Som Tam Mamuang| Thai Raw Mango Salad

Som Tam Mamuang, anyone?

For the uninitiated, that refers to salad made using unripe mango, in the Thai style. As Thai cuisine generally is, this salad too is a beautiful blend of flavours and interesting textures. I absolutely adore its sweet and sour and spicy taste, and simply have to make it every summer when raw mangoes are in season.

Som Tam Mamuang or Thai Raw Mango Salad

This salad is a real treat to the tastebuds, the sort of thing that would wake them up from a reverie. And yet, it is a very simple dish to prepare, the putting together of which does not take more than 20 minutes.

What goes into my version of Som Tam Mamuang

I got acquainted with Som Tam Mamuang on our holidays in Thailand. After long and tiring days spent exploring, we would often make a meal of a flavourful salad such as this one. I have seen this being prepared over and over again, and have realised that there are so many little variations to it, though the basic ingredients remain more or less the same. This here is my version of Som Tam Mamuang, the way my family prefers it.

Like I was saying earlier, the major ingredient in Som Tam Mamuang is raw mango, which is also referred to as green or unripe mango. While some people include prawns or shrimp in the salad, I have used onion here.

I have used honey to sweeten the salad. The spiciness comes from green chillies and the bit of ginger I have added in. You could use a dash of red chilli powder instead, too.

Like many dishes from the Thai cuisine, this salad too contains roasted and crushed peanuts and coriander. However, I have done away with the soya sauce that is quite commonly used in Som Tam Mamuang.

How I spiralised the raw mango for this salad

See the spirals?

I made long spirals of the raw mango, to make the salad interesting to eat. This I achieved thanks to my Messermeister julienne peeler, part of a kitchen set my brother-in-law gifted me years ago, and which I have been using for ages now. These are some real good knives and peelers, definitely worth investing in. (Not sponsored!)

So, all I had to do was peel the raw mango and then run the Messermeister julienne peeler over it to create these long, spaghetti-like spirals. They surely added to the appeal of the salad! 🙂

It’s raining summer salads in the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group!

If you have been reading my blog regularly, I am sure you would have seen my posts for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge. This is a group of food bloggers who cook based on a pre-determined theme every month. The bloggers are divided into pairs every month. Every pair exchanges two secret ingredients which are then used to cook for the month’s theme. The others then try and guess the secret ingredients that have been used by each pair. It’s super fun!

The theme for the Shhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge this month is ‘Summer Salads’. My partner for the month was Preethi, author of the wonderful blog Preethi’s Cuisine. She gave me the two secret ingredients of ‘onion’ and ‘honey’, which fit right into this family favourite Som Tam Mamuang I wanted to showcase.

The theme for the month was suggested by the very talented Kalyani, author of Sizzling Tastebuds. Check out the interesting Warm Barley Summer Salad she whipped up recently! Coincidentally, I gave Preethi the secret ingredients of ‘barley’ and ‘lemon juice’, and she went on to prepare this beauty!

Other Thai recipes on my blog

You might want to check out the other Thai recipes on my blog, too. There’s:

Rainbow Rice Salad
Thai Sticky Rice With Mango
Thai Ripe Mango Salad
Thai Grapefruit Salad

Tom Yum Soup

Sriracha Pineapple

Vegetarian Thai Fried Rice

Thai Green Curry

Thai Yellow Curry

Vegetarian Thai Coconut Soup

Healthy Thai-Style Moong Bean Wraps

Som Tam Mamuang or Thai Raw Mango Salad recipe

Here is how I make it.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 1 medium-sized raw mango

  2. 1 small onion

  3. 2 green chillies

  4. A 1/2-inch piece of ginger

  5. 1/4 cup peanuts

  6. Salt, to taste

  7. 2 tablespoons honey or to taste

  8. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Method:

