Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Cookery, Indic ~ “Salads For All Occasions” by Vijaya Hiremath

Recipe: Sprouted Wheat and Spinach Salad

Salads for all Occasions by Vijaya Hiremath
Published in December 2005 by Jaico Publishing House

Traditionally, salad or koshimbir has formed a small part of main meals in India, taking its place alongside pickles and chutneys. This probably explains why preparing salads has always flummoxed me. Grains, vegetables, and lentils formed a complete meal, and salads were the step-children on my thali. I managed with the usual suspects – chopped tomatoes and onions with a splash of lemon juice and salt; grated cabbage and crushed peanuts with a splash of lemon juice and salt; steamed beetroot and grated carrot with a splash of lemon juice and salt; *yawn* and so on. I did not fare any better at the elaborate salad bars in U.S. restaurants and cafetarias. With the seemingly endless choices, one never quite knows when and where to stop piling one’s bowl. The end result was always a mishmash of ingredients, all of which I savour individually, but were disastrous together. I also have a distaste for the usual dressings, based as they are in oil and vinegar.

I was not interested in the plethora of salad books found in the American bookstores. Since our main meals at home are always Indian, I needed a book that used Indian ingredients, and produced flavours that would not clash with the other parts of our meal. I had purchased Varsha Dandekar’s Salads of India many years ago, and while it is an excellent cookbook in other respects, it is not about salads. Most of the dishes were really sukhi bhaji (dry vegetable preparations without gravy). There are other books on salads published in India, but they usually just reproduced Western salads. Vijaya Hiremath’s book, which I almost ignored at the bookstore due to the rather bland title, has ended my days of salad ennui.

The book is completely vegetarian, with over 50 salad recipes using a wide variety of easily-available ingredients. Sprouts prepared from whole grains and beans play a prominent role in many recipes, a feature which raised the book several notches in my estimation. Hiremath presents several fresh and innovative combinations of vegetables, fruit, greens, nuts, and sprouts. For example, Country Garden Salad, a jaded menu item that evokes images of limp lettuce and cottony tomatoes, appears in an elegant and attractive avtaar in this book. It is made with tender fenugreek leaves, white radish, carrot, cucumber, tomato, onion, and roasted sesame seeds and dressed with lemon juice, minced garlic, fresh grated coconut, cumin powder, and salt. The dressings are sauces prepared from fruit, vegetables, or dahi; chutneys or dry masala powders. The layout of the book is user-friendly: one recipe per page with the nutritive value for each recipe provided at the bottom. There are plenty of photos, which are mercifully devoid of Indian artifacts and fabrics cluttered around the food.

The recipes use a combination of weight and volumetric measurements, which might pose a problem for those readers used to measuring in cups and do not own a kitchen scale. The instructions are terse and lacking in nuances. For example, greens and vegetables being used in salads must be properly rid of excess water after washing them; otherwise, it dilutes the dressing. Novice cooks might not realise this and the recipes do not include such instructions. The book also suffers another deficiency that is common to some cookbooks produced in India: absence of an index, which forces you to scan the entire table of contents if you are pondering over what to prepare with a particular ingredient. Each recipe, with calories ranging from 250 to 350, is supposed to provide one meal for a single person; but, small eaters might find the quantity too large to be consumed in one sitting. All these drawbacks, however, are minor irritations and easily overlooked once you taste the delicious and nutritious salads made from this book.

Veena Parrikar

Sprouted Wheat and Spinach Salad

From: Salads for All Occasions by Vijaya Hiremath

100 gms wheat sprouts
100 gms carrot
100 gms tomato
100 gms cabbage
1 cup spinach leaves

2 flakes minced garlic
1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
150 gms thick curds (dahi)
Salt to taste

Sprouted Wheat
To prepare sprouted wheat, soak them overnight in plenty of water. Next morning, drain the wheat, and place the grains in a clean muslin cloth. Hang the muslin around your kitchen sink tap, and sprinkle the cloth with water. The wheat should sprout in two to three days in mild to warm weather. During this period, sprinkle water occasionaly if the muslin looks dry.

