Living in New York has definitely given me a new appreciation for summer. I love to cook, but I also like spending time outside enjoying the warm weather, which means I’m attending plenty of picnics and barbecues with a salad in tow. The thing about salads in India is that they’re not your classic mix of leafy greens, vegetables, cheeseand dressing. Usually, they focus on a mix of grated/chopped vegetables, cilantroand sprouted beans, that are tossed in fresh lime juice and salt. Nuts will occasionally make an appearance, but that’s about it.
I am sure you are familiar with the popular “kachumber” salad, which consists of chopped up cucumber, onion, and tomato. Basic, but delicious! This salad comes together with just a few ingredients, thus maximizing your time outside sipping those margaritas in the sun. It starts by toasting some cumin seeds and crushed peanuts in oil. Next, you’ll toss in sliced cucumbers, red onion and lime juice for a tangy and crunchy app or side. A common thing when making Indian salads is that the “dressing” is not made separately. Citrus juice and oil are directly added to the bowl with all the ingredients and then mixed (easier for you!!). Lastly, garnish with lots of cilantro and serve!
I'll be honest, I am guilty of neglecting salads and treating them as an underappreciated side dish to grand curries and naan. But I am glad that I revived this recipe and made it the star of my summer table to be enjoyed solo. The team even ate it for breakfast, and that makes me happy. One quick thing to note: I recommend tossing it just before guests arrive and serving it within a couple of hours since the cucumbers tend to lose their crunch.
When it's too hot to be in the kitchen or do anything thing at all really, know that this Cucumber-Peanut Salad can be your new effortless go-to summer meal!
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 2 minutes
Yield: Serves or Makes 2-4
In a small pan, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds followed by crushed peanuts, and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, 2 minutes. Set aside and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, toss cucumbers and red onion with the peanut-cumin mixture, lime juice, sugar, crushed red pepper and salt, then mix to combine. Stir in cilantro and transfer to a platter and serve immediately.