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Salads: Your toss up meals

If you can’t stomach the thought of eating a hot meal on an equally hot summer’s day, don’t lose heart. There is another option – crunching into a salad. It is not only a healthy choice, but tasty as well. And if you thought salads are too light to be filling? Think again. They can actually replace full meals!

india Updated: May 21, 2011 19:34 IST
Mignonne Dsouza

If you can’t stomach the thought of eating a hot meal on an equally hot summer’s day, don’t lose heart. There is another option – crunching into a salad. It is not only a healthy choice, but tasty as well.

However, many people complain that a salad invariably leaves you only half full. To that, chef Gresham Fernandes of Salt Water Café in Mumbai has one solution: “Make summer salads light, yet filling, by adding foods that have a low glycemic index (GI). These foods are much lower in calories, will get digested much slower and will keep you feeling full longer.”

Low GI foods include peaches, grapes, prunes, walnuts, oats, dried and fresh legumes and carrots. “Another option is adding poached chicken, shrimp, clams, crab, tuna and granola, and using yoghurt-based dressings (reduce the oil though) or a spicy coconut milk dressing that will go well with say, a shrimp salad,” Fernandes says.

Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee, executive chef, deGustibus hospitality Pvt. Ltd, which operates Indigo and Tote on the Turf restaurants in Mumbai, suggests, “Light dairy products like cottage cheese, fresh mozzarella and ricotta could be tossed in to make salads filling.”

You can also combine salads with other cooling or easily digested options for a light but filling summer meal. Chef Shishir More, chef de cuisine at the JW Marriott hotel in Mumbai, advises a soup-salad combination. “Eat a big bowl of salad with a small bowl of soup – maybe a hearty vegetable broth with garlic bread,” he says.

Chef Parimal Sawant, senior sous chef at the Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai, agrees, adding, “Compound salads (which incorporate meats, fruits and vegetables) are more filling and healthier, and thus easy to replace a conventional meal with.”

The chefs also advise using ingredients that are cooling, such as beetroot, mango and papaya, among others, and seasonal ingredients such as chikoos, pears, pomegranate, cucumber, spinach, fresh tender beans, melons of many kinds, plums and jackfruit to make the salads refreshing and cool.

Mixed Greens with Roasted Pulled Chicken (Photo: Lalit Nene)

Lastly, finish off your salad with a chilled drink and dessert for a complete meal. Jaydeep Mukherjee’s suggestions include fresh fruit juices, ades with lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit, iced teas of all kinds, as well as buttermilk and yoghurt-based drinks. “A chilled fruit sorbet, frozen fruit yoghurt or fresh fruit ice cream can wrap up the meal,” he says. “Bon summer appetit.”

Mixed Greens with Roasted Pulled Chicken


40 gms romaine lettuce

40 gms lolo rosso

40 gms iceberg

30 gms arugula

25 gms kiwi

25 gms pears

25 gms mango

5-6 nos candied cashews

Himalayan honey

Balsamic dressing

1 chicken

For the marination: Sea salt, pepper, olive oil, thyme

For the roast chicken: Take the marinated chicken and roast it in a preheated oven (190 c – 200 c) for 45-50 mins.
1. Place the mixed lettuce and fruits in a salad plate or bowl.
2. Mix honey and balsamic dressing and pour on top of the mixed salad. Serve chilled with roasted pulled chicken.
(Courtesy Chef Shishir More)

Arugula Salad with Beets and Pinenuts

Arugula Salad with Beets and Pinenuts (Photo: Lalit Nene)

Beets, boiled (until a fork easily goes in it, about an hour), peeled, sliced into strips; arugula, rinsed, patted dry with a paper towel; pine nuts, chopped; goat’s cheese, crumbled

For the dressing:

Olive oil, lemon, dry powdered mustard, sugar, salt and pepper

The quantity of ingredients depends on how many people you are serving. This salad wasn’t tossed, each plate was composed individually.
The dressing for three salads was 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 lemon, 1/4 tsp powdered mustard, 3/4 tsp sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Actually, it is all to taste. These are only approximate measurements. Assemble the salad according to how much you want: some arugula leaves, a few beet juliennes, some crumbled goat cheese, garnish with chopped walnuts and dressing.
(Courtesy Chef Parimal Sawant)

Raw Papaya Salad with Sweet Chilly

200 gms raw papaya
20 gms cherry tomato, halved
2 fresh red chillies
10 ml honey
20 ml vinaigrette dressing
10 gms cilantro (dhania patta)
20 gms peanut, crushed

Raw Papaya Salad with Sweet Chilly (Photo: Lalit Nene)


1. Grate the raw papaya and refresh it in ice water so that it becomes crunchy.

2. To make the sweet chilly dressing, muddle the red chillies and add the honey and vinaigrette dressing.

3. Toss the shredded raw papaya in the dressing along with the chopped cilantro and cherry tomato halves.

4. Garnish with crushed peanuts.

For the dressing:
Olive oil, lemon, dry powdered mustard, sugar, salt and pepper
(Courtesy Chef Shishir More)

Make your own salad

Crab, Mango and Avocado Salad

1 pound fresh crab sticks
1-1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 tsp mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp minced shallot or purple onion
1 medium-sized mango, peeled, pitted and diced
1 firm but ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
Tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Crab, Mango and Avocado Salad (Photo: Lalit Nene)


In a bowl add the crabmeat, 2 tsp cilantro,

1 tsp mint and chopped shallots, 1 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, 10 drops tabasco sauce, and salt and pepper to taste.

Mix carefully with a fork to avoid breaking up the larger lumps of crab meat. Set aside.

In a separate bowl add the mango, avocado,

1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tbsp lime juice, the remaining cilantro and mint leaves, 10 drops of tabasco and salt and pepper to taste.

Mix gently with a spoon, taking care not to mush the avocado pieces.

Using small tureens or dessert bowls, layer the crab mixture and the mango avocado mixture. It doesn’t really matter which you layer first. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

4. When you are ready to serve, remove the salads on to individual plates. Serve sauce on the side. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

5. For a tasty added touch, arrange peeled sections of ruby red grapefruit around the

salads. The grapefruit provides a flavourful complement to the crab salad.

For the dressing:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 cup water
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon Juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
(Courtesy Chef Parimal Sawant)

Buy your salad ingredients from a market that stocks the freshest produce.
Train yourself to have an eye for fresh produce.
Don’t prepare your ingredients too long before you make your salad. Make it, toss it and eat it. If you let your salad sit for too long, the oxidation process will begin to work, and you’ll find your lettuce wilting, and fruit turning from white to black.
Pay attention to the dressing. Instead of readymade dressings, make your own.
Don’t add too many ingredients. A salad with three to four ingredients is just right.
Make sure that all the crockery you use is nice and chilled, like the bowl that you will be mixing in and the bowls that you will be serving in. The vinegars too can be chilled.
A lot of salads go limp because of the amount of acid (vinegar) that is added. Always add that at the last moment.
Use readily available ingredients. There’s no need to always make salads using exotic fruits and vegetables.

- From HT Brunch, May 22

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