Lettuce Salad with Thai Peanut Sauce Dressing

Next to Indian, the cuisine that we heart is Thai cuisine and we visit different restaurants often. Each restaurant has its own specialty be it Pad Thai, Thai ginger curry rice, sweet sour vegetables, basil noodles etc that we love.  There is this one restaurant that makes an awesome peanut sauce dressing for their salads and so I go there only to eat their peanut sauce. 

Now DH thinks it is a stretch to drive all the way just to eat salad and I grudgingly agree. So I took upon the challenge of making this at home.  A few searches later I realized that it is very easy to make, provide you have some ingredients on hand. This peanut dressing is a perfect combination of sweet, salty, sour and spicy.  

This flavorful sauce makes anything taste better. Of course, in this recipe it is used as a salad dressing, but then it could be used with other things as well. This multi-purpose condiment can be used as a dip for raw veggies or spring rolls or it can be used it in combination with veggies and noodles/pasta for making a wholesome meal or in Thai curries. Or if you are like me, then you can eat it as is and lick the spoon clean 🙂

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp sugar/ honey
  • 1 tsp ginger (minced)
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha chili sauce (increase or decrease based on taste)

  Method:

 Peanut Sauce: (the consistency should not be too thick or too runny)

  In a bowl, first whisk together the peanut butter along with water.

Add the remaining wet ingredients and whisk well. Finally add the sugar, ginger and the chill sauce until incorporated. Keep aside. 

Salad: For the salad, I used the store bought lettuce bag.  Transfer this to a bowl; add some crushed peanut and the prepared sauce as required. Serve immediately.

Instant Besan Dhokla/ Khaman Dhokla Recipe


Khaman Dhokla, a Gujarati traditional dish is a savory snack made out of gram flour. It is steamed (not deep fried) and is typically served during breakfast or dinner. Since it is made out of chickpea flour it is rich in proteins and carbohydrates. Soft, spongy and delicious they also make a great mid-afternoon or tea time snack. 

Years ago I used to buy the readymade Khaman Dhokla mix by Tarla Dalal for making instant dhoklas.  The dhoklas would come out pretty good and had a good flavor and texture. We used to have it as a tea time snack or as a starter when we had guests. But I guess, off late they have stopped making it as I am not able to find them in the grocery shelves anymore. The other brands that I tried do not come close and I was not happy with the results. 

That is why I resorted to finding a good recipe of making Khaman Dhokla from scratch. I tried from couple of sources but this recipe here I liked the best. I made some tweaks of my own, and thise dhokla comes out soft and spongy just as we like it. 

Remember that tadka/seasoning is important and needs to be done the right way. I liked her unique concept of seasoning which is adding the sugar and lemon in the tadka itself. When this is poured over the steamed dhoklas they give it a wonderful sweet, tangy and nutty flavor. 

Recipe Source: Adapted from Archana’s kitchen

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gram flour/besan
  • 1/2 cup yogurt/curd/dahi ( I used low fat)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp ginger+green chilli paste
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp Eno fruit salt
  • Salt to taste 

For tempering 

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds  (optional)
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3-4 tsp Oil  

Garnish 

  • 1-2 Tbsp grated coconut
  • 1 Tbsp coriander leaves (chopped) 

Method: 

  • In a big bowl, add the besan, salt, oil, eno fruit salt and mix with spoon. Add the yogurt, water and whisk it well. This batter should be little thick.
  • Heat a pressure cooker with enough water in the bottom. Grease dhokla thalis or a round container that fits in the pressure cooker.
  • Note: I use the round steel vessel that is used for cooking rice in the cooker.
  • Transfer the prepared batter to this until it is 2/3 full. Remember after the dhoklas are steamed they will puff up.
  • Steam for 12 – 15 minutes with lid covered (but without the weight/whistle).
  • After 15 minutes, turn off heat and allow it to rest for 5 minutes in the cooker itself with lid opened. Take it out and keep aside. 

Seasoning/ Tadka 

  • Heat oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Let the mustard seeds crackle. Add the dried red chillies and turn off the heat.
  • Slowly add the water, sugar, salt and lemon juice to the prepared seasoning.
  • Using a small spoon pour it evenly over the steamed and cooled dhokla. Let it rest for a little while.
  • Cut them into desired shapes square or diamond and garnish with coriander leaves and coconut before serving.

Indian Flat Beans Curry/ Chaprada Avere Palya/ Papdi ki Sabzi

Indian Flat beans are referred to as chapparada avare in Kannada and as Chikkudu kaya in Telugu, Val papdi in Guajarati. In Bangalore where I grew up, these beans were readily available and my mom used to prepare it often. But here in the US they are not readily available and had almost forgotten about it.

However few weeks ago a good friend of mine got a bagful of beans for us and so I got an opportunity to prepare this dish. The combination of this curry along with tomato rasam, yogurt rice forms a comforting meal. This dry curry also pairs well with daal rice and or rotis/chapathis.

When you buy fresh beans get tenders ones. Also make sure that a proper inspection is done while cleaning and chopping the beans as worms tend to get inside the beans. That is indicated by the brown discoloration on the outside, so make sure you do not pick them.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of chopped flat beans/val papdi
  • ½ cup lilva beans (or lima beans )
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 2-3 garlic pods (crushed)
  • 1 tsp urad daal
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 3-4 Curry leaves
  • ½ Cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves (garnish)

Method: 

  • (Note: Make sure the flat beans are thoroughly washed and the edges and strings of the beans are removed. After that cut each one into 2-3 pieces using knife. Note: You can pre-cook the flat beans separately in a pot of water along with salt. That way this sabji can be made quickly.
  • Take a big flat bottom pan; heat about 1 Tbsp of oil. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  • Add the curry leaves, jeera/cumin seeds and mix until it turns light brown.
  • Add the urad daal and stir until it turns light brown.
  • Add the crushed garlic cook until it browns; add diced onions and sauté until it softens.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Add the chopped flat beans and stir until it mixes with the onions and seasoning.
  • Sprinkle some water, stir in between making sure it does not stick to the bottom.
  • Add salt, turmeric, and red chilli powder and mix well. Add about 1/2 cup of water and stir again.
  • Cover with lid and let it cook on simmer, stir in between. Switch off when the beans are cooked (has bite to it, but not over cooked).
  • Finally add chopped coriander for garnish and mix. Serve hot with rice/rotis.