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till they get crisp. Take care to ensure that they do not burn. Transfer to a plate and allow them to cool down fully.
  2. In the meantime, peel the raw mango and julienne it. You can either use a julienne peeler like I did or chop it into thin matchsticks. Transfer the raw mango juliennes to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Peel the ginger and chop it really fine. Similarly, chop the green chillies really fine too. Add the chopped ginger and green chillies to the mixing bowl too.
  4. Chop the onion finely. Add to the mixing bowl.
  5. Add in salt and honey.
  6. When the roasted peanuts have completely cooled down, coarsely crush them in a small mixer jar. Add this to the mixing bowl too, along with the finely chopped coriander.
  7. Mix up all the ingredients together. Serve immediately.

Tips & Tricks

1. Choose a raw mango that is nice and firm and not overly sour. I have used a Totapuri mango here.

2. Adjust the quantity of honey, green chillies and salt as per personal taste preferences.

3. Do not crush the peanuts to a powder. They need to be just coarsely crushed. You can use a mortar and pestle to crush them too.

4. You can skip the onion if you do not prefer to use it.

5. Make sure the ginger and green chillies are chopped really fine.

6. For a vegan version of the salad, you can substitute the honey with jaggery powder, cane sugar or raw brown sugar.

7. This recipe is completely vegetarian and gluten-free.

8. Don’t let the salad sit around for too long after mixing it up. Serve it immediately after making. Alternatively, you could keep the ingredients ready and mix up the salad just before serving it.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Thai Sticky Rice With Mango

Mango season is upon us, and markets are full of the fruit. Now is a great time to make some Thai Sticky Rice With Mango, like I did. 🙂

What is Thai Sticky Rice With Mango?

It is a unique dessert that hails from Thailand, a country whose cuisine I love for its bold flavours. Sticky rice, a special type of rice available in Thailand, is cooked in a pan with some fragrant pandan (screwpine) leaves. Fresh coconut milk and sugar is used to make a sauce, which is poured over the cooked rice when completely cool. This is served with wedges of sweet and sour ripe mango. What an interesting blend of flavours and textures, right?

For those who have never tasted Thai Sticky Rice With Mango, let me tell you that it is mind-blowingly beautiful. The sweetened, coconut-ty sticky rice blends wonderfully with the sweet-sour notes in the mango. Mango and coconut is a match made in heaven, after all.

A bit about my version of Thai Sticky Rice With Mango

I was introduced to the beauty that is Thai Sticky Rice With Mango on our holiday in Thailand. I absolutely adored it, of course. And then I went on to enjoy the dish at several Pan-Asian restaurants, each time falling a little deeper in love with it. Somehow, in spite of my love for it, Thai Sticky Rice With Mango remained that exotic thing that I always had at fancy restaurants, but never tried making at home. Until, recently, when I saw the making of the dessert in the Slurpy Platter’s Instagram stories.

I realised then just how simple this dessert was to whip up at home – like most of the other Thai dishes I have successfully recreated – and had to give it a go. Of course, I had to give it some twists! So, I used jasmine rice instead of the Thai sticky rice that is used traditionally, and cooked it in a pressure cooker instead of a pan, with some coconut milk added in. The result was absolutely brilliant, as the husband and extended family attests. 🙂 Purists can baulk if they want to – this might not be the most authentic of Thai Sticky Rice With Mango, but it is surely gorgeous. And, hey, it’s so much easier to put together this way, so a complete win-win situation, I say.

Is this dessert vegan and gluten-free?

Yes! This lovely dessert is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to people following a plant-based diet. It is entirely gluten-free as well.

How to make Thai Sticky Rice With Mango

Here’s how I went about it, with a few deviations from the original recipe.

Ingredients (serves 2):

To pressure cook:

  1. 1/2 cup jasmine rice
  2. 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  3. 1/2 cup water

Other ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  2. 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste
  3. 3-4 drops + 3-4 drops of pandan essence
  4. 1 big ripe mango
  5. 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Method:

1. Wash the jasmine rice well under running water. Drain out all the water from it. Transfer the drained rice to a wide vessel.

