by Kate Heyhoe
This Indian salad punches up a meal with its tart and tangy taste and its crisp, crunchy texture. It makes an ideal partner to dal, naan, raita, and curry dishes. Or serve it alongside western favorites—roast chicken, barbecued ribs, or chili con carne. It uses no oil, so it's low in fat but high in flavor.
1 large pickling cucumber, or a small regular cucumber
1/2 small red onion
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped peeled, fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds (optional—see Toasting Cumin Seeds below)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chaat masala
If the cucumber is unwaxed, use it whole; if waxed, peel before using. Slice the cucumber into quarters lengthwise, then cut across the strips into 1/4-inch pieces.
Dice the tomato. Chop the red onion.
Combine the cucumber, tomato, red onion, cilantro, ginger, and cumin seeds. At this point the salad may be covered and chilled for up to two hours until ready to serve.
About five minutes before serving, toss the salad with the chaat masala and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Toasting Cumin Seeds: To toast cumin seeds, heat a small, dry skillet on medium heat until hot. Add the seeds and shake the pan. The seeds cook almost instantly, releasing their aroma. Within a few seconds, as soon as you smell their fragrance, turn off the flame, shake the pan again, and pour the seeds out of the pan. Be careful not to overcook the seeds or they'll turn bitter (if this happens, throw them out and start again). I usually toast a teaspoon or so at a time for use in other dishes that day or week, but they do lose their flavor quickly.
This page created November 1999
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