I just love hot and spicy food. I can’t even think of even one hot and spicy dish that I don’t like. Whenever I go to a restaurant and I have the option of choosing the heat level of my food I almost always choose 9 out of a scale of 1 to 10. 1 on the scale means very mild. 10 on the other hand, means it will burn a hole in the sidewalk. I generally choose a 9 because I still want to be able to taste my food :).
Every time I order hot and spicy food, my sweet husband Bruce looks at me as if I am completely out of my mind. I look back, smile at him and think to myself that mild food is not an option. He should know me by now. I warned him about this little detail many years ago.
If you don’t know or never have heard of sambal oelek before, sambal oelek is an extremely hot (and delicious) Asian chili pepper paste. Sambal oelek is always a staple our refrigerator and I could not even imagine doing without. Sambal oelek is not for the faint of heart or is something that you can pack in your child’s lunch. Simply put, sambal oelek is a delicious condiment that is to be respected.
My Spicy Watermelon Salad is made with bright red watermelon, spicy sambal oelek, sweet chili sauce, sour tamarind paste and lime juice. It’s easy to make and only contains 5 ingredients. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy! Tessa
4 cups watermelon balls (seedless)
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbs sweet chili sauce
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp sambal oelek (or to taste)
Begin by grabbing a medium sized bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, sweet chili sauce, tamarind paste and sambal oelek. Taste and correct your heat level. Using a melon ball tool, make 4 cups of melon balls. Add watermelon balls to your sauce. Toss to coat. Chill the salad if necessary. Makes 4 – 1 cup servings.
During the busy work week I try to make dishes that are quick and easy. My Asian Cucumber Salad is one of those side dishes that I make quite often for my family at dinner hour. Cucumbers are always a staple in my refrigerator and it’s extremely rare that I don’t have any in stock in the vegetable drawer. In the summer months I always plant cucumbers in my little garden so I can just go out the back door and pick whatever I need for the family meal.
My Asian Cucumber Salad is super simple to make and ridiculously quick to prepare. I use a mandolin to slice my cucumbers thinly and perfectly. If you don’t have a mandolin, I seriously suggest you get one. My Asian Cucumber Salad is bright, light, and fat free. The Ponzu and sweet chili sauce makes my Asian Cucumber Salad pop with flavor. Serve alongside grilled chicken or beef and a scoop of warm fluffy jasmine rice. Makes about 4 servings. Enjoy! Tessa
2 cups English cucumber (thinly sliced)
1/4 cup red bell pepper (finely diced)
1/4 cup red onion (finely diced)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
1 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbs sweet chili sauce
1 Tbs Lime Ponzu (lime flavored soy sauce)
1 Tbs Mirin (sweet rice wine)
garnish with fresh snipped chives and toasted sesame seeds
Toss all ingredients into a bowl. Lightly mix. Refrigerate for about 15-30 minutes or until well chilled. Garnish with chives and sesame seeds.