Summer salad from my garden : Carrot, greens and watermelon

My first story (and photographs) for BBC Good Food India magazine covers the restaurant Chez Mariannick, in the Off the Eaten Track section. Do check the April 2012 issue. If you love good food, you must subscribe to BBC Good Food online. And I'm not saying this only because I'm writing for them. This magazine is full of inspirations for enthusiastic cooks.

After indulging on food through the weekend (trying out new restaurants, having friends over or going out to friends' places) Sunday evenings are mostly just salad based dinners. Neither do I have the appetite or the energy or enthusiasm to cook and eat anything elaborate on a Sunday evening. 
It was no different this Sunday evening, when I went up to the garden, plucked a few things, soaked them in a sink full of water. 

Washing the freshly plucked produce
Basket of freshly plucked produce sitting in a water bath
Come supper time, I quickly put together the ingredients to make a deliciously refreshing salad, perfect for the hot evenings in Bangalore. I must say that my salad making skills have been encouraged by two factors. One, the terrace garden that is always a source of a few fresh salad greens, and two, my two friends - Ajit & Nandini, who are full of praise for any salad I put together. So I've decided to blog more of my impulsive salad making sprees.

Growing the multi coloured carrots has been a most fun experience, because when you pull it out of the ground, you don't know which colour it is going to be. Also, the purple carrots, when peeled are yellow inside, as shown in the picture below.

The purple carrot is yellow on peeling!
Now, rocket / arugula / rucola, I'm so in love with this spicy salad green, that I simply cannot have enough of it. I've let the first batch of rocket sown grow into a jungle, literally, so I can let them go to seed and then collect the seeds to share with friends, and sow more rocket in my garden. I've been using them in every salad, made pesto, added it to pasta, and even to a mint and coriander chutney with brilliant results. I'm surprised how my crush over rocket is sustaining over the last 9 months. Some nurseries in Bangalore sell the seeds. If you are in and around Whitefield, I'd love to share some of the rocket seeds with you. It's extremely easy to grow, even in pots. Give it a try!

Summer fresh salad with Carrots, Herbs and Watermelon
Serves 2
Time taken - Under 10 minutes, apart from the time taken to wash and dry greens

3 medium carrots - peeled and shaved
Small bunch of fresh rocket leaves ( you can substitute any other lettuce varieties or baby spinach)
Small bunch of fresh lettuce leaves
Handful of fresh herbs like thai basil / lemon basil 
Handful of fresh mint
Handful of roasted almonds
2 cups of watermelon cubes

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (you can substitute with red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar)
1 tsp of pesto (or use 3 tbsp finely minced/pounded basil in 1 tbsp olive oil)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey
Pinch of ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt


Wash the greens and herbs in a sink full of water 2-3 times. Use a salad spinner to dry the leaves or spread between two clean absorbent kitchen towels for up to 30 minutes before proceeding with recipe.
I used an orange, purple and yellow carrot each because that's what was the day's harvest from my kitchen garden. You can use any carrots that are in season. I shaved them using a vegetable peeler. 
Roughly chop the dried salad greens and herbs into bite sized pieces.
In a large bowl, mix the salad greens, thai basil, mint and shaved carrots. Keep aside.
Mix all the ingredient for the dressing in a small glass jam jar and give it a good shake. 
Just before serving, pour the dressing over the greens-carrots in the bowl. Toss well.
Divide into two plates, top each plate with half the roasted almonds and the watermelon cubes.

Adding grilled chicken or tofu or paneer or chickpeas will make the salad a heartier meal

[All pictures for this post taken on iPhone. I've realised that if I have to blog more often, iphone pics are my best friend :)]

Shopping notes:
All kinds of salad greens (except for rocket) are always available fresh at Namdhari's
Apple Cider Vinegar - I use Waitrose brand from Hypercity


Jayashree said...

Wow.....that's a lovely harvest, Nandita. I'd love to take you up on the seeds offer. Do you think it'll grow in a pot in a balcony that gets some sunlight during the day?

Spandana Bondalapati said...

Nice Harvest Nandita, and congrats on the article!!!
The salad looks so refreshing!!

Harini said...

Congrats for the new beginnings with BBC GoodFood!  I am inspired!  You actually grow purple carrots and arugula - great!

saffrontrail said...

The first thing I started growing was arugula with the salad seeds Nupur had got for me from the US 3 years ago. It was a relief to see that the seeds had survived for so long. Now i'm ready to distribute rocket seeds from the plants I allowed to go to seed. Thank you for your wishes!

saffrontrail said...

Thanks, Spandana!

saffrontrail said...

Hello Jayashree, it should grow well in a pot fed with adequate compost, the roots aren't too long so even a foot long depth is good enough. Will you be coming this side?

Shilpa said...

Congrats on the good food article,  will subscribe for it right away:)
The salad looks soo refreshing  and light, perfect for summer.

sachita said...

Tour of your garden, please? :) 

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RBS said...

Congrats Nandita! Glad to see you finally broke through just as the magazine is beginning to settle in nicely. So happy for you!!  :) 

Vidya said...

Hi ...I would be interested  if the seeds are still available...i live near whitefield 

Basanthidharm said...

Hello Nandita,

Could I please have some rocket seeds . The crop you've grown is just too inspiring :) . Would you please share some .... I am in marathahalli - so do let me know . Thanks !!


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