Tropical paradise

‘Every salad you serve is a picture you have painted, a sculpture you have modeled, a drama you have created.’   -Carol Truax

Herba Salata, the Latin equivalent of salted greens, is what the term ‘salad ‘is derived from. How creative a salad can be -depends on the imagination of the person putting a salad together. Fresh ingredients, proper texture, eye appeal, well balanced flavor and of course proper plating are some of the basics you have to keep in mind when making a salad. Above all, keeping it simple. Today, a salad is considered a very important item – more so for those who are on a diet. The appearance and arrangement of a salad is essential to its quality. If you are a creative chef, with the kind of ingredients that are available in the market today, you could create a work of art on each salad plate you put up and serve – to friends and family.

We love salads, from a Russian salad to a fruity Cole slaw to a moulded chicken salad – anything will do! Any time of the day! When I have guests over and specially friends of my children, I have to make sure there is a huge serving of salad – come what may! Every time I make a salad I love trying out some new combinations – sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t! The best way to try out something new is – serve it to the family first. They decide whether it’s a hit or a miss!  I love putting together and trying out fruits and vegetables that are in season and the protein that can be incorporated – could be tuna, any seafood, shredded chicken or even boiled egg cut in quarters. Like the name of this particular salad suggests, its paradise served on a plate. Simple, flavourful and well- balanced. It’s harmony on a plate.

The basic thumb rules to be followed for a salad are:

  • Use vegetables and fruits that are fresh and in season.
  • In the case of leafy vegetables like lettuce, it should be added to the dressing just before serving.
  • The salad dressing should not drown any of the ingredients.
  • The vegetables and fruits have to be cut into bite size pieces.
  • A salad should be accommodated within the serving plate and not overflowing at the edge.

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Ingredients:

  • Cottage cheese- 100 gms
  • Apples- 2
  • Seedless grapes-100 gms
  • Cucumber-2 small
  • Capsicum – 1 small cubed

Salad dressing:

  • Hung curd- 1 cup
  • Cream – 100gms
  • Tomato sauce- 2 -3 tsp
  • Sugar- 4 tsp
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  • Cube Paneer, Apple and Cucumber (with or without skin). Halve grapes.
  • Beat cream, add curd, salt, sugar and tomato sauce. Chill thoroughly. Taste and check for balance in flavour.
  • Mix fruits and vegetables in a bowl, add salt and sugar (1/2 tsp each).
  • Add chilled salad dressing and serve.

Chefs tips:

  • Hung curd is nothing but yoghurt or freshly prepared curd drained of all its water. You can put the yoghurt or curd in a muslin cloth and tie the ends together and hang it over the kitchen basin for 30- 45 minutes. Apply a little pressure to remove the remaining liquid, if any. For a cup of hung curd you need approximately 2 cups of curd.
  • This dressing can be used for a simple salad with boiled pasta, boiled prawns or chicken, cubed celery and capsicum.
  • The dressing has to be folded into the fruits and vegetables just before serving.
  • Always keep aside 2-3 tbsp of dressing to smoothen the top of the salad.
  • For a little crunch you could add a few roughly chopped roasted walnuts or cashewnuts.
  • Serves 2-4.

 Till my next post

Cheers,

Rose

 

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