Here is another quick and delicious South Indian style salad. The sizzling tarka takes the ordinary vegetables to a whole new level!
There is really no recipe for this, other than using quality vegetables and cutting them into roughly the same size pieces. Most of the time, I use cucumbers, bell peppers (not the green ones though) and tomatoes. Fresh curry leaves are not essential, but mighty nice in a sizzling tarka. I buy mine on Amazon, and freeze what I don’t use within one week in small, individual freezer baggies. That way, I don’t have to drive clear across Portland in hopes of finding some at the Indian market. If you can get them, by all means use them! They don’t taste anything like curry powder at all, but have a somewhat citrusy aroma.
Sizzling the spices for this salad is my favorite part of making this dish. The sounds of the seeds popping, the sizzle of the chile peppers and curry leaves in my tiny cast-iron frying pan ( Thank you ZD McGhee for insisting that I buy it so many years ago! ) …
and then, the heavenly aroma of the spices wafting through the kitchen …
I’m getting hungry just thinking about this salad!
Here’s the recipe:
- chopped cucumber
- chopped red and yellow bell peppers
- chopped tomatoes (halved cherry tomatoes work well)
- chopped cilantro
- a chopped fresh green chile if you like a little spice
- fresh lemon juice
- sea salt
- a little olive oil
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 3 to 4 whole dried cayenne peppers
- 1/2 teaspoon of asafetida
- about 10 to 15 fresh curry leaves
Combine the chopped vegetables, cilantro, fresh green chile, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat.
When hot add the mustard seeds.
Stir and add the whole dried chiles, the asafetida and curry leaves.
Stir again and put on a lid.
Shake the pan a little and when the popping stops, remove the lid.
Pour this tarka over the salad.
Mix well, taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
Serve with any Indian style dinner.