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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Parotta Salad

Hey everyone.. a good lunch-box item today!

Fig. 1. Parotta Salad
Every day I pack lunch. And I find myself having to constrain the contents based on various objections. True life examples: "When one bites into a soggy sandwich, tiny pieces of food get stuck in the front teeth. Then that doesn't look good." and "Wraps drip, hands get yucky." "Egg smells." "Food that is too Indian also smells... then people look at me funny." and then there is the questionable "This aloo-palak looks too green-green. I don't want to be called a grass-eater. So let's skip too-green stuff, too brown-stuff.. anything that might elicit comment actually."

No, it is not my kids that register the above complaints, bless their little angel-hearts. No, it is not the significant other, bless his tall, dark, handsome, Prince Charming-ness. And no, this is not my dabba-service clients either, bless their well-paying, hard-working souls.

These are all my own objections.. (eyes lower with embracement.. noticing a badly needed pedicure..)

And since it is me-myself that packs lunch, such constraints mean that I eliminate about 90% of the refrigerator.

One-pot dishes are really the most convenient for lunch-boxes. And I do make pulavs and khichdis a lottt. Fortunately the world of food-blogs opens us to many potential dabba candidates. I had seen kothu parotta on several blogs. Cham's version with chalna looks like a good one to try.. somewhat more authentic looking. I will make her version very soon too. So I am noting the link here. I also found a quick and easy version of Kothu Parotta on Show me the Curry, which does not require chalna preparation. So I note that here for quick week-nights.

I will post the real Kothu Parotta sometime in future when I actually manage to make it like the recipe says. I started out thinking that I would make Kothu Parotta. But by the time I got to the refrigerator I found myself wondering if there isn't a cold version of this dish I could concoct? A Parotta Salad? I suddenly remembered a whole bunch of salads I had seen at Soma's ecurry!

So I decided that Parotta Salad it would be! I started out with the basic idea of Kothu Parotta from what I have gleaned from these blogs - mixing cut roti/paratha pieces for carbs, a source of protein (like egg or chicken), mixed vegetables and a curry or sauce to bring them all together. I just adapted the ingredients to make it a cold salad.

Carbs -  1 small cooked paratha. Preferably a day old, bit stale, dryish. Torn into bite sized pieces.
Protein - I used one small Garden Burger patty. Nuked in the microwave, cooled and cut up into bite sized pieces. In Kothu Parotta egg or chicken is used. One could use chopped boiled egg. I skip egg in dabbas.
Veggies - Since this is a salad I used the following fresh, raw vegetables:
Red bell pepper - 1 medium, chopped thin
Jalepeno pepper - 1/2, deseeded and finely chopped
Cucumber - 1 mini, unpeeled, chopped
Oranges - 2 medium, peeled and chopped
Lettuce - 2 leaves, torn into bite sized pieces.
Sauce/Curry - I used 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of readymade Arabiatta pasta sauce. This is just to flavour the paratha and burger. 

1) In a large bowl cook the garden burger in the microwave 1 minute per side, flip once, total 2 minutes. Let it cool, chop it into small bite sized pieces.
2) Add to this, torn up pieces of cooked roti or paratha. Add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of pasta sauce. Mix well. The sauce should be really really minimal. Just enough to coat the paratha and burger pieces. No excess whatsoever.
3) Chop all the vegetables and mix them with the burger-paratha pieces. Your salad is done!

No, there is no dressing. Why? Just because the oranges are sweetish-tart, the jalepeno is hot, the red bell pepper is sweet, lettuce and cucumber are cool and crunchy. When I added the sauced burger and paratha the whole mix turned out just perfect! So there was no need of even salt in the veggies! And because of the proteins and carbs it was a very reasonably filling salad!

A note for dabba-making, do not mix everything hotchpotch if you are packing this for lunch later. In the box first lay the sauced pieces of paratha and burger. Then layer on them the cucumber, then the red bell pepper, then oranges and jalepeno. Last and topmost make a "bed" of the lettuce leaves. Close the box and refrigerate until lunch. Open and mix the contents with your fork, or invert over a plate if you have that luxury. Since there is almost no salt (other than the sauce which lies in the bottom layer), and the softest veggies (lettuce and orange) are in the top layer, none of the veggies wilt if reasonably refrigerated.

All of the ingredients are really flexible in this salad. Feel free to replace the carbs with other appropriate ones like roti, pita bread, cooked pizza base, anything that is not too soft and spongy. Otherwise it will get soggy by lunchtime. Also feel free to substitute with other proteins or vegetables.

This was made using one bowl. So this may qualify as a one-pot dish and goes to One Hot Stove where Nupur is collecting one-pot dish recipes for her event, Blog Bites.

Another note: The above pic was taken at home when tried first at dinner, not at lunch. The leftovers were assembled and taken to lunch next morning and could not see the light of a flash out there on account of "If I take pictures of my tiffin people will look at me funny."

Thanks for reading everyone! Have a good end-of-October this week!


Dr.Sameena Prathap


The salad is new to me but looks very inviting...:)


M D said...

I love the way you have written this. The first few lines are exactly what most of us would think consciously or sub-consciously at some point in time. Nice one!

Aparna S Mallya said...

Oh wow, I would never have imagined that it is parota unless you told me!

I do remember the comment i made on yr garlic chutney! I was meaning to post it since then, finally got around to doing it now!

SS blogs here said...

Thanks, Sameena! :)

Thanks, Mallika.. :)

Thanks, Aparna. Was nice to see your version of garlic chutney.

Sushma Mallya said...

That looks yummy, nice way to use parotta..

SS blogs here said...

Thanks, Sushma!

Priya said...

Parotta salad, the name itself tempts me a lot...droolworthy dish..

SS blogs here said...

Thanks, Priya!

Cham said...

After reading few lines, u made me think about my kiddo, who says no green, no rice, no spice in lunch box. He keeps saying none knows Indian cuisine at school mom!
I love Kottu parota blogged long back but salad sounds good!

SS blogs here said...

Hey Cham.. I commiserate with your kiddo, cos it may be a little better amongst grownups. :)

I loved your version of Kothu Parotta. So I couldn't bear to make/post it without doing it with chalna like yours! :)

sra said...

I have to give it to you, SS, the first time I ever heard of a parota salad is here! Very interesting!

SS blogs here said...

Haha, Sra.. thanku-thanku! :D