Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Salad Days Are Here Again - Mango Caviar

The Refuge of Failed Experiments (a k a my workplace) rarely lets me down. Successes or failures or halfway houses between the two, I take them there, and they are cleaned out, with compliments to boot. So when I offer them something saying it looks terrible, but tastes okay, it's no wonder that they immediately rush to comfort me, saying 'it's not bad at all', or 'it's not as bad as you think', or 'it's interesting' and proceed to empty the dish.

This was one such concoction that I could not bear to put in its actual avatar on the blog, so I cartoonized it. If you have noticed, I have given the blog a makeover and it does not deserve an ugly photo. Style over substance, yes, but indulge me - and if you go by what my colleagues said, it was worth it.

Well, this dish up there is very simple to throw together. I first got to know of a mango-sago combination some eight years ago, when I started blogging and experimented with it a few times. This time, I wanted to make a salad of this dessert rather than a pudding so I literally threw a few things together and came up with this winner. Yes, a winner, even though it is not the prettiest thing I have made. A colleague has already declared dibs on it the next time I make it and one was rather disappointed that I did not bring it on a day that she came to work.

The dibs-declaring colleague named it mango caviar. She also told me that sabja, the black grains that you see in the picture, are very cooling in nature. Now isn't that all we need for this hot, hot summer? The sabja, or basil seeds, or falooda seeds, as they seem to be better known nowadays, were such a curious discovery when I was a kid. A friend showed me what happens when you put them on your tongue - they develop a grey jelly-like coating on coming into contact with moisture, and for a few days, all I did was go to the yard, plunder the tulsi (holy basil) plant for its seeds and put them on my tongue.

My interest in them was revived recently when I read about chia seeds for weight loss and thought these were the same, but soon found out they were not. I bought them just for the fun of it, though, and thought of using them in this salad.

What you need

Ripe, yellow mango, cubed: 1.5 cups
Sugar: 1.5 tsp
Sago: A handful, soaked in water for 30-40 minutes
Sabja/basil seeds: 1-2 tsp, soaked in a little water

Sprinkle the sugar over the mango, stir lightly so that the cubes are not squashed.

Boil the sago till it is transparent, drain and cool under running water. Drain again.

The basil seeds swell up as soon as they are put in the water so do this just as you are assembling the salad.

Toss them and the sago over the mango and stir lightly. Bon appetit! And may your summer be full of mangoes and other cooling agents! I'm sending this off to Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging, organised by Haalo hosted this week by Lucia of Torta di Rose