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Flavorful Indian Salads – without Salad Dressings

Posted on May 8, 2020 at 1:30 PM by Madhu Gadia

May 8, 2020
Happy Mother’s Day
Flavorful Indian Salads – without Salad Dressings     


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This is going to be a challenging Mother’s Day for most of us. With social distancing as the norm, for now, most children will find creative ways to wish and acknowledge their mother. I’m telling myself, it’s just this Mother’s Day, I will see them next year. (Photo: I'm chilling with my kids, a beautiful moment.)

In the 20th anniversary issue of O’ The Oprah Magazine, there was a reoccurring declaration from various contributors, “what I know for sure” - well we know everyone has a mom. They not only bring us into the world, they teach us how to walk/stand up on our feet. Only when I was a mom, did I have a better understanding of my mom’s motherly challenges? The society expects a lot from mothers, but it’s probably nothing compared to what (most) mothers expect from themselves. What do I know for sure…? I know my mother did her best, as a mother of five. She is a great cook. I learned the ease and comfort of cooking from her. Thank you, mom.

Super Moms

All moms are super moms in the face of COVID-19. If you are a mom, working from home, and taking care of young children - hats off to you. We have a whole new definition of multitasking and patience.

And if you’re taking care of an elderly mother – hats off to you. It’s hard to be your mom’s child when you are an adult.

Wish you a happy Mother’s Day – if possible, find some time for yourself and just chill.

Indian Salads – Low Fat, Spiced, Flavorful  

Salads, as we know them today, are not part of a typical Indian cuisine. That’s not to say that raw vegetables are not commonplace. A few pieces of cucumber, tomato, onion, and radish often grace a meal. Typically, these vegetables are simply sliced and served raw alongside a meal, as a relish. You want to keep them as plain as possible—with at the most, a squeeze of lime, a sprinkle of salt, and black pepper—and enjoy a slice between bites, as a palate cleanser.

In my family, my dad was so fond of these crunchy vegetables that he would cut them himself at almost every lunch and dinner. After he retired, mom put him officially in charge of that process. He wanted them for their freshness and crunch as much as for their nutritional value.

These days, salads have become very popular among Indians, as they try to eat more healthfully. Indians still do not use salad dressings. Most salads are flavored by marinating in lemon juice or vinegar, or they are flash cooked with oil and spices. You will find, an array of salads that are spiced for flavor and use a minimum or no oil, in both The Indian Vegan Kitchen and New Indian Home Cooking. Check out this stir-fried salad and marinated salad; they are a great compliment to any meal.

Chickpea Salad (Gluten Free, Low Fat)     
(The Indian Vegan Kitchen)

Crunchy cucumbers add a nice crunch to soft chickpeas. I sometimes make this salad just for myself when I'm busy writing, for it's easy and nourishing. Serve this on cup-shaped lettuce leaves or any lettuce leaves for a gourmet appeal.

1 can (16 ounces) chickpeas
1 cups cucumbers, chopped 1/4 inch
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped 1/4 inch
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin seed powder (page xx)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Cup-shaped leaves, such as buttercup or any lettuce leaves
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish, optional
Drain and rinse chickpeas. In medium bowl combine drained chickpeas, cucumbers, onion, bell peppers, and cilantro. Add the lemon juice, salt, cumin seed powder, black pepper, sugar, and cayenne pepper. Toss well.  Marinate for about 20 minutes.
Toss in the tomato halves.
Place 2 to 3 lettuce leaves on 4 small-serving plates. Scoop in the chickpea mixture and garnish with cilantro sprig, if desired.

Makes: 6 Servings         
Serving Size: 1/2 Cup
Nutrition Information per serving:
Calories: 105; Total Fat: 2g (Saturated Fat: 0g); Carbohydrate: 19g; Protein 5g; Fiber:5g; Sodium: 315 mg

(From The Indian Vegan Kitchen, By Madhu Gadia, MS, RD)


Stir-Fried Cauliflower Salad (Gluten Free, Low Fat)

(New Indian Home Cooking)

Serve this salad for a colorful and refreshing accompaniment to any Indian or Western meal.

1/2 medium cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 medium bell pepper, sliced
1 medium red pepper, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced into strips
4 carrots, sliced
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper

Wash and prepare all the vegetables. Set aside.
Heat oil in a heavy skillet or a wok on high heat. Add all the vegetables, salt, and pepper. Stir-fry for 5 to 7 minutes until heated through. Vegetables should be tender but intact. Do not overcook the vegetables.
Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving dish immediately.

Calories: 33; Carbohydrate: 5 g;  Fat: 1 g; Sat fat: 0 g; Chol: 0 mg; Dietary fiber: 2 g; Protein: 1 g;
Sodium: 214 mg
(From New Indian Home Cooking, by Madhu Gadia, MS, RD)

Happy Healthy Cooking!


P.S. Thank you for signing up for my blogs. I hope you’re enjoying them. I would love to hear from you -  what would you like to see in future blogs, recipes? 

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