Spicy Thai Corn Salad 6.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; Food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Jul 9, 2018

This spicy, sweet and salty salad is juicy, refreshing and easy to make -- perfect for a hot summer day. Thai bird's eye chiles are very hot; if you prefer a milder burn, try serrano or jalapeño peppers.

The original recipe called for a mortar and pestle, but because we doubled the recipe beyond the capacity of most mortars, we found it easier to put the ingredients into a gallon-size zip-top bag and pound with a rolling pin. (You could also use a flat-sided meat pounder.)

To read the accompanying story, see: When summer corn is at its sweetest, this Thai salad adds a little heat.

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings; makes 8 cups

  • 1 to 2 red Thai bird's eye chiles (depending on your tolerance for heat), stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch slices (see headnote)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (3/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, or more as needed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 or 3 limes)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 8 wedges each
  • 3 medium carrots, coarsely grated
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked corn kernels (from 3 cobs; see NOTE)
  • 1 3/4 cups roasted, unsalted cashews


Combine the chiles (to taste) and garlic in a gallon zip-top bag and zip it almost all the way closed, leaving an inch or two unzipped. Use a rolling pin to pound the chiles and garlic through the plastic and form a rough paste. Add the beans and pound briefly to crush them a little. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce and lime juice.

Add the tomatoes and pound briefly, just to flatten them. Stir in the carrots and corn; pound gently, just to help the flavors incorporate. Taste, and add more soy sauce as needed.

Transfer to a serving bowl, top with the cashews and serve right away.

NOTE: For an easy way to briefly cook corn that makes it easy to husk and de-silk, dip the three cobs, husks and all, in water (just to moisten them). Microwave on HIGH for 4 to 5 minutes, until very hot. Remove, let cool for a bit, then use a sharp knife to cut crosswise through the husk and cob an inch or two from the wide end (opposite from the end with the tassel of silk). Hold the silk end, and push the corn out. To cut off the kernels, let the cobs cool until easy to handle. Cut the cobs in half crosswise, stand each half on one end and cut off the kernels from each side.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Rosa's Thai Cafe: The Vegetarian Cookbook" by Saiphin Moore (Mitchell Beazley, 2018).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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