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A Trio of Bright and Bold Indian Salads


cucumber-salad

My Bible study group recently decided to have an Indian themed dinner, and it fell to my lot to bring a salad. When I started to do my research, however, I couldn’t stop at one. So, I made three.

Each of these is easy to make, which is always a plus. But their greatness, individually and collectively, lies in the bold, clean flavors that will add to any meal, Indian or otherwise. I have already made the Mango Salad and the Onion and Tomato Salad twice since then.

If you’re looking for a fresh alternative to a lettuce salad, check out these options.

Cucumber Salad

2 cups cucumber, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cashews coarsely ground (optional)
1 tablespoon mint, finely ripped

Dressing:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons ginger juice (see note)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground

For the dressing: In a bowl, mix oil, lemon juice, salt, sugar, black pepper, ginger juice and fennel. Set aside.

For the salad: Peel the cucumber, leaving strips of skin. Slice thin, crosswise. The slices should look like half-moons.

Toss the cucumber with ground cashews, if using, and mint to coat the slices.

Just before serving, add the dressing. Mix it well.

Note: To make the ginger juice, shred the ginger using a fine shredder or zester. Squeeze the shredded ginger with your fingers to get all the juice out. Or you can place a piece of peeled ginger in a sturdy lemon juicer and press hard several times.

Adapted from ManjulasKitchen.com/Manjula Jain

Onion and Tomato Salad (Piaz aur Tamatar ka Salad)

red-onion-and-tomato-salad“Marinating the onions in salt and lemon juice reduces the pungency and makes them sweet and tangy,” says Madhu Gadia in “New Indian Home Cooking” (HPBooks, $20).

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt, divided use
2 medium tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the onion, lemon juice and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a bowl. Cover and marinate for 20 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally. (Editor’s note: Having made the recipe twice, I would suggest marinating the onion at least 30 minutes.) Drain and discard the juice.

Add the tomatoes and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Toss lightly to mix.

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Approximate nutritional value per serving: 17 calories, 4 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 1 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 182 mg sodium.

From “New Indian Home Cooking” by Madhu Gadia

green-mango-saladMango Salad (Aam ka Laccha)

“In season, the swee4t and sour taste of an underripe mango when combined with salt and cayenne peppers adds and excellent taste to any meal. It is eaten more like a pickle, in a small quantity, rather than a salad,” writes Madhu Gadia in “New Indian Home Cooking.”

1 firm, underripe mango (3/4 pound)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wash and peel the mango. Slice the mango flesh into 1-inch strips. Discard the seed.

Toss the mango with the cayenne pepper and salt in a bowl. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes or longer in the refrigerator.

Serve cold or refrigerate for up to 2 to 3 days.

Makes 16 servings.

Approximate nutritional value per 3 tablespoon serving: 12 calories, 3 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0.5 g dietary fiber, 0 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 67 mg sodium.

From “New Indian Home Cooking” by Madhu Gadia

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