If you want to make this salad more substantial and serve it as a main course, toss it with shredded cold roast chicken or whole cooked shellfish such as shrimp.
– 4 regular cucumbers, or 2 English cucumbers, peeled and halved lengthwise.
– 1½ teaspoons coarse salt.
– ¼ cup creamy peanut butter made with only peanuts and salt.
– 2 Thai or 4 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced.
– 1 clove garlic, minced and then crushed with the flat side of the knife.
– ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk.
– 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons sugar.
– ½ bunch cilantro, large stems removed and leaves finely chopped.
– About 20 fresh basil leaves, preferably holy basil, each torn into about 3 pieces.
– 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice.
– 3 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar.
– 2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce, or more as needed.
– 6 sprigs mint or cilantro.
Step 1:Scrape out the seeds from the cucumber halves with a spoon, then slice the halves crosswise into crescents about ⅛ inch thick. Place the cucumbers in a bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and then toss and rub the slices for about 2 minutes, or until the salt dissolves and no longer feels gritty. Transfer the cucumbers to a colander, set it in the sink or over a bowl, and let drain for about 30 minutes.
Step 2:Working with a little at a time, squeeze the cucumber slices in your fists to extract as much liquid and salt as possible. Set the cucumbers aside.
Step 3:In a bowl, combine the peanut butter, chiles, garlic, coconut milk, andsugar and work the mixture with a whisk until smooth. Stir in the cilantro, basil, lime juice, vinegar, and fish sauce to taste and mix well. Add the cucumbers and toss with the sauce. Chill for 1 hour. Serve on chilled plates, and decorate each serving with a mint sprig.