A few months after writing the first post on Cookin’ Canuck, we went to visit my friend (J) and her family. To say that J and I know each other well would be an understatement. You see, she has been my dearest friend since grade four. When you know someone for that long, there are a lot of life experiences stored away in that vault of friendship…high school crushes, high school heart breaks (oh, the drama!), first puffs on a cigarette (then never again!), watching each other say “I do” to the loves of our lives and holding each other’s children for the first time. To name a few.
As I headed off to college for the first time, many years ago, J gave me a mug with a quote on it. I still have that mug, and I still cherish the sentiment of the quote.
One of the things both J and I enjoy doing (and it’s even better when we do it together) is cooking. J has a penchant for experimenting with different flavors just as I do. On that particular visit a few years ago, she whipped up a fabulous Thai feast, including a spicy and lightly flavored cucumber salad that she learned to make in a Thai cooking class. I’ve made that cucumber salad many times since then. It took me a little while to get past the smell of the fish sauce (just don’t breathe in deeply while making the dressing) and always have to remind myself that the flavors mellows considerably once it melds with the other ingredients.
This salad is spin-off of J’s cucumber salad, replacing the cucumber with thinly sliced pieces of crunchy, refreshing jicama. I honestly had no idea how this was going to turn out, but was shortly emitting sighs of “Wow, this is so good!” Even my 8-year old (lover of all things spicy) put his stamp of approval on this one. The natural sweetness of the vegetable balances the salty spiciness of the dressing beautifully. Pair it with a salad of rice noodles and shrimp for a fresh, summertime meal.
I hope that the next time we’re together, I can treat J to a bowl of this salad.
Cut the jicama in quarter wedges, then thinly slice. Thinly slice the red onion into half-moon pieces.
In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, rice vinegar and agave nectar until the agave nectar dissolves. Add red chile flakes and whisk again.
Place the jicama and onion slices into a medium-sized bowl. Toss with the rice vinegar dressing.
Add the cilantro and toss again. Serve.
- ½ jicama, peeled
- ½ small red onion, peeled
- 1½ tbsp fish sauce
- 1½ tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp agave nectar (can substitute sugar)
- 1 red chili, minced or ½ tsp red chile flakes
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Cut the jicama in quarter wedges, then thinly slice. Thinly slice the red onion into half-moon pieces.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, rice vinegar and agave nectar until the agave nectar dissolves. Add red chile flakes and whisk again.
- Place the jicama and onion slices into a medium-sized bowl. Toss with the rice vinegar dressing.
- Add the cilantro and toss again. Serve.