Khamang Kakdi- a nutty cucumber salsa- a la Maharashtra2013-12-17
- Prep Time : 5m
- Ready In : 5m
Continuing the sudden burst of nostalgia and hence making all things Maharashtrian, today I bring to you one of my favourite salads.
Basically a cucumber salad, the star of this recipe is peanuts. In Maharashtra, there are 2 types of salads. Koshimbirs (similar to salsa) and Raitas( containing yoghurt). This dish should therefore be classified as a koshimbir, but however is not called one. The salad that is called Kakdichi (cucumber) Koshimbir, has yoghurt mixed in it as well 🙂 Why? Well. I don’t know. Never figured out. That’s just the way it is.
Khamang kakdi is one salad that can be eaten on Mondays and Thursdays and fasting days, all the vegetarian days. The fasting rules are complicated- of course all veg & no garlic or onion, but no dry red chillies either. Only green chillies will do. Why? Dunno.
What I like most about the food that’s eaten on such days is the absolute mouth-watering varieties, they are just so delicious. Of course, they make me nostalgic, and sad at times, but it doesn’t stop me from making them.
Anyways, back to the recipe.
Cucumbers- 4-5, small or 1 large( I mean the UK supermarket one)
Roasted peanuts- coarsely crushed- 1/2 cup
Grated coconut- optional- 1/4 cup
Coriander- finely chopped- 1/4 cup (don’t skimp on this)
Lemon juice( optional)- 1 tsp
Sugar- 1 pinch
Salt- to taste
FOR THE TEMPERING
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Oil (preferably ghee)- 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Cumin seeds (optional)- 1 tsp
Asafoetida (hing)- 1 pinch
Curry leaves (optional)
Green chilli- 1
Peel the cucumber. Cut it as fine as possible. It tastes best when it is chopped fine. I can still remember my mother sitting on the vili ( a platform to which a curved sharp blade is attached) chopping away at the speed of light. I never quite mastered it, I was always attracted to the knife which she never used, and I ensured that I was an expert at that.
But back to cutting. As small as you can. Leave aside for a while, so that all the excess water gets drained out. Remove it. This is an important step because it ensures that your salad is not mushy and wet.
Crush the roasted peanuts. Again, don’t powder too fine. Bits are fine, they add to the crunch.
Grate the coconut or use the frozen one, anything will do. Don’t fret if you don’t have it, its just that coconut adds such immense flavour to whatever its added to- just takes s the dish to a different level.
Chop the coriander fine.
Now mix everything in together. Add in the lemon juice. It tastes lovely, but I tend to stay away from it, because my little fellow doesn’t like anything Lemony, although he does adore an author by the same name. Lemony Snicket, heard of him? He is just terrific.The ultimate story teller. You might want your kids to read some of his books.
Absolutely fabulous. The book and my salad, of course!
Now for the tempering. I would really really recommend using ghee, Make some, I have an excellent recipe for it, or just buy it. But it makes a world of difference to the dish.
In a small kadhai, heat the ghee/oil.. When hot, add in the mustard seeds.When they start popping add the cumin seeds, hing and slit green chilli in quick succession.
One important thing I learnt from my Mum was never, ever put hing (asafoetida) in the beginning of a fodni (tempering) It just burns quickly- best way to spoil the dish.
So slowly, one by one. That does the trick!
Pour over the salad and serve . It is so yum, I like eating it by itself. But that is just for crazy salad lovers like me.
You might want to eat it with everything else- roti, some veg, dal, rice – the works.