Tag Archives: salad

Asparagus & Couscous Salad

7 May

Asparagus & Couscous Salad

About a month ago a few of us got together to picnic and enjoy the Cherry Blossoms in DC. When a bunch of foodies and girls who love cooking get together we end up with a surfeit of delectable treats that are often even figure friendly. The cherry blossoms were not even in full bloom but the spread at our picnic more than made up for Mother Nature’s shortcomings!

I was especially mesmerized by my friend Alisha’s Couscous Salad as she managed to breathe new life into a dull and often flat tasting dish with fresh and bright flavors. Her tricks included cooking the couscous in chicken broth instead of water and adding a distinct aroma and tang with generous amounts of fresh dill. Asparagus, Couscous Salad

Alisha’s Couscous Salad is the inspiration behind this recipe. I marry tastes and tips from her recipe with my love for adding asparagus to everything this time of the year. This salad comes together in minutes and highlights the season’s best ingredients in a light, healthy and extremely satisfying dish! Continue reading

Green Mango & Shrimp Salad

10 Apr

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Most foodies concur that a dish that harmoniously unifies savory, spicy, sweet, and sour truly gratifies our taste buds. This is probably why most people fall in love with Thai, Vietnamese and Cambodian salads on tasting them. The dressings for most of these salads amalgamate fish sauce, chilies, lime juice and sugar – a true treat for the palate. I came upon this realization while creating this recipe, which is my third Asian Salad post in the last few months.   Continue reading

Modern Yoğurtlu Ispanak (Warm Spinach with Yogurt Sauce)

30 Jan

Modern Yoğurtlu Ispanak (Warm Spinach with Yogurt Sauce)

Certain meals are meant to be cherished forever. They are usually associated with memories of special and significant events in our lives – memories that we hold onto forever and conjure up on days that seem less than perfect.

March 23rd, 2008

March 23rd, 2008

About 5 years ago, I unsuspectingly found myself in a small candlelit room with a magnificent table-setting for two. This mysterious jewel of a room is known as “Casablanca Room” (part of Souk Restaurant) and is situated in Mumbai’s renowned Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. It is an exclusive chef’s table for two, overlooking the splendid Gateway of India and the majestic Arabian Sea. Hiding in one corner of this room was the love of my life, who went down on one knee and asked me an extremely crucial question. I instantaneously made the best decision of my life and the rest is history.

That night we affectionately indulged in a fabulous Mediterranean meal that highlighted some of Souk’s best dishes. The recipe below is one of the many dishes my husband and I relished that momentous night. I recently came across this recipe in the “Vegetarian Fare at the Taj Cookbook” and just had to share it on my blog. Cooked spinach is always naked without garlic. Accessorize this marriage of garlic and spinach with garlic yogurt, crispy onions and chili-oil and you have a work of art that tantalizes all the senses.

Modern Yoğurtlu Ispanak (Warm Spinach with Yogurt Sauce)
Recipe Adapted from Souk’s Yogurtulu ispanaki Recipe (Vegetarian Fare at the Taj Cookbook)
Yield:  4 appetizer size portions
Time: Active 30 minutes    Inactive: 1-2 hours (for hanging the yogurt)

Ingredients:
Warm Spinach Salad ingredients
2.2lbs spinach, de-stemmed and shredded
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ small red onions, finely sliced
10 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
½-1 teaspoon chili oil
Garlic yogurt ingredients
½ teaspoon of garlic paste
1 cup of plain full fat yogurt, strained/hung (See note)
Salt and pepper to taste
Crispy Onion Straw ingredients
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced (See note)
Oil for deep frying

See note:

  • Hung Yogurt/Hung curd: Take the 1 cup of full fat yogurt and tie it up in a cheese or muslin cloth. Suspend this cloth over a small container for 1-2 hours, so that all the excess water from the yogurt is strained out and the resulting yogurt is hung curd.
  • The thinner you slice the onions the easier it will be to make crispy onion straws.

Method:
1) Blanch the spinach in batches: Bring water to boil in a large pot. Once the water reaches a rolling boil add a third of the spinach to it and remove it within 1 minute. Remove and squeeze out the excess water. Place this spinach in a pre-prepared ice bath (a large bowl with cold water and lots of ice cubes). Repeat this process for the other 2 batches of spinach. Once the spinach is no longer hot, drain it by squeezing out the excess water and set it aside.
2) In a large skillet heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Sauté the onions till they start to change color and then add the garlic and cook till it turns golden.
3) Add the spinach and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add salt and white pepper to taste. Set aside and keep warm.
4) For the garlic yogurt: whisk the yogurt with garlic and add salt and pepper to taste.
5) For the crispy onion straws: Heat the oil on high and deep-fry the sliced onions until they are crispy. Place the fried onions on plate lined with a kitchen towel to absorb the excess the oil.
6) To assemble: Mould the spinach onto individual plates. Use a piping bag to pipe the garlic yogurt or spoon it over the spinach. Top the yogurt with crispy onions and drizzle each portion with some chili oil.

