Peanut Salad (Peanut Sundal)

IMG_1747Festival season of India just went by but, when you are in North America you hardly notice it. That is not to say I don’t miss it, especially Navratri – Nine nights of festivities that marks the celebration of goddess Durga and all her various forms as Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth and prosperity) and Saraswati (Goddess of learning and education). It is celebrated all over India with a lot of grandeur. In the south of India, it is customary for women to invite other women to their houses for Kolu – a colorful arrangements of dolls each set to a unique theme. There is an exchange of beetle nut leaf, coconut, and bangles. As a child I remember my mom taking my sister and me to several of these. My pet complain about this particular festival was the food! Every house that we visited had some form of Sundal – a salad made from some sort of lentils or beans – the official food of Navratri. I would cringe at the thought of eating the same lack luster food for nine days! Each night after all our visits and sundal eating we would sit and compare sundals. ‘Oh that was so under seasoned’ or ‘The blackeyed peas at Vijaya’s house could have been cooked a little bit more’.


Now in Canada, and after many years, I miss the whole nine yards of Navratri, the gaggle of women in colourful Kancheevaram sarees and the scent of fresh jasmine flowers that adorn their hair. Funnily I also miss Sundal! Over the years, and after many many bad sundals I have come up with my own variation that I have come to love. It may not be traditional, and I can see the collective nod of disapproval from the Tamil Brahmin community, but I love it and make it all year long not just for Navratri.

You can eat this salad warm or straight out of the refrigerator and is a wonderful dish for picnics.

IMG_1739 Ingredients 

  • 11/2 cup raw peanut soaked over night
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 mango diced
  • ¼ cup grated carrot
  • 1 spring onion chopped finely
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ inch ginger grated
  • 2 slit green chilly
  • Salt to taste


  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • A pinch of asafoetida (Hing)
  • 4-5 curry leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the peanut, it should take about 40 minutes to an hour. I choose to pressure cook it, giving about 5 whistles.

Drain the peanut in a large bowl, add coconut, pomegranate, raw mango, carrot, spring onion, chilly and ginger

In a small pan heat the oil and add mustard seed to it, when it begins crackle add urad dal, pinch of asafetida and curry leaves. When the urad dal turns red turn off the heat and pour the seasoning on the peanut mixture.

Add the juice of 1 lime to this mixture and garnish with finely chopped coriander before serving.

Apple Radish Salad with a Ginger Lime dressing

Apple Radish Salad

Although we are into spring for the last week or so, it has still been quite cold in Ontario. It is almost as if the weatherman’s memo did not reach whoever it had to. We have been dawdling with the change with no glimmer of warm sunny days in sight. This time last spring, we had stowed away all our winter gear and were busting out the shorts.  Patios were teaming with people sipping heady concoction and eating all sorts of mouthwatering food that spring had to offer.

Every year I look forward to start off spring. The sudden change in vibe amazed me in my FOB (Fresh off the Boat) years in Toronto. A spring date was picked and like a beautifully synchronized orchestra, the sun would shine benevolently, birds would chirp, trees that had been barren through the dread of cold would begin to sprout greens, grocery stores stock a new selection of veggies and fruits, menus in restaurants would be updated, racing season would begin.  Even after 4 years, this rather dramatic overhaul in weather still excites me.

salad3This year however, it has been a tad bit disappointing with the delayed start we are experiencing. At these uncertain times of varying temperatures, I have been looking for something fresh and bright but also warm and soothing. This apple radish salad with a ginger lime dressing offered me that balance. The crisp apple, peppery notes of the radish is offset by the freshness of the lime and warmth of the ginger. It makes a nice slaw or it can be used as toppings for burgers or tacos.

Apple Radish Salad with a Ginger Lime dressing

Serves 2-3

  • A small bunch of radish sliced thinly into strips (I used 4 large sized ones)
  • 1 apple sliced thinly into strips (granny smith would be the best, I used honey crisp at the time when I was photographing it)
  • Handful of cilantro or parsley chopped
  • 1 green chilly (optional)
  • 1 spring onion finely chopped (The salad is perfectly fine without it, but I used in some other versions and loved it)
  • ½ inch ginger grated
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1-teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Assemble the Salad

In a bowl mix the thinly sliced apple, radish, cilantro, green chilly and spring onion

Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, ginger salt and pepper

Pour in the dressing over the apple radish mixture when you are about to serve