The Raga Of Rasam: Mango and Millet Salsa

A distinctly Indian, but one with a wider range of ingredients to produce a cross-cultural salad – the mango and millet salsa!

Growing up in the India of the 90s, ‘salad’ just meant a simple platter of cut vegetables, laced with a hint of salt and pepper. Gradually, the universal and modern idea of the salad found its way into our palettes. We saw exotic vegetables dressed up in sauces ranging from pungent vinaigrette to a mushy mayonnaise. Salads also moved from the freshly cut and sliced variety to the ready-to-eat genre. We became used to picking up boxes of ready-made salad and packaged dressings from supermarket shelves, and could no longer imagine spending the time and effort in making our own dressing.

To break this pattern, we resolved to make our own salad with our own dressing and treat it as an independent culinary exercise, and not just a fringe element usually whipped up in a hurry. We wanted a distinctly Indian element, but one that would blend with a wider range of ingredients to produce a cross-cultural salad! The round and juicy homegrown mangoes Javvadhu (mango variety) that lay in front of us beckoned. We’re usually too lazy to move beyond the decadence of devouring the mangoes by themselves, but a spark of a thought prompted us to imagine them in a slightly different avatar. A personal affinity for the Thai salad, with its wonderful infusion of vegetables, and the freshness of the dressings used, saw basil find its way into our salad bowl. The sweet mango combines beautifully with wholesome millet and fresh basil in our very own mango and millet Salsa.


Ripe mango – 1 finely chopped
Millets – 1/2 cup

For the dressing

Freshly ground whole pepper – 1 tsp
Basil leaves (chopped) – 10 – 12
Lemon juice – 1/2 lemon
Ginger (finely chopped) – 1/2 tsp
Olive oil


• Cook the millets of your choice (we used pearl millet) with 1 to 1.5 cups of water. Once cooked,set aside to cool. It should not be too mushy.
• Make a salad dressing with all the items listed under ‘dressing’
• Combine the chopped mangoes, millets and salad dressing.
• Garnish with a basil leaf and serve chilled.

Guilty tip

For those whose lives are not governed by calorie counts, add a dash of peanut butter into the dressing. This salsa can be served with pita chips/nachos, or on a toasted bread like bruschetta

Nature on my plate: Every month we will give food bloggers and enthusiasts a theme to contribute yummy and healthy recipes from their kitchens. In April, we want to remind ourselves of the goodness of millets as a nutritious and wholesome grain. The most popular post on The Alternative will win an exciting food voucher or basket from us! 

This recipe was originally published by puliyogaretravels.

Rakesh sings for his supper. And cooks it himself. The Raga of Rasam is a meandering through traditional cuisines, gourmet cooking, organic food, and more, to brew a heady meal for the tongue and music for the soul.


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