Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Nalli Kai Salad Vegan MoFo day 7

And so the uphill climb of Vegan MoFo has finally begun for me. Last week went super smoothly because most of my Dessert posts had been in various stages of blog readiness before time. But this week I'm not as prepared as I was. That means I need to think up and make something each day from scratch and then share it here with you all and also on my Veganosaurus Page on Facebook.

It'll be a challenge and probably a good one at that. Besides, I signed up for Vegan MoFo being fully aware of what it would mean for my daily life. Thankfully, my crisper is full of fresh veggies and greens so I have no lack of inspiration. Now all we need to do is wait till Friday to see if my sanity is preserved until the end of the week. :oP

Until then, here for your pleasure is today's recipe in this week's ongoing theme on my blog - Soups and Salads.

In today's Salad, I've featured one of my favourite fruits in the world, the West Indian Gooseberry, known as Nalli Kai in my language, Kannada. These super tart local fruits (not to be confused with the regular Indian Gooseberry/Amla/Bettada Nalli Kai) are usually sold on street-side carts outside schools, tossed with salt and chilli powder. However, the tastiest ones are always found on old trees in people's backyards.

Last week, when we were at someone's place, my sister spied a Nalli Kai tree in their garden with big, ripe, irresistible fruits that made us drool uncontrollably. Our hosts were really nice and asked one of their staff to climb onto the roof and pluck some Nalli Kais for us. And this kind soul hand picked and filled a big bag with the fattest, juiciest fruits which we brought back home.

Most of the loot was handed over to my mom so she could make her delicious Nalli Kai Uppinkai (pickle) for all of us. But a portion was kept aside to be enjoyed straight, dipped in salt. Chew on each sour fruit and then spit out the seed, such a relaxing way to spend time. :)

I also concocted a Nalli Kai Salad as a MoFo special. I just tossed a bunch of random things together - spiced peanuts, veggies from my crisper, herbs from my kitchen garden... and there is was, this gorgeous salad!

This is a very flexible recipes, the variety and quantity of ingredients can be adjusted to suit your taste buds. Just remember that Nalli Kais are very rich in vitamin C, so iron heavy greens and herbs make a very good combination with them.

I've used Congress Kadlekai from Veena Stores in Malleshwaram. If you want to make some of your own, here's a nice recipe by Deesha of Vegetable Platter. But you could also just use peanuts which have been roasted plain or with salt. In that case, a pinch of turmeric and some spice, like red chilly powder or green chilly paste would make a good addition.

Nalli Kai Salad

Nalli Kai - seeds removed and roughly chopped
Congress Kadlekai
Tulsi (Indian Holy Basil)
Capsicum Tomato
Sesame Seeds

Toss everything together in an airtight box.
Chill in the fridge for a few hours (can also be left to marinade overnight).
Serve over lettuce leaves.
Enjoy! :)

What kind of super sour berries do you get in your part of the world and do you like them?


  1. Looks delicious! Wish those beauties would grow round our way!

  2. Wow always introduced to different flavors and delicacies when I come here. We have sour cherries here but doesn't compare to what you just shared. Beautiful salad.
    I think I would have fun with the spitting part. Wait is this blog public?

    1. Hey spitting out seeds and pits is the best part of eating fruits, as long as you're not spitting it onto someone's head. hehehe

      One time, my sis, my cousins and I had ate watermelons on a farm. We stood in a single line and had a competition to see who could spit out the seeds the farthest. LOL and yes, this was after we had all reached adulthood. :oP

  3. Our gooseberries look quite different and have spines on them which must be stripped before eating. This salad looks so tasty. I can't have nightshade now, so will find an alternative for the tomatoes. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Raina, the gooseberries there are completely different from both kinds of Indian Gooseberries. I have no idea why they share a common name. :)

      I'm sure this salad will taste great even without tomatoes. Some grated carrots in there might be good too.

  4. We have different b=gooseberries here. They have spines on them that must be removed prior to eating. The salad look super tasty. I can't have nightshade now, so will find an alternative to the tomatoes and try your recipe. thanks for sharing.

  5. wow! I really wish I could try some of your recipes- made by you of course! :) Looks really yummy. your pictures and descriptions make my mouth water. Mmmm.

    1. Cin, you know you're always welcome to come stay with me a few days. I'll be happy to spoil you rotten. :)

  6. Another amazing, unique salad! But I totally feel your MoFo pain. I'm slumpin'!

    1. Ahh a kindred soul. I was feeling weak and lonely to be the only person to start feeling the slump so early on in MoFo. Glad to have gotten through the first three days of the week.

  7. i love the name of the elements.. i never likes amla except in sweet murabba. but my mom ate them by loads! we hada tree too on the corner of our street

    1. Ooooh Murabba. Yum! I like Amla too but can eat maybe one in one sitting. What I like best is the sweet after-taste in the mouth when each bite of Amla is followed by a sip of water.

      So have you tried these smaller, sour Gooseberries or just the Amla?