2. Add 1/2 cup of thick coconut milk and 1/2 cup of water to the vessel. Mix well.

3. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 3 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

4. In the meantime, let’s prepare the coconut sauce. Take 1/2 cup of thick coconut milk in a saucepan, and add in 2 tablespoons sugar. Place on high flame. Let the sugar get completely dissolved in the coconut milk. When the coconut milk starts boiling, switch off gas. Now, add 3-4 drops of pandan essence to it, and mix well. The coconut sauce is ready. Let it cool down fully.

5. Peel the mango and cut into length-wise pieces. Keep them ready.

6. Now, dry roast the sesame seeds in a small pan on medium flame, till they are toasted and start popping. Don’t let them burn. Transfer the sesame seeds to a plate and allow them to cool down.

7. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the cooked rice out. Fluff it up gently. Mix in 3-4 drops of pandan essence into the rice. Allow it to cool down fully.

8. Once the rice, sesame seeds and coconut sauce are completely cool, you can assemble the serving dishes. Divide the rice into three equal portions, and place one in the centre of two serving dishes. Pour the coconut sauce evenly over both portions of rice and around it. Arrange the mango slices around the rice, in both dishes. Lastly, decorate the rice in both serving dishes with the toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Tips & Tricks

1. This dish is traditionally made using Thai sticky rice. However, I didn’t have any, so I used Thai jasmine rice instead, and it worked beautifully. I think Basmati rice would work well too. I have also seen this dish made using black rice. You can use regular Sona Masoori rice instead, too.

2. Use a ripe, juicy but firm mango for best results. I used a nice sweet and slightly sour Mallika mango, and it was just perfect.

3. I have used a 200 ml carton of Dabur Homemade Coconut Milk here. You can make your own coconut milk at home, if you so prefer.

4. Traditionally, the rice is cooked in a pan, however I made it in a pressure cooker. It worked well.

5. If you have fresh pandan (screwpine) leaves, add one while cooking the rice. I didn’t have them, so I have used pandan essence instead, a few drops in the rice and a few in the coconut sauce.

6. You can use roasted moong dal for the garnishing, instead of the toasted sesame seeds. I much prefer the sesame seeds.

7. Adjust the quantity of sugar in the coconut sauce, as per personal taste preferences.

8. Adjust the quantity of pandan essence you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

9. You can mix the cooked rice and the coconut sauce together, and then serve it with the mango slices and toasted sesame seeds. I prefer serving it this way.

10. I picked up the jasmine rice and pandan essence at the Siam Paragon mall in Bangkok, Thailand. For those in Bangalore, the rice is available at Namdhari’s.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Tom Kha| Vegetarian Thai Coconut Soup

Have you had the pleasure of experiencing Tom Kha soup? You must try it out, if you haven’t already. It is such a beauty of a soup, inside and out!

What is Tom Kha?


Tom Kha refers to a Thai soup made using coconut milk. With hints of sweet and sour and spicy, it is bursting with flavours. It is a delicate soup, a harmonious balance between flavours the way most Thai dishes are. 

Tom‘ is the Thai word for ‘boil’, referring to the method of making the soup (as in Tom Yum). ‘Kha‘ in Thai means ‘galangal’, a rhizome similar to ginger, which finds pride of place in several dishes from the cuisine. Galangal is, indeed, the star ingredient in this soup too. Tom Kha is typically made using chicken pieces and broth (referred to as Tom Kha Gai, with ‘Gai‘ being the Thai word for chicken). I am presenting to you today the recipe for a vegetarian version of this soup, which is referred to as Tom Kha.

Traditionally in Thailand, Tom Kha is eaten as a side with rice, thereby making it a complete meal. Even on its own, too, this soup is hearty and hugely satisfying. I make it light, instead of rich and creamy as it usually is – we prefer it this way.

