Salads form a big part of Western meal plans. Whether it’s a light salad comprising greens or a heavier Caesar salad, most households in North America have a small salad accompanying their meals. And if salads are missed, then there’s always a raw or par-boiled fresh vegetable component to a day’s meal. Desi households on the other hand, are far more creative when it comes to creating delectable, savoury salad ideas. For some interesting salad options, that are not the run-of-the-mill kind, read on for some salad suggestions. And the best part? You can mix and match ingredients to make your own customised salad creation!
Beans and Sprouts
Chick pea Salad
Quite simply, a chick pea salad brings together boiled chick peas, finely diced potato, tomato and onion. Add coriander or cilantro leaves with lemon and salt. Many desi versions also use chaat masala to season which gives the salad a tangy taste. Alternatively, you can use pani puri masala. For a spicier version, add finely chopped chillies.
Red Bean Salad
A cup of boiled red beans, chopped tomato form the base for this salad. Some families choose to add finely chopped lettuce or cabbage with lots of lemon and seasoned with salt. Onions and potatoes can be added to give this salad some volume. To balance this salad with a sweet flavour, you can add any crunchy fruit like pineapple or cherries.
For an Indo-Mexican version, you can add some tortilla chips or nachos to this salad for a crunchy treat.
Sprouted Moong Salad
A very common salad in desi households around the world, a sprouted moong salad is very healthy and a great source of protein. A simple basic version would include a cup of boiled or steamed moong, mixed with salt, fresh coriander, cumin powder (jeera) and lemon. Now for those who like a tastier version, you can add very finely chopped tomato, onion and season with a generous sprinkling of chaat masala.
Desi Vegetable Salad
Cucumber (Kachumber) Salad
A simple cucumber salad means just slicing cucumber finely, sprinkling it with salt, pepper and adding a dash of lemon. That’s it!
A different version of a cucumber salad is commonly found in Maharashtra and other South Indian states. A Kachumber Salad is spicy and similar to Western coleslaw of sorts. To make this salad, you have to shred the cucumber in a slicer or grate finely by hand. Some versions include finely chopped green chillies, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Other elaborate versions include other vegetables like onions and tomatoes but you can also do without. Ingredients like vinegar and red chilli can give this salad a spicy, hot taste. If you can’t handle the heat, a couple of spoons of yoghurt can make this creation more like coleslaw.
A cooked cabbage salad can be a tasty treat. For this easy-to-do salad, heat a little oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds till they sputter. Add very finely sliced cabbage to the pan and mix well. Add salt and lemon, and cook very lightly till it’s cooked slightly. If you want a crunchier version, add peanuts to the cabbage right at the very end. That’s it; you’re ready to dig in!
Carrot and lemon Salad
Wash and grate carrots finely. Then all you have to do is add lots of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Voila! This salad is light and refreshing, great to accompany an evening’s meal.
Radish (Mooli) Salad
Whip together this fresh and tasty salad by grating radish to start off. Then soak the radish in salted cold water for 5 minutes to take out any bitterness or harsh taste the radish may have. Add a little finely chopped ginger, green chillies and lemon juice to the drained radish. A little bit of vinegar gives this salad a pickled tangy after-taste.
Lightly fry or grill small cubes of paneer. Combine with greens of your choice, add a little lemon, sliced onions and seasonings! If you're a paneer fan, this one won't disappoint.
Mango Onion Salad
Cut mango in small bite sized portion. Simply add finely chopped red onions, sprinkly red chilli powder for a hot and sweet salad that's guaranteed to tickle your taste buds.
When you have a little bit of different vegetables left over, cut them finely. Then, just put them all together in yoghurt. Add a little bit of cumin powder, chilli powder and salt to season. A raita in any version is a good accompaniment to any meal.