I love salads and it makes me sad that such a fantastic cuisine, Indian, does not have more varieties of salads. Our salads are normally served alongside the other main course dishes, to provide crunch and freshness to the meal. I crave salads that are main courses in their own right, have all the textures of a meal but on one plate, and are so much lighter than a full meal. This is one of those dishes — it is a salad I have built around chicken tikka, is easy to make and you can add or take away any salad vegetables you like. The dressing is delicious and creamy, reminiscent of Caesar salad dressing in consistency but lighter and fresher. If you make the dressing in advance, it will thicken as it sits, so loosen with a little water or oil and re–season to taste. The end result is delicious and satisfying without being complicated.
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pure red chile powder, or paprika, for color
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 -inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and pounded into a paste
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and pounded into a paste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3/4 teaspoon chaat masala
- 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, or to taste
- 2 good pinches dry fenugreek leaves, crushed in your hand
- 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Lemon and pistachio dressing
- 1- 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 very small garlic clove, peeled
- 2 tablspoons pistachios, skinned if possible
- 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small pinch sugar
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, skinned, pricked with a fork, and slashed across the thicker part on the top surface
- 1 tablespoon melted butter or vegetable oil
- 6 ounces mixed salad leaves
- small handful fresh mint leaves
- 20 pistachios, skinned if possible
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- small handful thin green beans, blanched for 2 minutes
- Whiz together the ingredients for the marinade. Transfer to a non–metallic dish, add the chicken, cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the fridge for as long as possible — this is your chance to get the flavors into the chicken. Bring back to room temperature before continuing.
- Preheat the broiler. Place the broiler rack on the highest shelf, as close to the grill as possible. Once hot, place the chicken on it and grill for 12 minutes, turning half-way through the cooking time. Baste with butter 2 minutes before the cooking time is up.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Using a blender, make a paste of all the ingredients with 2 tablespoons of water. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- To serve, toss the salad ingredients in the dressing, pile on a plate, slice the chicken at an angle and place on top.