Tuesday, June 30, 2009

indian cabbage salad

last night i was flipping through cookbooks looking for a side to accompany samosa mashed potato pancakes (yet another brilliant recipe from vegan brunch). i was quite surprised to find the perfect salad in a cookbook called olive trees and honey, which is a collection of vegetarian recipes from jewish communities around the world. i never even knew that there were jewish communities in india...and upon educating myself a bit i have learned that there are, in fact, three!

this salad has a lot going on. with so many different flavors, i was surprised to taste it and find that it was actually quite mild. i could taste each individual ingredient in a subtle way, and the salad has a lot of flavor, but it's very well balanced and there is not one overpowering note. it's obviously a good choice for an indian inspired meal but i think it could really work well just about anywhere.

just a heads up, they say this should chill for 3 hours before serving so plan accordingly. also, you'll notice that the recipe gives lots of options for ingredients, i've noted the ones i chose. i cut the below recipe in half and it still made a ton.

indian cabbage salad
(from olive trees and honey)
1 small head green cabbage, cored and thinly shredded
3 cups either ripe tomatoes, diced OR shredded carrots (i went with carrots)
3/4 cup grated unsweeted coconut
3/4 cup peanut powder (i crushed some peanuts in a mortar and pestle, they could have been more powdery, but it worked just fine)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley (i did cilantro)
1 1/2 teaspoons jaggery, brown sugar or honey (i chose sugar..and it wasn't brown. oops)
1/3 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil (peanut for me)
3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or ground cumin (i used seeds)
1 tablespoon seeded and minced hot green chilies
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
pinch of asafetida (optional, i didn't use it...i don't know what it is)
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon table salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

in a large bowl, combine the cabbage, tomatoes/carrots, coconut, peanut powder, cilantro and sugar.

heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat (have a lid handy). add the mustard seeds and saute until they begin to pop, about 2 minutes (this is when you want to cover it to keep your mustard seeds under control). when the popping settles down, stir in the cumin. add the chilies, then the turmeric and asafetida (if using), and saute until the chilies begin to color but do not burn.

pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. let stand for at least 3 hours to allow the flavors to meld. just before serving, stir in the lemon juice and salt.


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