Centre: Spinach and sprouted wheat. Clockwise from left: carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, dahi with minced garlic and salt, roasted sesame seeds.

1. Shred cabbage finely. If spinach is tender, use whole leaves; otherwise chop roughly or break into pieces with your hands.
2. Cut carrot into small pieces.
3. Quarter tomato.
4. Beat curds. Add garlic and salt and mix well.
5. Combine vegetables with sprouts.
6. Arrange spinach leaves on a flat dish.
7. Spread vegetable mixture over the spinach.
8. Pour curd mixture over the vegetables.
9. Sprinke sesame seeds before serving.

Sprouted Wheat and Spinach Salad
Sprouted Wheat and Spinach Salad

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Goduma (Wheat),Reviews: Cookbooks,Spinach,Sprouts (Molakalu),Veena Parrikar,Yogurt (Monday January 7, 2008 at 12:24 am- permalink)
Comments (24)

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24 comments for Cookery, Indic ~ “Salads For All Occasions” by Vijaya Hiremath »

  1. Interesting that you should mention Varsha Dandekar! I met the illustrator of that cookbook last month – I hadn’t heard of the book till then. And I also found out that I had met Varsha Dandekar all too briefly several years ago. Her book, I was told, is out-of-print now. It was published by a small publisher, then based in NY.

    This salad sounds and looks like something I would like to make. Would you be able to give approximations for the ingredients in cups/tbsps for the first 4 ingredients?

    Manisha, I do not have a weighing scale in my temporary Indian kitchen, so I just “winged it”. I used a cup of raw wheat to make the sprouts, which turned out to be too much. A half cup of raw wheat should be enough. For the rest of the ingredients, I had noted down the weights of the vegetables from the grocery bill and approximately divided them into 100-gram portions. Sorry that I cannot be more helpful, but this is a very forgiving recipe – just trust your taste and instincts for the proportions. The next time I make it, I will note down the ingredients in volumetric measurements.

    You might still find Dandekar’s book in university bookstores or libraries. I had bought my copy way back in the 90s from the university bookstore in Cornell.

    Veena Parrikar

    Comment by Manisha — January 7, 2008 @ 1:36 am

  2. Now this is the kind of salad I’d like to eat.

    Comment by Cynthia — January 7, 2008 @ 5:05 am

  3. Out of print! So sad. This is one book, I would love to have on my shelf. I usually shy away from buying cookbooks in India, because of lengthy preparation style, inaccurate measurements, and inadequate explanation of ingredients. These books are not written for 1.75 gen immigrants like me.

    Thanks for posting these recipes. I cannot express my appreciation enough in this little comment space!

    Padmaja, Vijaya Hiremath’s book is still available in India; I have seen it in many Landmark Stores. It is Varsha Dandekar’s Salads of India (published in the USA) that might be out of print.

    Veena Parrikar

    Comment by padmaja — January 7, 2008 @ 5:56 am

  4. Those wheat sprouts look very nutritious. Thanks so much for sharing a very informative article.

    Comment by Meera — January 7, 2008 @ 7:47 am

  5. Oh wow..that salad good super good! I am not a big fan of American salads either and have been on the look out for Indian versions using sprouts.

    I loved the ingredients mentioned in the seasoning. Will definitely make this at home. Please do give us more of these salad varieties.

    Thank you so much for bringing Ms. Vijaya to us, Indira. Can’t wait for more excitement on this site which I am sure is on its way!

    Comment by wonderfuldestiny — January 7, 2008 @ 9:24 am

  6. Looks like a really delicious and interetsing salad! And the book sounds really good too! Will give this a try sometime!

    Comment by Latha — January 7, 2008 @ 11:18 am

  7. I love Indian salads because we don’t use ranch, thousand island type heavy dressings. This book will be a nice addition to my cookbook collection. Thanks!

