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Indians generally take salad NOT as an appetizer or a separate dish but as part of the main meal. And there too, with just onions, tomatoes, radish and carrots—chopped or sliced, with a slice of lemon on the side. There will in general be no lettuce or any other edible greens.
Interestingly salads in Turkey are quite similar hinting at a common culinary heritage perhaps from the time of the Moghuls.
If the purpose of any salad is to add some vitamins and fibre to your meals, without too many calories, the Indian common salad achieves that beautifully. However, if you want to experiment with sprouts instead, here is an easy recipe:
Moong green (Bengal Gram) whole – 100 grams (half cup)
American Sweet corn – 200 grams (1 cup)
Onion – 1 large
Cucumber – 1
Carrot – 1
Red capsicum – 1
Yellow capsicum – 1
Paneer (Cottage Cheese) – 100 grams (half cup)
Fresh coriander to garnish
Lemon – 1
Salt: ½ tea spoon or to taste
Chat Masala : 1 tea spoon or to taste
Tip: If you don’t have access to readymade Chat Masala from an Indian store, you can make yours by mixing 1 teaspoon dried mango powder with 1 teaspoon rock salt, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, ½ teaspoon Asafoetida (Hing), and ½ teaspoon red chilli powder (optional). You can store this mixture in a dry and airtight jar and use whenever required.
Soak the Moong Dal (Bengal Gram) in a muslin cloth (or Sprout Maker) for 2 days or till the sprouts appear. Wait till they are at least an inch (2.5 cms) long.
Now prepare all the vegetables. Peel cucumber, onion and carrot. Chop these into small pieces.
Wash and cut red and yellow capsicum into small pieces.
Put the corn in a microwavable dish and sprinkle some salt on it. Microwave on high for 3 minutes or till the corn becomes soft. Keep aside.
(Alternatively, you can boil the corn in water with a little salt. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat (SIM on the gas) and let it simmer for 5 minutes or till the corn becomes soft. Now switch off the heat source and take out the corn (with a slotted spoon or strainer.)
Cut the paneer (cottage cheese) into small cubes.
Take the sprouts and wash them well. You can use these as they are as they must be tender by now. Or else you can place them in boiling salted water for a minute or so. Make sure that you keep the vessel uncovered to avoid discoloration. Also, ensure that the tender sprouts do not break.
Take a big bowl. Add the sprouts (raw or lightly boiled). Now put in the onion, cucumber, carrot, red capsicum and yellow capsicum to it.
Add corn. Sprinkle some salt and mix it well.
Now add the paneer (cottage cheese) and mix it lightly with a spoon taking care not to crush it. You can add the cherry tomatoes on top.
Sprinkle chat masala on top. Now squeeze the juice of a lemon on this.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve.
Tip: You can keep this salad in the fridge for 10 min just before serving in order to make the salad more refreshing and appetizing.
This is quite a nutritious salad. In order to maintain the health quotient, avoid adding any salad dressing to it. The zing in any case will be imparted by the chat masala and the lemon.
In case you wish to add any salad dressing, make sure it is not oil based. Also, take the dressing on the side and do not mix the salad in it. This way you would be consuming less of the dressing.
It is best to keep the paneer raw to make it healthy. However, to enhance its taste you may grill it lightly till it becomes golden brown.
Even though this salad tastes best when fresh, you can always prepare and keep in the fridge and consume it later. You can also experiment with any other sprout (than Bengal Gram whole) that you prefer.
Do let me know if you try this recipe.
I’ll also love to hear from you about the Indian twist that I have suggested.
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