Sweet corn salad, or maaki chaat, is a dish that is healthy, light, full of flavour and has an appealing appearance.
It gives freshness and brightness to a meal and is healthy, tasty and easy to make. The sweetness of the corn, the crunch of onions and carrot, the tomato and cucumber, the spices and lime juice give a very fresh and balanced texture and flavour.
Salads of this type are commonly found in the north and eastern parts of India..
Canned or frozen corn kernels are an adequate substitute for fresh corn, but the fresh corn will taste so much better. From a preparation perspective, you should chop the vegetables to be roughly the same size as the corn kernels. Too big, and you will lose some of the visual appeal of the dish.
The key ingredient is the chaat masala, despite how little seems to be used in this recipe. This masala is readily available from Indian grocers, or you could make your own using the recipe from this book.
You could add small cubes of paneer, either browned, or uncooked. Further, you could brown the corn kernels in a little ghee. We usually do neither, as they can take away the lightness of the dish. Having said that, during winter, preparing it with paneer and browned corn, and serving it still warm is a good vegetable side dish to a meat-based meal. Note that then it would no longer be a vegan dish.
As presented below it is a light refreshing salad, ideally suited to a summer meal. You would serve it with one of the drier dishes – say the Bengali prawns – either on their own or with some roti. Certainly no rice dishes.
- Toast and grind cumin seeds. Set aside.
- Place corn, jaggery, and one cup of water in small pan over medium heat, and cook until corn is tender. Drain, and set aside to cool.
- Place drained corn in a bowl, and add the cucumber, onion, tomato, capsicum, carrot, chilli, and pomegranate seeds. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for one hour.
- Sprinkle the ground cumin, chaat masala, chili powder, and salt over the vegetables, and toss to coat.
- Transfer to serving plate, pour the lime juice over, sprinkle the coriander leaves and sev, and serve.
- Note that the times above allow for the cooked corn to cool. This may vary with your taste - a warm salad is quite good to serve during the cooler months.
- sev are fried chickpea flour noodles and are readily available from good Indian grocers.