Monday, March 31, 2014

Bean sprout, parsley and egg salad

The seventh recipe of the week and the third salad in three days. I am on a cooking spree to make up my shortfall for one post per week for this year. :P

So here's another of those quick lunches for next day at office. Invented on the phillosophy of putting together something as fast as possible from leftover veggies (bean sprouts from today's lunch) plus one of whatever greens (chopped parsley) is on discount at supermarket today and one extra ingredient (here it was boiled eggs)

Ingredients (Serves 1):

  • Bean sprouts- 1.5 cups, chopped
  • Parsley- 1.5 cups chopped
  • Eggs- 2, boiled, sliced
  • Olive oil- For dressing
  • Lime juice- 2 tsp


Mix all ingredients together, drizzle with olive oil and lime juice. Toss. Refrigerate for the next day.


  • The salad's great, fresh and tangy with a hint of wilderness from the parsley. But wish I had thrown in a couple of cherry tomato's

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tofu, Bean Sprout and Snow Peas Salad

 Another one of those quick healthy lunches for the weekday. Or for that matter for a quick dinner.

Ingredients (Serves 1):
  • Tofu-100 gm, diced
  • Bean Sprouts- 100 gm
  • Snow peas- 100 gm
  • Lime- 1 small wedge
  • Olive oil- For dressing
  • Salt- To taste

Cut tofu, snow peas into smaller pieces. Shred bean sprouts. Drizzle with a little olive oil and lemon juice. Toss, refrigerate for the next day in air tight container. 

 Your fresh healthy salad is ready to boost your afternoon with vitamins, protein and fiber.

Barley, buckwheat, lentil & spinach salad

Fourth recipe for the weekend (rather my week beginning- while the whole world wakes up too a lazy Sunday breakfast, we head to office). Perfect for a light lunch or dinner.

Ingredients (Serves 1):

  • Barley: 2 tbsp
  • Buckwheat: 2 tbsp
  • Lentils: 2 tbsp
  • Baby Spinach: 100 gm, chopped
  • Lime juice: 2 tsp
  • Salt to taste

Preparation (20 mins):

Microwave at high with 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt for 15 mins.  Cool, add chopped spinach with a squeeze of lime. Toss. Lunch is ready.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lime Coconut Squid with Star Anise- Pweza wa nazi

Today's recipe comes from the Spice Islands of Zanzibar off the East African coast. 
Source:  Wikimedia Commons

Spicy and textured in sweet, sour and hot just like the medley of currents  surrounding the island and nourishing the rich marine life.

Trying to save money by getting the best deals, I ended up with three cans of coconut milk. Great, but my repertoire of coconut milk based dishes leaves a lot wanting. Have been planning a trip to Kenya/ Tanzania for a long time. Specifically since last weekend's island getaway. Two conversations under a starlit night on an island (Daymānīyāt Island-23°50'42" N, 58°5'11" E) off the coast of Oman, and they both lead to Africa. 

And hence this recipe. Again, the original recipe (Pweza wa nazi) called for octopus, but octopus being out of season, I substituted with squid.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • Squid:  1kg,cleaned and cut into rings
  • Coconut milk: 200 ml
  • Onion: 1 large, chopped
  • Ginger garlic paste: 2 tsp
  • Tomato- 200 gm, pureed
  • Star Anise: 2 whole
  • Cinnamon: 2 inch stick, broken into smaller pieces
  • Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Black pepper corns: 3 tsp
  • Dried red chilli: 3
  • Turmeric powder: 2 tsp
  • Cayenne powder: 3 tsp
  • Garam masala:  1 tsp
  • Mustard oil: 4 tbsp
  • Lime: 2 large, juiced
  • Salt: to taste
  • Milk (to marinate squid): 100 ml

Preparation (Marination- 1 hr+ Cooking time- 40 min s= 100 mins)

Squid/ octopus tends to get rubbery if cooked too much and this is the simplest marination tip I found. Surprisingly it works. Clean the squid, cut into rings and marinate in a bowl of milk for  1 hour.

While the squid marinates, let's prepare the base. Puree tomato and set aside. In a small sauce pan  dry roast the whole spices- Pepper, cinnamon, cumin seeds, dry whole chilli and star anise. Set aside.

