Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kachumber, Basic Indian Salad


Some people/places/things are so famous that they need no introduction. If I mention Sachin Tendulkar, I am sure you will know who he is. Or if I say Taj Mahal, you know where it is. Or I if I speak of Brad Pitt, you again recognize who he is. Similarly some dishes like aloo parathas, massala chaas, poha, pav bhaji are so popular that even a little mention of it explains the rest.

Kachumber [kuh-choom-burr] is one that thing - so common and basic, one that you and your parents and their parents have eaten, one that is still enjoyed in many homes, one that is healthy summer relish, one that is the FIRST salad Indians ever knew. In Hindi, Kacha means 'Raw or uncooked' and Kachumbar is literally small tiny pieces of raw vegetables. No fuss salad, no fancy dressing, no exotic ingredients- just pinch of love (salt), drops of smile (lemon juice), dash of kindness (chilli powder). Period!!


Growing up this was my most beloved salad. I loved rolling the word of my tongue and enjoyed eating it. This quick simple salad is prepared daily in my kitchen and I was shocked when I realized that my favourite salad is not in my blog. I was like- whaaaattt, how is that even possible?? So I herby rest my case and present before you kachumber- my way. I say my way because there can be hundreds if not thousand recipes of it.  No specific method or ingredients. Just add in or remove what you like or don’t like. My secret elements are homemade chaat massala and roasted cumin powder- both of it infuses perfect balance of flavour and taste.

Cucumber -This wonderful, low calorie vegetable indeed has more nutrients to offer than just water, it provide just 15 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. It is a very good source of potassium, which is a heart friendly electrolyte helps bring a reduction in total blood pressure and heart rates by countering effects of sodium.


Onions-This pink looking bulb is also very low in calories and fat. It is a very good source of dietary fibre and also good in antioxidants, vitamin-C and mineral manganese. I know this vegetable makes you cry but if eaten raw has many benefits like – it normal blood pressure levels, less stress, fewer colds and flues, lower cholesterol levels, healthier urinary tract and less blood clotting.


Tomatoes-The juicy vegetables as we all known is major source of vitamin C. Tomatoes also reduces the chance of heart attacks and stroke- they contain lycopene which is a serious inhibitor of heart disease (lycopene prevents skin damage from ultra-violet (UV) rays and offers protection from skin cancer). Because of their all-round qualities it is recommended that everyone must eat tomatoes.


Carrots-Are very low in calories and contains zero cholesterol. Its nutrition benefits come particularly from fiber, vitamins, minerals, and unique plant derived anti-oxidants. The orange one are also rich source of B-complex vitamins and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Beet is also said to increase the blood flow in the body and improves the hemoglobin count.


Lemon- They not only add tang and zing to the salad but also has antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers. Lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances--notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C-that promote immunity, weight loss and fight infection.


To conclude, if you had a busy day at office or you are lazy to cook something fancy or you need to have healthy diet- then this salad is the savior. It is said-‘let you food be your medicine and your medicine be your food’ and this recipe justifies this saying. One of the vital rule to follow while following healthy lifestyle is to eat more and more raw vegetables- so why not have Kachumber? Apply on toasted bread or cracker; or as a side with tava pulav or parathas; or just the way it is. Below is the recipe.


Ingredients:
1 medium sized onion/pyaz
2 medium sized tomatoes/tamatar

1 small carrot/gajar
2-3 small sized cucumber/kheera/kakdi
¼ cup coriander leaves/dhaniya chopped finely
1 teaspoon lemon juice/nimbu ka ras
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder/lal mirch
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder/bhuna jeer
Salt to taste

Method:
Chop onion, carrot, tomatoes, cucumber into very small cubes. 
Next mix in all the spices just before serving.
Kachumber is ready.

Notes:
You can also add chopped beetroot, green chilli or mint leaves also. If using green chilli, skin red chilli powder.
Add spices just before serving else it will water down.
Some also grate carrots and cucumber instead of chopping. Choice is yours.