A cursory glance over our recipe page might suggest that vegetables are a rarity at the Malabar Tea Room residence. However, the truth is that my mother loves her vegetables. She eats salads with the same enthusiasm most people reserve for a really good steak. Although I don’t think I have a natural inclination towards vegetables, having spent approximately 458435 meals watching my mother ooh and aah over her greens, I have been socially conditioned to like them. I do have my clauses however- I like it with a lot of texture, and I’m sorry, but a salad with two teaspoons of dressing is not a salad, just leaves arranged on a plate.
The salad that I’m going to talk about today is a riot of colours, flavours and textures. I have yet to meet a person who has been served this and not loved it, even when I have mucked it up by forgetting the mustard in the mustard dressing. Treat this recipe as a starting point, and work with whatever ingredients you have available to you. The walnuts can be replaced with pecans, honeyed pecans or roasted almonds. The cranberries can be substituted with raisins, or even finely chopped prunes. The paneer with fresh mozerella, halloumi or feta. The possibilities are endless. The only thing to keep in mind is that you want to provide as much contrast as possible-crunchy, crumbly, and sweet with a little heat.
- Make sure salad leaves are dry. Don’t chop the lettuce leaves, tear them with your hands!
- To make vinaigrette without a recipe, it’s helpful to remember that the oil to vinegar ratio is 3:1. If using lime juice, it’s 4:1.
- Make sure the vegetables are chopped to roughly the same size.
Summer Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
(serves 2 as main course and 4 as starters)
1 English cucumber (or ½ regular cucumber in a pinch), cubed
½ green apple, cubed
2 medium sized tomatoes, cubed
5 leaves of lettuce, torn into 2 inch pieces
125 g paneer, cubed
¼ cup cranberries
¼ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 tbsp oil
Honey mustard dressing:
1 tbsp lime juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste
Mix the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and lightly fry the paneer until it turns colour
In a serving bowl, toss the lettuce, apples, tomatoes and cucumbers with the dressing. Top with paneer, cranberries and walnuts.