A Nigella-inspired weekday lunch
I don’t know about you, but I love leafing through cook books or surf online for inspiring recipes. In a way, thanks to TLC, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson came into our homes a few years ago and thus began the love affair. What was really interesting about the two was they emphasised on easy. You don’t need to be a professional to make something unique and creative.
Then, Masterchef Australia had all our tastebuds tingling from season 1. In fact, when I was in Sydney last summer, the home section in QVB had the Nigella range. If I wasn’t travelling with just the backpack or had enough dough, I think I would have bought everything they had. Seriously, the pans and pots are gorgeous!
I’m digressing. I recently came across Nigella’s Vietnamese dressing. It is just so versatile that one can use it for a number of salads and main courses and it’s easy to add ingredients to it to make it different. Vietnam is a country I’m yet to visit but the first time I made the dressing, it invoked flavours similar to what I had tasted in Thailand.
I was pressed for time today and needed something quick and satisfying for lunch. Hey, presto! Thus was created a Thai salad inspired by Nigella but perfect for vegetarians!
Thai salad with cottage cheese
200 g fresh cottage cheese i.e paneer (cut into bite-sized cubes)
2 tbs sesame oil (this can be substituted with vegetable oil and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds)
1 small white cabbage (finely shredded)
2 small carrots (finely shredded)
Handful of chopped coriander
1 small onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 green/red chilly (chopped)
2 tbs vinegar
2 tbs light soy (use fish sauce for a non-vegetarian option)
1 tsp sugar
2 tbs lime juice
In a bowl, add the onion, garlic, chilly, vinegar, soy, sugar and lime juice. Soak everything for about 10 minutes.
Mix the cabbage, carrots and coriander in a bowl. Toss the dressing in and coat every bit of the raw salad with it. You don’t need a lot of dressing for it.
Heat the sesame oil in a small flat pan. Once hot, add the cubes of cottage cheese. When one side starts browning, turn over. Once browned, it would take about 5 minutes, toss the browned cubes onto the salad with whatever sesame oil still remains in the pan.
Serve immediately with some fresh coriander.
PS: Tastes great with Tom Yum Soup !