Tom Kha

My first tryst with Tom Kha

After a hot, sweaty and tiring morning exploring the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok last year, the husband and I were walking around with the bub, hunting for a place where we could partake of a vegetarian lunch. A small eatery right opposite to the temple caught our eye, offering quite a few traditional Thai vegetarian dishes. Something about the place called out to us, and we headed in. The owner was this very sweet, friendly, middle-aged Thai lady who lived and cooked in the tiny space behind the eatery. It was here that we had the most amazing Tom Kha soup, full of flavour. I couldn’t resist asking the lady how she made it and, in her broken English, she complied.

I have made this soup several times over since, tweaking little things here and there to suit my family’s taste preferences.

How to make Tom Kha or vegetarian Thai coconut soup


I outline below the way I make Tom Kha, and urge you to try it out too – I’m sure you will fall in love with it too.

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable to those on a plant-based diet. It is gluten-free as well.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

For the stock:
  • 1. 2-1/2 cups water
  • 2. 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3. 8-10 strands of lemongrass
  • 4. 2 green chillies
  • 5. 1 tablespoon fresh coriander stems
  • 6. A 1-inch piece of galangal
  • Other ingredients:

  • 1. 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2. 4 button mushrooms
  • 3. 1 small carrot
  • 4. Salt to taste
  • 5. 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 6. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder
  • 7. 2 green chillies
  • 8. 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 9. A few strands of lemongrass
  • 10. A 1-inch piece of galangal
  • 11. 1/2 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 12. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 13. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste

  • Method:

    1. We will first prepare the stock for the soup. Take 2-1/2 cups water in a pan. Tear the 2 kaffir lime leaves roughly and add them in. Roughly chop the lemongrass strands, galangal and coriander stems, and add them in too. Slit 2 slit green chillies length-wise, and add to the water. Place the pan on high heat, and allow the water to start bubbling. Then turn the flame down to medium. Cook on medium  flame for 5 minutes.

    2. Now, strain all the ingredients out. Reserve the clear, greenish stock.

    Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Steps 3 and 4

    3. Peel the carrot and chop finely. Chop up the button mushrooms length-wise. Keep aside.

    4. Heat a teaspoon of oil in the same pan, and add the chopped carrot and mushrooms. Saute till they are soft, but still retain a crunch.

    Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Bottom left and right: Steps 7 and 8

    5. Now, add the stock to the pan, along with salt to taste and jaggery powder. 

    6. Tear 2 kaffir lime leaves roughly and chop a few strands of lemongrass. Add to the pan. Roughly chop the galangal, and add to the pan too. Slit 2 slit green chillies  length-wise, and add to the pan. Mix well.

    7. Add the coconut milk and soya sauce to the pan. Mix well. Let it all cook together on medium flame. Switch off gas when it comes to a boil. Then, mix in juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste.

    8. Serve hot, garnished with the finely chopped fresh coriander.

    Tips & Tricks


    1. Use fresh kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass for best results.

    2. I could find only strands of lemongrass, and that’s what I have used here. If you have access to lemongrass bulbs, do use them in the soup – they are super aromatic.

    3. Authentic Tom Kha Gai uses galangal or Thai ginger. You can substitute it with regular Indian ginger, but it alters the flavour of the soup quite a bit. You could choose to leave out the galangal or Indian ginger completely too, and the soup still tastes brilliant.

    4. Traditionally, oyster sauce or fish sauce is used in Tom Kha Gai. However, since this is a vegetarian version, I have used soya sauce.

    5. I have used naturally fermented soya sauce from Shoyu, a brand I picked up in Thailand. You can use any brand you prefer.

    6. If you can get your hands on Thai coconut palm jaggery and bird’s eye chillies, please do use them in the soup. I didn’t have these ingredients, so I have used regular Indian jaggery powder and green chillies.

