• Yield: Makes 1 to 1 1/2 cups

  • Time: 10 minutes prep, 10 minutes total

Variations on this simple relish/salad turn up throughout Southeast Asia. The purpose is to give you a bite of cool, crisp, crunch to counterpoint spicy hot meat.


  • 2 Kirby (pickling) cucumbers, or 1 medium-size cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and seeded (It isn't necessary to seed Kirby cucumbers)

  • 1 shallot, minced (2 to 3 tablespoons), or 1 scallion, both white and green parts, trimmed and minced

  • 1 small hot red chile, such as a bird or cayenne pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper


Cut the cucumber(s) into 1/4-inch dice. Place the cucumber(s), shallot, chile, rice vinegar, and sugar in a mixing bowl and toss gently to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The relish can be made up to 2 hours ahead.

Reprinted with permission from Planet Barbecue by Steve Raichlen. © 2010 Workman Publishing Company. Used in The Best Beef Satés in Singapore. From the June 26, 2010 episode

Steven Raichlen is an author, journalist, cooking teacher and TV host. He is the author of the Barbecue Bible cooking series and creator of the "Barbecue University" television show. Named Cooking Teacher of the Year by Bon Appetit, Raichlen has won five James Beard awards and three IACP awards for his work.