Growing up in India of the 90’s, ‘salad’ just meant a simple platter of cut vegetables, laced with a hint of salt and pepper. Gradually, the universal and modern idea of the salad, found its way into our palettes. We saw exotic vegetables dressed up in sauces ranging from pungent vinaigrette to a mushy mayonnaise. Salads also moved from the freshly cut and sliced variety to the ready-to-eat genre. We became used to picking up boxes of ready-made salad and packaged dressings from supermarket shelves, and could no longer imagine spending the time and effort in making our own dressing.
To break this pattern, we resolved to make our own salad with our own dressing and treat it as an independent culinary exercise, and not just a fringe element usually whipped up in a hurry (the salad finally had its day!). We wanted a distinctly Indian element, but one that would blend with a wider range of ingredients to produce a cross-cultural salad! The round and juicy homegrown mangoes Javvadhu (mango variety) that lay in front of us beckoned. We’re usually too lazy to move beyond the decadence of devouring the mangoes by themselves, but a spark of a thought prompted us to imagine them in a slightly different avatar. A personal affinity for the Thai salad, with its wonderful infusion of vegetables, and the freshness of the dressings used, saw basil find its way into our salad bowl. The sweet mango combines beautifully with wholesome millet and fresh basil in our very own Mango & Millet Salsa.
- Ripe mango – 1 finely chopped
- Millets – 1/2 cup
For the dressing:
- Freshly ground whole pepper – 1 tsp
- Basil leaves (chopped) – 10 – 12
- Lemon juice – 1/2 lemon
- Ginger (finely chopped) – 1/2 tsp
- Olive oil
- Cook the millets of your choice (we used pearl millet) with 1 to 1.5 cups of water. Once cooked,set aside to cool. It should not be too mushy.
- Make a salad dressing with all the items listed under ‘dressing’
- Combine the chopped mangoes, millets and salad dressing.
- Garnish with a basil leaf and serve chilled
For those whose lives are not governed by calorie counts, add a dash of peanut butter into the dressing.This salsa can be served with pita chips/ nachos or on a toasted bread like bruschetta