When I make Russian salad, I put any combination of cabbage, potato, carrot, cucumber, peas, apple, mango, grapes, chickpeas, raisins, almonds and/or walnuts. Cabbage is a must for me, rest of the ingredients change with season. You can pineapple if you like, it will add some more crunch. I sometimes add a tablespoon or two of cream at the end, but that's optional.
I prefer raw veggies, except potatoes and peas, which I always boil; but carrots and cabbage can also be boiled for a couple of minutes to make them slightly softer. I prefer to boil cabbage when it is slightly bitter; boiling reduces the bitterness.
Mayonnaise is the component that can make or break the Russian salad. I always make mayonnaise at home. I used to make mayo in the blender and it took around 20 minutes to make it. Then I saw the method used by Matt Preston in Master Chef. It uses an immersion blender and takes just 2 minutes to emulsify the egg and oil, and at most 5 minutes to get a rich, creamy mayonnaise. I will be describing both the methods, but if you ask me, I will be following Matt Preston's method in future.
Matt Preston used grapeseed oil and some mustard in mayonnaise. I used soyabean oil which is used for daily cooking in my home. It works.
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sugar
Juice of lemon or 1 tbsp vinegar (lemon tastes better)
3/4 cup or more oil
Place the egg in the blender. Add the salt, black pepper, sugar, lemon juice. Blend until the egg is frothy. Start adding oil drop by drop with the blender still running. When you have added around half the oil, the egg and oil will begin to emulsify. Start adding oil in a thin stream until the mayonnaise thickens to the desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate until you need to use it.
This whole method can be done using the electric beaters too.
Matt Preston Method
Put the egg in jar. Take care not to break the yolk. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, lemon juice and oil, taking care not to break the yolk. Place the immersion blender such that the yolk is under the blade. Keeping the immersion blender in its position, turn it on and see magic. The mayonnaise immediately emulsifies. Move the blender up to incorporate the oil. Pure , rich and creamy mayonnaise is ready. Refrigerate unitl you need to use it.
Assembling the salad
Combine all the veggies, fruits and/or dry fruits in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise. Combine and refrigerate. Serve chilled.