Tune into Today on Tuesday, August 2 and catch Outside’s resident chef, Biju Thomas, live from New York. He’ll share two of his favorite summer salad recipes inspired by the flavors of Kerala, India.
Thomas will share tips and tricks to create vibrantly-colored dishes featuring fresh, in-season produce.
As a chef and food content creator, Thomas is also playing a key role in the Outerverse. He’s one of the creatives who will be developing drops for the Outerverse Passport, and as a contributor, he’s bringing a wealth of recipes and experiences, both virtually and in real life, such as access to special dinners and events.
Get a taste of some of Thomas’s recipes below.
Biriyani-Style Rice Salad
Biriyani is a celebratory rice dish made differently throughout India. In some parts, meat is incorporated, while others rely heavily on vegetables. Growing up in south India, Thomas added lots of dried fruits like raisins, dates, and cashews.
“This recipe is an extension of that,” he says. “I make this all the time because it’s such a quick way to give people an Indian touch.” One of his favorite everyday dishes year round, it brings a ton of color and flavor to the table. This elegant rice dish can be finished with any seasonal grilled and dried fruit, toasted nuts, a dash of spice, and a summertime favorite: crispy okra.
To Thomas, the goal of biriyani is to make something bright and colorful that is easily adapted from season to season with a variety of flavors. He also notes that he made this recipe vegan so it’s a great option for parties.
“All the dishes I make, I only cook with dairy when it’s necessary,” Thomas says. “Usually everything I make starts with a vegan base. I keep recipes clean, vegan, gluten-free, and allergen free so I can build upon that base depending on who I’m feeding.”
Grilled Corn Chaat
Chaat is a general term used for Indian small bites and snacks, usually doused with multiple sauces and textures yielding a burst of sweet, tangy, cool, and spicy heat along with crunchy bits and bright fresh flavors.
“Typically at Indian restaurants, you’re served the main dish along with a ton of side dishes,” Thomas says. “With each bite, you can grab a little bit of this or that because you’re always adjusting the heat, sourness, saltiness, and sweetness.”
Chaat is generally made with up to three sauces with varying levels of temperatures, unique textures and, of course, bursting flavor.
For Thomas’s version of this incredibly popular Indian street food, he uses this summer’s favorite grilling skillet to get some nice char and burn marks on sweet corn, then folds in lots of fresh herbs, crunchy onions, ripe pomegranate, and a delicious cucumber kefir.