    Comment by GG — January 7, 2008 @ 11:47 am

  8. Thanks for the book recommendation, Indira. But ingredients by weight still daunts me.

    Comment by Suganya — January 7, 2008 @ 11:47 am

  9. The recipe is very refreshing. Using curd for dressing sounds better than the vinegar or sourcream based dressings. Thanks for bringing it to us, Indira and Veena. Looking forward to more salad recipes.

    Comment by Madhuri.A — January 7, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

  10. Sprouted Wheat!!??? that’s amazing! and would be so good for the body too!the salad really looks very pretty! thanks for the brilliant recommendation:)

    Comment by Mansi — January 7, 2008 @ 1:15 pm

  11. just as mansi said, Amazing. I could never even think of wheat sprots. that is just so new to me. Now, this is the salad I want to try asap. Salad looks good .

    Comment by Madhavi — January 7, 2008 @ 1:46 pm

  12. Very yummy and pics are encouraging enough to try my hand at it, esp. when the sun is up and bright.

    Comment by veena bhat — January 8, 2008 @ 1:51 am

  13. Wow never sprouted wheat… Nice one.. I am sure this one is packed with so much flavor besides its health benefits!!

    Comment by Kalva — January 8, 2008 @ 5:44 am

  14. Hi Indira,
    Thanks for sharing the healthy salad recipe and wonderful article on indian cooking books by Veena .
    I never tried wheat sprouts before.
    But my mom used to soak wheat overnight and pressure-cook, and then do seasoning with mustard seeds and red chillies, salt, coriander. Especially for me, and I used to take along with a scoop of rice. It was so delicious to me.
    I will try this recipe.

    Comment by vineela — January 8, 2008 @ 9:18 am

  15. Wow ! another healthy recipe from your blog :). this sound like my kind of recipes, love all kind of sprouts and eager to include them in my kitchen routine….
    thanks for sharing Indira 🙂

    Comment by Pooja — January 8, 2008 @ 10:41 am

  16. Hello Veena,
    Very informative book review and a great recipe to boot. Though I sprout most pulses, sprouting wheat is totally new to me and they do look so pleasant – totally agree with you on the dislike for American style salads with dressings that have far more calories than the mainstay of the salad themself.
    I must buy some wheat and try sprouting them, then try out this salad.
    Lovely post…looking forward to your next!

    Comment by Nandita — January 9, 2008 @ 5:49 am

  17. a nutritious and beautifull salad..will defineatly give out a try. thank you veena.

    Comment by lavanya — January 9, 2008 @ 7:58 am

  18. Indira.. salad with sprouted Wheat is wonderful and healthy.. nutritious post..

    Comment by Archana — January 9, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

  19. Wow! Your photos are really making me crave for that item! Lovely salad. How do u take such lovely pictures? Never tried making sprouts at home and this sounds nutritious. Will try it soon.

    Comment by anusriram — January 9, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

  20. You know Veena the moment I read about your series on Mahanandi I kept my pen and paper ready… I knew I’d want to buy all the books you mentioned. I can hardly wait for my next trip to India 🙂
    I dislike serving koshimbirs every time. This salad sounds just delicious.

    Comment by Ashwini — January 27, 2008 @ 10:56 am

  21. The food on your site looks delicious! Healthy too. I am going to try them on my family.

    Comment by chocolate gal — January 29, 2009 @ 9:18 pm

  22. Very authentic and healthy too. We mangaloreans sprout green gram a lot, but wheat sounds very interesting and wholesome. Will certainly try out, makes a complete meal!!

    Comment by gayathri — August 9, 2010 @ 10:37 am

  23. Very authentic and healthy too. We mangaloreans sprout green gram a lot, but wheat sounds very interesting and wholesome. Will certainly try out, makes a complete meal!!

    Comment by gayathri — August 9, 2010 @ 10:37 am

  24. Hmm these look delicious, thanks for posting up this recipe, looks quite simple to make.


    Comment by plasterer bristol — April 27, 2015 @ 11:46 am

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