    7. Adjust the quantity of chillies you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

    8. I have used button mushrooms to make the Tom Kha Gai. Other varieties of mushrooms can be used as well. I prefer only mushrooms and carrots in this soup, but you could add in any other vegetables you prefer.

    9. Adjust the quantity of lemon juice you use, as per personal taste preferences.

    10. I have used a pack of Dabur Hommade Coconut Milk here. You can use homemade coconut milk if you so prefer.

    11. The above quantities yield a light and flavourful soup – I prefer it this way. If you want a thicker soup, you can skip the water fully and use more coconut milk.

    12. I have used cold-pressed sunflower oil here. You can use any odourless oil you prefer instead.

    Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

    Jasmine Rice Khao Yum| Thai Rainbow Rice Salad

    Want to eat the rainbow? You should try Khao Yum!

    ‘Eat the rainbow, eat the rainbow!’

    Just how many times have we heard that being said? Studies have shown that eating different naturally coloured foods ensures that you get different types of nutrients into your system. And then, of course, there’s the leap that your heart takes when you look at all the pretty colours on your plate! The recipe that I’m about to share with you today, Khao Yum, will surely make your heart sing with joy with all its loveliness.

    It’s not for nothing that Khao Yum is called Thai Rainbow Rice Salad – it is, really and truly, a rainbow on your platter. I made this some time ago for lunch as a surprise for the husband. He came home from a meeting for lunch, expecting the regular fare, and you should have seen the look on his face when he was presented with a rainbow instead. 🙂 Take a look for yourself?

    Khao Yum aka Thai Rainbow Rice Salad. Ain’t it prettiness personified?

    What on earth is a Rainbow Rice Salad?

    It is a salad made Thai style, with rice being the main ingredient. Cooked jasmine rice is at the centre of this salad, with assorted accompaniments to go with it, a delicious dressing included. All of it is typically served separately as above, on a platter or bowl. The diners are expected to mix together the various components of the salad, as per their personal taste preferences.

    Now, the Thais, being the Thais, don’t do anything by half measures. On our visits to Thailand, I have always admired how the Thais make everything look cute and pretty – from pens and soaps to clothes and hot water bottles and, of course, food! At a little Thai restaurant, you could be ordering a simple Thai Sticky Rice With Mango that’s regular fare over there, but it’ll come to your table presented so beautifully it could give five-star chefs in big metros a run for their money! This Khao Yum is no exception – the jasmine rice is, traditionally, coloured blue using the butterfly pea flower, and colourful accompaniments are laid out all around it.

    The dressing served with Khao Yum is bursting with flavour, the way most Thai dishes do. It is sweet and sour and spicy, the kind of thing that will make your tastebuds wake up and take notice. I’m serious! With the dressing and the sides, this Thai Rainbow Rice Salad makes for a supremely delicious, hearty meal.

    It is quite a healthy thing, too, this salad, with no artificial colours or flavours going in, with limited usage of oil.

    Is Khao Yum a very difficult thing to make?


    We didn’t come across this dish in any of the Thai restaurants we visited, in Bangkok and Pattaya. It was only recently, while I was reading up about the country’s cuisine that I came across this dish on Hot Thai Kitchen, a treasure trove of Thai recipes that I have come to love. I’m wondering if this salad is more of a family thing in Thailand, and hasn’t really made it to the mainstream restaurants. I’m not sure.

    Anyways, Khao Yum isn’t a difficult thing to make at home, at all. If you have all the right ingredients at hand, it is super simple to put this salad together. In Thailand, I understand this is a non-vegetarian salad, with shrimp being used in the dressing as well as a side. I have, however, made a vegetarian version here.

    Are the ingredients for Khao Yum tough to find in India?


    Depends on where you are based in India, I would say. However, you can definitely make this salad using vegetarian ingredients commonly available in most Indian cities. Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients for you.

    Many departmental stores and gourmet food stores stock jasmine rice – the heart of this salad – these days. In a pinch, basmati rice or any other fragrant variety of rice can be used, but I would really suggest hunting down some jasmine rice.

