There is no such thing as a Salad in North Indian homes. For a cuisine that boasts of Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani, Tandoori Chicken and what not salad has never been a significant part of our menu.
Go to any North Indian home for a meal, and you will know what I mean. Hidden behind the Ghee and Butter laden dishes you will find a nondescript plate with 1 onion, 1 Tomato and a small cucumber chopped into equal slices feeling really sorry for itself. And during the winter season there will perhaps also be a Radish and Carrot thrown in for good measure. Because let’s face it we love our “Gajar Ka Halwa” and “Mooli he Parathe” in winters. The poor salad feels out of place amongst all the fan fare just like someone that you invited as an afterthought to a party planned a while ago.
If you throw a dinner party here in Australia and serve a Lasagne with Salad and Bread, your guests will praise you for the effort you put into making that. But if you call a North Indian guest home and serve them just 1 main dish and a salad you will probably have some very offended people on your hands. They will probably even chuck some left over pieces of Tandoori chicken that they carried in their pockets knowing very well that you won’t be serving much.
So yes you can see we don’t have much use for green leafy things. It is not that we can’t eat them but we just generally tip toe around the salad and move towards the meatier stuff. However today I am going against my Punjabiness and actually sharing a recipe for a appetizing “Apple and Walnut Salad”.
But before you give up on me, let me reassure you that I have not suddenly become health conscious and living on leafs. This baby was an accompaniment to the very delicious “Indian Spiced Chicken puff pastries” that I made. The puffs on their own would have been boring, but I had some salad leaves and 2 apples that needed to be rescued, so the salad was made as a little healthy accompaniment. To be honest, it made me feel a little good about all the gluttony I have been indulging in off late.
The sweetness of the Apple and nutty Walnuts work really well with the flaky pastry. I have of course used store bought puff pastry but if you have time you can make your own. I also marinated the chicken for a day, but you can just marinate it for 15 minutes. Trust me this is one quick recipe you will be very thankful to have in your kitty.
Indian spiced puff pastries (serves 2)
1 large chicken breast cut into thin slices 1 large onion finely sliced 1 tbsp yogurt 1 tsp freshly chopped Ginger Salt to taste 2 tsp vegetable oil 1 tsp Red chilli powder 1 tsp cumin powder 1 tsp Turmeric powder
1) Mix everything together in a bowl (except the oil and the Onion) and leave it to marinade for latest 15 minutes in the fridge. Preferably overnight.
2) Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature when ready to cook.
3) Heat oil in a pan, once hot add the chopped onions and sauté till onions have turned translucent.
4) Add the Chicken and cook till almost done.
5) Make sure you are constantly stirring or the Chicken will burn and stick to the pan.
6) Once done, let it cool down before you stuff it in the pastry.
Ingredients for the Pastry
1 sheet of puff pastry
1 Egg white or Milk for brushing
Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees C.
1) Completely thaw the pastry and cut it into 4 equal squares. 1 part of the pastry will cover the other.
2) Carefully place the Chicken filling in the middle of the pastry square.
3) Wet the edges of the square by dabbing it with a little water.
4) Now place another square on top and gently press it sealing the edges tight.
5) You can use a back of a fork to press it down and make some patterns on it.
6) Do the same with the other square.
7) Brush with Egg White or Milk and bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes the pastry has risen and is Golden in color.
Ingredients for the Apple & Walnut Salad
One large apple diced (you can remove the skin; I left it on)
1 tbsp Walnuts chopped coarsely
Salad leaves depending on the number of people you are serving
Lemon infused Olive Oil to drizzle for the dressing, Or you can make your own dressing with Some Lemon zest, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice mixed together.
Salt for seasoning (although I didn’t use any salt)
1) Wash the salad leaves and drain the water.
2) Add the chopped Apples and Walnuts on the salad leaves and drizzle the dressing on top.