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Summer on Your Plat

Jun/07/2024 / by Bindu Gopal Rao

With the sun out and about, why not add a seasonal special on your plate with some summer salads?

Summer is the season to enjoy fresh and wholesome summer produce. And if you feel the heat is getting to you, there are salads to enjoy – fresh, crisp, and seasonal. We share a few recipes for you to try.

Pomelo Salad courtesy Master Chef Tam, Rim Naam, The Oberoi Bengaluru

This originates from the Isaan province of Thailand where Chef Tam is from. It is a refreshing start to any meal and can also be had as a healthy and delicious snack. Seasonally it is mostly enjoyed across summer and monsoon as the produce is fresh but, nowadays we can procure Pomelo year around from select stores. In some Thai households dried shrimps are roasted with Thai spices and added to the salad as a meal. The flavour profile of this salad has the perfect balance of sweetness, tart, spice, and umami.

Ingredients

  • Thai pomelo 100 grams
  • Spring onion 2 grams
  • Slice onion 2 grams
  • Mint 1 gram
  • Chopped garlic 1 gram
  • Bird eye chilli 1 gram
  • Crushed peanuts 3 grams
  • Sugar syrup 2 ml
  • Soya sauce 10 ml
  • Salt to taste
  • Tamarind 2 grams

For the seasoning

  • Roasted coconut 20 grams
  • Fried onion 20 grams
  • Cashew 20 grams

Method

  • Peel the Thai pomelo and cut into dices.
  • Add the sliced onion, spring onion, mint, bird eye chilli, sugar syrup, tamarind pulp, and soya sauce.
  • Adjust the seasoning by adding salt.
  • Mix all well together.
  • Garnish with roasted coconut, fried onion, and cashew.

Vellarikka Kosumalli (South Indian Cucumber Salad) courtesy Jyothi Sri Pappu Founder & CEO, Nutreatlife

Grains, the powerhouses of nutrients, do have antinutrients that inhibit the absorption of micronutrients, especially iron and zinc, and protein by reducing the phytates. Soaking the grains, especially lentils, gives them a great texture and taste naturally. However, neutralizing antinutrients is not a new practice for us Indians. For example, Kosumalli, also known as Vada Pappu, Vada Paruppu, Kosumalli, or Kosambari, is an ancient recipe mentioned in scriptures. It is said to have been given to Lord Rama and is traditionally prepared during festivals like Sri Rama Navami and Ganesh Chaturthi. This simple yet highly nutritious dish ensures that the nutrients are absorbed effectively.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cucumber (around 250 grams)
  • Raw or ripe mango, diced (1/2)
  • ½ carrot, grated (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1 tablespoon grated coconut (fresh or desiccated)
  • Juice of ½ lemon (around 2 tablespoons)
  • Salt to taste

For the Tempering

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 dry red chili, broken in half
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • A pinch of asafoetida

Method

  • Wash and prepare the cucumber: Wash the cucumber thoroughly. Peel it if you prefer or leave the skin on for added nutrients. Slice the cucumber thinly using a knife, mandoline, or vegetable peeler to achieve uniform slices.
  • Grate the carrot and mango (optional): If using carrot and mango, wash and peel them. Grate the carrot and dice the mango into smaller pieces.
  • Combine salad ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced cucumber, grated carrot (if using), chopped coriander leaves, green chilies, grated coconut, and lemon juice.
  • Season and adjust flavors: Add salt to taste and mix everything well. Taste the salad and adjust the amount of lemon juice, green chilies, or salt according to your preference.
  • Prepare the tadka: Heat oil in a small tadka pan or ladle over medium heat. Once hot, add the mustard seeds, asafoetida, and cumin seeds. Let them splutter for a few seconds.
  • Add the dry red chili and curry leaves: Once the spluttering subsides, add the broken dry red chili and curry leaves. Fry for a few seconds until the curry leaves become fragrant and the chili darkens slightly.
  • Incorporate the tadka: Carefully pour the hot tadka with the oil over the salad mixture. This will infuse the salad with the aromatic flavors of the tadka.
  • Garnish and serve: Gently toss the salad to combine all the ingredients. Garnish with a few extra coriander leaves for a pop of color (optional). Serve the Kosumalli immediately as a refreshing side dish or appetizer.

Tips:

  • For a spicier salad, add more green chilies or a pinch of red chili powder.
  • You can substitute grated peanuts or chopped cashews for the grated coconut for a different flavor profile.
  • If you don’t have fresh coriander leaves, you can use a sprinkle of chopped mint leaves instead.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a day. However, the salad is best enjoyed fresh.

Thai Larb Gai Salad courtesy Master Chef Tam, Rim Naam, The Oberoi Bengaluru

This dish has made its way into Thailand from Laos. Larb means mincemeat of any kind. A beautiful and authentic component of this salad is the adding of pounded rice. Uncooked rice is gently roasted on low fire with back and forth movement and when it turns golden brown and begins to pop a little it is hand pounded with Thai green herbs. This lends the dish body and provides the perfect balance of protein, carbs, and leafy vegetables. In some households, they also add peanuts to the uncooked rice while roasting it.

Ingredients

  • Minced chicken 100 grams
  • Coriander 2 grams
  • Mint 2 grams
  • Bird eye chilli 1 gram
  • Chilli flakes 1 gram
  • Onion slices 5 grams
  • Kaffir lime slice 1 gram
  • Vinegar 1 ml
  • Salt 1 gram
  • Pounded rice 1 gram
  • Lemon 1 No.
  • Cucumber 3 slices
  • Sugar syrup 1 ml

Method

  • Boil the minced chicken and cook till done.
  • Mix mint, coriander, kaffir lime, chilli flakes, bird eye chilli to the boiled chicken.
  • Add the pounded rice and finish with lemon juice. 
  • Garnish with sliced cucumber and lemon wedge.
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