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Spice Up Your Life With Indian Cuisine - Getting Started

Updated on April 17, 2010

With summer on the way, it's time to start thinking about fresh, summer salads, simple but delicious family meals, and cooking outside to beat the heat. What better way to accomplish this, than to explore the many facets of Indian cuisine. You will discover an amazing variety of fresh, fabulous salads that will complement almost any grilled meat or vegetarian dish.

Many of these delicious salads can be prepared ahead of time, and refrigerated until it's time to sit down for dinner, making them even more summer-friendly. With the exception of a few dried spices, and canned chickpeas, all the ingredients are fresh, and freshly prepared food is so much tastier, and healthier for your family.

Cucumber Salad with apple, broccoli, mandarin orange segments, and Lima beans - photo from
Cucumber Salad with apple, broccoli, mandarin orange segments, and Lima beans - photo from
Cucumber Salad - photo from
Cucumber Salad - photo from

Traditional Summer Salad


  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 red apple, cored and diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 red chili, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)


  • Combine cucumber, scallion, tomatoes, and apple in a bowl
  • Whisk together the lime juice, cumin seeds, chopped chili, and ground pepper
  • Pour dressing over salad and mix well
  • Sprinkle with cilantro (coriander) leaves

This salad is a great accompaniment for a summer BBQ. It's marvelous with grilled lamb or beef, and is a tasty companion for meat kebabs.

Savory, sweet potato salad - photo from
Savory, sweet potato salad - photo from
Mint chutney potato salad - photo from
Mint chutney potato salad - photo from

Potato Chutney Salad

Chutney Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tamarind
  • 3/4 cup dates, stoned and chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup jaggery or (light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala (a pre-mixed spice blend)
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground

Potato Salad:

  • 1/2 lb. small new potatoes
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • i green chili, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves, chopped, plus a few extra for garnish


  • To make the chutney, break up the tamarind and place it in a saucepan with the dates and jaggery (or sugar)
  • Add a scant 2 cups of water - just enough to cover - and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until dates and tamarind are very soft
  • Remove from heat and let cool
  • When cool, press the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds and fibers
  • Stir in ground ginger, garam masala, and half of the cumin powder
  • Test for flavor and thickness. Mixture should coat a spoon. Add more jaggery (or muscovado sugar) if needed
  • Chill well
  • While the chutney is chilling, boil potatoes until tender. Cut in halves and place in a large mixing bowl
  • In a small bowl, combine lime juice, red onion, cracked peppercorns, green chili, coriander (cilantro) leaves, and the rest of the cumin powder
  • Pour over the warm potatoes and set aside to cool
  • To serve, spoon potatoes into an earthenware bowl, drizzle the chutney over the top, and garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves

Curried chickpea salad - photo from
Curried chickpea salad - photo from
Thai cucumber and pineapple salad - photo from
Thai cucumber and pineapple salad - photo from

Pineapple Chickpea Salad


  • 2 tbsp oil (for cooking)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp curry leaves, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 - 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp fresh coconut, grated
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves for a garnish


  • Heat oil in large frying pan, and toss the mustard, curry leaves, and chili flakes in the hot oil. After a few seconds, add the black peppercorns and stir over medium heat for about 30 seconds
  • Stir in pineapple and chickpeas, then remove everything to a bowl
  • Sprinkle with coconut, and add lime juice and sugar, mixing gently
  • Let steep for 30 minutes, and garnish with cilantro sprigs just before serving

If you feel these dishes might be a bit too spicy for you family, it is a simple matter to tone down the heat. Simple substitutions, such as fresh capsicum (bell peppers) for the chilis, and cilantro/coriander leaves for the curry leaves will help tone down the dishes for a palate less accustomed to spicy heat, but I do encourage trying the recipes as is for the first go-round.

© 2010, Text by Imelleda, All rights reserved


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    • Imelleda profile image

      Imelleda 6 years ago from East of the Sun, West of the Moon

      Thanks so much for stopping by to comment, Organic Spices!

    • profile image

      Organic Spices 6 years ago

      I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me,

      and I am completely satisfied with your website.

      All comments and articles are very useful and very good.

      Your blog is very attention-grabbing. I am loving all of the in

      turn you are sharing with each one!…

      Organic Spices

    • Imelleda profile image

      Imelleda 7 years ago from East of the Sun, West of the Moon

      Most welcome, General - glad you liked the salad recipes! Come visit any time.

    • GeneralHowitzer profile image

      Gener Geminiano 7 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      Looks delicious and tempting hmmmm... I love salad especially Caesar's I hope I will make some of this in the future... I am bookmarking this thanks a lot!

    • Imelleda profile image

      Imelleda 7 years ago from East of the Sun, West of the Moon

      Om parampoonya, thanks so much for commenting. You are most welcome.

      Hi jen's solitude! You are always most welcome.

      hypno dude - how very nice of you to say so. Thanks so much fro the rate and stumble, I shall certainly try to ;)

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrea 7 years ago from Italy

      Great hub, great layout, great pictures and great recipes. ;)

      Rated and stumbled, you are really a great writer. Go on this way. :)

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      Good title for those of us who know next to nothing about this subject. The recipes look yummy! Thanks for sharing.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

      Mmmmmmm....they all look yummy! I might try the potato chutney salad this weekend. Thanks a lot for the great recipes. :)