This salad of crisp cabbage, carrots, and coconut is one of those Indian dishes that takes minimal effort, doesn't involve a whole range of spices, and is ready in minutes. Dressed in an infused oil, it's the perfect side dish for a meal of rice and chicken, like Kerala-Style Chicken Curry, Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken and Chickpea Masala, or Chicken Tikka Masala. With grilling season kicking in, the salad would also make a great accompaniment to any number of grilled dishes, especially kebabs. Think of it as a slaw.
Why this recipe works:
- Unlike many Indian dishes, this one requires minimal ingredients, and comes together in just about 10 minutes.
- Infusing the oil with spices brings flavor to the dish that coats every ingredient.
Notes: For a different flavor, substitute mustard seed, coconut, or sesame oil in place of the olive oil. To crush peanuts, pound gently in a mortar and pestle or crush by pressing under a skillet.
About the author: Denise Dsilva Sankhe is a writer & creative director by profession. But that's only when she isn't eating her way across India. She recreates this delicious cuisine in her Mumbai home, which she shares with her husband, who has long since given up his determination to have salads for dinner.
- Yield:Serves 2
- Active time: 10 minutes
- Total time:10 minutes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (see note above)
- 1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds
- 1 Serrano chilli slit lengthwise
- 5 to 6 curry leaves (optional)
- 1/2 small head cabbage, finely chopped or grated on the large hole of a box grater
- 1 medium carrot, grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 2 tablespoons roasted and coarsely ground peanuts (see note above)
- I tablespoon lime juice from 1 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated coconut flesh
- Kosher salt
Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Step back and add the mustard seeds. Let them splutter. Add the Serrano chilli and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add curry leaves (if using) and allow them to sputter, about 30 seconds. Transfer infused oil to a small bowl to cool.
Mix grated cabbage, carrot, peanuts, lime juice, sugar, and grated coconut flesh in a large bowl. Add the cooled oil to the mixture and toss. Season to taste with salt. Serve.