Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Having My Own Aarti Party: Massaged Kale & Mango Salad

Last weekend, Aarti Sequeira, recently crowned the latest Next Food Network Star, made her official Food Network debut with her new cooking show, Aarti Party. Since I had already been following Aarti's fun and unique pre Food Network Star "Aarti Paarti" cooking vidoes over on Youtube, I was pretty certain all along that she would be a serious contender all along and was so elated when she won. It was awesome to see a fellow food blogger win such a big competition!

Aarti is really quirky and friendly and all of her videos are so approachable, with really clever interpretations of Indian fusion dishes. Her recipes are not the wild and crazy attention grabbing type of fusion, but rather the more comfortable, yes-you-can-make-this-at-home type, each given Aarti's unique personal flair, with usually a hint or more of Indian spices and ingredients.

I watched her first Food Network episode, which featured a chicken tikka masala inspired version of sloppy joes, Bombay Joes, as well as some incredibly easy and beautiful looking Early Grey & Pistachio flavored kulfi ice cream pops, and a Massaged Kale & Mango Salad. I chose to make the salad, which immediately intrigued me, having previously been scared to death to try making anything with kale at home. I will usually taste anything, and have no fear of eating new foods, but sometimes cooking with them is another matter entirely.

I am not really sure why I feared making kale, although I'm quite certain that, in part, it had to do with an utter lack of knowledge about properly preparing it. I had visions in my head of sloppy, murky, mushy overcooked greens. This cool crisp light & fruity salad instantly erased that unpalatable image from my mind and I overcame my kale inhibition, rushing to the market to grab a healthy, fresh bunch of cavola negro kale. If I was going to give kale a go for the first time, I wanted to try the supposedly most flavorful variety.

The salad was indeed easy to prepare, with only a handful of simple ingredients ... kale, some freshly squeezed lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, Kosher salt, honey, and some freshly diced mango. The aroma released from deep green leaves while giving them their "massage" was heavenly, and as Aarti had promised, almost banana like. The salad had a really nice crispness to it and the flavor was so unique, slightly sweet without being sugary, light and tropical. Addictive and refreshing on a hot Florida night.

I measured absolutely nothing accurately; this was one of those easy recipes you can make using your eyes and measure by feel and taste alone. I left out the pumpkin seeds, since my daughter would not even consider taking a bite otherwise. And besides, pumpkin seeds aren't the sort of thing I typically have hanging out in my pantry anyway. I did not miss them at all. This is a great salad and I hope to give more of Aarti's recipes a try in the future.


  1. I love it that your daughter would eat kale but not pumpkin seeds. She is a girl after my own heart since I would eat anything green as a child. My husband loved the Nature Valley box of goodies. He grabbed the book and yelled "mine" as soon as I opened it up. It has found a very good home. Thanks Heather!

  2. I am so glad your gift pack arrived and that you enjoyed it :) My daughter will actually eat the seeds, just not if they are in her salad or bread. She will usually only eat them if they are in a snack mix with other nuts. Never had much trouble getting her to eat green veggies - for some reason, they always went over well with her.

  3. The salad sounds really tasty and healthy. I should use more kale in my cooking.

  4. I'm making this salad right now, and just thought I'd check and see who else has tried it. Glad you did . . .I'll let you know how my husband likes it. That will be the real test! (Have you tried baked kale chips? Surprisingly great!)
    Rosemary @ Sprigs of Rosemary

  5. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on Petitchef.com.

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on "Add your site"

    Best regards,


  6. I haven't heard of the show. Will try to look it up.
    The recipe looks delicious!

  7. What an interesting title! I love the way you handle the Kale & I'm sure it tastes good :)

    Dropping by from Luxury Indulgence!

  8. I was curious about that salad! I'm glad it worked out for you. I like Aarti's show.