It’s here, it’s finally here! It took me two years to get to this day and I’m so happy and excited that today, SEASON comes out worldwide in bookstores! Coincidentally, today also happens to be the wedding anniversary of my late maternal grandparents and I think they’d be proud to see become an author. I learned all I knew about Goan cooking and cooking in general from my grandmother, so it would have been amazing to have her see this day.Read More
The only "Indian" salad dressing I can think of growing up with, was a splash of lemon or lime juice with salt and pepper. I think this might be in part due to vegetables both fresh and cooked occupying a central portion of Indian cuisine, salads and at least back then, they got less attention. Though this salad dressing is no where near being traditional, it's based on using some delicious ingredients and flavors used commonly to add flavor in Indian cooking and you will love it for it's combination of hot, sweet and tart flavors. Tamarind, honey, chili and coriander really give this dressing a unique edge that makes this perfect for any salad. I've also thrown in some lightly fried and crisped up paneer cubes for protein. I love using paneer in many things other than the usual curries as it can hold it's texture rather well and is of course, delicious!
All you need is a good food processor to make this creamy dressing and chop up some of the veggies in this salad. To grab the recipe and learn how to make this salad dressing and this salad head over to the KitchenAid Blog!
Disclaimer: Thank you to KitchenAid for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
There are a few things that come to mind when I think of summer. Tomatoes are definitely one of those things. It’s sunshine packed into a ball of juiciness. There are many things, I love to do with tomatoes: thick slices of tomatoes sandwiched between slices of buttered bread and cheese, thick slices of grilled tomatoes or a caprese salad, or in a tomato tart with a salty cheese. Tomatoes might just be one of those ingredients that can provide simple pleasures to to the soul, you don’t need to do much to enjoy them.
When I came across these beautiful “gumball” type cherry tomatoes at the Mountain View Farmer’s market, I was mesmerized by all the colors and in their sheer quantity. Even sorting through them to pick what I wanted was hard because there were too many choices and all good. Some sweeter than others, others saltier than some. It was a tomato lover’s heaven, a paradise whichever way you look at it.
This salad is very easy to make and with tomatoes as gorgeous as these you don't need to do much. I've added fresh brightly colored chilies for heat and color along with fresh cilantro leaves. I was hesitant to call this tamarind dressing a vinaigrette since tamarind plays the role of vinegar. This sweet tamarind sauce is flavored with the earthiness of jaggery/brown sugar and has a hint of smokiness from the toasted coriander powder. Serve this salad on a hot summer day with a generous amount of the dressing and you'll be very happy.
Here are some of my notes that you might find useful when preparing this salad,
- Use the freshest and “bestest” tomatoes that you can find. If you can find them in a variety of colors, go for it. It will make it even more fun and tasty. Every color has its own unique taste and flavor to enjoy.
- Personally, I like to start with cold tomatoes especially, when its hot. However, you can also use tomatoes at room temperature.
- To toast the coriander. Start with a 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds. Place them in a dry skillet and heat on high until the seeds just start to brown and release the aroma. This happens quickly so be careful not to burn them. If they do burn, discard and start over. Grind the seeds to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle. Since this volume is very small a mortar and pestle is the best way to grind them down. You could alternatively scale things up to a few tablespoons and then grind it fine using a spice mill and then store the ground powder until needed.
- If you use jaggery instead of brown sugar, I recommend breaking it by hitting it in a ziplock bag with rolling pin. The smaller you crush it, the faster it will dissolve in the dressing. I recommend trying the dressing with jaggery for a much more earthy sweet taste.
summer tomato salad with sweet tamarind dressing
yields: 2 to 4 servings
2 large heirloom tomatoes (see notes above)
2 cups cherry tomatoes (see notes above)
4 thai chili peppers, red and yellow color
2 tablespoons whole cilantro leaves, fresh
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground + extra if needed
2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons dark brown sugar or jaggery crushed
1/4 teaspoon toasted coriander powder, freshly ground (see notes above)
100mL cup water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes
- Thinly slice the heirloom tomatoes and arrange them on a serving platter. Add the cherry tomatoes over them.
- Slice the chili peppers lengthwise in half and arrange them over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the tomatoes.
- Take a 500mL mason jar or glass jar with a lid. Add all the ingredients from the tamarind to the olive oil. Close the jar tight with its lid and then shake vigorously until it forms an emulsion. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning if necessary with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle enough dressing over the salad and sprinkle with the Maldon sea salt flakes and/or pepper if needed. Serve immediately.
Update: Our supper club was a blast! Watching and gauging people's responses as they sampled and ate our food was mixed with feelings of nervousness and excitement. For me this was a fun experience, one very different from this blog but both being equally rewarding in different ways. And, we've already begun the planning of our second supper club, which will probably be held sometime next month. Fingers crossed!
