Recipes, Side Dish Recipes

Pounded cucumber salad w/ peanuts & beans (tam dtaeng kwaa) thai salad recipe

Pounded salads are a ubiquitous street food in Thailand, often enjoyed as a snack with sticky rice or as part of a larger meal. Originating from the Laos and Isaan border in northeastern Thailand, pounded salads have evolved into various versions across the country. While som tam, made from green papaya, is the most popular Thai salad recipe, an equally delicious alternative is tam dtaeng kwaa, perfect for when green papaya is unavailable. This sweet, spicy and sour Thai salad pairs beautifully with chicken breasts, diced pork, sai ua Thai Pork Sausage, or whole carcass artisan steak.


Serves 2-4


*To cut a lime, start by slicing it in half lengthwise. Then, depending on the size of your lime, cut each half into 3 or 4 wedges, similar to fish and chips or for a bottle of beer. Finally, halve each wedge to yield 12 or 16 pieces per lime.

Shop the ingredients


  1. Start by peeling the cucumber and deseeding it.
  2. Now cut the cucumber into chunks about the size of your thumb then put them to one side.
  3. Next, pound the chillies and garlic in a clay mortar and pestle until reasonably smooth, add the palm sugar and pound some more.
  4. Place the lime pieces in the bottom and lightly muddle them to release their juice.
  5. Add the peanuts and dried shrimp and crush a bit.
  6. Add the tamarind, fish sauce, lime juice and cucumber chunks.
  7. Now scoop and pound the salad at the same time. One hand pounds whilst the other one tosses the salad with a flat spoon and so on – this technique will slightly bruise the cucumber chunks and if they break a little that’s no problem as it will assist in absorbing some of the dressing and flavours.
  8. Add the beans and tomato halves and bruise slightly.
  9. Taste the dressing and adjust if necessary – it should taste sweet, spicy and sour and just enough salinity to season.