India is a land of culture, traditions and Food which includes various lip-smacking cuisines. We all have always considered the main courses as very significant/ vital part of a meal. But there is something that accompanies our main course and makes it more palatable, nutritious and is tongue tantalizing and that is a Salad. The vast cuisines of Indian have their own authentic salads which are not only different in flavors and aromas but also varies in the choice of Ingredients. The reasons for the choice of ingredients are different, depending on factors like food choices, food habits, customs, religious beliefs , traditions, climate and seasonal availabilities in different regions of India.
Let me take you a Salad trail which includes various flavours, colours, aroma, textures and appearance of the various regions / states of India- The Land of Various cuisines.
Let me begin with a Salad which is not only delicious but is a powerhouse of nutrition called Singju, a very healthy salad from Manipur, originated in Meitei which is also adored by the North Eastern States of India. A vegetarian Singju is consumed mainly during ritual occasions / feasts. It is mainly prepared with Chick pea Powder, Perilla seeds (bhanjeer), Chillies, green leafy vegetables, Lotus Stem, Stink beans, cabbage, cauliflower, unripe payaya, Banana flower, Rice bean, onion, and salt to season. People mostly prefer eating non-vegetarian Singju at home which is prepared with a Manipuri fermented fish called Ngari, Chillies, leafy vegetables and vegetables mentioned in the Vegetarian Singju. Not to forget salt to season it.
Ushoi Kangshu- A traditional Bamboo Shoot Salad of the Meiteis of Manipur.
It is a fiery salad prepared with fresh bamboo shoot, fermented fish, chillies and peas. The method of its preparation is a traditional art which is handed over from generation to generation. Sprinkle a few Chameleon Leaves (Toning-Khok) or Lemon Basil (Mayang-ton) and onion over the prepared Ushoi Kangshu to further enhance the flavours.
Tripura: Pork and Roasted Chilli Salad (Wahan Mosodeng) is prepared with big boiled chunks of pork, juliennes of ginger, sliced onion, roasted and ground green chillies, salt and Mexican parsley (Kaising Mosla / Doina Bakhor)
Assam- Tiyoh a salad prepared with cucumber, tomato, onion, carrot with Kaji Lemon.
Nagaland: Pennywort Salad is prepared with Indian Pennywort leaves, Cherry tomatoes, Onion, Green chillies and peanuts.
Ki Baa (Smoked pork and Kidney Beans Salad) is prepared with smoked pork. Red kidney beans, Ginger, Green chillies, fresh coriander leaves and Smoked pork.
Meghalaya: Dohkhlieh is a special kind of pork salad, made from boiled pork, onions and chillies. Gondhoraj lebu juice brings up it’s flavor from the zesty lemon
In Bihar :Salad with cabbage, raw peas, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, coriander leaves, beet root, carrot and fresh winter vegetables are served in huge Thali’s along with the food.
Koshimbir is a very famous salad from Maharashtra, prepared with finely chopped onion, cucumber, roasted and coarsely ground peanuts, green chillies, fresh cilantro and a dash of lemon juice, salt to taste mildly tempered with oil , asafoetida, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Some Maharashtrians prefer adding beaten curds instead of lemon juice and a little rock salt.
Parsis prefer Kachumber (a sharp onion-cucumber based salad) which accompanies most meals. It is prepared with raw onion, cucumber, tomatoes, fresh cilantro , spicy green chillies drizzled with a salad dressing prepared with red vinegar. It goes best with Parsi Dhansak.
Gujarat: Kachumber salad comprising of freshly chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, fresh coriander leaves, green chillies, dressed with curd / lemon juice or vinegar. Gujaratis sometimes add cabbage to give it a crunchy texture.
Goa: Dry Prawn Salad /Dry Prawn Kismur ( Sukhi Sungta Kismur) is a traditional Goan salad Goans generally call it dry fish salad or Kismuri, It can be made with dry prawns or shrimp, Mackerel , shark, surmai (King fish). Other ingredients used for its preparation are Tamarind, Kokum, Red chilli and Turmeric powder, coconut oil, onion, scraped coconut and salt.
Odisha: Muga Chakta (Moong Fruit Salad) Savitri Amavasya brata is celebrated by all married women of Orissa praying for the wellbeing and long lives of their respective husbands.
It is prepared with Moong dal. Mangoes, bananas, apples, guava, oranges, grated coconut sugar and coarsely ground Cashew nuts.
Bengal: Fragrant Bengal Lime Salad: The familiar Salad is elevated to a Bengali Classic with the addition of zesty Gondhoraj and tangy Kashundi.
It is prepared with diced, cucumber, tomatoes and capsicum, lettuce, gondhoraj lemon juice and zest, kashundi, refined oil, sugar powder and salt.
