Posted 1st August 2008
Another friend is getting married. We girls decided to send her off in style.
I booked a gorgeous Lebanese restaurant. Arabian Nights meets upmarket eaterie, this place promised superb food, glamorous environment and belly dancing in one weekday evening.
We slipped into high heels post work and wafted down the rose-scented, mosaic staircase. Took our low seats and went straight for the olives. Staring at the beautifully-laid table, there seemed only one place for the pips to go.
I emptied them into a little ceramic bowl filled with white and brown paper egging my friends on to follow suit. Chewing gum and tomato tips went in. Then the waiter arrived to inform us that we were using the salt and pepper bowl as an ashtray.
As I crawled home from overeating at the end of the evening, I wondered how I was going to balance the excesses of the night with a suitable Indian recipe.
I remembered mother’s Indian mixed bean salad recipe – a delicious, spiced summery treat. Toss it up, eat it with the fish fillets and recover from your embarrassing moments.
Rinse, drain and leave the beans to dry in a colander. In the meantime, chop the cucumber and onion (if using) into small pieces, and halve the tomatoes placing them in a mixing bowl. Stir the beans into the vegetables, adding a bit of salt.
Now, warm the cumin seeds on medium in a little egg pan for ten seconds and then crush finely in a pestle and mortar.
Next, carefully drain off any excess water in the salad. Squeeze the lemon juice all over, stirring through the ground roasted cumin and carom seeds. Add salt to taste to finish. Let the spices work their magic for at least half an hour before you serve.