    Dried butterfly pea flowers are easily available online, albeit a bit expensive. In case you have the fresh flowers – called Shankha Pushpam or Sangu Poo down South – growing somewhere around you, you could use them too. You could leave the rice plain white, too, if you so prefer, or colour it a different colour using handy stuff from your kitchen – a pinch of turmeric, maybe? I have used butterfly pea-infused jasmine rice that I picked up in Big C, Thailand, to make this salad. I just had to pressure cook the rice like we do usually, and I ended up with this naturally coloured, beautiful blue cooked rice. In this video, Pailin of Hot Thai Kitchen shows how you can achieve the same blue effect using purple cabbage and baking soda. Yes!

    There are no hard and fast rules as to what accompaniments this salad should have. The rice and toasted coconut is a must, as far as I understand, as well as the dressing. There should, ideally, be a sweet-sour juicy fruit too, like pomelo, pineapple, raw mango or apple – I have used pineapple. Tofu can be used in place of the paneer I have used here. I have also used lemon wedges, sweet corn, carrot, moong sprouts and seedless cucumber as accompaniments. All of these ingredients are fairly easy to source across India.

    The dressing needs ingredients like tamarind, ginger, jaggery, dry red chillies, small onions, lemongrass, soya sauce, garlic and lemon zest, which aren’t difficult to find either. I have used regular Indian tamarind, ginger and jaggery in place of the Thai tamarind, galangal and palm jaggery that typically goes into the dressing. The lemongrass came from a potted plant in my balcony, but it is commonly available in stores like Namdhari’s and MK Retail in Bangalore. I used naturally fermented soya sauce from Shoyu, a Thai brand, in the dressing. You could use a regular Indian brand or look for naturally fermented versions online or in specialty stores.

    All set to make your Thai Rainbow Rice Salad? Here’s how you roll!


    Please find below instructions to put together Khao Yum or Thai Rainbow Rice Salad at home. Don’t be fazed by the number of steps in there – that’s only because I have tried to explain everything in great detail. In reality, this is a very, very simple thing to make. I have adapted the original recipe from Hot Thai Kitchen to suit my family’s vegetarian preferences, tastebuds and availability of ingredients.


    I’m sharing this recipe with the A-Z Recipe Challenge group that I’m part of. Every alternate month, the members of this group present recipes made from ingredients in alphabetical order. The letter for this month is J, and I chose ‘jasmine rice’ as my star ingredient.

    I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #301, co-hosted this week with Antonia @ Zoale.com. Now, without further ado, over to the recipe!

    Ingredients (serves 2-3):

    For the salad dressing:
    1. A small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
    2. 3-4 tablespoons jaggery
    3. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
    4. 3-4 dry red chillies
    5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
    6. 3-4 strands of lemongrass
    7. Salt to taste
    8. A small onion
    9. 1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
    10. 5-6 cloves garlic
    11. Water as needed

    For the salad:
    1. 1 cup butterfly pea jasmine rice
    2. 1/3 cup peanuts
    3. 1 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon oil
    4. 100 grams paneer
    5. 1 lemon, cut into wedges
    6. About 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
    7. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
    8. 1 medium-sized carrot
    9. 1 medium-sized cucumber
    10. 1/3 cup sweet corn kernels
    11. 1/2 cup moong bean sprouts

    Method:

    Let’s first make the salad dressing.

    1. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for at least 15 minutes. When it cools down enough to handle, extract a thick paste out of it. You may add a little more water if needed, to help extract the juice. Keep aside.

