If you are a fan of spicy salads, this Asian-inspired sweet and sour cucumber salad is a must-try! The dressing packs a punch with spicy shallots, garlic, and green chillies, all balanced by sweet and sour pomegranate molasses, lime juice, and soy sauce. Stir in the sliced cucumbers, tomatoes along with some fresh coriander leaves and roasted peanuts. Doesn't end there... for that extra oomph throw in some fried onions.
There are only a few salad recipes on the blog as I don't make them often. But this sweet, spicy and sour cucumber salad is another clever way to use up your pomegranate molasses. Easy to make ahead and best served at a summer lunch table!
My favourite part is the sweet, sour, spicy dressing ingredients without oil and plenty of chillis and roasted peanuts! We love it!
- mini shallots
- garlic cloves
- green chillies
- pomegranate molasses
- lime juice
- soy sauce
- fresh coriander leaves with tender stem
- cherry tomatoes
- roasted peanuts
- fried shallots (optional)
- pomegranate arils (optional)
This salad recipe comes together in one large bowl. I like to stack the ingredients over the dressings and refrigerate until serving time.
This step is only if you don't have ready-to-eat roasted peanuts. Add them to a hot skillet and stir on low to medium heat until you start hearing the pop sound. Switch off and transfer to a wide bowl. Once cooled, grab a handful and rub it between your hands. They should come off easily.
You can either move the peeled peanuts to a separate bowl like I did or use a small paper fan or blow away the skins.
Add the sliced shallots, garlic, green chillies, pomegranate molasses, lime juice, and soy sauce to a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix.
I like to slice the cucumbers into rounds, you can also dice or chop them. Add the sliced cucumbers over the salad dressing. Don't mix yet.
Top the sliced cucumbers with halved cherry tomatoes.
Top the halved tomatoes with roasted peanuts, fresh coriander and fried onions. At this point, you can keep the bowl refrigerated until serving time. Just before serving, add salt and toss everything until cucumber slices are coated with the dressing. Serve immediately.
TIP: Keep some fried shallots and peanuts separate and add them just before serving for freshness. Give the salad a quick toss before serving to redistribute the dressing and flavours.
Some of the ingredients can be substituted without compromising the taste.
- mini shallots: You can use red onions or shallots.
- pomegranate molasses: You can replace this with some tamarind concentrate. You may also add some pomegranate arils and juice of pomegranate.
- cherry tomatoes: You can use regular tomatoes, diced into small pieces. You can also try grape or plum tomatoes as an alternative. If using plum tomatoes, remove the flesh. I have also tried with fresh strawberries!
- roasted peanuts: You can use cashews, almonds, or sunflower seeds in place of peanuts. Make sure to roast them for the same crunchy texture. If using salted peanuts, then make sure you don't add too much salt.
Leftover sweet and sour cucumber salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. However, keep in mind that the longer it sits, the softer the cucumbers may become.
There are plenty of fun variations you can try with your sweet and sour cucumber salad to keep things exciting. Here are a few ideas:
- Add a tropical touch by tossing in some diced pineapple, mango, or papaya. The sweetness pairs beautifully with the tangy dressing.
- Turn it into a heartier meal by adding grilled shrimp, chicken, or tofu. The protein will make it more satisfying.
- Slice some ripe avocados and add them to the salad for a creamy and buttery element.
- Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds for a nutty flavor and extra crunch.
- Instead of fried shallots, try crispy fried wonton strips for added texture.
- Add some pickled red onions, carrots, or radish for a tangy kick.
Yes, like I showed in the step-by-step instruction section, you can prepare the dressing and chop the cucumbers and tomatoes in advance. However, it's best to assemble the salad just before serving to maintain its freshness and crunch.
Yes, you can get creative and add other veggies like bell peppers, red onions, or even thinly sliced carrots for added colour and flavour.
While they add a fantastic crunch and flavor, you can skip them if you prefer a simpler salad or have dietary restrictions.
This salad makes a fantastic side dish for grilled meats, seafood, or Asian-inspired dishes like stir-fries and curries. It's also great as a light meal or snack on its own.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad
- 4 mini shallots thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 green chillies finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 3 medium-sized cucumber cut diagonal or roundels
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes halved (see notes)
- salt to taste
- fistful Fresh coriander leaves with tender stems
- ¼ cup peanuts dry roasted
- 2 tablespoons fried shallots optional but recommended
- Add shallot, garlic, green chillies, pomegranate molasses, lime juice, and soy sauce to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the chopped coriander stems and mix well.4 mini shallots, 2 garlic cloves, 2 green chillies, 2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice, 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Close to the serving time, add cucumbers and tomatoes or strawberries, season with salt, and toss until everything is nicely coated with dressing.3 medium-sized cucumber, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, salt to taste
- Transfer the salad to the serving platter and top with chopped coriander leaves, fried shallots and roasted peanuts. Serve immediately.fistful Fresh coriander leaves, ¼ cup peanuts, 2 tablespoons fried shallots
Recipe adapted from bonappetit.