Crisp summer cucumbers done three ways and a clip of my Radio show at the Minneapolis Farmers Market
I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the summer session at school! Up until just a year ago, I never thought I’d step into a formal school of learning again… and here I am, (almost) 4 classes down! (11 more to go ). In the midst of writing term-end papers and take-home exams, I woke up early on August 6th morning, assembled about a dozen spicy potato puff pastries, baked them, and then headed over to AM950 to talk live at the Fresh & Local Radio show, of the Minneapolis Farmers Market. As hosts Bonnie Dehn and Susan Berkson dug into the warm, savory puff pastries, we chatted about summer, farming, new recipes, and… cucumbers!
Cucumbers are now in season at the Farmers Market here and I couldn’t help but think of home, and eating slices of crisp, cool cucumbers, sprinkled with some tangy, mouth-watering chaat masala…mmm…
It also reminded me of the gazillion different ways we Indians prepare cucumbers, from kachumbar (chopped salad), to raitas (yogurt-based condiment) done in endless ways. Much to my delight, Susan & Bonnie asked me to share my cucumber recipes on the show. We also talked about how Indian food uses cumin, and how different treatments of the herb can result in different taste notes. You can hear a short version of the recipes and listen to the whole radio show HERE.
Before I continue… here’s wishing all my fellow desis a very Happy Independence Day!! Jai Hind!! GO INDIAA!! Wish I was home today watching a flag-hoisting ceremony…
In today’s post, I will be sharing THREE very simple, very easy ways that you can prepare fresh cucumbers in the Indian style.
Recipe 1 – Kachumbar
Indians from other parts of the country call this cooling cucumber preparation by different names and may prepare it with minor modifications. You could say, Kachumbar, is the Indian version of the Mexican Pico de Gallo.
Mix all the following together…
- 1 medium sized cucumber – chopped
- 1 small onion – finely chopped
- 1 medium sized tomato – chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2-3 tbsp of fresh cilantro – chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp chaat masala (available in any specialty Indian grocery store)
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
…and serve cold with lentils & rice, or any Indian meal.
Recipe 2 – From Kachumbar to Cucumber Raita
Simply take the Kachumbar recipe above, and add 3-4 large spoonfuls of yogurt and 1/4 tsp cumin powder. (If you have roasted, cracked cumin on hand, use that instead – adds a delightful smoky flavor!) Mix well with 2-3 tbsp of water, chill for 10 minutes, and serve! This is an excellent coolant in hot, humid Indian summers, and helps tone down spicy curries.
Recipe 3 – Grated cucumber Raita
Roughly grate (use the largest grate option on your grater) 1 small cucumber. Drain out any juice, and reserve for a cocktail or cooling drink. Mix with 2-3 large spoonfuls of yogurt, 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, salt to taste, freshly cracked black pepper, and 1/4 tsp chaat masala. Chill and serve!
What have you done this summer that you’ve been proud of? What have you cooked / eaten / experienced?