The Summer of Happiness Salad

The Summer of Happiness salad

We had a party at our place many summers back. I was about to cook for our guests that evening when I was told that one of the people coming over was vegetarian!

I was tempted to call in for some paneer dish from the local restaurant as the menu I was cooking was non-vegetarian. Then I decided to be fair to him and created a layered Mediterranean inspired salad with aubergines, hung curd, zucchini, pine nuts, sumac and zatar. The dish turned out to be a great hit, the non-vegetarians liked it too and I had to make it for many subsequent parties at our place. You will find the recipe to that salad in the link here

I remembered the salad when I recently received a box of Mother Dairy products to cook with. 

I finished the rather authentic mishit doi and flavourful and light raspberry yogurt while thinking of ideas. Which is when I thought of this mushroom, hung curd and paneer layered salad that I will share in the post. I decided to use some balsamic vinegar to give it an Italian inspired touch and the paneer could step in as an Indian cheese!

The Summer of Happiness range

Here’s what I came up with.

Summer of happiness salad (for 2)


1.     100 g Mother Dairy dahi
2.     100 g Mother Dairy paneer cut into cubes
3.     1 teaspoon chilli infused extra virgin olive oil
4.     1 teaspoon salt
5.     50 g mushrooms, finely sliced
6.     2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
7.     5 olives, finely chopped
8.    1/4  teaspoon oregano

Summer of Happiness salad ingredients. See how the hung curd is made


Step 1: Hung curd
·       Place a strainer on a vessel and place 75 to 100 g of the curd on the strainer. Keep overnight in the fridge. The waiter will drain out and the resultant hung curd will have a tight, pasty texture

Step 2: Paneer
·       Coat the paneer cubes with a thin film of chilli infused extra virgin oil and sprinkle some salt. If you don’t have chilli infused oil, then sprinkle some paprika or crushed black pepper powder. The salad has three layers and this layer will give a heaty after taste.
·       Heat a saucepan and place the paneer on it. After a minute turn the cubes over and let them rest for another minute or so on the hot pan. You want it to brown on both ends. The texture becomes tight then and it adds a nice colour to the dish
·       Set aside

Step 3: Mushrooms
  • ·       Heat 1 teaspoon of regular olive oil (not extra virgin) on a pan
  • ·       Add the sliced button mushrooms. 
  • Add in two teaspoons of balsamic vinegar (which gives a sweet taste to this layer), some salt and the olives (I had ones stuffed with chilli peppers) and stir for about 3,4 minutes in which time it will cook


Step 4: Assemble the salad
  • ·       Place the hung curd on the base of the vessel. Add a pinch of salt and some oregano flakes and gently mix it
  • ·       Layer on the mushrooms over the curd
  • ·       Then add the paneer cubes over the mushrooms
  • ·       Put the vessel in the fridge for 2,3 hours and your chilled, summer of happiness salad is ready to serve

Layer 1

Layer 2

Layer 3

Step 5: Eating it

  • Take all three layers in each bite.
  • The paneer will give a heaty taste, the mushrooms sweetness and the hung card a tangy feel leading to a nice balance of contrasting tastes. You can add some toasted walnut pieces on the top for a textural contrast and crunch.
My mom in law acted as my shoot help and held the spoon!

Disclaimer: This post was done in association with Mother Dairy

Click on this link to see some recipes done by Chef Vikas Khanna with the Summer of Happiness range of Mother Dairy products

Here are the Summer of Happiness site links if you want to know more:
 Our microsite :