After one has spent half the morning clearing up the post breakfast debris, loading the dishwasher, wiping the countertop for the zillionth time to remove the pulverized egg shell motes and coffee spills..and the other half just soaking in a long bath, catching up with a favorite cousin over a long distance call and the schtick of the moment – Facebooking – thoughts of grocery shopping and cooking do easily slip through the cracks. And when the clock is ticking away ruthlessly, with lunch hour inching towards one with a buck-toothed grimace, one culls out a sparse bunch of greens and vegetables from the deep recesses of the refrigerator, recovers a lone Gala apple from the fruit tray and then, as if it were an afterthought, steps back and picks up the small Pyrex box with the leftover grilled chicken strips. Tick, tock, tick..the sound goes off in one’s head even as the fluorescent green lit digits blink at one from the face of the oven, reminding one that the husband is due home any minute. A vision of him chomping down (chicken) lettuce wraps in typical Thai flavors over the weekend at a favorite restaurant flashes in the mind’s eye, eliciting a smile. The last scoop of peanut butter from Whole Foods then appears, as if on cue, in one’s field of vision and the rest, as they say, is history..
Thai-style Summer Salad
A handful of lettuce leaves and 3-4 stems of Kale, chopped
1/2 Red bell pepper, sliced thin and long
1 Small red onion, sliced thin and long
5-6 Red radishes, sliced thin
1 Small Gala apple, peeled and sliced thin
1 Cup of grilled chicken, cut into strips
1 Teaspoon soy sauce
1-2 Tablespoons amla (gooseberry) or fruit juice
1 1/2 Teaspoons morabba* or fruit preserves
2-3 Teaspoons peanut butter
1 Teaspoon hot sauce (adjust according to heat preference)
2 Teaspoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons garlic-infused peanut oil**
Whisk all of the above and add more juice if you want to thin it out further, set aside.
Mix all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, drizzle the dressing and serve immediately.
*Morabba is a kind of condiment available in select Indian stores, made from grated gooseberries, jaggery and spices.
**To make garlic-infused peanut oil, warm the oil in a small pan, and toss in some mashed garlic – 1 or 2 pods – fry until the garlic is soft and turn off the heat.