Black rice salad


DSC_1308

This was a sudden salad in that it came to happen rather abruptly in my repertoire while I was experimenting with a bit of culinary expansion in terms of recipes and cuisines and the sight of black rice always invited me with such fascination and enigma that I caved in and bought a few kilograms to experiment with and this salad was the result of a thrilled happenstance.

I hadn’t expected the results to be as delicious because this is a fairly simple recipe but seeing how it’s near impossible to be content with a small bowl of this black rice salad I found myself making it more of it almost every chance I got.

Black rice tends to be far less starchy and more pronounced in its nuttiness and provides a perfect vehicle to harmonize with simple, accurate flavours that work in tandem.

DSC_1282 copy

It’s a fairly large amount of ingredients and this salad works to serve not just as a side dish but also as a meal. Great as a post-workout snack or dinner this salad does double duty. The vegetables you use depend on their seasonal availability but as long as there’s crunch, piquancy and dried fruit to balance it all it can’t go wrong. A bit of sweetness in terms of dried fruit is most desirable because it elevates the mood, texture and taste of this salad.

DSC_1285

DSC_1284

Chop the vegetables, cheese and chillies in fairly small pieces. Deseed the chillies if they’re too spicy.  I have also scooped the seeds out of this cucumber. It’s an optional step.

DSC_1287

Chop oregano and rosemary fairly fine. Use dried herbs if you can’t find fresh ones.

DSC_1286

Put the chopped cheese and vegetables into a bowl

DSC_1290

along with the herbs

DSC_1291

and raisins

DSC_1294

Add lemon and salt

DSC_1295

followed by a drizzle of olive oil

DSC_1296

and mix

DSC_1297

until evenly combined

DSC_1298

add cooked black rice to the vegetables and mix well.

DSC_1299

There we have black rice salad. Cover and let rest for at least an hour before serving.

DSC_1317

It is delicious, colourful and nutritious. Won’t you please try it.


Ingredients

Black rice: 250g

Tomatoes: 3-4 small

Cheese: 100g

Chillies: 2

Herbs: rosemary and oregano fresh or dried mixed herbs

Capsicum red: 1 small

Raisins: 2-3 tbsps

Olives: 2-3 tbsps

Cucumber: 1

Lemon: 1 tbsp

salt to taste

Olive oil: 2 tbsps

NOTE: To cook black rice soak them the night before or for at least 5-6 hours and cook using 1:1.5 black rice to water ratio.

Use whatever vegetables and cheese are seasonally and easily available.


Recipe instructions

Chop the vegetables and cheese into small bite-sized pieces. If using fresh herbs mince them fairly fine and add to the bowl with vegetables and cheese along with the raisins, salt, lemon juice and olive oil.

Mix well until evenly incorporated and add the cooked black rice and mix again.

Let sit in the fridge for an hour before serving.

Salmon fried rice


DSC_0265

This is just the kind of food you want to indulge in from keeping your waistline into an ever expanding universe. Healthy, nourishing, nutritious and all too tasty..how often do you even read all these adjectives in the same sentence?

Well my darlings, if you’re still on about healthy eating this year (why?), then this fantastic recipe is the one for you. Packed full on with flavours, yet strangely subtle. This bowl promises to comfort without making you fat. It’s sustenance and all too easy to scarf down in heaping abundance. No guilt, only pleasure. Your taste buds will thank you and your insides will give a content round of applause. It’s so easy and quick to put together that you’ll see yourself tottering in smug satisfaction as you lay this humble yet celestially righteous bowl of gratifying health for all to see and eat.

This does a superb double take as not only a solitary lunch but also as a quick meal for many.

 

DSC_0224 copyA bit many ingredients, but they’re not a whole lot.paprika, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice, chopped onions, ginger and garlic as the flavour base. Salmon, peas and spinach, hard boiled eggs and that’s really it. (psst. use any fish you have available)

 

DSC_0227dry roast the cumin and peppercorns, until they’re just fragrant

 

DSC_0230These need to be crushed along with other spices

 

DSC_0231

DSC_0232In with the salt and paprika

 

DSC_0233and you crush it within an inch of their existence, or until they’re nicely crushed

 

DSC_0235like so..

