Starfruit Sprout Salad
20 Min
GF
NF
V

Starfruit Sprout Salad

On a recent trip to India where we traveled from Mumbai to Goa to Rajasthan, the last stop was at the capital, Delhi. A grand old city with tombs, temples and minarets mingling with sleek towers, Delhi is known for regional food from all over the country from fancy multi-course restaurants to a variety of street foods. We stayed in a hotel near Connaught place, a commercial and financial hub. 

On our last evening, not wanting to partake in a sit-down dinner knowing we had an early morning flight to catch, we walked over to Connaught place and followed our noses to an area where street vendors had set up shop outside a famous temple. Potato cakes crisping up on large pans, pakoras dropping into hot oil in large batches and the ubiquitous chai vendors making batch after batch of sweet chai. The smell of incense intermingled with the scent of fresh rose petals, jasmine garlands, and aromatic spices. We spotted a tiny stand where a small line has snaked up to a man making cold salads with sprouted moong, star fruit and other embellishments. He hand-tossed every salad on little banana leaf boats balanced in the palm of his hands, proudly handing it over to each hungry customer with a wooden stick. Intrigued, we ordered two and I enjoyed it so much, I almost licked the banana leaves! Despite the salad having no added fat, it was superb in flavor and perhaps one of the best bites of our trip. 

I have now made this salad at home repeatedly, with different combinations. Star fruit is wonderful in it, but any crunchy raw fruit or vegetable would complement the sprouts. Moong sprouts can be purchased at Asian and Indian grocery stores but do attempt to make your own – it is not difficult, just time consuming. Just like mine, I hope this becomes a refrigerator fixture in your home.

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Cook Time

20 Minutes

Serves

4

Step 1
Mince the starfruit into 1/2-inch chunks or a little smaller. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
Step 2
Discard the bottom 3 inches of the cilantro bunch and mince the rest, leaves, and stems. Remove the leaves from the mint stems and mince.
Step 3
In a large mixing bowl, combine the starfruit with tomatoes, cilantro, mint, moong sprouts, pomegranate seeds and red onion.
Step 4
Sprinkle the cumin, red chile powder and sea salt on top. Squeeze the lemon juice on top and stir. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. It will keep for a few hours.

2 whole starfruits (or unripe mango)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 bunch cilantro

8 to 10 mint stems with leaves

2 cups moong sprouts*

1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

1/2 small red onion, minced


1 teaspoon toasted ground cumin

1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chile powder (optional)

1 teaspoon sea salt

Juice from 2 lemons

Notes & Variations

  • Moong sprouts are available fresh in Asian stores, but they can easily be made at home. Soak 1/2 cup whole green moong beans in 3 cups of water for 3 to 4 hours. They will triple in size. Drain, then spread the sprouts on a flat metal pan or a large platter. Pour 1 cup water over the moong beans, cover with a wet towel, and set aside in a sunny warm place in your kitchen for about a day. Check it periodically – if the beans look dry, add 1/2 cup more of water. Within a day or two, the beans will begin to have little tails. Leave the beans until they have all sprouted. Change the towel if needed. This might take 2 days. In a stockpot, cook the sprouts with a teaspoon of salt and water with a 2-inches over the top. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and refrigerate. You may end up with more sprouts than what the recipe calls for, but they can be added to other salads, rice pilafs or just eaten with a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Many other vegetables, fruits or herbs can be added or substituted to this salad like cucumbers, mango, pineapple, parsley, or basil.
  • The salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You may need to refresh it with lemon juice.
Tags:
20 Min
GF
NF
V

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