There’s a Salad for Every Weekday with ‘Salad Week’
About 8 years ago, Mumbai-based Neha Chokhani made the unlikely switch from investment banking to the business of food. Her mother, Srikanta Taparia, a passionate home cook, had found an eager audience for her neatly bottled, preservative-free mogra and white rose coolers. But Chokhani felt it was time to push the boundaries, and that’s how their catering company Open Table was born.
Today, they are known to whip up decadent meals and nibbles for intimate gatherings. The spreads go anywhere from bright Mediterranean to Lebanese, from Italian to Mexican. Also, you probably know them already from their much-loved dips housed at the patisserie Country of Origin.
What you probably haven’t heard of, is their monthly Salad Week. Every month the duo puts out a new menu of five salads, which makes its rounds over WhatsApp. A mix of old faithfuls and new takers sign up to have fresh salads delivered to their doorstep for lunch for the workweek – all by word of mouth.
It had humble beginnings, she remembers. “Salad Week was started last year at the request of my daughter’s school principal,” Chokhani remembers and laughs, aware of how odd it might sound. “Show me 10 people who are interested and I’ll do it,” she said. By mid-week she had thrice as many signing up, and today she sees anywhere between 100 to 150 takers.
Nutty Avocado Salad; Casegoods ‘Topologic’ bowls; No. 3 Clive Road saucers
“People are always looking to eat clean, and are now more mindful about what they eat. Even salad-driven restaurants are gaining popularity,” Chokhani notes. Though she doesn’t see herself going in that direction quite so soon. Working from a home kitchen has its advantages. For instance, working with smaller batches of food has meant that she is better able to control the quality of ingredients.
“I was sure I didn’t want to compromise on the complexity of the dressing,” she adds. And sure enough, that’s her biggest strength. It’s often the simplest additions: like the spiced peanuts in the Nutty Avocado Salad, or the combination of pearl couscous, spicy pomegranate dressing and a dollop of thyme-flecked yoghurt cheese in the Mediterranean Crunch Salad.
Her goal is to make a wholesome meal. So you won’t find any Keto this or gluten-free that here. “I’m not a nutritionist, so I don’t get into that. I keep it balanced and healthy, without eliminating any core food groups,” she says. Can she customise? Sure, if you find six others such as yourself.
The Mexican; Casegoods ‘Topologic’ bowls
Here’s a chow down of what we had through the week:
Nutty Avocado Salad
“We’ve used a peanut-based dressing with green apple in it; it’s the star of the dish. Oh and also the spiced nutty clusters.”
Edamame and Greens
“We’ve used a light citrus vinaigrette, with red quinoa and edamame. The crunchy greens and red cabbage bring the salad together. It’s topped with toasted almonds.”
Mediterranean Crunch Salad
“The choice of pearl couscous is unusual; it’s a delicious couscous variant. We’ve employed a spiced pomegranate dressing, and topped it off with a ball of homemade yoghurt cheese with thyme.”
Autumn Salad; Casegoods ‘Topologic’ bowls
“It features beans, spicy green salsa, and an avocado-based dressing. The crunch of the tortilla chips makes this salad more fun.”
“This has slow roasted vegetables, with herbed croutons and a grainy mustard vinaigrette dressing.”