 

DSC_0236now for a gentle massage or rub..however you prefer

 

DSC_0238an now for a bit of tasteful dismemberment..or you can just cut in to chunks

 

DSC_0239In a pot of choice, heat some oil and add in the chopped onions

 

DSC_0241casually throw in the chopped ginger

 

DSC_0244followed closely by lemon zest

 

DSC_0245and in with the fish chunks. Cook for a few minutes, until the fish is more or less cooked.

 

DSC_0247Add in the chopped garlic and stir for a minute more.

 

DSC_0248Plonk in all the vegetables (peas and spinach) and stir for just another minute until the spinach wilts. (I’m using frozen peas, so it takes just a minute for them to cook. If you’re using fresh peas, you might want to add them a bit earlier or pre cook them)

 

DSC_0251now for the rice. I used a rice cooker and steamed the rice with a clove and black cardamom pod (totally optional)

 

DSC_0252In they go

 

DSC_0253

mix it well and add in the lemon juice. taste for seasoning, you might want to add in a touch more salt.

 

DSC_0269Embellish with eggs if you please. This recipe has real oomph and wow factor. It looks simple, and it is simple, but the flavours manage to hit all the right spots without jarring your senses.

_________________________________

Ingredients

Salmon fillet: 170g

Onion: 1 medium sized. finely chopped

Ginger: 1 inch stem finely chopped

Garlic-2-3 cloves finely chopped

Paprika: 1/2 tsp

Cumin seeds: 1 tsp

Black peppercorns: 1 tsp

lemon:1 (zest+juice)

salt: 1 tsp + more

Cooked rice: 150g-200g (about 1 cup)

Peas: 100g (1/2 cup)

Eggs (optional) : 1-2 (hardboiled or to your preferred doneness)

Spinach: big bunch (it wilts down to almost nothing when cooked. Use a lot if you really want to see it in your dish)

Salmon fillet or fish chunks: 150g

Oil to cook: 1 tbsp

—————————————

Recipe instructions: Dry roast the cumin seeds and black peppercorns for a minute or so and crush along with paprika and salt. Rub the salmon fillet on both sides with this dry mixture and cut into chunks.

In a large pot, heat some oil and add in the chopped onions and ginger. Cook for a few seconds until translucent and add in the lemon zest and stir fry for half a minute. Add in the fish and cook for a couple minutes until fish is almost done. Add in the garlic and stir together for a minute or so.

Add in the peas and spinach and cook for another minute, until the spinach is wilted and fish is completely cooked.

Add in the cooked rice and stir it all together, until all rice is well incorporated throughout the mixture and each grain is coated with flavour.

check for seasoning, add more salt if you prefer.

Finally squeeze in the lemon and briefly stir.

Serve hot, flecked with chunks of hard boiled eggs.

Enjoy!!

 

Salmon, baked potatoes & pea puree


DSC_0220

This might look like a chaotic blip of technicolour profusion, but I promise you it’s wholly edible, and not just edible, but lip smacking zen level scrumptious. Zen because it isn’t overloaded with fat or an orchestra of varied spices, and lip smacking because eating so many different colours will only infuse your insides with digestive rainbows, and since when did that become a bad thing?

If you’re still on the healthy eating bandwagon and haven’t budged yet from your new years resolution then as annoying as you might be, this is the perfect recipe for you. It’s fish, it’s potatoes and peas..just three simple instruments to serenade you into making a fantastical composition that looks good and tastes even better. You can make a solitary meal for one or fancy meal for many, either which way it’s just as easy and delicious.

 

DSC_0190 copyjust potatoes, peas (I use frozen), a clove of garlic, salmon fillet and olive oil.(salt and pepper not pictured)

 

DSC_0192let’s prep the potatoes first, since they will take the longest to bake. So peel ’em

 

DSC_0193halve them

 

DSC_0194half each half into half or quarter it as some might suggest

 

DSC_0195dice each quarter into equal pieces.

 

DSC_0197line on a baking sheet

 

DSC_0198drizzle oil

 

DSC_0201salt and peppa!

 

DSC_0202arrange and bake at 190°C for 30 minutes, or until they turn crisp and golden and gorgeous.

