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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Crunchy Indian Salad

First off, we have to acknowledge that this salad isn't for everyone. Some people (mystifyingly) just don't like Indian food, and others might have trouble finding some of the ingredients. But if you love Indian flavors, you'll be willing to track down what you need, either at an Indian grocery or online.

The good news is, this has only a handful of ingredients and can be whipped up in about ten minutes. It would be especially good on a hot summer night, either as part of a bigger meal or all by itself. With complete protein, it offers all you need nutritionally.

The chief ingredient is bhel mix, which is more or less an Indian version of Chex Mix, with puffed rice, chickpea-flour crunchies (known as "sev"), and assorted spices. Indian stores usually have a gigantic selection of these bagged mixes, in varying levels of hotness. We've had good luck with the Gujarat blend, which is not overly spicy but provides a nice warm buzz.

We first had this in a restaurant (listed on the menu as "Bhel Puri") and were able to duplicate it pretty successfully at home.

Crunchy Indian Salad*

2 1/2 cups bhel mix
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 hot chili pepper, minced
3 T. tamarind chutney (or more, depending on dryness of salad and how much you like this sour flavor)
Lime quarters

Mix all ingredients. If you're feeling fancy, you can mold it into a small bowl and upend on a plate before serving. Squirt each portion with lime juice before eating.

Serves two gluttons, or four people as an appetizer.

* Some recipes call for about a half a cup of mashed potato, and although we haven't tried this, we bet it's good.

1 comment:

  1. Love love love Indian food and this sounds like my kind of dish!