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Friday, January 16, 2015

The Orange Evening salad

A crunchy salad of Orange, Mexican Turnip n Pomegranate for the winter

First of all I will tell you about Mexican Yam/Mexican Turnip/Jicama/Yam Bean. It is the name of a native Mexican vine, the plant has tuberous roots which are edible, and it is these roots with which we are about to make this salad. In India we know it as ‘Shankhalu’, literally because of the similar shape of them with white conch/shankha. In Hindi it is called ‘Mishrikand’. This plant belongs to the bean family. The flesh of the tuberous roots is eaten mostly raw or sometimes cooked, the flesh is crunchy, slightly sweet n creamy and the flavor reminds us of some apples. It is sometimes also called ‘Chinese potato’, ‘Mexican potato’.

                    Though it is native of Mexico, it got spread perhaps through the hands of the Spanish into many countries of Asia like China, Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, India, Bangladesh and many more. In Mexico the Jicama is popular in salads with other fruit combination. The same is true for Philippines, Myanmar; however in these countries they are also stir-fried along with herbs n spices. 

                                                               Here in India, we get this around the winter, now that it is winter it is abundantly available in the vegetable market.  At the end of January there is a special puja of goddess Saraswati, who is the goddess of music n learning, in that occasion of worshiping her when people prepare an offering with fruits they often include this ‘shankhalu’. The shankhalu is simply peeled, the inner crunchy white flesh is diced into cubed and simply eaten like that, they are subtly sweet, slightly aromatic and the smell of them seems very calm when I have to describe that smell. Back home we eat in the same way, sometimes my dad would sprinkle a touch of red chili powder, a bit of pink rock salt or normal white salt and it is so fun to eat. These days sometimes I add a slight hint of chaat masala on them.

                                                                                                This year when Saraswati puja will come, things will happen the same way but my dad won’t be there, since he has left his body he won’t be able to taste it like before and I will have a bundle of memories of this time of the year with my father.

Yesterday I discovered one big Mexican turnip under the table hidden in the dark, it got unnoticed for some time but the good thing about them is that they keep very well for a long time, so when I peeled it was just as fresh. So I picked oranges, a pomegranate, a few roasted peanuts and this delicious fruit salad was born. It looked so wonderful, the crunch from the Mexican turnip, its slight sweetness, the citrus sweetness of oranges, the crunchy pomegranate and the touch of pink rock salt, chaat masala and the burst of colors made me feel better in the evening.

So now I must tell you about how to make this winter fruit salad. Eat it specially facing the sunlight, you will feel better.

For The Recipe:  You will need

Shakalu/Shankhalu/Mexican yam/Mishrikand- 1 big, peeled n diced into 2 inch thin sticks
Orange- 1 big, peeled and sliced breath wise n get the seeds out
Pomegranate- one handful of pomegranate seeds
Chaat masala- ¼ - ½ tsp
Pink rock salt- 2 pinches
Black pepper- freshly ground, some pinches
Red chili powder- 2 pinches (you can skip it also)
Salt- a pinch
Peanuts- roasted n take off the outer skin

1. First peel the shankhalu with a peeler, the outer layers will be fibrous, so once the fibrous layer comes off, peel it a little more until you reach the crunchy white flesh. Half the shankhalu from the middle along its length then halve each half. Then slice each quarter along the length into thin slices, keep some slices intact for the shape, then with the rest, slice them into thin sticks.
2. In a bowl keep the sticks together, sprinkle pink rock salt, red chili powder, black pepper, chaat masala and salt, toss them with the spices. Check for the salt now because chaat masala is a mix of salt n spices, so we have to balance, add in little amounts and check until the seasoning is right. Take some pomegranate seeds and crush them in your hands and let the juices fall on the sticks, mix.
3. In a plate arrange first the whole thin slices of shankhalu, then arrange the orange slices on them, crush some pomegranate seeds on them so that the juices fall on the shankhalu and orange segments, then in the middle put a handful of the flavored shankhalu sticks, sprinkle more pomegranate seeds all over them and last sprinkle the roasted peanuts over them. Now you see how beautiful it looks!

So now it is time to serve, eat with a smile and the salad will make you smile even more. Bon app├ętit.


  1. I loved it..use of black pepper and celery seed in this dressing. Didn't use parsley, onion.SO good Good Food in the Lake District.

    1. Hey The Highway Inn I am so glad that you made it n you loved it! :D i can imagine the celery seed would add a beautiful flavor to this salad. i have to try it now :) the orange will go well with that. thank you for your comment :) this is what makes is worthwhile.cheers.

    2. Hey The Highway Inn I am so glad that you made it n you loved it! :D i can imagine the celery seed would add a beautiful flavor to this salad. i have to try it now :) the orange will go well with that. thank you for your comment :) this is what makes is worthwhile.cheers.