Spicy Cucumber Salad from Laos (Tum Mak Dang)
Tum Mak Dang is a traditional Lao cucumber salad and can be called the sister of the famous papaya salad. Like the papaya salad this spicy salad is also prepared in a mortar. The Laotian people eat this refreshing cucumber salad next to sticky rice or some grilled pork or beef dishes. You will surprise your guests with this exotic cucumber salad at your next garden party.
Cucumbers are very different to green papayas, and so it should be treated while preparing this salad. They contain more liquid (especially the seed section) and you have to take care when you prestle the slices in a mortar.
Spicy means spicy
If you check the ingredients list you will notice that we used 10 Thai chilis in this recipe. This is the amount the Laotian people use to prepare this salad. If you like it less spicy reduce the amount of chilis the way you like.
4 small cucumbers
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lime, wedges
1 tbs fish Sauce
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp salt
10 Thai chilis, seedless
1 tsp sugar
Use a sharp knife – Be careful
First cut cucumbers into long thin julienne slivers slices using a really sharp knife. Do this by holding the cucumber in one hand and the sharp knife in your other hand. Chop the surface with vertical lines of about half a centimeter deep all around it. Then, carefully slice long slivers. Work concentrated and take care of your fingers. Especially when you make this salad for the first time.
Now place chilis, garlic cloves, salt and sugar in the mortar and prestle until you have a smooth paste.
Add shrimp paste and mix with the other ingredients. Now add the cucumber slices and gently pound and stir through with the pestle and a spoon.
Add cherry tomatoes and fish sauce. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Gently mix and stir all ingredients together using the pestle and a spoon.
Transfer your Tum Mak Dang into a serving bowl or plate and serve with rice or your favorite main dish.