Fill a saucepan with water, bring to boil. Now add the squid and cook for 20 mins. Keep checking to see when the squid just gets done. Too much and you may as well call this dish Lime Coconut with Vulcanized Squid. The squid rings will tend to shrink somewhat and turn pinkish in colour when they are just about done.


In a separate frying pan saute the  onions in mustard oil till translucent. Add ginger garlic paste, turn flame to medium. once the oil starts leaving the sides, add the drained squid rings, turmeric and cayenne.


 Stir for 2-3 mins to coat squid evenly in the onion, ginger-garlic,turmeric and pepper powder. Add tomato puree, cover and cook on medium heat for 5 mins. Stir in coconut milk, dry spice mix and lemon juice.Add just salt. Cover and let simmer to a creamy stem in ten minutes.

  • This is pretty fiery stuff. Though the coconut does bring down the hotness quoitent, would
    Source:Wikimedia Commons
    recommend using lower portions of spices if you are not used to eating very spicy food.
  • Accompany with a glass of chaas to take some of the heat off.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Thai Green Curry Chicken (Gaeng Khiao Wan Gai)

Love Thai food, and after burning a sizable hole in my pocket frequenting the neighborhood joint, I managed to convince the chef to part with his recipe. So this one's dedicated to one of my favorite hangouts in Muscat- Shang Thai. If you are in these neck of the woods, highly recommend their outlet by the marina at The Wave.


Ingredients (Serves 3):

Green Curry Paste (1 cup)

  • Green coriander:1 cup
  • Shallots: 2 small
  • Garlic: 3 cloves
  • Galangal: 2 inch portion
  • Lemon Grass- 3 stalks
  • Green chilli-  4 small
  • Fish Sauce: 3 tbsp
 Green Curry
  • Chicken- 500 gm, chopped into small pieces
  • Coconut milk- 200 ml
  • Caffir Lime Leaves: 10 small
  • Baby eggplant- 5 chopped
  • Bell pepper- 1 chopped
  • Green chilli- 4 large, sliced diagonally
  • Olive oil: 2 tbsp
  • Sugar: 2 tbsp
  • Fresh sweet basil: 1 handful (did not have fresh  basil so substituted with dried basil)
  • Salt: to taste

Preparation (Cutting time 30 mins+ Cooking time 20 mins= 50 mins)

Chop all ingredients for green curry paste and blend with 1/2 tbsp coconut milk. In a wok/ saucepan, heat the oil. Add the green curry paste and stir continuously on low heat to release the flavour.

Add chopped chicken,coconut milk (just save about 4 tbsp for garnish later on) and sugar. Stir, cover and let cook on medium heat for ten minutes. 

Toss in eggplant. Cover and cook for 5 mins.

Throw in bell pepper, caffir lime leaves, cover and cook for 5 mins. 

Turn off heat. Stir in a little basil and chopped chili. Cover and set aside.

To serve garnish with a spoonful of coconut milk and a little basil.


  • The dish is a delicate mix of sweet, sour, hot and bitter (from basil) in a fragrant coconut cream. If you want you could add a little lime juice (I did though my friendly chef wasn't so happy at my sacrilege). Best enjoyed with steamed jasmine rice
  • If you want to substitute chicken for something else, you could try shrimp, but do remember to reduce cooking time. For a vegetarian variation try adding zucchini, more peppers, broccoli, french beans and tofu

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spinach a la Catalan

This one's from a friend who suggested a healthy sweet and savory lunch. The best thing about this, takes less than five mins to make. So a quick and healthy tasty lunch.

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Fresh Spinach: 4 cups
  • Pine Seeds: 2 tbsp
  • Raisins: 2 tbsp
  • Pepper: 1 tsp whole (optional) 
  • Cumin: 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Butter: 1 tbsp for cooking
  • Salt: To taste
Preparation (5 mins):

Heat butter  on a low flame, add pepper corns. Once butter becomes hot, throw in pine seeds and raisins. Fry on medium heat till pine seeds start turning golden brown. 

Shred spinach into mix. Stir till spinach starts to wilt. Remove from flame and plate. The raisins and pine nuts add sweet and nutty contrasts to the buttery spinach providing the 'chew' in the dish.


  • Think this goes with steamed rice. Else serve with a bread roll and cream cheese.