Saturday, 15 March 2014

Cachumber (Indian Tomato, Onion and Cucumber Salad) and Chaat Masala (Spice Mix)

Simple, quick, fresh and delicious...

A healthy North Indian snack, which can be served as an appetiser or starter, with poppadoms and pickles, and also great as an accompaniment to Indian dishes, such as my tandoori chicken, or chicken tikka.

There really is nothing to it, other than a bit of chopping and a quick stir!

Serves 4-8 depending on course.

Calories per serving: 43 calories if served between four people, 21 calories if served between eight.

½ red onion, finely chopped (50g) [21]
1 cucumber, finely chopped (370g) [40]
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped (approx. 160g) [32]
3 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped [10]
1 red, and 1 green chilli pepper, finely chopped (seeds removed) [5]
1 tbsp fresh lemon (or lime) juice [4]
1 tsp oil (optional, e.g. sunflower - for Paleo use macadamia/avocado oil etc.) [45]
½ tsp ground black pepper [3]
1 ½ tsp chaat masala (see below to make your own), or garam masala if you can’t get hold of or make chaat (check if GF, although it should be) [11]
Salt to taste

In a bowl, stir together the onion, cucumber, tomatoes, coriander, chillies, lemon juice and oil (if not using peanuts, see introduction). Roast the spices (pepper and chaat/garam masala) in a dry frying pan gently until fragrant, then stir into the cucumber salad with salt to taste (taste before adding the salt, as chaat masala has salt in it) just before serving. 


If you leave out the oil, and the salt, this will keep for a few days in the fridge with far less wilting of the coriander, and stay more crunchy. If you're going to eat it all at once, don't worry about it!

You could add 60g of (un-roasted) peanuts too - roughly chop and then fry them in a pan with the oil for a minute or two before adding the spices until fragrant, before adding to the salad. This will add 372 calories over-all giving you 136 calories per portion for four.

To make your own Chaat Masala

Chaat Masala is a kind of a tangy, salty seasoning, used in a lot of snacks (e.g. bhel puri). You can find it in Indian shops, or make some up yourself... good stirred through dry snack mixes, or sprinkled onto vegetables as a seasoning.

To make your own, dry fry 4 tbsp coriander s
eeds in a pan until aromatic, and remove; then 2 tbsp cumin seeds, then 1 tsp ajowan seeds (they're a bit like cumin seeds in flavour, so if you can't get them, just use more cumin seeds).

Grind to a powder with 2 dried long red chillies, 1 tsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp (dried) pomegranate seeds, and mix with 1 tbsp amchoor (dried mango) powder and 3 tbsp black salt (this actually looks a light pink colour when you buy it ground, which can be confusing!).

This will give you about 10 tbsp of chaat masala (or you can just buy some pre-made!).

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