Monday, September 17, 2012

Salad Variations


I never knew what I had let myself in for when I promised myself to attempt every single contest on Indiblogger this year! There I was, happily thinking that I would be writing essays about various matters of utter disinterest to the populace at large, and what do I find? First I have to write about ‘Internet is fun with Vodafone’, when the jury in my mind was out – and scattered to the four winds – on whether Internet was fun at all! As though that were not enough, I had to write about Lakme sunscreen lotion, in which I even managed to win a consolation prize. Then came the Dove Hair Care contest – and only someone who has lost almost all his hair can understand how vexing a topic it can be for him. Thereafter, the bachelor had to gird up his loins for a dissertation on Love Marriage vs. Arranged Marriage.
With an imaginary trip to Melbourne done, I heaved a sigh of relief only to remember that there was yet another contest that sought recipes!! RECIPES!! Ye Gods, was it necessary to drive in the lesson about the risks of making thoughtless promises so thoroughly. Admittedly I had not proved a bright student in the past but does this not seem like too much of over-kill? Should I roll over and die like Caesar and leave Anthony to say, “This was the unkindest cut of them all”? Should I, like Cain, bemoan “My punishment is more than I can bear”?
With my fingers crossed that none of the readers, who actually read Cooking Woes, would turn up to read this one, I sally forth into the contest to win stomachs. Mmm! Fruit slices, fruit drinks, pasta, sauces and corn! Now what does one make with all this and find edible? I commune with my brain and find that it stubbornly refuses to consider pasta edible! Now what? Maybe drowning the protests of my brain in alcohol would help!
Ah! Now, that is a brainwave.  Why not give recipes for cocktails? Vodka, Pineapple juice, crushed ice with a pineapple slice stuck on the glass – now that would use pineapple juice and fruit slices, would it not? Vodka, Green Apple juice and crushed ice? Having drowned alcohol in every possible beverage and consumed it, I could think of even a vodka and prune juice combination. So, maybe, I do have a few recipes!
Hang on a second, though! Is it likely that any possible manner of drinking alcohol has been left out of the reckoning by the eons of drinkers? Do I not remember P.G.Wodehouse mentioning a combination of whisky and Orange pop in one of his pieces? I mean, if even that weird combo has already been tried out, what chance do I have of having any combination of alcohol and beverages being considered unique? Mmm! Not such a brainwave, after all!
What had I ever done in the kitchen using sauces? Avoiding thoughts of my kitchen exploits had become second nature – after all, one is not too interested in exploring a series of one’s own debacles – but I force myself to go through that painful process. Try as I might, the only thing I can remember is adding water to tomato sauce, boiling it, adding a dash of pepper and then convincing myself that it was tomato soup! That can hardly be a unique recipe considering that every other restaurant does the same thing, if it offers tomato soup on the menu!
Corn! Ah, I remember having used corn – and, for once, maybe it is worth mentioning. Not that, of course, it is necessarily unique but I do not remember hearing or reading anything about this salad variation that I made of the ‘Kosumari’ that is commonly served in Karnataka weddings. So, here goes!
Split Green Gram- one cup
Del Monte Corn  - half a cup
Grated coconut   - one cup
Grated carrots     - one cup
Green Peppers    - 2-4 (finely diced)
Lemon                 - 1 (medium)
Salt                     - to taste
Oil                      - One table spoon
Coriander leaves, Asafetida and mustard seeds.
Soak the split green gram for two hours. Boil the corn in salt water. Drain the water. Mix the soaked gram, boiled corn, grated coconut, grated carrots and the diced green peppers. Add salt to taste (Ah! That gives me great satisfaction! How much I have suffered from the various recipes on offer which give this enigmatic line!! Tell me, if I take moderate salt, is it a teaspoonful to a kilogram or a ton? No one seems to bother to mention the range of usage for salt!) Add the juice of the lemon to the mix! (Ah! How easy that sounds! When I first tried it, I squeezed the lemon directly on to the mix and de-seeding operations on the salad are worthy of a separate post!)
Add the mustard seeds to the oil (you could use Olive Oil, if that suits your pocket! In which case you probably need only a teaspoonful!) and wait till it sputters. Add a hint of asafetida (How broad a hint you take is up to you. Some can do without any hinting!!). Season the mixture above with this.
If you are not too pernickety to use your hands (and if you really think that eating with your hands will not cause undue damage to your sensibilities) you could use your hands to mix this up properly. Else, of course, I shall ask you enigmatically to toss the salad and leave the means to you!
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.
You could substitute Split Green Gram with Split chick peas – in which case you soak them overnight. Grated carrots may be replaced with diced cucumber. You could use a chilli sauce instead of the Green Peppers – but I shall not be responsible for the results (Not that I am, even when you use Green Peppers!)
If you are interested in anti-oxidants more than taste, then you could substitute sprouts for the Split Green gram. If, on the other hand, you wish this to be a meal rather than a salad, you could boil a potato or two, peel, mash and add to the mix.
Ah! Looks like I have given the recipe for dozen salad variations- all in one recipe! Hail, Master Chef (Now, who else will call me that?)! The only thing that remains is to give this thing a name. Not knowing French or Italian is a great handicap in giving appropriately impressive names to dishes. I shall have to call this a “Corn Kosumari” and leave it at that!
If you try this dish and find it inedible, you have the option of drowning your sorrows in one of the cocktail variants that I have outlined earlier!
Bon Appetit!

