Saturday, August 12, 2006

Easy tomato and yogurt salad

Last week my SO wandered out into the yard and picked about two pounds worth of cherry tomatoes from our garden; we decided to make a salad out of them. We were reminded of a yogurt salad (from Sahni 1980) we made a few months ago; at the time we used unripe store-bought tomatoes, and the salad turned out quite bland (and unmemorable, as my SO had to remind me that we'd made it). This time we made exactly the same recipe with our freshly picked home-grown tomatoes, and it was delicious. The tangy, savory yogurt sauce was an excellent complement to the ripe, sweet tomatoes. So, if you're overwhelmed with tomatoes and are looking for a way to "dispose" of them, you might want to give this salad a try.

Since the salad was so good, it's this week's end-of-the-week recipe blogging post.

3/4 cup plain yogurt (we used whole-milk yogurt)
1/4 cup sour cream
Scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Scant 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 red jalapeno (or other fresh chili) pepper, deveined, seeded, and sliced into thin strips about 1-2cm long

1. Mix the yogurt, sour cream, and salt in a medium-sized bowl (large enough to hold the entire salad).
2. Chop the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. We used cherry tomatoes and quartered the large ones while halving the small ones. Add the tomatoes to the salad, but do not stir yet.
3. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a small frying pan.
4. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cook until they turn grey (~30 seconds to a minute). If the mustard seeds burn, discard and start over.
5. Immediately add the sliced peppers, and cook for another 30 seconds.
6. Immediately pour the oil mixture over the tomatoes and yogurt. Stir to mix.


This salad's flavor is almost entirely dependent on the tomatoes; the better the tomatoes taste, the better the salad tastes. If your tomatoes are very watery, they could conceivably dilute the yogurt and make the salad runny.

If you can't find red jalapeno peppers, use a green one or any other fresh chili pepper. As with our chili, we prefer to use red peppers, as they're the ripe fruit of the pepper plant.

This salad keeps well in the fridge for a few days; in fact, the mustard and pepper flavors will be stronger if you let the salad sit for a little while before serving.

Sahni, Julie. 1980. Classic Indian Cooking. William Morrow & Co, NY. pp. 345-346.

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