This Southern Thai cucumber relish, known as Ajat, is a popular and naturally vegan condiment. The bright, fresh flavors and crisp texture make it the perfect accompaniment to a rich curry or satay. Ajat is a popular street food condiment in Thailand, intended to bring a bit of acidity and bite as it cuts through the heartier and greasier foods that are so delicious in Thai cuisine.
After our recent trip to Thailand, and a visit to Portland’s Southern Thai restaurant Hat Yai, we were inspired to share this simple Thai condiment recipe. We love the simplicity and versatility of this dish. Depending on where we are, we’ll adapt it according to the ingredients we have available. In South Africa we use peri peri chili in place of Thai bird’s eye chili and back home in the USA we occasionally use jalapeños (which are significantly less spicy than the Thai bird’s eye or peri peri). Serve at room temperature and enjoy this relish as a condiment on the side. Don’t worry about the sweet, tart syrup; just scoop out the crisp pickled bits as a refreshing complement between bites of curry, satay or fried foods.
This vegan curry with sticky rice and cucumber relish from Hat Yai PDX takes us back to Southern Thailand & Malaysia.
Peri peri, also known as African bird’s eye chili or piri piri. Some varieties measure up to 175,000 Scoville heat units.
Smaller Persian or Japanese cucumbers can also be used.
Quartered, deseeded and thinly sliced large English cucumber in a tart and sweet syrup
Thai Cucumber Relish (Ajat)
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp water
- 350g English or garden cucumber; quartered lengthwise, deseeded and thinly sliced
- 35g shallot, or red onion, thinly sliced
- 5g cilantro leaves, roughly chopped