 

DSC_0203in the meanwhile as the potatoes bake, bring a pot of water to boil, and add a clove of garlic

 

DSC_0204followed by peas. I use frozen peas, but use whatever you have handy.

 

DSC_0205let ’em boil until the peas are fully cooked, not just tender but totally absolutely tender.

 

DSC_0206fish them out and puree them into a blender or food processor along with the now cooked garlic. Don’t make it into a soup, keep the nubbly texture..it should gloop off a spoon, not drip.

 

DSC_0207finally, salt and pepper on both sides of the fish. (I just have the salt one, but imagine there’s pepper in it too). Try and use a good salt if you can. I’m using Maldon salt.

 

DSC_0212cook on a very hot pan, about 3-4 minutes each side.

 

DSC_0213turn it over. Mine took about 3 minutes each side, but depending on the thickness of your fish you might have to decrease or increase the timings.

 

DSC_0214in the meantime let’s have a look at them potatoes.

 

DSC_0220plate it as you want. I like the pea puree to form the base for the fish to settle on and potatoes on the side. There isn’t much in terms of seasonings and flavourings, and that’s what makes this taste exactly how it should. The peas are sweet with the slightest hint of garlic, the salmon is light and flaky, just enough salt blending with peppery depth, and the potatoes work as a robust accompaniment to these delicate flavours. All in all, a great light meal for anytime of the day.

____________________________________________________

Ingredients

olive oil : 1-2 tbsp

garlic: 1 clove

potatoes: 2 medium

salmon fillet: 1 (150g)

peas: 150g (1 cup)

salt and pepper to taste

————————————

Cooking instructions:

peel and quarter your potatoes lengthwise. Cut each segment into equal parts. Line on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and paper, mix well and bake at 190°C for 30 minutes or until crisp and nicely browned.

In a pot of boiling water add garlic and peas and cook until they’re tender. Blend into a nubbly puree.

salt and pepper the salmon on both sides and cook on a very hot lightly oiled pan for about 3-4 minutes until bothe sides are nicely browned and the fish is cooked through.

Arrange on a plate with peas and potatoes and Enjoy!.

 

Chinese fried rice


DSC_0983Zen, pure and a work of moments. These fried rice are a breeze to make and their savory, mellow, fresh taste makes it a delight to eat. They are nutritious, low-fat, versatile and catapult your leftover cooked rice into a delish meal.

This dish can be cooked using whatever leftover vegetables you have in your fridge and somehow it never goes wrong. This recipe was given to me by my Chinese friend and it is as much a pleasure to cook as it is to eat. Try this and you’d never want another recipe for your fried rice.

DSC_09441The ingredients are really up to you and what you have in your fridge, but this is as basic as it gets. Spring onions, Chinese chives, leftover mushroom & onion mix from my sandwich (this is optional), peas, carrot, red pepper, sugar, ginger, soya sauce & egg (not pictured)

I’m not using any garlic here, because my Chinese friends tell me that if a recipe includes spring onions there is no need for garlic.

DSC_0946Starting with pepper

DSC_0947De-seed, de-vein

DSC_0948and chop into about 1/4 inch dices

DSC_0949I used half of that carrot I showed in the picture simply because this was a solitary meal and how much can a gal eat?

DSC_0950carrot into two segments. each segment into three segments.

DSC_0951chopped into chunky small pieces.

DSC_0952ditto with green onions.

DSC_0953I reserve the white and light green part for the initial cooking as a flavour base and the green ones to put in later for flavour enhancement and garnish.

DSC_0954and these Chinese chives. I have a soft spot for these, and end up putting them in everything I cook.

DSC_0955As with the green onions, I use the lighter part for initial flavour base and the green part for second flavour layer and garnish.

DSC_0956Here we are with our chopped vegetables and the pictured egg.

DSC_0958Oil into your favourite wok, as you can see mine is pretty old and has seen many a burnt foods and adventures and I love it to bits. It’s my moms actually, I stole it from her and carried it to China.

DSC_0959while the oil is getting hot, here is my rice. It’s not much, but enough to feed me.

