye pepper), and I only used one, so the spicy flavor wouldn’t overpower the others. Just one Thai chili is enough to add a subtle kick.

Close-up of a salad bowl with cucumber and shallots.

There are other chili pepper variations you can experiment with as well, such as the serrano pepper, mild jalapeños or even green and yellow chilies. The key is to achieve a perfect balance between spicy, sour, and sweet.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Colorful flowers, a small mortar and pestle, sugar, white vinegar, salt, and sliced cucumber with shallots and red chilies on a bamboo serving tray.
  • Cucumber – Small cucumbers are a key ingredient, and they’re usually sliced thinly or in bite-sized pieces.
  • Shallots – Shallots add a milder flavor compared to onions.
  • White vinegar – White vinegar adds a tangy and slightly sour flavor, which perfectly complements the cucumber and shallots. The vinegar infuses the vegetables with flavor.
  • Sugar – White granulated sugar is needed to balance the sourness of the vinegar and to add a touch of sweetness. The amount of sugar can easily be adjusted to increase or decrease the sweetness. Brown sugar or a natural sweetener works fine as well.
  • Salt – Salt is added in small amounts, you can adjust to your personal preference.
  • Chili pepper – Thai chili peppers can be found at an Asian grocery store, and just 1 should be enough to add a subtle hint of spice.

Cooking instructions

This recipe is a breeze to make. Start by heating a combination of vinegar, sugar, and salt until it reaches a boil. After that, simply allow it to cool and then add it to the sliced veggies.

Step 1: Slice the vegetables and chilies, and add them to a large mixing bowl.

Step 2: Heat a wok or skillet over medium heat and add vinegar, salt, and granulated sugar. Bring to boil and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, and the sauce reaches your desired thickness or 5 minutes.Overhead view of vinegar, sugar, and salt in a large pan.

Step 3: Let the sauce cool down before adding it to the mixing bowl. Serve immediately.Adding vinegar in a pan to a glass mixing bowl with shallots and cucumber.

How to serve this Thai food

Serve as a light lunch on its own, or as a complete dinner with fresh vegetables.

Elevate your next BBQ by serving this cucumber salad, and an array of grilled satay. In Thailand, this side dish is sometimes served as part of a complete meal with tod mun pla and Thai sweet chili sauce. Other combinations are :

How to store Thai cucumber sauce

This Thai cucumber sauce will stay fresh in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 2 days, but the crunchiness of the cucumber will fade over time. Before serving, gently stir.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this in advance?

Yes, you can make this in advance by slicing the cucumber and shallots beforehand, and making the dressing beforehand. Toss the dressing with the cucumbers and shallots right before serving.

Is this a spicy salad?

Thai cucumber salad isn’t supposed to be eaten very spicy, so this is a mild salad recipe. You can adjust the heat by upping the amount of chilies.

Related Thai salads recipes you’ll love

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Thai Cucumber Salad for Satay (Ajaad Recipe)

Thai cucumber salad for satay in a clay cup.
This easy recipe makes a flavorful and crunchy bowl of cucumber salad.
Praew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Salad, Side Dish
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 5.3 ounces cucumber sliced in thin squares
  • 1.8 ounce shallots thin slices
  • 1 chilies red Thai chili
  • 2.5 fluid ounces white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3.5 ounces white sugar

Instructions

  • Slice the vegetables and chilies, and add them to a large mixing bowl.
  • Heat a wok or skillet over medium heat and add vinegar, salt, and granulated sugar. Bring to boil and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, and the sauce reaches your desired thickness or 5 minutes.
  • Let the sauce cool down before adding it to the mixing bowl. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Leftovers can be stored in your refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Serve with satay, Thai fish cakes and sweet chili sauce, or other Thai food.

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Saw this on Reddit and have everything to make. I’ve been trying to get the proportions right so this is perfect . I appreciate that it’s not meant to be as spicy but I will probably make it spicy anyway!

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