Sharmi on the Trot

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Archive for the tag “Thai-style”

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

For salad
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

For dressing
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 !

A side view!

A side view!

Easy Thai-inspired lunch

These days I’ve been cooking a lot of Thai or Thai-influenced food. Maybe my Thai visa could have something to do with it! Yes yes I shall soon be heading there to taste the authentic stuff but till then, I have to make do with what I can cook at home.
I love the balance of flavours found in the cuisine. The harmony so perfect, no element overpowering the other. Tom Yum Soup is one of my all-time favourites and I make it often for lunch or dinner. But, instead of the usual ingredients, I like to play around sometimes with the unusual. Carrots instead of prawns? Why not I say!
It’s still slightly chilly in Delhi so why not make the most of it, right? So, a simple lunch I did make — Tom Yum soup with carrots accompanied by chicken and basil brown bread sandwiches…

Soup (Serves 4)
1 medium size carrot (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped finely)
1 lemon grass (the tender stalk, chopped)
4 kaffir lime leaves (chopped finely)
1 red chilly (deseeded and chopped finely)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
3 tsp Tom Yum paste
1 lemon (juice)
1 litre chicken/vegetable stock
Coriander to garnish

(I’ve started keeping roasted/grilled chicken in the freezer. I can shred it and use it where ever I fancy)
12 slices brown bread (for the health conscious)
2 tbsp mayonnaise
Handful chicken (roasted or grilled but shredded)
8 fresh basil leaves (finely chopped)
1 cube processed cheese (grated)
Salt to taste

In a deep pot with a cover, add all the ingredients (except coriander) for the soup and put it on the heat. Once the stock comes to a boil, simmer it till a gorgeous smell envelopes your kitchen. Garnish with coriander and serve hot.

While the soup is boiling away, mix the mayo, chicken, basil, cheese and salt. Spread evenly on six bread slices and cover with the remaining six. Cut into triangles. An easy lunch under 15 minutes!

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
NOTE: Feel free to substitute the chicken with any grilled or roasted vegetables

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