44 comments:

  1. Seems to be a must-try-recipe. The post was indeed entertaining Sir!

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    1. Thanks Sayantini! More than how yummy it was what drew me to making it was how easy it was :)

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  2. Just had this one on Sat and I love it, of course adding corn is an idea you need to get patented :)

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    1. Too late, Jaish! I think the T&C of this contest allows them to put up the recipe on their site :)

      Believe me, I really did try this out :) Not necessarily with Del Monte corn :)

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  3. You are a lot braver than I am, Suresh. My idea of cooking is to collect cookbooks and recipes and then have others cook for me — my mother, obliging friends, and lately my niece. I don't cook if I can help it and as for coming up with a recipe... why should I when I have something like this ready for me. :-D I love salads and am going to try out your version with all its permutations and combinations. Except for the coconut, which I don't like.

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    1. Mmm! U think I don't like the idea of passing on the cooking to others? :) Hassle is I hv not been subtle enough abt it and they run a mile when they see me coming :)

      I am not too sure abt whether it will taste as good without the coconut Sudha! The raw taste of dals can be a put off even if the lemon masks it - particularly the chick-pea version. u could try mildly sauteing the dal before u mix in everything, I suppose! That would make it closer to a sundal than a kosumari!

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    2. I am back here to report that the original recipe was tried with minor modifications (Olive oil for oil) and deliberate omissions (coconut). Also halved the quantity of green gram, and increased the quantity of corn by 1/2 a cup. Thank you for the wonderful lunch. :-)

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    3. Wow! Now that is success for the recipe-giver :)

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    1. Hope you find it great after you try it out! :)

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  5. Well, the gentleman who used to chase boiled eggs all over the kitchen is cooking something I have never heard of..... Wait, I know the ingredients he is talking about and I can taste them in my mind and he is one great cheerful chap and he has me in his grips already .... Bring on the THING, Suresh! I guess I can eat it after all!

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    1. Mmm! Crossing my fingers did not help :) Someone who read Cooking Woes (and remembered) has read this :)

      Actually the dish can taste pretty good, Uma! The original is the same as above sans the corny touch! The problem only is in execution, at least if I am the person doing the cooking :)

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  6. I liked the 'closer to sundal' variation of your varied recipe options. And since I didn't want to take any broad hint of hing, or want to 'toss' my salad, I simply mixed it with my hand after adding salt to taste.

