A crunchy Rishikesh classic, surely India’s first ever ‘superfood’ salad. We love salads like this, no strong dressing, the glorious veggies do all the talking……..
This is a little like the Israeli Salad that we wrote about a few posts ago, but The Pyramid Salad has bells, whistles, trimmings and shavings. This is the ultimate traveler salad in India. You know that Jane and I love a bowl of crunchy veggie goodness and granted, in many parts of the world, salads may seem quite everyday. But in India, when you’re on the bumpy, dusty road filled with spiced and deep fried delights, a bowl of salad becomes an sheer delight. Especially when its sprinkled with gloriously green spirulina! Indulge us…….
The Pyramid Cafe in Rishikesh is traveler institution and has been for ages. It’s one of the only places you used to be able to get a fresh and crisp salad, decent filter coffee and very good vibes (they play the Jungle Book theme tune sometimes at night, “It’s those bear necessities……!”) It has changed alot recently, Lali and his family have been doing some building work, the pyramids are getting much higher, but the quality of the food remains awesome and fresh, fresh, fresh…… Also Lali and his family are still lovely hosts and their son Rahul, who I met six years ago and has changed from a young lad into a strapping fella, has taken over the running of the restaurant.
We always hike up the steep hill to the Pyramid Cafe, it has wonderful views of the turquoise Ganges and is a quiet little spot in the otherwise hectic Laxman Jhula area. When this salad greets you, your body and palate become very excited. You feel healthier just by being in its presence. The Pyramid Cafe has always been a superbly healthy mecca for wellness, they sell; kombucha, organic spirulina, cacao beans, vanilla pods, silver collioidal and there menu used to double up as an alternative health bible. Great reading when waiting for dinner. Sleemy is the man behind the sparkling health approach. Sleemy was born in Switzerland, but has been living in India for an age and rides around, from North to South, on his customised scooter, known as the ‘Chapatti Express’. He is a living legend in the Indian travel scene and pops up when you least expect him in Gorkana, Goa or small villages in the high Himalayas. He is full of wisdom like ‘The best medicine is the one that teaches you how not to need it’.
Sleemy has been a student of health for over 30 years and is an advocate of all forms of natural health; yoga, naturopathy, holistic medicines and ayurveda, check out his website here. Sleemy is a font of information on acheiveing a state of sparkling well being and as he says, “I have built myself an iron cast immune system, and since 1975, I haven’t been ill at all, (not even a cold in winter), and I didn’t consult any doctor since then.” Sleemy has even wrote an ace travelers health manual named “The Hitchhikers Guide to Medicine“. It’s well worth a read.
We also believe that getting ill is the final stages of a problem, not the beginning. We must work at the roots of good health to prevent future illness, using a varied and radiant diet, healthy habits and regular exercise to prevent the growth and manifestation of illness both physical and mental. Positive thinking is also a must, laughing alot is very important (as are hugs) along with a basic idea of nutrition. We also believe that breathing is highly underrated. Breathing well, deeply and slowly, is a sure fire way decreasing stress and enlivening our body with huge amounts of good energy. Breathing is our number one way of absorbing pure energy, much more immediate than the food we consume. Love is also imperative. Self love and loving relations with relatives, friends, neighbours, work colleagues etcetc. Wherever possible, love is the answer (and its always possible!x)
Until just a few years ago, salads in India were like playing digestive roulette. Now things are much better, many places wash raw veggies in filtered water, but a few can still lead to upsets. The Pyramid has always known the score and has always been a safe haven for going raw. They also happen to whip up the finest falafels in the sub continent.
Bright red carrots!!!!! Please do not be unduly alarmed, carrots in India are dark red, almost crimson in colour. This is very normal. Use your preferred/ local shade of carrot in this recipe. Remember that organic, local carrots, will have loads more nutrition than anything industrially grown. We have just read some shocking facts about the dearth of nutrition in most non-organic veggies. Minerals and other nutrients can be as much as 2/3 lower in veggies grown using artificial fertilizer and in depleted soils.
I have guessed what goes into this mythical creation, to be fair, it was not that hard, but worthy. This salad has enriched many an aspiring yogi and wayward wanderer, finding their way up into the free and liberating spaces of the beautiful Himalayan wilderness.
The Bits – For 4
2 good sized carrot (grated with a grater, also grate roughly six long slices per person with a potato peeler for presentation – see the photo)
1/2 small white cabbage (grated or very finely sliced)
1/2 small red onion (not a strong one, very finely sliced)
1 little gem lettuce (finely sliced)
3 radishes or 6 inches mooli (grated)
3 tomatoes (finely chopped)
2 big handfuls crunchy sprouts (brown lentils used here)
1 handful alfalfa sprouts
Small bowls of tamari (or good soya sauce), wedges of lime and unrefined oil of your choice
Topped with more sprouts, a hearty sprinkle of spirulina/ wheatgrass/ barley grass.
In India, it would not be unheard of to sprinkle over some dried chilli flakes to perk things up a bit.
Also pleasant with:
Slices of Brown Bread or Wholewheat Chapattis
Beautifully simple. Combine all in a bowl, toss gently. Pile up into the centre of plate, pyramid style. Lay a few of your carrot shavings over your pyramid of intense delight and sprinkle with sprouts and green powdered joy.
Warm the bread a little and enjoy.
Spirulina is a highly nutritious green/ blue algae that has been eaten by humans for millenia. It is a great friend of the BHK and is something we eat regularly, especially when we are on the road. It means that we are getting a concentrated health boost every morning and start the day in the most brilliant way.
Spirulina is made of 60-70% protein and is a great source of amino acids and also has good levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, manganese, folic acid, niacin, vitamin B, caroteniods and iron. Of course, being so beautifully green, it also contains bags of chlorophyll which has many benefits, including aiding our chemical reactions creating protein, vitamins and sugars.
For more info, check out the post we wrote about Spirulina.