I think what I appreciate most about Indian/Pakistani salads is their similarity to a slaw. They can be eaten as is, a side, added to a wrap or the final topping on a bowl. Complimenting a meal or a bite, similar to a chutney or condiment. While retaining a hearty, crunchy freshness like a slaw.
Since they last a few days in the fridge without wilting or losing the crunch factor, they can easily be made ahead. A handy convenience when time is of the essence. Salad-slaws can be a quick way to add a missing taste, quality or vegetable to a meal when applying Ayurveda food guidelines to eating. Need a sweet, sour, astringent or bitter taste? Or something a little dry (aka crunchy) or light? Depending on the type of slaw, several missing bases can be covered at once.
If I haven’t already said enough about why slaw-salads are awesome, here is one more thing. Slaw type salads aide and support digestion. A light fermentation process takes place from the salt and lemon or lime “dressing”. Adding a tangy, and not sharp vinegar flavor, which can be too harsh and acidic for some. Just enough sour to moisten the mouth and increase the flow of saliva. Enhancing the secretion of digestive enzymes, and stimulating metabolism. In doing so, the sour taste also helps to expel excess vata that can sometimes create stagnation in the body. While energizing the mind and aiding concentration.
Shredded Carrot & Lentil Salad (Hesaru Bele Carrot Kosambri)
servings: 4-6 | time: 20 mins
Season: Summer, Fall
Qualities: Dry (aka crunchy), Light
Tastes: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Astringent, Bitter
What you need: grater/julienner, a small pot
- 2T moong daal (split and peeled), washed and soaked for 3 hours*
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut (fresh or dried)
- 3 medium carrots peeled and shredded or julienned, about 2 cups
- 1/2 cucumber peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 plum tomato finely chopped*
Vaghaar/Taarka/Hot Oil Infusion:
- 1T sunflower oil*
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- pinch of hing aka asafoetida
- 4 or 5 curry leaves
- 1-2 fresh green chiles finely chopped*
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp mineral-rich salt
1.Using a little hot water, soak dried coconut to rehydrate it in a small bowl.
2.In a large bowl mix together carrots, cucumbers, tomato, soaked coconut (discard excess water) and soaked moong (discard excess water).
3.In a small pot, I like to use a sauce small saucepan, so there is a little puddle of oil. Add oil and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is very warm, but not smoking hot, add 1 mustard seed. If it sizzles and takes a few seconds to pop, it the right temperature. If it pops-out immediately its too hot, let the oil cool and retest. Add the remaining mustard seeds and hing. Keep a lid handy to cover, if you are concerned the mustard seeds will pop-out.
4.After several seconds of cracking, to release their volatile oils, lower the temp to medium and add the curry leaves and green chili. Cover for a few seconds as the moisture may lead the oil to splatter. Then stir to evenly coat. Cook for about 15 seconds so the chilis are less raw.
5. Immediately pour the mixture over the salad. I also like to add a little salad to the pot to get all the flavored oil out. Toss salad.
6.Add lemon juice, salt, cilantro. Toss again and taste to see if additional salt or lemon juice is needed. I like to let the salad sit for at least 15 minutes before serving to soften the carrots. Garnish with cilantro, prior to serving, if desired.
- Store in an airtight jar. If storing more than 3 days, skip the tomatoes and cucumbers as they can become soft and watery.
- Ayurveda recommends not mixing tomatoes and lemon due to excess acidity. If following a sattvic approached, skip the tomatoes.
- The green chili can make it spicer overtime, I found using 2 serranos, too spicy for my taste. I would suggest starting with 1/2 to 1 depending on the chili’s spiciness.
- Soaking the moong daal for a minimum of three hours, or until it doubles in size. Ideally overnight so it slightly sprouts and does not hinder digestion. This is a key step.
- Use an oil that does not harden when cold like sunflower, safflower or even olive oil. The recipe calls for 2tsp but added an extra teaspoon to make the tempering process a bit easier.
- With a dal, soup or atop a khichadi
- Added to a wrap or sandwich for a fresh, crunch, crunch
- With a curry, stew or to complement a BBQ