Grilled Pear Salad with Rooibos Garam Masala Syrup
Roberto de Carvalho
500 ml strong Rooibos
100 g (125 ml) sugar
1 piece cinnamon stick, about 5 cm
2 pieces fresh ginger (about 2,5 x 0,5 cm each), crushed
10 ml green or white cardamom pods, lightly crushed
10 ml coriander seeds, lightly crushed
10 whole black peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 ml Garam Masala powder
60 ml raw green pumpkin seeds (not roasted)
2 Asian pears (or normal pears)
60 ml fresh lemon juice
about 4 x 250 ml mixed baby greens, such as baby rocket, tatsoi, red baby spinach
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the Rooibos, sugar, cinnamon stick, ginger, cardamom, coriander seeds, peppercorns and Garam Masala powder in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the syrup is reduced to about 125 ml. Remove from the heat. Cover and set aside for about 1 hour to allow the flavours to infuse. Strain the syrup through a sieve into a bowl, discarding the solids.
3. Heat a large, heavy-based frying pan or grill pan over moderate heat until hot. Toast the pumpkin seeds, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes until puffed and beginning to pop. Transfer the seeds to a plate and season with salt.
4. Halve and core the pears. Cut into wedges and drizzle with lemon juice. Grill the pear wedges on a hot grill pan on each side until there are grill lines on all sides. Place the pears into the syrup. Drain the pears, reserving the syrup.
5. Toss the baby salad greens with the syrup reserved from the pears. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. To serve, mound the greens and pear wedges on 4 plates. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds. Drizzle some of the reserved syrup around each salad.
• The syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance and chilled in a sealed container.
• The salad is also good served with slivers of fresh avocado (in season) and a slice of toasted baguette with pesto.
• The combination of sweet Rooibos and spicy Garam Masala in the syrup adds so much flavour to this refreshing salad that no oil is necessary.