Padma, my stepmom, is the kindest woman I know. I don’t mean that in a flippant superlative that simply means, she’s really, really kind. She is LITERALLY the kindest woman I know. She and my mom were close friends. When I was a kid, I thought it was cool, but a little weird given the circumstances. Now that I’m getting to know her more as an adult, though, I totally get it.
Another thing about Padma, is that she is the best cook I know. I’ve been to my fair share of Indian restaurants, and none of them come close to her chicken curry- it has this aromatic element that I’ve never gotten anywhere other than her kitchen. And Christmas without her dosa and sambhar is…well, I’ve never experienced it and will go at very great lengths to keep it that way.
There is one thing that drives me nuts about Padma. And when I say drives me nuts, I mean, REALLY makes me go crazy.
I can’t replicate anything she cooks because every time I ask how much of curry or how much cardamom she puts in, she just says “I don’t know, Sarah. Just about this much.” Then she waves a cupped hand at me. What am I supposed to do with that?! So far, the only thing I’ve been able to make close to what she has made is this salad.
Many versions have mint or coriander or toasted cumin. “NOPE! Sarah- just the lime juice with salt and pepper.”
It seemed too simple, so I tried adding the coriander, then the mint, the toasted cumin, combos of each.
The woman was right. Keep it simple.
One note before you get into the recipe …SOAK THE RED ONIONS. Don’t skip that step unless all you want to taste (and smell like) is onion. Ok, on with the recipe…
Sarah Curry, well- really Padma
If you've ever wanted to make an Indian dish, but balk at all the spices you'd have to buy, this is a great dish to start with. No spices other than good old salt and pepper, yet it is still distinctly Indian. This one has it all- heat, cool, spicy, and sweet.
15 minTotal Time
- 2 small cucumbers, chopped
- 1 pomegranate, de-arilled (did I make that word up?)
- 1 red onion, halved, then thinly sliced
- 2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 jalepeno (or a red pepper if in the UK), deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 T olive oil
- a good pinch of salt
- a few cranks of pepper
- Start off by putting the slices of red onion in a bowl of water to sit while you prep the rest of the produce. Since we are eating it raw, you'll want to take some of the bite out of there with a good soak. The kick should come from the pepper.
- Prep the rest of the fruit and veg and put it all in a large bowl. Toss to evenly distribute. Taste, and season with some more salt, pepper, or lime to your liking. I like a LOT of pepper.
The pomegranate arils and cucumber are both excellent sources of Vitamin K making this salad a great supporter of blood clotting and bone metabolism. Also, the red onion is packed with phytonutrients- quercetin and anthocyanins.
Healthy Tip- Be careful when you peel your onions- overpeeling can dramatically cut down the amount of phytonutrients you get. We are talking reducing the quercetin by 20% and anthocyanins by 75%! Take as little of the fleshy layers as you can.