A long time ago I gave Linda a list of some of my favorite recipes. She selected three recipes for this week’s class. Her selections were: Korean Cucumber Salad, Chunky Potatoes with Garlic and Peanuts, and Lemongrass Beef with Rice Noodles. I believe she saw the recipe for Lemongrass Beef on an earlier blog post, but she chose the Cucumber Salad and Chunky Potatoes from my list. I was tickled when I realized we were going to make Korean food, Indian food, and Vietnamese food in our class. Considering that Linda rarely ever ate any ethnic food, other than a little Mexican food, I am quite impressed with her willingness to stretch beyond her comfort zone. We started with the Lemonsgrass Beef so we could marinate the meat. Linda has some sirloin from her sides of beef and the marinade was perfect for her beef. The recipe for the Lemongrass Beef can be found on this blog, June 21, 2011.
The Korean Cucumber Salad is a great way to made cucumbers taste sensational.

2 small cucumbers
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallinos, finely chopped
1 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, finely grated
1 T Sambal Olek
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp fish sauce
2 T rice vinegar

Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and then crosswise into 1/8 inch half moons. Place in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly with salt. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile combine garlic, scallions, ginger, vinegar, sambal olek, sugar, vinegar, and fish sauce in a medium ceramic or non reactive bowl. Stir the cucumbers into the vinegar mixture. Cover and refrigerate.

Chunky Potatoes with Garlic and Peanuts
From 600 Curries by Raghavan Iyer

2 T white sesame seeds
2 T raw peanuts
4 garlic cloves
3 dried Thai chiles, stems removed
2 T canola oil
1 pound russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes, and kept in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes
2 tsp kosher salt
2 T finely chopped cilantro

Combine the sesame seeds, peanuts, garlic, and chiles in a food processor and pulse to form a gritty, sticky, mellow-smelling blend. Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium low heat.
Scrape the sesame-peanut blend into the warmed oil and roast the mixture, stirring, until it starts to release its own oils and loosen, turning crumbly and nutty brown, 5-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, drain the potatoes. Stir the turmeric into the sesame-peanut blend and cook for 5 seconds. Then add the potatoes, tomatoes (with their juices), 1 cup water, and the salt.
Stir, then bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pan, and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, 25-30 minutes.

This dish is really good with rice.

All the dishes turned out really well. The Lemongrass Beef was tender and flavorful and I could tell Linda really liked it and so did her husband, Baker. The spicy Indian potato dish was also a hit. I was so pleased that Linda loved the Korean Cucumber Salad, one of my favorites. I’m looking forward to the next lesson in August.