    Ha ha Suresh, you had me rolling in laughter. And no, with such a happy post, I don't need to drink any of the cocktails you have given the recipes for, not even the one with prune juice. Hail Master Chef! (There! I called you that :D )

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    1. My day is made!!! You not only called me "Master Chef", you have also noticed every single one of my lines :)

      And, yes, if you are happy, do not take any alcohol. It is supposed to be a depressant :)

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  7. Suresh, you writing about Dove Hair products is same as me writing for a gym. Blatantly odd. Be happy you are not married but why would an unmarried lose his hairs? :p

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    1. You mean i have no reason to pull my hair out by the roots? :)

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  8. I am an avid reader, first things first about myself. And I am a true fan of your command over words.
    This writeup gave a new insights into your command at cooking.
    A cook who can cook words can surely cook anything.
    Cheers to the spirits, in their flaming combos,
    Peanuts to supoort the intestinal juices.

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    1. Thanks PL! If only I could cook as well as I can talk about it! :)

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  9. Did you sneak into our by any chance on Saturday night? lol...Just had something similar and was in fact about to come out with a recipe post on my blog...now, I won't..hahah
    This week, I was planning to make different variations of it with corn and diff kinds of beans..funny post, Suresh.

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    1. Ah! Well! Looks like telepathy to me :) At least 2 of my regular visitors had this on Saturday - no wonder it thrust itself on my notice :)

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  10. yum yum...salad with asafoetida..? That sounds exciting! This salad should have a very strong flavor, more suited for the Indian palettes. Great! Let me try...
    Enjoyed reading the subtle humor, Suresh! Wonderful...

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    1. Ah! Panchali! We only add a pinch of hing to the boiling oil and then season the salad - for the smell! The flavor is not very strong!

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  11. Nice one. You often say I inspire you to write contest posts. Don't know if you will inspire me to write one this time. Can't once again write reasons why I can't write. I have already used that lifeline for Melbourne.

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  12. Amazing post :) Loved it ! You have created an interesting mix of recipe and humour which I dont know if the judges at the contest will be able to digest..Haha. But you have my vote !

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    1. Thanks Ash! What do you think will be indigestible - the dish or the humor? :)

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    2. The dish sprinkled with humor :).. As I sometimes realize , humor is not everybody's cup of tea... one needs to have the 'funny' bone ..eh.

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    3. Ah! That is true! To some all humor sounds like mockery! Let us not prejudge the judges, however! :)

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  13. Hahaha CS you have my sympathies-every contest is aimed at excluding you,but you are a brave fighter-carry on....i won't say anything about your recipe because i hate cooking....good luck to you.

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    1. Ah! At last someone who realizes how hard I have been treated :)

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  14. Hello Suresh! I truly enjoyed going through your recipe generously sprinkled with fun! The recipe reminded me of something a friend of mine treated me to. I just loved it and made it quite often thereafter.

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    1. Mmm! Thanks Ilakshee! Let us hope others enjoy it too :)

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  15. Haha :) Good one there CS!! Hope you will serve me with the dish when I am in Bangalore!!!

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    1. I can and will! With or without the corn!

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  16. I tried it out and it turned out to be a great recipe!
    Thank you Master Chef...it goes without saying that a generous sprinkle of your magical words added to the flavor:)

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    1. Do I detect a note of surprise? :) :)
      Thanks for the kind words!

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  17. Nice combo will try this soon :-)

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  18. Did not know the woes behind those contests posts LOL. I do skip most of them at times because I cannot come up with a suitable topic to match the contest or because of being busy with something else. We can be treated to your experimental food once again at a bloggers meet.

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    1. You tasted this without the corn in this meet, Farida! This was Kosumari!

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  19. For a while now I have stayed away from those contests, using a shampoo and imagining the effect on my hair esp. when I live in B'lore amidst hard water.. nah, I am staying away from those :P
    Btw, the mention of Wodehouse reminded me, do you know the recipe to the concoction Jeeves conjured whenever Wooster had a hangover? :)

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    1. This one is from way back in history Seeta :) Been off contests myself for more than a year.

      Never needed it but remember that it had Worcestershire sauce in it and caused the eyes to pop out and bounce off the opposite wall :)

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  20. For a second, I did have that image of you running from pillar to post gathering up ingredients, looking harassed and on the verge of hysterics, on MasterChef. Wonder what Gordon Ramsay would have said??

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    1. Let HIM do the running around for the ingredients :) I bow gracefully out of the race :)

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