Salad Days

Salad ingredients... the fresher the better

Salad ingredients... the fresher the better

It’s hot. Somehow, the thought of spicy food isn’t really turning me on. Although I was never really a fan of salads, an encounter with chef Rakesh Upadhyay of the Oberoi Hotel in Bangalore a couple of years ago inspired me to try my hand at making salads. And I loved the results.  That article is here – salads-101 – plenty of tips on how to prepare, store, recipes, and more!

We’ve been eating salads for the past few weeks now. It’s easy to do if you have the right ingredients and a little imagination.

All you need to turn a salad into a complete meal is some crusty bread, maybe a spread, some good olive oil for dipping, and a platter of cold cuts (if you’re a non-vegetarian), some cold soup or pasta (if you’re not).

Looking for inspiration? Here’s a quick chart from Oprah to get you started. Although some of the ingredients are unavailable here, you can use the chart as the basis for some fun mix-n-match.

My current favorites:

  • Leafy Pear Salad
    Slice a couple of pears. Arrange on a bed of edible leaves (lettuce or baby spinach or mixed salad leaves will do). Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over both. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese and a smattering of toasted walnuts on top.
  • Quick Chicken Salad
    Boneless chicken, cooked with salt and shredded. Half an onion, finely diced. A handful of celery, finely chopped. Freshly ground black pepper to taste. A few iceberg lettuce leaves, torn by hand. Black olives, sliced. A couple of dollops of mayonnaise. One tablespoon of strong mustard. Mix. Can be used as a sandwich filling.
  • Melon Salad
    Cube equal quantities of watermelon (seedless if you can) and cantaloupe (aka “mash melon”). Dissolve 1 tsp of sugar (if you like it sweet, else omit) in about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, and drizzle atop the melon mixture. Add 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper, and a few daubs of feta cheese if you like. Added twist: serve atop coarsely shredded arugula (rocket) leaves.

What’s your salad of the day? And do you know of any desi salads beyond raitas and moong dal salad? Tell me.


2 thoughts on “Salad Days

  1. My mother in law makes this rather ordinary but what I think is a yummy salad out of red pumpkin. She boils it and mashes it to a pulp ( sounds awful I know!), allows it to cool, then adds very finely chopped onions, a handful of chopped mint and corriander, salt and crushed pepper and a large finely chopped firm tomato. I had never eaten it till she made it for me and it actually made me like red pumpkin after all. Lemon juice and olive oil to finish. I like 🙂

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