Start your year right: Thai Pomelo Salad

2 Jan

Thai Pomelo Salad

Happy New Year!

It is the time for New Year’s Resolutions; often know as – lofty promises of regular workouts and healthy meals. These resolutions are more than often short-lived pledges that fade away within a few weeks into the year. But since most of us are trying to start our year right, this is a great salad to add to a healthy regimen. Its intense flavors will ensure that even though you’ll soon revert to your old ways you may just crave to eat this salad throughout the year.Pomelo Salad

This salad is inspired by my favorite salad on a recent trip to Thailand. Its star ingredient is the Pomelo, a citrus fruit similar in taste to a pink or Ruby Red grapefruit (great substitutes if you cannot find Pomelos). The fish sauce, Thai basil and birds eye chili add a quintessential Thai flavor to this salad, creating a unique and invigorating salad for any meal of the day.

Thai Pomelo Salad Recipe
Yield: about 3 cups of salad
Time:20 minutes

Ingredients:

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 finely chopped birds eye chili

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 cups bite size pieces of Thai pomelo/ South Indian Pummelo or Ruby red grapefruit (See note)
  • ½ cup bean sprouts
  • ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons finely sliced scallions
  • 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped Thai basil (See note)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • Garnish: Crushed peanuts (optional)
  • Iceberg or Bib lettuce for a serving bed (optional)

Notes:

  • You can use Thai Pomelos, South Indian Pummelos or ruby red grapefruits for this salad. The dressings and all other salad ingredients work well with any of these 3 fruits. Pomelos can be found in Mexican and in Asian markets.
  • Thai Basil can be found in all Asian Grocery stores as well as some of the larger grocery chains.

Method:
1) In a small bowl mix together all the dressing ingredients and set aside for 15 minutes.
2) In a large bowl Toss together all the salad ingredients (except for the peanuts and lettuce).
3) If you do not want a very spicy salad, at this stage remove the birds eye chili from the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well till all the ingredients are well coated with the dressing.
4) Refrigerate for 30 minutes (can be refrigerated for a maximum of 12 hours).
5) Serve cold on a bed of lettuce or in lettuce cups and garnish with peanuts if using them.

Thai Noodle & Chicken Salad

1 Oct

If you roast a whole chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken for a meal, it’s extremely plausible that you are left contemplating about what to do with the leftovers. Leftover classic roast chicken is one of the most versatile ingredients that can be pieced into a multitude of recipes.

Last week I was working on creating a recipe of a fall inspired whole roast chicken (recipe to follow in a few weeks) and found myself with plenty of leftovers. I decided that we would use the leftovers in a chicken salad the following night. The next day I found myself overcome by an urge to indulge in some Thai food and opted to give the leftover chicken a Thai twist.

My favorite Thai salad is Yum Woon Sen Salad – a bean thread salad tossed with a tangy and spicy dressing and crunchy peanuts. The protein in the salad is typically shrimp and occasionally ground chicken or ground pork. I was confident that the cooked chicken would absorb all the wonderful flavors of the dressing and would make a great substitute for the shrimp.

I used Rasa Malaysia’s Yum Woon Sen(Thai Noodle Salad with Shrimp) Recipe, but made several modifications as I wanted to work with ingredients in my pantry and fridge. This is usually a first course, but it makes a delectable and well-rounded one pot entrée for 2 people.

Thai Noodle & Chicken Salad
Adapted from Rasa Malaysia’s Yum Woon Sen Recipe
Serves: 2 (as a main course), 4 (as a salad course)
Time: 20 minutes from start to finish

Salad Ingredients:

4 oz rice sticks/rice vermicelli (See note)
1 ½ cups of shredded cooked chicken
⅓ cup peeled and thinly sliced red onions (See note)
½ cup diced tomatoes
1 ½ tablespoon coarsely chopped mint leaves
1 ½ tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
2 peeled cloves of garlic, minced and fried
2 tablespoons of either roasted peanuts or fried noodles (See note)

Dressing Ingredients:

1 ½ tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of chili garlic paste (See note)
1 ½ tablespoons of lime juice
1 ½ tablespoons of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of warm water

Notes:

  • Traditionally a Yum Woon Sen salad is made with cellophane or bean thread noodles. Feel free to use those, if you have them on hand.
  • If you do not like raw red onions, shallots are a great milder option.
  • Traditionally this salad is topped with slightly crushed roasted peanuts. I had a box of La Choy Fried noodles, so decided to use those instead. You can use roasted peanuts or fried noodles.
  • Chili Garlic Paste can be found in the international aisle of major grocery stores and in Asian markets.

Method:

1) Cook the noodles per the package instructions and set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, mix together all the dressing ingredients. Make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved.
3) Toss the shredded chicken in the dressing.
4) Place the cooked noodles in the bowl that you are going to serve the salad. To this add the onions, tomatoes, mint, cilantro, fried garlic, dressing and chicken.
5) Toss everything together to blend well. Taste and adjust the lime juice, chili garlic sauce or fish sauce as needed.
6) Top with the crunch of your choice (fried noodles or peanuts) and serve immediately at room temperature.

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