Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Լոլիկ/Վարունգ (Tomato/Cucumber) Salad!

Everyone and their mothers know of the standard tomato/cucumber summer salad. When tomatoes are in season and actually taste good, this salad is in my house all day every day.

We call it the լոլիկ/վարունգ (lolig/varunk) salata/salad around these parts, and it basically holds the same ingredients, only with some minor things being changed every now and then. It is great on its own, or can compliment any meal.

So when my good friend Shaghig came over for the day, I made this salad for us to eat. She loved it and even though I know what I made is very typical in terms of the usual recipe, I mentally noted I could be pretentious about this too. A few days later, Shaghig messaged me to ask what the ingredients were in "that amazing Vahe Jingalian* salad" I made.

Double-take to the extreme. This salad can be called a summer salad, լոլիկ/վարունգ salata, tomato/cucumber salad, but I had no idea what she meant by saying Vahe Jingalian. I confirmed she was talking about the same one I had made, and I sent her the recipe. The next time I saw her, she said it again, and I asked her why she was calling it that, and if there was a weird Lebanese-Armenian meaning behind it. Shaghig put my curiosity to rest and said, "I knew a guy named Vahe Jingalian. He was tall like a cucumber and spoke as if he had a tomato in his mouth."

From that day forth (like four days ago) it was forever decided that this salad would officially be referred to as "The Vahe Jingalian Salad". I don't know you Vahe Jingalian, but I can already tell we would become best friends forever, so this blog post is dedicated to you (and Shaghig of course).
What you need:
-A few in season and plump tomatoes
-Spring onions or half a large yellow onion
-3-4 cucumbers! The ones with pimples on them meant for pickling
-Half a juicy lemon or red wine vinegar
-Olive oil
-Mint leaves or dried mint
-Fresh parsley (optional)
-Zeytoun (olives) - optional but just do it
-Cut the delicious tomatoes up real nice in cubic pieces.
-You must cut the onions next. My mom taught me this so do it in this order or she will come after you if you don't. Once you cut them, mix them with the tomatoes right away and add a little salt. The salt makes the onions calm down in taste, and keeps the tomatoes from becoming too watery.
-Chop the cucumbers in quarters.
-Add the fresh or dry mint (I say any amount is not enough but put as much as you please I guess) and a few sprigs of chopped up parsley.
-Add the lemon or a few TBSPs of red wine vinegar, and olive oil.
-Throw in some pitted or not pitted kalamata olives.
Done! Simple, easy, refreshing, and delicious. Oh, Vahe Jingalian, wherever you are, I can only hope all of these traits are applicable to you as well.
*Name may have been slightly altered to avoid offending Mr. Vahe Jingalian, although being associated with this salad should really be a compliment.

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