I made this classic Bocconcini Salad with Tomato and Basil Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Dressing yesterday for lunch. I was working from home and it was just too hot to eat a regular lunch, so made this salad at the spur of the moment. 🙂 Actually while I made the salad on a whim, it was a week since I had bought the ingredients.
I was actually online shopping for Cream Cheese when I chanced upon Bocconcini. I was super excited because I had enjoyed these little Mozzarella balls on my last trip to Italy. I ordered them forthwith and this Bocconcini Salad is the first dish in which I used them. This Bocconcini Salad is very very simple to make and involves no cooking.
All you need to do to make this salad is chop the tomatoes, mix them up with the basil and bocconcini and top it with a simple dressing in which Balsamic Vinegar plays a starring role! The result is a fresh salad that you can enjoy anytime.
Bocconcini is popular in South Italy (around Naples and Salerno) and is essentially Mozzarella made with Buffalo Milk. It is shaped into small balls and stored along with the whey which prevents it from drying out.
I ordered these Bocconcini from Gourmetdelight, an online Organic Food Store that delivers in Mumbai and Pune. I was very impressed with the care with which they packed my Cream Cheese and Bocconcini in dry ice so that they remain cold and do not spoil. They were also very prompt in delivery. I am quite enjoying browsing their online store and cannot wait to order the next lot of goodies.
How to Make Bocconcini Salad with Tomato and Basil and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
During Navaratri, I get invited to several homes to see Kolu and for Haldi-Kumkum. One of the side effects of this is the number of betel leaves and fruits that accumulate at home. I normally give away the betel leaves to my maid. Last year I made Paan Shots with some of them. Yesterday I tried this adapted this Bai Chaplu Salad and tried it with Betel leaves.
Bai Cha Plu is a wild pepper leaf found in Thailand and Vitenam. It is also sometimes called Wild Betel Leaf.
What did I like about this salad?
First there was the multiple levels of crunch; from the betel leaf itself, from the peanuts, and from the carrot. Fun while munching. 🙂
Then there was the dressing which incorporated such a medley of flavours; tamarind, lime, palm sugar, and soy. The explosion of myriad tastes in the mouth was fun.
Then there was the spice from the Thai Red Chillies and from the betel leaf itself.
All in all a memorable experience. I am going to experiment with using the wonderful dressing on other salads. I quite fell in love with it.
Time: 10 Minutes
Betel Leaves – 16-20
Mint Leaves – A Handful
Shredded Carrot – 1/4 Cup
Roasted Peanuts – 1/4 Cup
Thai Red Chillies – 2 (These are very hot so watch out)
Palm Sugar – 1 tbsp
Tamarind Extract – 3/4 tsp
Lime Juice – 1 tbsp
Light Soy Sauce – 1 tsp
Method to Make the Dressing
Mix together the palm sugar, tamarind extract, lime juice, and soy sauce.
Mix well till the sugar dissolves.
Method to Make the Betel Leaf Salad
Cut the betel leaves into 1/2″ pieces.
Lightly crush the roasted peanuts.
Lightly bruise the mint leaves.
Chop the Thai Red Chillies into fine pieces.
Mix together the betel leaves, mint leaves, shredded carrot, peanuts and red chillies.
I had this absolutely delightful and fresh Raw Mango Pineapple Salsa at Club Mahindra Ashtamudi.
Of course, the combination of Raw Mango and Pineapple is a marriage made in heaven as it evident from Ambo Annanas Sasam, a popular Konkani recipe. I could not get over the medley of sweet, tangy, and spicy taste of this salsa and tried it at home recently with excellent results.
What I loved about making Raw Mango Pineapple Salsa is that it involved absolutely no cooking and can be put together in a few minutes. I let the salsa rest for an hour so that the various flavours meld together. Do ensure that the mango is tangy and the pineapple is sweet for best results.
How to Make Raw Mango Pineapple Salsa
1/4″ Cubes of Pineapple Pieces – 1 Cup
1/4″ Cubes of Raw Mango Pieces – 2/3 Cup
Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Salt to Taste
Mix all the ingredients together.
Let the salad or salsa rest for 30 to 60 minutes.
Enjoy the Raw Mango Pineapple Salsa!
I found that using equal proportions of mango and pineapple makes the salsa a bit sour and hence the 3:2 proportion.
As you can see my summer posts are in full flow. These days salads have become a mainstay of many a meal and cucumber plays a starring role. Apart from the Koshambir, Cucumber Kosambari, Cucumber Raita, and Tzatziki, I also often make Khamang Kakdi, which is a great Maharashtrian favourite.
Truth be told, I love Khamang Kakdi as well because it has crunchy peanuts and fresh coconut to complement the cool cucumber. 🙂
Time: 10 Minutes
Cucumber – 3
Roasted Peanuts – 1/3 Cup
Grated Fresh Coconut – 1/2 Cup
Lemon Juice – 2 tbsp
Green Chillies – 2
Fresh Coriander – A Handful
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Ghee or Oil – 1 tsp
Curry Leaves – 4 or 5
Salt to Taste
Peel and cube the cucumber into 1/2″ pieces.
Crush the roasted peanuts to a coarse powder.
Chop the green chillies into fine pieces.
Mix together the cucumber, coconut, peanut powder, coriander, green chillies, lemon juice, and salt.
In a ladle, heat the ghee or oil.
Add the mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
Lower the heat.
Add the cumin seeds and wait till they start to change color.