DSC_0961make sure the oil starts smoking before you add in your vegetables. The oil has to be ferociously hot. In a big swoop add in the peppers, carrots, white part of the chives,finely minced ginger and spring onions. It’ll sizzle and you’d salivate.

DSC_0963in with the peas

DSC_0966pepper, lots of it.

DSC_0967leftovers.. mushrooms in my case

DSC_0968pinch of sugar and this doesn’t sweeten anything but rather balances all the flavours.

DSC_0969finally half of the soya sauce

DSC_0971bring it all together and mix well for a few seconds.

DSC_0972add in the rice. I have here some beautiful jasmine rice, but use any rice you have.

DSC_0974mix well until most of the rice is slicked with vegetables and oil

DSC_0976now grab a handful of the green parts of the spring onions and chives and add to your hot wok. This boosts the flavours and brings together this entire dish

DSC_0977Now crack in the egg.

DSC_0978Mix until it’s scrambled and coated each rice strand.

DSC_0979Add in the remaining soya sauce

DSC_0980another handful of greens and mix and adjust for seasoning. If you need more salt and black pepper, now’s the time. My soya sauce was very salty and I really didn’t need any more salt but make sure this dish isn’t under salted. Mix well and it’s done.

DSC_0991how easy was this? rich rewards with minimum effort. You have to make this.

Ingredients

  • Rice: 1/2 cup
  • spring onions:  3-4
  • Chinese chives: 2-3
  • mushrooms: 4-5
  • egg: 1 large
  • peas: 60g (about 1/4cup)
  • carrot: 30g (scant 1/4 cup)
  • ginger finely minced : 1 teaspoon
  • red pepper: 1 medium size
  • soya sauce: 1 tablespoon
  • black pepper: 1 teaspoon
  • sugar: 1/4 teaspoon
  • salt: to taste
  • Vegetable oil: 2 teaspoons

(this recipe doesn’t really need measurements since it’s up to you, how much or how little vegetables you need. You can double or triple the amount of rice and ingredients to suit your needs)

Recipe: Chop the vegetables into 1/4 inch thick chunks. Reserve the green part of the chives and green onions for garnishing and later layer of flavours.

In a wok, heat oil and once it nearly starts smoking add in your ginger,vegetables, except the green parts of the chives and spring onions. Mix well. add the pepper, sugar and half of the soya sauce. Mix until well combined. Add in the rice and mix until the rice is slicked with oil and vegetables. Add in half the green part of spring onions and chives, crack in the egg and mix again until the rice is fairly coated with scrambled egg. Finally add in the remaining soya sauce and the remaining green parts of chives and spring onion, adjust for seasoning and serve hot.

This is not a very pungent, or overwhelmingly flavourful dish. It’s a very mild, subtle and fresh tasting rice dish. It’s pure and simple and a perfect light lunch or dinner.

DSC_0989Enjoy!!

Bock choy stir fry


One of the perks of living in China is the vegetable market. Teaming with fruits & vegetables I had never usually seen before. A trip to the market is such a sight for sore eyes. Beautiful green vegetables, lush fiery red fruits.. initially all I did was buy dragon fruits by the tons and devour them in the privacy of my home.

Bok choy is one leafy vegetable I couldn’t have enough of. Wonderfully versatile and cooked within minutes. It’s easy simple and elegant on a plate. For the past week this stir fry has become sort of a staple breakfast- it’s easy, delicious, nutritious and a few drops of oil are more than sufficient.. i.e. healthy and low cal..

Ingredients

2-3 stalk of bok choy (see picture)

1 medium sized garlic chopped fine

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp any vegetable oil

very easy & very quick.

Wash your bok choys thoroughly and cut the base of the stalks so that all the leaves with their stems are separate. Wash the vegetable and pat them dry on a kitchen towel.

In a non stick pan heat the oil and add the garlic. Let it almost brown and add in the bok choys. Now this is the best part, before you start wondering how will these leaves ever cook, they start wilting giving off the greenest sheen possible. Just stir it well to mix it with the cooking garlic and pour in the water…. this is almost done now. Just mix it all together and keep stirring it for not more than 2-3 minutes.

Add in the salt and pepper and give it a final stir.

Now stand back and look at it.. so green, so luscious, so beautiful..

Enjoy….