iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Sonal Ved, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, October 11, 2012
Move over boring vinaigrettes and chat masala sprinkled salads, for the city is brimming with chefs doling out inventive dressings from their homes. From wasabi-hinting mayonnaise, to raspberry emulsions, peanut butter spreads and ‘mood fixer’ dressings, these cooks guarantee to get you excited about going on a salad diet.

Cold Food Company
To beat Monday morning blues, dial Yakuta Sarkari. Her ‘mood fixer’ dressing promises to lift your sprits with a bowlful of salad. The olive oil-based vinaigrette contains ingredients such as poppy seeds, honey and pulverised onions. It has floating bits of white sesame seeds that have been proven to fight depression by a number of research studies. While the dressing pairs well with local spinach and toasted nuts, Yakuta urges us to drizzle it on citric fruits such as berries, oranges and mangoes as well.

SaladIf you don’t mind tucking in a few calories, the creamy mayo dressing is an indulgent treat. With a hint of wasabi paste, it has a smooth texture and a piquant aftertaste. Although bathing oven-roasted baby potatoes in this white paste seems ideal, a tiny note on Yakuta’s website informs us that it goes well with steamed fish and sausages too. Apart from dressings, she also supplies readymade salads on request.

Thumbs up: For consistency and texture
Thumbs down: For having limited options
Price: Rs. 280 onwards
Call: 9820536252 or visit www.facebook.com/ColdFoodCompany

Silver Spoon Gourmet
This SoBo-based catering company specialises in edgy European fare. In their salad dressing section, the apple cider and lemon dressing caught our attention first. The fruit-based dressing is a good mix of vinegar and zesty lemon juice. It has a pretty citrus colour and tastes mostly like the parent ingredients. While we personally think it would spread well over a glob of strong cheese and snow peas, the makers insist you team it with an assortment of romaine lettuce, aubergines and coloured bell peppers.

Health enthusiasts can go for their walnut oil drizzle. Made using cold-pressed walnut oil, it boasts of being a healthier alternative to olive-oil based vinaigrettes, since it is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. The thick, brown sauce matches perfectly with orange segments, pomegranate pebbles and cherry tomatoes.

Thumbs up: For robust flavours and perfect consistency
Thumbs down: Packaging lacks finesse

Price: Rs. 300 per jar
Call: 8286044424 or log on to www.silverspoongourmet.in

Yellow Butterfly
Jain fellas, rejoice. For 30-year-old Shivani Tolia specialises in salad dressings made sans onions and garlic. Of her tiny menu, we vouch for the Thai salad dressing. The deep, red liquid is made on a base of healthy sesame oil. It has roasted, black sesame seeds for crunch and is generously flavoured with sweet basil, soy sauce, mint leaves and chilli powder.

Since drizzling it on noodles would be clichéd, Shivani suggests we experiment with exotic nuts, strong cheeses and Chinese cabbage. If Italian is your cuisine of choice, the lemon and herb vinaigrette is second best. The pale green drizzle has lemony freshness and a deep herby taste. It works for non-Jains if used to marinate meats or root vegetables such as potato, carrot, sweet potato and elephant yam.

For a fat day, keep stock of her buttermilk glaze. The thick dressing goes perfectly with steamed veggies and keeps
calories under check.

Thumbs up: For detailing each bottle with pairing recommendations
Thumbs down: Some of the dressings are too oily

Price: Rs. 225 per jar
Call: 9820057099 or email at yellowbutterfly03@gmail.com

Chef’s On Board
Thirty-year-old Radha Shah’s kitchen specialises in meal-oriented salad dressings. The dressings need not be restricted to the leaves alone. They can poured on top of cold noodles, drizzled on steamed vegetables and be used to marinate meats, cottage cheese and other proteins. We especially liked her roasted-garlic and chickpea hummus. The thick spread doubles up as a dip when had with bread sticks or can be used as a dressing for crunchy vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and cucumber.

If you are a light eater, opt for her honey and mustard dressing. The thick, amber sauce has a good balance of sweet honey and pungent, grainy mustard. It can be used to douse pasta salads or paired with vegetables that have a sharp flavour such as bell peppers, kalamata olives, pickled artichokes, arugula leaves and pearl onions. Since the catering company specialises in
oriental fare, give their soy-garlic salad dressing a shot as well. Amply flavoured with zesty ginger, the sauce can be emptied on soba noodles and served cold with a sprinkling of roasted peanuts.

Thumbs up: For having an exhaustive menu
Thumbs down: The bottles do not mention any details about vegetable pairing, expiry date, usage and storage

Price: Rs. 225 onwards
Call: 9821341551 or log on to www.chefsonboard.com

If the organic food frenzy hasn’t caught you yet, here is your chance to get converted. Under the brand name i2cook, chef Megha Deokule sells a range of dressings that are made using unprocessed ingredients. This is to say that the peanut butter base of her Thai salad dressing and the mustard paste from her honey-mustard drizzle are made from scratch using raw ingredients.

Fruit lovers, go for the dreamy cinnamon and spice spread. This unique concoction of sesame oil and cinnamon powder is viscous and has a deep butterscotch colour. It drizzles well on fruits such as strawberries, oranges, kiwi and pineapple and can be tossed with local greens as well.

If you dabble in Asian fare, the Thai peanut butter dressing will double up as a dipping sauce. The reduction when diluted in water, fares well with crunchy mango and raw papaya salad or phad Thai noodles.

Thumbs up: For keeping it artificial preservative-free
Thumbs down: Portions are too small

Price: Rs. 900 onwards
Call: 9833810711 or log on to i2cook.wordpress.com