November 18, 2008

My “Everything There Is” Salad

Weird sounding name for a salad?
Wondering what this is all about?
This is a just a post about a salad I make often to ensure there’s some more of vegetable on our plates for lunch. I also thought it would also make a nice change from all the baking posts here this month!

Salads, in the conventional sense, are really not a part of Indian cuisine. North India has its “Raita” which is raw vegetables in seasoned yogurt and south India has its “Kosmalli” which is a seasoned vegetable, lentil and coconut salad.

Otherwise, even in predominantly vegetarian families, we rarely seem to have a tradition of eating our vegetables raw. But when it comes to cooking vegetables, I think it is hard to find another country where there are so many different ways of doing this that I think I can safely say one could eat a different meal every day for a year without repeating a dish!

However, since we are now told that it is important for our health to consume not just cooked vegetables, but raw vegetables too, one starts feeling guilty about not serving up a salad frequently enough.

While I have got somewhat used to eating salads the one thing I just cannot stomach is a salad which is very green in colour because it’s mostly some type of lettuce or the other! I know greens are good for us, but I’d prefer to get my quota of greens (not lettuce) in other dishes, preferably cooked. Blame it on a palate not conditioned to eating salad.

My husband on the other hand, enjoys salads, though he also shares my lettuce phobia. Our daughter doesn’t particularly like raw vegetables but she actually agreed to try this particular version out and asked when I was making it again. I think, for her, the magic ingredient in this one was the “Boondi” (please read further).

Given that we largely eat traditional style meals, it becomes important to make salads which would go well with say a meal of rice, sambhar or rasam, a dry vegetable and yogurt (curd).

Here is one salad I make and serve. For want of a better name, I’m calling it my Everything There Is Salad. This is because, I usually check what my vegetable bin in the fridge (and my freezer sometimes) has that I could use in a salad. I chop up (or shred) the available veggies into small pieces, season it and serve.

Depending on what’s in my fridge and what I have to add, this salad takes on a different avatar every time (well, many times) I serve it.

And if you are not the sort of person who enjoys eating a salad by itself, I recommend this with rice and yogurt (curd) and a small dollop of spicy pickle.

There are no definite quantities of the ingredients. It depends on what you have, what you want to add and how many people are going to eat the salad. Feel free to experiment and adjust to your need or taste.

What I usually use:

Finely chopped (or shredded) vegetables like onions (or spring onions), tomatoes, capsicum or bell peppers, carrots, cabbage, frozen (and thawed) green peas or sweet corn, etc.

Other stuff that goes well with this is cooked chick peas (garbanzo beans) and pomegranate arils, just a handful of each.

A little bit of chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Put all these in a salad bowl. Season the salad with salt, freshly crushed black pepper, a tablespoon of honey and some lemon juice. Toss well and serve immediately.

Occasionally, as in the above picture, I would have some “Boondi” (deep fried chick pea flour bead-like fritters, I can’t think of any other way to describe this in English) or “Sev” (deep fried chick pea flour vermicelli) which I would add (a small handful should be enough) to lend the salad a nice savoury crunch. Add these just before serving, or they will become soggy and unappetizing!

A Reminder To Celebrate With Me

May I gently remind everyone that its time for Sweet Celebrations on this blog and there’s 12 days left till the party when the gift gets unwrapped. So for all of you who had planned to join the celebrations but haven’t got around to making a certain sweet something for my blog, this would be the time to start.
I can't wait to see whose name is on that gift.

Also featured at the Chicago Sun-Times


Arundathi said...

I had one of these for lunch today - it was delicious - might have to remember the ingredients next time!

Happy cook said...

This is a one beautiful looking salade.
Here shyama too don't eat any salade or veggie, her rea veggie is limited to carrots.
It is shocking how many times i have grumbled to her about this, but in vain.

Simran said...

I do the same too, just add anything and everything I find in the fridge. In my book, anything tastes good with chaat masala and lemon juice :)

Curry Leaf said...

I agree with Simran.I add anything everything and chaat masala.Though I stick to traditional meals normally,sometimes a simple salad is good.Yours looks very good.

Cham said...

If anything colorful, i just dig in :) Very pretty plate!

Arfi Binsted said...

oh yes, eating salad as a meal, that's really me! sometimes meat is just a side dish to me, i just love vegetables. when my iron got really low to level 8, then i got myself eating meat again. personally, i love vegetables more than meaty stuffs. this is perfect for a mealy salad :)

karuna said...

this salad looks refreshing. love the colours.

Vera said...

I love your salad, Aparna! Especially the chick pea flour fritters!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

The colors are so vivid and inviting.

Red Chillies said...

I make it a point to make a salad too for our dinner. Adding boondi is a unique idea. It looks so colorful.

jayasree said...

Adding boodnhi/sev is definitely a nice way to attract kids. Loved the name and the colorful salad.

Vij said...

lovely looking salad! very colourful n tempting! gr8 post aparna!

sra said...

I love salads, it's just that I don't get too many dressings right. Yours looks lovely and this is the first time I'm hearing of boondi in a salad - nice idea!

Priya said...

Salad looks colourful, loved the idea of adding boondhi...

Rachel said...

A very colourful salad..I had a similr salad with boondi's at a buffet last night....hope they didn't pick it of ur blog..haha!

Susan said...

We would call "everything there is" by the expression "the kitchen sink" - a hodgepodge of ingredients. : )

Looks lively and healthy. Sev sounds like a nice crunchy topping for lettuce salads, too, instead of croutons.

Rosie said...

Such a beautiful looking salad and so very healthy!

I would love to partake in your Sweet Celebrations - I will get something done for this before the end date :)

Rosie x

Vibaas said...

Aparna, I have something for you here :

Salad looks very yum.

Dibs said...

Oh My. This salad is making me very hungry! You have a sweet event going? Will surely send something! wanted to remind you abt the Kitchen Treasure Hunt as well!

By the way, I have a whole lot of something at our blog for you!

sunita said...

In our parts(Assam), we are quite good at eating raw salad. At home and even during feasts, a bowl of chopped cucumber and tomatoes will always be seen...somewhat like a salsa:-)

PG said...

a wonderful salad!

Aparna said...

Sra, there's really no such thing as perfect dressings. Just add a bit of what you have that can be used and adjust for taste. If you like it, its your salad dressing.:)
At least, that's what I do.

Stranger things have happened, Rachel:D

Kitchen Sink Salad sounds pretty interesting, but there probably wouldn't be too many takers.:D

Looking forward to that Rosie.

Thank you, Vibhaa.

I'm overwhelmed, Dibs. Thanks.:)

I didn't know that, Sunita. Thanks for letting me know.