Ramps are a species of wild onions which hit the farmers market around mid April and early may. They have flatter leaves than scallions and have a pungent flavor to the leaves reminding one of garlic. Because of this strong flavor on the leaves they become perfect for salads to add the spice without presence of onion or garlic.
Above is a bunch of ramps – one of the best snaps we have seen of ramps. Credit to Sujhey of http://www.fivesensespalate.com/ for the snap and thanks to her for letting us use it. In this recipe we only use the green leaves. We use the stalks for a chutney with cilantro, chilies and peanuts ground together with the stalks.
In india it is common to have a raw vegetable salad which is dressed sometimes with yogurt and also sometimes with spiced oils. These are called koshimbirs.
We decided to craft a koshimbir out of white radish and ramps. We shaved the radish on a mandolin slicer and then used the knife to make matchsticks. With the leaves of the ramp we bunched them into a roll and made as thin shavings as we could by chopping with the knife.
We added some yogurt thinned with water and stirred with a spoon to mix it to a creamy flowing consistency. We added it to the side. We then heated some oil and added some black mustard seeds and green chilies till they sizzle in the oil, flavoring it. We poured this over the salad and squeezed some lime juice on top.
This should be mixed just a few minutes before serving. The acid in yogurt and lime juice starts softening the radishes. They actually taste really nice after the matchstick radishes are softened just a bit.
This salad is great on its own with garlicky notes from the ramps. We also serve it as one of the sides in a thali meal and this goes great with chapati.