It’s getting hot in Pune. Unbearably hot. The kind of hot that makes heavy eating, and standing over the stove for too long, a real chore.
I tend to feel sluggish in the warmer months if I eat heavy foods and spicy curries- so chicken curry and sambhar are replaced with pachadi and curd rice. And on many days, we eat salad.
What I love about salads are that they’re pretty forgiving creatures, as long as you have an open mind. There are no must-have or can’t-use ingredients. You can use all kinds of vegetables & herbs, proteins & carbohydrates, nuts & grains to create a really filling, tasty meal-in-a-bowl. Fattoush and panzanella make use of bread, som tam and the Waldorf make use of fruits and nuts, while a classic caeser and nicoise put eggs and fish to good (and delicious!) use.
When I make my salads as a meal, I need to have some form of protein in it. Unfortunately, I am neither Rachel Allen nor Nigella Lawson, so I
rarely never have leftover meat from a Sunday roast in the form or chicken strips and beef shreds. So my protein of choice is either canned tuna or kabuli chana, which is a staple in most Indian pantries.
The only cooking this salad requires is boiling the chickpeas- but you are more than welcome to use canned chickpeas. I often pressure-cook a batch of chickpeas (two cups) on Sunday and store them in the fridge for salad or hummus during the week.
So this salad came together on a weekday when it was too hot to cook. It’s simple, and light on the stomach but still keeps you sated. I like adding some kind of nut or seed to my salads this days- they add a lovely bite and crunch, plus they are really good for you. If I’m using almonds, I just soak them and use them raw. With peanuts, I like to toast them lightly in their skin and crush them before adding in. And watermelon and sesame seeds I just sprinkle over the top as they are; though toasting them would be a nice touch.
SUMMER CHICKPEA SALAD
For The Dressing
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- Garlic salt, celery salt or store-bought Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon
- A pinch of sugar
- Salt & pepper to taste
For The Salad
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained
- 2 medium cucumbers, chopped
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 large red onion, sliced into half moons
- A fistful each of chopped mint and coriander (optional)
- A fistful of pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, sunflower seeds or any seeds of your choice. You could also use some soaked raw almonds. (This is also optional.)
- To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl until evenly combined. Adjust for salt-sweetness-acidity as per your liking, and set aside.
- For the salad, add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. (Use your hands, use tongs, use your kids toy spade, it doesn’t matter!)
- Pour the dressing over the salad, toss well again and serve.