This light and very flavorful salad is typical of Maharashtra, the area in SW India Varsha Dandekar came from. Varsha taught me that you must use fresh coconut, but I’ve found that the organic unsweetened dried coconut available these days is just as good as fresh, even in side-by-side tastings. So life is easier and you’ll make this salad much more often. I buy dry roasted salted peanuts. Peel the cucumbers if the skin is tough. Otherwise the skin is fine.

Yield: Serves 6

  • 1 ½ cups roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup grated coconut, fresh or dried
  • 2 cucumbers, small dice
  • 2 tomatoes, small dice
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  •  3 tablespoons light vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • Pinch asafetida
  • Pinch turmeric
  • 1fresh hot pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  1. Pulse the peanuts in the food processor until you have a coarse meal. It’s fine to have some hunks of peanuts in there.
  2. Mix together the peanut meal, the coconut, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lemon juice.
  3. In a small pot, heat the oil until a mustard seed dropped in it pops. Add the mustard seeds, asafetida, turmeric, and chopped hot pepper, and fry for about a minute. Pour over the vegetable mixture. Mix in the salt.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill in the refrigerator till serving.