Lots of times when visiting Malagasy families for a meal, friends have served us this delicious mixture of raw, chopped tomatoes, onions, carrots and cucumbers soaked in what tasted like a vinaigrette-style dressing. It’s delicious! And at the little hotel we where we stay near the Mahafaly villages, they serve this as a side along with French fries. You would be amazed how incredible double-fried French fries taste with tangy cucumbers and carrots spread on top. So good.
Anyways, silly me, I assumed this salad was made simply by soaking the chopped veggies in vinegar. And I proceeded to do that and serve it to several Malagasy families. Poor them! As I’ve mentioned, my tolerance for sour is very high, but I’m sure the vinegar-only dish was a bit of a jolt for someone used to the real thing! Thankfully, a couple of dear Malagasy friends—Narindra and Chantal—helped me out. They explained that, no, actually the dressing is a combination of vinegar, salt, sugar and oil. And, no, the veggies really don’t need to be soaked overnight—oops, again!
Now, thanks to Narindra’s and Chantal’s help, I believe I have nearly mastered the salad. Here’s what I do. Enjoy!
– enough cucumbers peeled and thinly sliced to make 2-3 rows short-ways in a casserole dish (usually 2-3 small cucumbers)
– enough tomatoes sliced to make 2 rows (4 tomatoes)
– enough carrots peeled and grated for 2 rows (2 carrots)
– 2 small onions thinly sliced
Slice onions into a small bowl.
Add 2 tsp salt, 1 TBS sugar, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 TBS olive oil. Stir. Adjust to taste. Set aside for several hours.
Prepare other fruits and vegetables into a casserole dish. Refrigerate.
After a few hours, stir onion mixture again and pour over other vegetables. You can serve immediately or refrigerate further.