I entertained a childish fantasy that involved owning a garden that resemble a fancy oasis with trees and plants laden with figs and pomegranates and of course, a water fountain! In DC, I took active steps to achieve this, I planted a few fig trees and one pomegranate plant among others. For four years, the pomegranate tree would grow bigger and shoot out more branches and each spring as soon as the leaves came back, I would tell myself this would be the year where I’d get beautiful bright orange-red flowers that would turn into pomegranates. Nothing, zilch, nada! When we moved, I was happy to part with it and gave it away without any tears. Unfortunately, that bug of envy is back because here in California, it appears that every garden I pass by is lined with pomegranate plants fully loaded with flowers and fruits. Garden envy is a hard one to fight and I have a strong feeing that by next spring, I’ll be back to owning a new plant, maybe this time I will have some luck?
Pomegranates remind me of fall more than pumpkin spice lattes and all things brown and orange. They stand out with their bold colors and flavors and with their unusual texture. Every aril in that pink fruit is packed with a sweet and delicious tart flavor that is simply waiting to burst.
Indian street food is amazing and I talk a lot about it, especially chaat. Here in California we are lucky because there are so many chaat restaurants that we can indulge in This salad has a lot of those fun flavors with fewer spices and is one tasty dish. I sometimes make this with fresh cilantro but this time I used parsley so you can use either or even a combination of both, it is great either way. Fresh lime juice, pomegranate arils and a dash of freshly roasted spices along with a few walnuts make this one perfect bowl of color and flavor.
pomegranate chaat salad
yields: 2-4 servings
1 bunch parsley leaves, fresh (you can also use cilantro leaves)
1 generous cup pomegranate arils
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted walnuts (or any other kind of your favorite nut)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
4 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon jaggery or raw brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1. Chop the parsley leaves (you can chop them coarse or fine) and place them in a large bowl. Add the pomegranate arils along with the red onion.
2. Chop the toasted walnuts (nuts) and add them to the rest of the ingredients in the bowl.
3. Add the cumin, coriander, and cloves to a small saucepan and toast for about 30-45 seconds on a medium-high flame. The cumin and coriander should become slightly brown and you will immediately notice an aromatic fragrance. Remove from stove and grind with a mortar and pestle or in a spiced grinder to get a fine powder.
4. Squeeze the lime juice into a small mixing bowl, add the salt, pepper, sugar, chili and 1/2 teaspoon of the ground spice mix from step 3 (store the rest of the mixture in an airtight container). Stir the ingredients with a fork until just combined. Pour this dressing over the ingredients in the large mixing bowl and toss to coat completely. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving, this salad can also be served chilled.