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THE GREAT INDIAN SALAD FEST

We bring to you some binge worthy, guilt free salads that are bound to cheer you up, especially amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

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With monsoon in its full bloom and the dreadful pandemic threatening to make a comeback with its third wave, our focus on health and nutrition has doubled. Fresh foods, greens, and a wholesome diet is important for building our immunity and at the same time giving us the energy and zing to cope with stressful work from home routines, which can make us lethargic after a heavy afternoon meal. The pandemic has also been a little heavy on families in terms of both cooking and eating because it is natural for a lot of us to consume more when families are around all the time. It is important to get hooked on to salads at this point for people of all ages to get those essential nutrients, micronutrients and minerals, which our regular meals cannot fulfill.

The need of the hour is to add in freshness and seasonal produce and that can help in many ways and o add in that dollop of health so as to keep other issues at bay. Immunity has been the operative word since 2020 and it is showing even more heavily today with so many Covid related diseases cropping up, making I even more important to focus on our health. Here are some binge worthy, guilt free salads that are bound to cheer you up!

Let’s start with a Mango and Grilled Tofu Salad, which is perfect for the summers. I’m not a tofu fan, so I prefer to replace that with either chicken or paneer.

MANGO AND GRILLED TOFU SALAD BY TARUN SIBAL OF TITLIE

Ingredients (salad) 

• Mangoes (ripe) – 2 

• Carrots – 2  

• Cucumbers -2 

• Mixed Greens – 1 bowl (arugula, mixed lettuce, mint, sweet basil, fresh coriander)

• Tofu – 80 gm (or chicken/paneer)

• Sweet Paprika powder – 1 tsp

• Fresh ground pepper – 1 tsp 

• Salt – ½ tsp 

Ingredients (dressing) 

• Zest of 1 lime

• 1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed (about 2 limes)

• Sweet Paprika Powder – 1 tsp 

• 1 tsp salt

• 2 tbsp olive oil 

• Freshly ground pepper

• 1 tsp honey 

Method

• Cut the mangoes into wedges

• Cut the tofu into wedges, season it with salt and paprika

• Grill the tofu on both sides with some olive oil on medium heat and keep it aside 

• Take out carrot and cucumber ribbons and add them to cold water so that they remain crisp 

• Add the mixed greens to the ice-cold water 

• Mix all the ingredients of the dressing in a jar and shake well  

• Pat dry the leaves, carrots and cucumber ribbons and mix together

• Add salt, pepper, paprika, mangoes and tofu. Add 3/4th dressing to the mix 

• Arrange it on a plate with tofu and mangoes on top 

• Garnish with mint leaves and paprika powder 

• Drizzle some of the remaining dressing on top

Voila! Your Gourmet Casual Summer Salad is good to go! The best part about this salad is that it is a full meal in itself. There are no cravings after a portion of this. It also rids me of the guilt about the ice cream and mango shake binges that are on at this time of the year!

KOSAMBARI BY CHEF AROKIYADOSS AT THE APPUMM HOUSE

Kosambari is a simple moong dal salad popular in Karnataka. It is a delicious, protein-packed lentil salad that is an integral part of Kannada cuisine. It is my go-to recipe during these sultry months because it is easy to make and uses the bare minimum ingredients. Chef Arokiyadoss adds, “It is also popular as kosumalli or hesarubele kosambari and is part of every festive meal or wedding feast. In Andhra, it goes by the name vadapappu. Vadapappu is nothing but soaked moong dal while Kosambari is a salad comprising of soaked moong dal, cucumber, fresh coconut and coriander leaves. Undoubtedly festive, yet simple. It is a light yet filling salad that can be eaten as a meal by itself along with a glass of neer mor or South Indian buttermilk. It is quick to make and very versatile in terms of the ingredients used. Basic moong dal salad recipe calls for soaked moong dal and cucumber. You can add grated carrot and raw mango too for variation. Soaking of moong dal makes it easily digestible and more nutritious. A perfect protein rich salad for those looking to lose weight!”

Ingredients

• 1 cup yellow moong dal

• 2 teaspoon lemon juice

• 2 tablespoon coriander leaves

• 2 medium cucumber

• 1 teaspoon ginger

• 4 medium carrot

• Salt as required

For Tempering

• 1 pinch asafoetida

• 2 teaspoon vegetable oil

• 4 green chilli

• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Method

• Soak the moong dal in water for 2 hours and then, drain the water and keep the dal aside. Now, peel and chop the cucumber, carrots, ginger and keep them in different bowls.

• In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped veggies along with salt, lemon juice, coriander leaves and soaked moong dal. Mix the ingredients well.

• Now, heat oil in a pan over medium flame and add mustard seeds in it and after a minute, add asafoetida and green chillies. Fry them for another minute and turn off the flame.

• Pour the tempering on the salad dish and wait for few minutes before you put it in the refrigerator. Serve chilled!

DUO OF MELON SALAD RECIPE BY CHEF PAWAN BISHT AT THE ONE8 COMMUNE

This is my ultimate favourite, since the melon salad recipe is the simple, delicious, and healthy with a burst of flavours.

Ingredients

• 1 cup scooped watermelon

• 1 cup scooped cantaloupe melon (I use musk melon)

• 2 cups washed and dried aragula (rocket) leaves

• 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

• 2 tablespoons organic honey

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 cup balsamic vinegar

• 4 tablespoons of roasted pumpkin seeds

• Salt to taste

• Pepper to taste

Method

• Take a bowl and blend olive oil, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper thoroughly.

• Add balsamic vinegar to it and put it on a low flame.

• Reduce the mixture till it comes to a glaze consistency.

• Scoop watermelon and cantaloupe melon, keep in the fridge to chill.

• Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, add the balsamic glaze and the aragula.

WATERMELON-E-FETA SALAD RECIPE BY CHEF SAHIL SINGH

Even though this recipe needs a slightly elaborate preparation with the different kinds of lettuce and the feta, it is totally worth it. I of course substitute a few ingredients with what is available at the moment, but it turns out best this way. Of course, I do not worry about not finding one variety of lettuce. I use a little more of the ones I have or add spinach or rocket leaves.

Ingredients

• Romaine lettuce – 50 gm                          

• Lolorosso lettuce – 50 gm

• Iceberg lettuce – 50 gm

• Balsamic (Reduction) – 10 gm

• Watermelon cubed

• Greek feta – 15 gm

• Salt as per taste

• Pepper  

• Walnuts – around 15 gm (I add some raisins and roasted almonds, too)

Method:

• Cut the watermelon into cubes and roughly pluck the lettuce.

• Chill watermelon cubes for a few hours. 

• Once ready, marinate the watermelon and lettuce in balsamic dressing separately

• Add salt and pepper.

• Take a fresh bowl and spread lettuce first. Add watermelon on top of salad and sprinkle

The Greek feta cheese and walnut/nuts.

• Serve immediately.

These are simple recipes using seasonal fruits, vegetables and ingredients that are mostly available in our kitchen or the fridge. Eating five portions of fruit each day, greens for the vitamins and to fulfill all the protein requirements per day is all very tedious, and most of us fail at getting the right nutrition, which is the need of the hour. Salads can be boring but with some of these brilliant recipes, it can be a fabulous add on to our meals, as well as something that can be snacked on for those mid-day and evening hunger pangs. Keep safe, keep healthy and keep eating the right stuff this summer!

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