Kindly Note below mentioned is a chaat.
Alu Kabli- Bengali Potato and Chickpea Salad-Alu Kabli is a classic Bengali style potato and chickpea salad, prepared with whole cumin seeds, dry red chillies, black peppercorns, tamarind paste or lemon juice red skinned potatoes, red onions, green chillies , cilantro and toasted peanuts.
Punjab: Onion Lachcha Salad / Pyaaz da Lachcha is a quick salad served with Punjabi dishes. It is prepared with onion rings / thinly sliced onions, red chilli powder, green chillies , cilantro or mint leaves, lemon juice, chaat masala, rock salt and salt. Another mouthwatering preparation is Sirke wale Pyaaz, is prepared with small red onions / shallots, apple sider or balsamic vinegar, water and salt. It has a sour and slightly sweet flavor.
Punjabis simply love consuming Ek mukka maar ke Gandda (onion) / Ek Mukka maar ke Pyaaz i.e. in Punjab, the locals prefer to hit an onion on its crown with a folded fist, peel and then relish it with whole green chillies
Kashmiri Salad: consists of walnuts, raisins (kishmish), lettuce, onion, beetroot, tomato and radish.
Rajasthan has a delectable salad called Tamatar Pyaz ki Churi, it consists of Onion, Tomatoes, Dried mint. Red Chilli powder, sugar and Salt. The basic concept behind preparing this salad was that in the olden days some communities, were not rich and couldn’t afford a lot of ingredients, so most of the time they consumed this salad with chappatis.
Rajasthan: Unique Salad is Papad Methi Dana Subzi, where popadoms are cooked with sprouted fenugreek seeds or sometimes Papad ki Churi.
Uttar Pradesh / Mathura– This Mooli lachcha is also popular as Charuli in Mathura, you can call it Mooli lachcha,Charuli or grated Mooli Salad ,it taste very fresh and tangy. It is prepared with grated white raddish, deseeded and finely chopped firm tomatoes, finely chopped green chillies , juliennes of ginger,fresh cilantro, nimbu ka ras(Lemon Juice), dry roasted and coarsely ground cumin seeds, salt and black salt.
Uttarakhand: Mooli Thechua is a salad prepared with grated radish flavored with fresh coriander-green chilli paste.
Kumaon Hills of Himayaya: Pahari Aloo (Potato Salad) is prepared with Boiled potaoes, ground White sesame seeds, fenugreek seeds, green chillies, lemon juice or Tamarind Pulp, Red chilli and turmeric powder, Thyme leaves and Mustard Oil.
Himachal Pradesh: Mooli Kanda (Raddish Salad), prepared with grated white radish, ajwain, ginger, green chillies, fresh coriander leaves and Lemon juice.
Sindhis: consume Kachumbo (Onion Salad) prepared with onions, tomatoes,green chillies, fresh coriander leaves, lime juice and salt.
Kindly Note below mentioned is a chaat.
Mouth-watering chick pea salad or chola chaat, prepared with chick peas, turmeric, salt, cucumber, red onions , tomatoes, pomegranate pearls, dried cranberries, boiled potatoes cubed, chaat masala , garam masala, red chilli powder, coarsely ground cumin seeds, garam masala powder, amchur powder, lemon juice, tamarind sauce, green chillies coriander leaves and sev (Bhujiya)
In Kerala Onion Salad (Challas): is prepared with thinly sliced onions, slivered green chillies, vinegar, coconut oil and salt. The dressing can also be made of watery yogurt instead of vinegar and coconut oil. As a variation tou may add shredded cabbage or tomato wedges. . Challas perfectly complements crispy fried fish and meats.
Pacha Manga Kichadi (Raw Mango Salad with Curd) is a salad which is a little sour in taste as raw mango and curd are the main ingredients. It is prepared with raw mango. Green chillies, Red chilli powder, fenugreek powder, Asafoetida, salt, curd and tempered with coconut oil Mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chillies.
Tamil Nadu- Pachadi (Salad of cucumber, or onion in curd)
Pachadi is eaten fresh and typically made of finely chopped and boiled vegetables such as cucumber ash gourd, with coconut, green or red chillies and tempered in oil with mustard seeds, ginger and curry leaves. Pachadi is commonly eaten with rice and a lentil curry.
Udupi: Kosambari is a healthy veg salad recipe of the Southern part of the country. Traditionally Hesaru Bele Kosambari (Moong Dal Salad) recipe is from Udupi, Karnataka. It consists of Moong Dal, Cucumber, carrot, onion, Coconut, Mor Milagai (Sun dried Chillies) / sundried buttermilk chillies (majjige menasu), Oil, mustard seeds, green chillies ,lemon juice, salt and fresh coriander leaves.