Corn Salad with Chaat Mela

Corn Salad with Chaat Mela

Serves 6.

Corn finds an ideal summer companion in Chaat Mela — corn’s mellow sweetness is enlivened and balanced by Chaat Mela’s tart, salty, chile-spiked flavor. This salad is a crowd pleaser — you might want to double the recipe so that there’s plenty for seconds!  

Note: To cook corn quickly for making the salad, try the microwave. Put two un-shucked ears into the microwave and cook for 2 minutes on high power. This should yield just-cooked, still-crisp kernels. Wear rubber gloves to shuck the corn, as it will be very hot!

For the salad:
½ cup minced red onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4–5 ears fresh corn, cooked, kernels cut from the cobs (about 4½ cups)
1 tablespoon (heaping) minced fresh mint
1 tablespoon minced chives
6 stems flat parsley, leaves picked
½ fresh poblano chile, stem and seeds removed, cut in thin strips
½ teaspoon sea salt

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-inch piece fresh ginger peeled and minced
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon champagne wine vinegar

To finish:
1 cup cubed or pearl-sized fresh mozzarella, drained
Chaat Mela
Cilantro leaves, picked

Put the onion and garlic into a small bowl, add enough water to cover, stir in the lemon juice, and add an ice cube. Set aside. (A 10-minute soak helps to tame the alliums’ aggressive flavor.)

Make the dressing  Put the oil into a small skillet set over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the ginger, cumin, and mustard; when the seeds start to splutter (about 30 seconds), shut off the heat. Stir in the salt and vinegar. Set aside to cool until barely warm.

Make the salad  Drain the onion-garlic mixture thoroughly (let it sit in a fine-mesh sieve for a few minutes). Put the corn kernels, fresh herbs, poblano, and salt into a large mixing bowl; add the dressing and the onion-garlic mixture. Toss to mix and distribute the dressing.

Finish and serve the salad  Add the mozzarella and toss once more to mix it through the salad. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl, sprinkle very liberally with Chaat Mela, and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve with more Chaat Mela alongside in a small bowl.

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