    2. Peel the onion and ginger and chop roughly. Peel the garlic cloves. Add these to a small mixer jar.

    3. Roughly chop the lemongrass strands. Add to the mixer jar.

    4. Break the dry red chillies roughly using your hands. Add to the mixer jar.

    5. Grind the ingredients in the mixer jar coarsely or to a smooth paste, as you prefer.

    6. Transfer the ground paste to a pan, and place on high heat. Add in tamarind extract and salt to taste. Cook on high flame for 2-3 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

    7. Add soya sauce, lemon zest, jaggery and enough water to bring the sauce to a runny consistency. Cook on medium flame till all the ingredients are well combined together and the sauce thickens a bit. This should take about 2 minutes. Switch off gas and allow the dressing to cool down fully.

    Now, we will do the prep work that is needed for the salad.

    1. Cook the butterfly pea rice as per the instructions on the package. I cooked the 1 cup of butterfly pea rice I used in a pressure cooker. I added 2 cups of water and cooked for 3 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.

    2. Make sure all the thorns and cores are removed from the pineapple, and that it is chopped into bite-sized pieces.

    3. Peel the carrot and grate medium-thick.

    4. Chop the cucumber into batons or rounds, as you prefer.

    5. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till crisp. Ensure that they do not burn.

    6. Dry roast the grated coconut on medium flame till it gets brown. Ensure that it doesn’t burn.

    7. Cut the lemon into wedges.

    8. Chop the paneer into cubes. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan, and add in the paneer cubes. Saute gently till they turn slightly crisp and start browning.

    9. You may saute or blanch the moong bean sprouts if you so prefer. I kept them raw.

    10. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in the same pan, and add in the sweet corn kernels. Saute on medium flame till the kernels are half cooked but retain their crunch.

    Now, let’s assemble the Khao Yum or Thai Rainbow Rice Salad.

    1. When the pressure from the cooker has entirely gone down, get the cooked blue rice out and let it cool down a bit. Then, fill a bowl tightly with the rice and invert it in the centre of a large serving plate. Sprinkle some finely chopped coriander on top of the mound of rice.

    2. Arrange some of the moong bean sprouts, roasted peanuts and coconut, sauteed sweet corn and paneer, pineapple pieces, grated carrot, lemon wedges and grated carrot attractively all around the rice. Serve immediately, with some dressing poured into a small cup. Prepare salad platters for all the diners similarly.

    And you’re all set!

    Tips & Tricks

    1. I used a mix of the hot Salem Gundu and the not-very-spicy Bydagi dry red chillies to make the dressing. Adjust the quantity of chillies you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

    2. I grated the skin of two regular-sized lemons to get 1 teaspoon zest, for the salad dressing. If you have kaffir lime leaves, you could use two of them in place of the lemon zest.

    3. Filter out the seeds and impurities from the tamarind before using them in the dressing.

    4. Sugar, honey, palm jaggery or coconut sugar can be used in the dressing. Here, I have used regular jaggery powder.

    5. I used home-grown lemongrass to make the dressing. If you don’t find lemongrass leaves, you can use about 2-3 inches of the bottom, bulb-like part of lemongrass. It is even more fragrant.

    6. Adjust the quantity of tamarind and jaggery as per personal taste preferences. Similarly, adjust the amount of water you use, depending on how thick you want the salad dressing to be.

    7. The salad dressing can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Similarly, any leftover dressing can be bottled and refrigerated for later use. However, I prefer making it fresh.

    8. This salad is typically served at room temperature. Hence, you must allow all the cooked ingredients to fully cool down before you assemble the salad.

    9. This is a completely vegetarian recipe. You may substitute some of the ingredients in case you wish to make a non-vegetarian version. This is a gluten-free recipe as well. Using tofu in place of the paneer here will also render it a vegan or plant-based dish.

    Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

    Sangu Pushpam Aval Payasam|Butterfly Pea Kheer With Beaten Rice

    Best wishes on the occasion of Maha Navami!

