Scrumptious Indian style spring salad recipes

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An Indian man rang the Indian Link office, seeking culinary advice in a hurry. He had invited a few friends over for a barbecue and had obviously spent considerable time in planning his meal. “Could you help me with some recipes for an Indian style salad?” he asked us.

Ask and ye shall receive, Sensitive New-Age Salad Seeker!

Next time you have your mates around, choose from these scrumptious salads. While some are authentic Indian in style, others are versions of non-Indian styles that I have come across, modified to fit our usual barbecue fare of tandoori chicken, mince kababs and fish tikka.

Onion Lachcha

Indian style spring salad recipe for onion salad

This red onion salad is oh-so-Delhi. Great with meat dishes.

  • 1 red (Spanish) onions
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground
  • Lemon juice, salt to taste.

Cut onion into fine rings and toss together with other ingredients. Serve heaped on a small platter. You could use white or brown onions as well, but dip the rings in iced water for a few minutes to remove the sting.

Cucumber/Radish Wedges

Indian style spring salad recipe for radish salad

A favourite from my Delhi days. The vegetable vendor would come round on his cart and cut us up his freshest pieces of kheera (cucumber) and mooli (white radish) in a refreshing, crunchy, spicy mid-morning snack.

  • 3 Lebanese cucumbers or young white radish
  • Chaat masala to taste
  • Lemon juice.

Cut cucumber/radish into wedges, sprinkle generously with chaat masala and end with lemon juice. This is best when crunchy so prepare it as closing to serving as possible.

Kachumber

Indian style spring salad recipe for kachumber salad
  • 1 red (Spanish) onion
  • 3 – 4 roma tomatoes
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves
  • Salt, red chili powder, ground roasted cumin seeds and lemon juice to taste.
  • Finely dice onion and tomatoes and toss with all the other ingredients.

(Variation: Add finely chopped ginger and/or green chillies).

Kosambri Indian salad

Indian style spring salad recipe for kosambri salad

This is an Indian recipe for Mysorean lentil salad with fresh vegetables. It is wonderfully cooling in the summer, and a great barbecue accompaniment, as I have discovered. The dal is uncooked but softened and so filled with protein – perfect for anyone who is on a diet.

  • ½ cup moong dal (yellow split dal)
  • 1 – 2 Lebanese cucumbers
  • Half a bunch fresh coriander leaves
  • Deseeded and finely chopped green chilies to taste (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 dry red chilli, broken into two
  • Lemon juice
  • Fresh grated coconut for garnish.

Wash moong dal well and soak for 2 – 3 hours. Drain and put into a deep bowl.

Chop up cucumber and coriander leaves finely. Add to the dal. Put in salt (green chillies if using) and lemon juice and mix well.

Heat oil and add mustard seeds, dry red chilies and curry leaves. When the seeds begin to splutter, pour over dal mixture and mix well. Sprinkle grated coconut over, cover with cling film and refrigerate. Serve cool.

(You could use grated carrots and white radish in place of cucumber).

Mung Sprout Salad

Indian style spring salad recipe for sprout salad

This is yet another favourite in my household – it goes well with any kind of Indian meal, and is again a great barbecue accompaniment.

  • 1 cup mung sprouts
  • 1 cup finely diced cucumber
  • 1 cup finely diced tomato
  • (choose sturdy tomatoes)
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Microwave mung sprouts briefly with some water so they are softened. Mix all the ingredients in a deep bowl.

(You could buy mung sprouts from the supermarket or make your own. To make your own, soak whole green moong overnight. Drain and wrap in a damp tea-towel. The seeds should start sprouting in a day. Keep checking to ensure tea-towel remains moist. But if you want your sprouts ready in a day, you should get yourself a mung sprouter next time you go to India – they are currently very popular back there).

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Kale Chane ki Chaat

Indian style spring salad recipe for kale chane chaat
  • 1 cup black chana
  • 2 potatoes, diced and deep fried
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tomato, chopped finely
  • 50 gms paneer
  • Green chilli to taste, deseeded and chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • Salt and red chilli powder to taste
  • Lemon juice as required.

Soak chana overnight and pressure cook in sufficient water till tender. (You may add some salt before if you wish). Drain and put into a deep serving bowl. Cut paneer up into bite-sized cubes. Add to chana the paneer, potatoes, onion and tomato. Mix well. The add salt, red chilli, chaat masala, coriander leaves and lemon juice. Mix well and serve at room temperature.

Chick Pea Salad

Indian style spring salad recipe for chickpea salad
  • 1 cup chickpeas (Kabuli or white chana)
  • ½ cup finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 – 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and red chilli powder to taste
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp roasted and ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • Lemon juice as required
  • Finely chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Soak chickpeas overnight. Drain, add salt and turmeric and pressure cook in sufficient water till almost done. Drain when cool and put into a deep serving bowl.

Heat oil in a pan; add garlic and spices and let sizzle. Pour over chickpeas, introduce spring onions, lemon and coriander and toss to combine.

(You could use the tinned variety of chickpeas if you don’t want the hassle of soaking and cooking the chana).

Melon Salsa salad

  • 2 cups bite-size honeydew melon chunks
  • 2 cups bite-size rockmelon chunks
  • 1 – 2 tbsp ginger juliennes
  • 1 red chilli deseeded and chopped finely
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Lemon juice as required
  • Salt to taste
  • Finely chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Toss all ingredients together in a deep bowl and chill before serving.

(You could use tinned pineapple similarly to make pineapple salsa).

Salty Radish Salad

I found this recipe years ago on a little card at the grocer’s, and reproduce it here because I have discovered that this salad fits beautifully in an Indian meal, especially an Indian barbecue.

  • 1 bunch small red radishes
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper.

Pick radishes of very small size, as they are kept whole in this salad. Trim radishes, leaving 2cm stalk attached to bulbs. Wash well, scrubbing if required. Dry with paper towel and place in a sealed plastic bag in refrigerator till ready to use. To prepare, simply toss radishes together with other ingredients in a deep bowl.

Watermelon Salad

Indian style spring salad recipe for watermelon salad
  • 500 gms watermelon, seeded and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 ½ cups spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp sea-salt
  • Finely chopped fresh garlic chives
  • Finely chopped fresh coriander
  • For dressing:
  • ½ cup chilli vinegar (available in Asian groceries)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Sesame oil.

Toss watermelon together with all other ingredients in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over watermelon.

Sweet Potato Salad

A regular at my household, I often serve this by itself as an entre (thanks to the now-London-based Anjli Gupta for the recipe!)

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Chaat masala or lemon pepper seasoning.

Cut sweet potatoes up into finger length pieces. Immerse briefly in salted boiling water (approximately five minutes). Drain and lay out on a greased oven tray and cook in a moderate oven until soft. Season with chaat masala or lemon pepper, and serve warm.

Zucchini and Fennel Salad

Okay, okay, so this salad recipe unusual for an Indian meal, but give it a try anyway – you’ll love the saunf flavour.

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • ½ fennel
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Lemon juice as required
  • Fennel fronds for garnish.

Add garlic to oil and stand for many hours. Cut up zucchini and fennel into match stick lengths. Pour over oil and mix well. Just before serving, drizzle lemon juice over and decorate with fennel fronds.

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