Unusual for Delhi/Calcutta, that is. So that's what these recipes will be like. She also wanted them minus meat, but any meat in the recipes can easily be taken out.
There are no pictures because, to reiterate my point differently, salad sans company does not happen in my kitchen.
1. Standard Rimi:
In a glass jar -- just wash out a family-sized jam jar -- pour some canola/ sunflower oil (if you have access to good olive oil, of course, toss the rest out). Add quarter the same amount of flavoured or plain vinegar, or just squeeze a whole lemon. Add a pinch of salt and quite a bit of ground black pepper. Then, to enhance irony, add a level teaspoon of ground sugar, taal-michhri or honey. The sweet subtext is optional, but highly recommended.
Top with grated or microwave-softened + sliced cheese of the drizzle-on variety (Romano, Parmesan). Shake well. The bottle, that is. Pop it in the fridge for a couple of days (or at least the night before the lunch/dinner).
2. Industrious Rimi
To the above mixture of oil, lemon or vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper, add four or five large cloves of peeled and minced garlic. This demonstrates industry because seriously, have you peeled and cleaned up after garlic?
Pour over thickly sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions, chopped cucumbers, and hand-torn lettuce. Top, if you will, with chopped walnuts and maybe some leftover sultanas and dates (kishmish aar khejur). Done! And if the vegetarian version doesn't work, feel free to add any kind of roasted or grilled or even shallow-fried meat.
3. Roast Fowl Leftover Salad dressing
If you have leftover roast or tandoori chicken (or even washed pieces from leftover curry), chop it into tiny pieces and toss with hand-torn/sliced lettuce, tomatoes and red onions. If you're looking to make this a bigger central dish, add lightly stir-fried or grilled vegetables (oil-rubbed broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms). Maybe even sliced boiled potatoes eggs.
Mix about three tablespoons of fiery kashundi (Bengali mustard) with 1.5 tablespoon of honey. Mix well. Whip the mixture into a few tablespoons of mayonnaise. Optional: ground black pepper.
4. Potato or egg salad
Just leave the chicken out, and it's a potato/egg salad with vegetables. The dressing's the same, but with half the mayonnaise-amount of sour cream added.
If you object to the vegetables and just want to eat this as a pate, use only the hard-boiled eggs and mushy-boiled potatoes--chopped tiny--with mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper.
5. Fruit salad dressing
On top of an assortment of seasonal fruits (but not apples!) pour a well-beaten mixture of yogurt (Greek for preference), a couple of tablespoons of honey, a touch of vanilla essence OR rosewater, depending on your tastes, or, if you have it, coloured fruit syrup (like geraldine). If I serve this, I serve it as a dessert. This is about the only kind of salad I like.