    I hope all of you are thoroughly enjoying the festive season, gorging on Navratri and Durga Puja specials, dressing up, meeting friends, and having loads of fun in general. The last few days have been crazy busy for us, with hundreds of festive errands that needed to be run. I’m loving every little bit of it, and so is the bub. 🙂 The bub has especially been enjoying learning the significance of each day of Navratri, not to forget the special foods that we have been cooking almost every day. The special food in question for today is Sangu Pushpam Aval Payasam, kheer made using beaten rice or poha, naturally coloured blue with butterfly pea flowers.

    The Foodie Monday Blog Hop group has decided to share Dussehra dishes today, and this Sangu Pushpam Aval Payasam is my humble contribution to the #VijayaDashamiTreats theme. Aval (poha) payasam (kheer) is something we commonly prepare at home each Navratri. The idea of using butterfly pea flowers (‘sangu pushpam‘ in Tamil) to colour the kheer came about when I saw Sangeeta using them to make mini idlis look absolutely gorgeous. It was through Sangeeta’s Insta post that I learnt about butterfly pea flowers being used to worship Maa Durga, of the Goddess’ love for them. What better dish could I prepare for Dussehra, then, if not this payasam?

    Out came the precious stash of dried butterfly pea flowers I had picked up on our last holiday in Thailand, and this blue kheer came about. Oh, my! What a beauty! It was so much fun making and shooting this pretty kheer! Taste-wise, it still remains your regular home-made payasam, delicious as always, but the blue colour adds loads of thrill, magic and festivity to it. It did make the bub all agog with awe. 🙂 And, oh, did you know that these flowers possess several health benefits too?

    You must definitely try out this Butterfly Pea Kheer too, especially if you have children in the house. I’m sure they would love it! Here’s how I made the kheer.

    Ingredients (serves 3-4):

    1. 1/2 litre + 1/2 cup of full-fat milk
    2. 1/4 cup beaten rice (poha or aval)
    3. 1/2 cup sugar
    4. 7-8 dried butterfly pea (sangu pushpam) flowers
    5. 1 tablespoon ghee
    6. Dried rose petals for garnishing, as needed (optional)

    Method:

    1. Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the poha. Cook on medium flame for about a minute, or till the poha crisp up. Take care to ensure that the poha does not burn.

    2. Now, add 1/2 litre of milk to the pan, along with the sugar. Keep cooking on medium flame till the milk thickens a little, 12-15 minutes. Stir intermittently, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cream will form on the sides of the pan – scrape them back into the milk.

    3. In the meantime, heat the remaining 1/2 cup milk in a small pan. Bring it to a boil, then add the dried butterfly pea flowers to it. Give the milk a quick stir, then switch off the gas. Set this milk aside for 10-12 minutes, or till the butterfly pea flowers leach their blue colour into the milk.

    4. Pour the blue milk into the kheer cooking in the other pan, along with the butterfly pea flowers. Let everything cook together on medium flame for about 2 minutes. Switch off gas. Your Sangu Pushpam Aval Payasam is ready! Serve it hot, warm, at room temperature or chilled, as per personal taste preferences. Garnish with dried rose petals before serving.

    Notes:

    1. Use good-quality full-fat milk only to make the kheer. I have used Nandini full-cream milk, here.

    2. Cashewnuts and almonds fried in ghee can also be added to the kheer. I haven’t.

    3. I have used dried butterfly pea flowers that I picked up at Big C in Thailand, to make this Sangu Poo Aval Payasam. You can use fresh butterfly pea flowers instead, too, if you can get your hands on them. Butterfly pea flower powder is also readily available online these days – you could use that to make the payasam too.

    4. Adjust the sugar as per personal preferences. The above quantity was just right for us.

    5. Don’t overcook the beaten rice. Just cook it for about a minute, let it crisp up, then add the milk and sugar to the pan. Overcooking the beaten rice will make it hard to chew.

    6. I have used the thin variety of beaten rice (aka poha or aval) – the kind we use to make poha upma – to make this payasam.

    7. You can filter out the dried butterfly pea flowers before adding the coloured milk to the pan. I let them stay in, as the flowers are very much edible.

    Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!