SPICY LOTUS ROOT, CABBAGE, FENUGREEK LEAVES SALAD ( Thambou, kobi amasung methi mana singju)
This tasty and flavoursome Manipuri salad (singju) always takes me down memory lane to my home town, because I grew up eating this salad 3 to four times a week. It was a favourite afterschool snack for my girlfriends and I on our way back from school. Having this salad with pakouri, papar, bujia and a cup of black lemon flavour tea at Potpham (a Manipuri snack stall run by ladies) was one of my favourite pass times. Manipuris love this salad as a snack or a sidedish. It adds taste to simple meals. There are several varieties of salads in Manipur, including non-vegetarian salads. This one is a vegetarian salad which is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
The dressing for this salad is a very important part of the preparation, because it is the dressing which makes it so delicious. Don’t forget to use a generous amount of herbs, because a Manipuri salad without herbs is like a car without petrol. Some of my salad dressing ingredients are pre made. One pre made ingredient is perila seeds. When I make grinded perilla seeds, I usually make enough to last for at least a week. This is because perilla seeds are not easy to grind in small amounts. So it is a good idea to grind a whole lot at once. You can place the grinded perilla seeds in a jar and store it either in your fridge or at room temperature. I prepare roasted gram flour and chilli powder in exactly the same way as perilla seeds. Sometimes I prepare the perilla seeds just before preparing the salad. But since I eat salad quite often, it saves time to prepare a whole lot of perilla seeds at once and store it for later use.
- 1 ½ cup of finely sliced cabbage
- 1 cup of thinly sliced lotus root
- ½ cup of roughly chopped fresh fenugreek leaves OR pea shoots ( I used fenugreeek leaves)
- 1 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander leaves
- 2 or 3 lomba flowers (a Manipuri local herb). If lomba flowers are not available, omit it.
- 2 tablespoons of roasted and crushed perilla seeds
- 1 ½ tablespoon of roasted gram flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of roasted and crushed red chilli. If you don’t like the salad to be spicy, reduce the amount of chilli.
- 1 serving spoon of roasted and roughly crushed dry peas. You can also use boiled black beans or kidney beans instead of roasted dry peas.
- 1 serving spoon of gram flour or potato bhujia
- Mix all the vegetables and herbs on a salad plate. Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Spread the dressing on the mixture and mix well. Make sure the dressing is mixed well with the entire salad. Enjoy.