I grew up with a tamarind tree across the street, the tree was enormous and every fruit season, it survived the onslaught of the owner's kids who would try to steal the fruit by tossing stones of sticks into its branches. The kids would collect the fallen fruit, crack the light brown shell open and season the pulp with grains of salt and eat them directly. I've tried eating raw tamarind in this manner, it's not one of my favorite ways but I love, love, love using it in chutneys and sauces. Goan recipes also use tamarind pretty lavishly to flavor and acidify and it adds a mild hint of sweetness to the dish.
I've been wanting to make a breakfast/lunch/dinner appropriate meal. Mostly savory with a little hint of sweetness and a little bit of heat. These savory buckwheat pancakes topped off with a huge helping of acorn squash salsa and this date and tamarind chutney does just that!
This recipe has three components to it;
- a simple buckwheat pancake batter that is more savory than sweet and I've infused it with a little tamarind pulp.
- a tamarind and date chutney that needs no sugar and uses the natural sweetness of the date. Be generous with this chutney!
- an acorn squash salsa. I roasted the squash in the oven and then used ingredients that I normally use to make salsa at home.
I'd eat everyone of these mini pumpkin loaf cakes.
Learn how to make homemade pumpkin cheesecake chips.
Apparently, it was National Cinnamon Roll last week, these Finnish cinnamon rolls are on my to do list being it cinnamon roll week or not!
Let's add these triple cinnamon pecan sticky buns to that list too.
acorn squash salsa
yields: 4 - 6 servings
1 lb acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup red onion, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 thai chili peppers or 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1. Cut the squash in half and remove and discard the seeds and strings. Place the squash in the microwave and heat for 3 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Using a large knife, trim the outer skin off (it should come off easily now). Dice the squash into half inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the squash and mix to coat evenly. Bake in a preheated oven at 400F for about 20-25 minutes until the cubes are tender and cooked. Allow the squash to cool to room temperature before preparing the salsa.
2. Place the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl along with the squash, toss to coat evenly. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate until ready to use (serve chilled).
date and tamarind chutney
yields: about 3 1/2 -4 generous cups
1 cup tamarind fruit, outer shell and seeds removed *
2 cups packed medjool dates, pits removed
4 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1 teaspoon sriracha (optional)
1. Place the tamarind fruit in a medium bowl and pour 1 cup of the boiling water over it. Allow to sit for about 1-2 hours until the pulp becomes soft and mushy. Strain the pulp through a sieve and keep aside. (Reserve 1 tablespoon of the pulp aside for the pancakes)
2. Pour the rest of the water over the dates and leave aside for about 1-2 hours until soft.
3. Add the rest of the tamarind pulp (except the 1 tablespoon for the pancakes from earlier). Using an immersion blender or blender, puree until smooth. (you might need to pass it through a strainer to get rid of any bits that might not have blended).
4. In a small skillet, heat the cumin and coriander seeds on medium high flame, cook for about 30 seconds until the seeds being to slightly brown and you can smell the fragrance of the spices. Remove and grind this to a fine powder. Add this powder along with the salt and sriracha (optional) to the pureed date and tamarind. Pour this sauce into a medium sized saucepan and cook on a low simmer for about 20 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir occasionally. Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary. Store chilled in an airtight container. You can also adjust the consistency of the sauce with more water.
tamarind buckwheat pancakes
yields: 4 - 6 servings (depends on how big you make them)
2 cups buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp, reserved from earlier *, **
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature (buttermilk can also be used)
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
unsalted butter or vegetable oil for frying the pancakes
1. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl (except the butter/oil). Whisk until smooth and combined. Keep aside for 2 minutes.
2. Heat a greased cast iron or nonstick skillet on medium-high and pour about 1/4 cup of batter. Allow to cook on each side for about 1 - 1 1/2 minutes before flipping the pancakes. Prepare the rest of the pancakes similarly and serve warm.
1. Stack as many pancakes as your heart desires in a plate. Place a huge dollop of the acorn squash salsa and generously drizzle with the date and tamarind chutney. Serve and eat asap!
* If you can't find tamarind fruit or pre-made tamarind pulp, use the concentrate. You will need to adjust the amount of concentrate to be added, for the chutney, 1 - 1 /2 teaspoons should be enough (Use less and accordingly adjust as per your taste). For the pancakes, I recommend using 1/4 teaspoon.
** Since tamarind is highly acidic, it will react with the baking soda and powder in the pancake batter, so I recommend preparing all the pancakes within an hour or so. If left too long, the batter may end up too flat.