Dress It Indian-Style

I like to experiment with salad dressings. One night, I made a concoction using the spice base of many Indian dishes. Jerry and I both agreed it was quite tasty, so I’ll share the recipe with you. If I’ve ever cooked for you, you know I rarely use recipes. I generally cook from scratch, adding a little of this, some more of that, tasting as I go. That’s why it’s always a challenge for me to create a recipe; I never make the same thing twice. So remember, take these directions with a grain of salt, or two or three, and make it the way you like best.

Ingredients:

sesame oil
4-5 cloves minced garlic (more if you like)
2 tablespoons dried turmeric
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon cumin seed
1 tablespoon cracked coriander
3 dried red chilies, chopped
1/2 cup fresh plain yogurt
2 tablespoons water
juice of 1 small lime
2 teaspoons honey
salt to taste
1/4 cup cashews
salad mixings of your choice
Directions:

Heat sesame oil in a wok. Toss in mustard seed and cumin seed; cover with a lid until the mustard seed pops. Remove lid and add garlic, turmeric, coriander, chilies and a pinch of salt. Stir frequently and fry until the mixture is cooked and nicely browned. You should have enough turmeric that the mixture turns dry, not oily. If it’s too oily, add more turmeric.

When finished frying, add yogurt. The heat of the spices will cause the yogurt to loosen, and everything should blend nicely. Add remaining ingredients, plus another tablespoon of sesame oil. Taste and add more of anything that’s missing. You’re striving for a balance of flavors — sweet from the honey and coriander, tang from the yogurt and lime, heat from the chili and turmeric.

Mix a salad with any vegetables you like, but be sure to add cashews just before serving (to maintain their crunch). The cashews blend wonderfully with the Indian spices, and the nutty sweetness changes the entire flavor of the salad.

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