Indian-Inspired Fennel, Chick Pea, and Cucumber Salad
Children grow fast, we all know that.
But to watch a picky eater transform into a fennel-crunching, masala-musing child is bewitching, and it really makes one wonder where the years went.
It also allows one to feel that her job as chief cook of the household has been validated. 🙂
Today I prepared the ever so comforting chicken noodle soup, though chickenless, for my ill 7-year-old. We have plenty of comfort foods in our repertoire such as indulgently creamy mac and cheese, simple and homey rajma and chaaval (kidney bean curry and rice), hearty khichri (lentil and rice porridge), fragrant harira (Moroccan spiced lentil + pasta stew), and perfectly grilled cheese sandwiches. But to save some time tonight I bought a pre-prepped kit for an herbed chicken noodle soup from Central Market.
Having received some fennel from Frieda’s Specialty Produce company (which you can find at Central Market), and staring at a bag of thawed chick peas in the fridge, my nagging motherly mind begged me to get protein in my vegetarian child tonight. (It’s always a struggle, but we seem to manage).
I decided to celebrate the warm weather here with a refreshing crunchy and cool salad to accompany the soup. Here’s the winning recipe, the judge being that girl formerly known as pickiest eater. She devoured 2 bowls of the salad, and sipped meager spoonfuls of her soup. Go figure.
Serving size: 2-3
- Salad Dressing:
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon ground roasted cumin (info HERE)
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional) or Indian chili powder such as Kashmiri
- ½ cup cooked chick peas
- 2 small cucumbers, chopped in ¼ inch dice
- ½ large fennel bulb, chopped in ¼ inch dice
- ¼ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon chaat masala powder (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (optional)
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a small airtight jar with a lid (canning or Mason jars work well). Alternately, thoroughly whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- If using the jar method, close jar tightly and shake to blend dressing. Set aside. Can make dressing up to 2 days ahead.
- In a medium bowl, combine chick peas, cucumbers, and fennel.
- Sprinkle in the roasted cumin powder and the chaat masala if using.
- Mix well with a large spatula or spoon.
- Stir in the cilantro.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
- Taste for salt and dress further if desired.
- Serve cold.