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Kachumber | Tomato Cucumber Salad


Salads are usually served as a side dish in our Indian meal. An Indian curry tends to be on the spicier side and a fresh raw salad helps to balance the hot spicy flavours. Raw vegetables contain a lot of nutrients, so it is important to include raw vegetables as part of your daily diet. When I think of Indian salads, the ones that comes to my mind are simple onion-tomato salad, sprouted green gram (green moong dal) salad, carrot salad and the most popular kachumber salad. 

Kachumber is an Indian vegetable salad made with red onion, tomato, cucumber mixed with Indian spices like roasted cumin powder (jeera powder), chaat masala, herbs like coriander, green chillies and lemon juice. Kachumber is a vibrant and crunchy salad and it's light and fresh flavours help to balance the spices in a dish. 

We can make different variations to this simple salad. You can add grated carrots, chopped radish, bellpeppers or capsicums, chopped mint leaves and even lettuce to include some greens. If you serving for kids or do not prefer the spice, you can skip the green chillies and add fresh black pepper. For a twist, add yogurt and make kachumber raita (yogurt dip)!

You see how easy it is to adapt this basic salad according to your taste and the ingredients you have in your kitchen. Just throw in what you have in hand and make adjustments to balance out the flavours as you taste. I usually serve the kachumber salad with roti and curry or pulao but it serves as a wonderful accompaniment with any meal.

Ingredients:

1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
Green chillies - 1 or 2, finely chopped
Coriander leaves - few sprigs, chopped
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - a pinch
Chaat masala -  a pinch
Salt - to taste

Method:

1. Take all vegetables in a bowl and mix.

2. Then add salt, lemon juice and cumin powder. Mix well.

Serve immediately.

Notes:

Chaat masala or chat masala is an Indian spice powder mix typically consisting of dried mango powder (amchoor), cumin, coriander, dried ginger, chilli powder, asafoetida (hing) black pepper and salt, easily available in most Indian grocery stores.
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15-minute Vatha Kuzhambu Recipe | Easy Vathal Kuzhambu



Hello everyone :) Welcome to my food blog - Spill the Spices. I started this blog to record my tried and successful recipes, hoping it will help some of the newbies who are taking their tiny steps into the kitchen for first time, just like me!

The first recipe I'm going to share is an easy and quick South Indian gravy for rice - vatha kuzhambu. Many of you from the South know what a vatha or vathal kuzhambu is. For the uniniated, vatha kuzhambu is a tamarind based gravy with sambar powder (for the quick version) or vatha kuzhambu podi and vathal (dried berries) like sundakkai vathal (turkey berry) or manathakkali vathal (black night shade) or vegetables like sambar onions (shallots), brinjal or okra (lady's finger), along with little jaggery to balance the spices and sourness of tamarind. 

My version of vatha kuzhambu is really simple and trust me, it's much easier than sambar or other kuzhambu recipes, especially for beginners. I have even made this without any vathal or vegetables and it still tastes delicious with rice. So next question that would pop up in our mind is - what are the side dishes that we can serve with vatha kuzhambu? Usually it is served with paruppu thogayal or kootu and appalam. My favorite is roasted potato fry like this Chettinad Baby Potato Roast, Urulaikizhangu Mezhukkupuratti (pan-fried potatoes) or South Indian style mashed potatoes (urulaikizhangu podimas). Any thoran/poriyal (vegetable stir-fry with coconut) or mezhukkupurati (pan-fried vegetable) will go along this kuzhambu.

You can find more different recipes for vatha kuzhambu in the blog like this Arachuvitta Vatha Kuzhambu, made with freshly ground spices, my mom's version of Sundakkai Vatha Kuzhambu and Manathakali Vatha Kuzhambu and Chinna Vengaya (sambar onion) and Poondu (garlic) vatha kuzhambu. If you are interested, you can also check out my recipe for Homemade Vatha Kuzhambu Podi.


Ingredients:

Gingelly oil - 4 tbsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Sambhar powder - 3 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Curry leaves - few
Jaggery - 1 tsp
Tamarind paste - 5 tsp mixed in 2 cup warm water
Rice flour - 2 tsp

Tempering/Tadka:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Chana dal- 1 tsp
Fenugreek- 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Red chillies - 2, halved

Method:

1. Heat oil. Add ingredients for tempering. After it crackles, turn off the gas.

2. Add asafoetida, sambhar powder, red chilly powder, and turmeric powder. Fry till smell of the spices comes out.

3. Turn on the gas. Add the tamarind water and salt. Boil well on low heat.

4. Mix rice flour and water without any lumps. Add this and mix well.

5. Add jaggery and curry leaves.

Serve hot with rice.
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