Sasam Salad

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Sasam salad, a beloved Konkani summer delight, traces its roots to the sun-kissed coastal region of Konkan, a stretch of land alongside the western coasts of Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra in India. Embedded in the cultural tapestry of Konkani cuisine, this refreshing dish has evolved over generations. 

 

Made with ripe mangoes (ambo in Konkani) and succulent pineapples available during the months of March to June, the dish is an ode to the practice of eating and cooking seasonally and locally. 

 

What really makes this dish are its different components, which include a coconut and mustard seeds chutney as the base, tamarind and jaggery for the balance between sweet and sour flavours, and dried red chilies for a hint of spice, and how well they work together.

 

Over the years, sasam salad has become a fixture in Konkani households, especially during celebratory gatherings. As families pass down the recipe from one generation to the next, the sasam salad has begun symbolising the preservation of Konkani flavours and culinary practices.

Cashew 1 cup
Garlic 1 teaspoon
Lemon juice 2 teaspoons
Jaggery, grated 2 ½ teaspoons
Olive oil 3 tablespoons
Chilled water 3 tablespoons
Salt To taste
Coconut grated 1 ½ cups
Kashmiri chili 2 pieces
Jaggery, grated 2 ½ teaspoons
Fennel seeds ½ teaspoon
Cumin seeds ½ teaspoon
Mustard seeds 1 teaspoon
Amchur powder ½ teaspoon
Rock salt To taste
Pineapple, medium diced 3 tablespoons
Pear, medium diced 3 tablespoons
Green grapes, halved 5-6 pieces
Black grapes, halved 5-6 pieces
Pomegranate seeds 2 tablespoons
Coconut chutney 2 tablespoons
Cashew cream 3 tablespoons
Kohlrabi, medium diced 2 tablespoons
Cashew toasted, crushed 2 tablespoons
Mint Few leaves

Mixer-blender, mortar and pestle, 3 to 4 bowls.

1

For the cashew cream, start by soaking the cashew in room temperature water for two hours.

2

In a mixer-blender grind all the ingredients for the cashew cream, except olive oil, until a fine paste forms.

3

Once a fine paste forms, gradually add the olive oil to the mixer-blender until the sauce becomes fluffy. Season with salt as required.

4

For the coconut chutney, start by dry roasting Kashmiri chilli, fennel, cumin, and mustard on slow flame until fragrant.

5

Spread the roasted ingredients on a tray to cool, and then crush in a mortar pestle with a pinch of rock salt until they make a fine powder. Alternatively you can blend it into a powder with a blender as well.

6

Pulse grind the grated coconut in the mixer-blender until coarse, and then add in the spice powder mix. Mix the two components well.

7

For the salad, season the diced fruits and vegetables with salt in a bowl, and mix it with the coconut chutney.

8

To plate, spread a big dollop of the cashew cream onto a bowl, followed by the diced fruit. Garnish with toasted cashews and mint leaves.

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