Archive for the ‘salad’ Category


In middle eastern, salad, Uncategorized, vege on January 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm



The main ingredient in this recipe is quinoa (pronounced kee-nwa), the superfood from the Andes. This grain can grow in very harsh conditions and has a very high nutritional content, making it a suitable food for the future. There are plans to feed NASA astronauts with this on long space missions.

It takes less time to cook than rice, and makes an ideal base for a filling salad, like the Middle eastern tabbouleh. This recipe, though tedious because of all the fine chopping you need to do, is easy to prepare. You just need to mix everything up. It’s filling enough for a simple lunch or dinner.

Shopping list: quinoa (try the organic section of supermarkets), parsley, tomato, cucumber, spring onion, mint, lemon (for juice)

From the pantry: olive oil, garlic, salt

Hardware: herb chopper (a knife will do too)

Can I do it?: Yes indeed

Tip: Substitute lemon with lime if you want a sharper taste.

Credit: Dr. Wendy Yang, South China Morning Post




Spicy squid salad with cucumber and capers

In appetiser, Bill Granger, salad, seafood, vege on February 24, 2013 at 9:58 pm

spicy squid salad with cucumber and capers

If your idea of a salad is Caesar Salad, you need to expand your horizons. There is so much more to a salad than lettuce and tomatoes. If you’ve been cooking with Jamie Oliver, you would have been introduced to basil and rocket.

But today I’m writing about Bill Granger’s salad recipe. This one uses squid, and other than a quick cooking of the marinated squid (with olive oil, garlic and chilli) and the pickled capers, everything else is raw. It’s easy assembly. Just drizzle with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice seasoned with salt and pepper and you’re done.

Shopping list: squid, chilli, Lebanese cucumber (I used Japanese cucumber), yellow teardrop tomatoes (any small tomatoes will do, e.g. cherry tomatoes), celery stalks, celery leaves, basil, lemon, capers (you can find this in ‘expat’ mini markets like Hock Lee’s)

From the pantry: olive oil, garlic, salt, black pepper

Hardware: salad spinner (to dry the washed basil to prevent a soggy salad)

Can I do it?: If you can handle a knife, you’re all set.

Credit: Every Day by Bill Granger.

Tip: The success of this recipe is in the squid. Watch the stove. Don’t overcook the squid or it’ll end up rubbery.


Fresh Spring Rolls

In appetiser, eastern, salad, vege, vietnamese on October 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm

When it comes to traditional food, I’d say, stick to the tradition! Why mess with a good thing?

When truffle mooncakes appeared at the office, everyone made a beeline for them. I too was curious. I took a bite and… I can’t even describe the taste. No one could. It was very strange and AWFUL. So bad you’d want to spit it out. Sometimes, simplicity is really the best policy. All this fusion thing for the sake of being different is not working.

Which is why I like Bobby Chinn’s take on the Vietnamese spring rolls. I’m not sure if this is the original traditional version, but I’ve tried a few (including one with mango – didn’t work) and this is the best so far.

There are lots of vege in this, and it is surprisingly filling. Great for a simple meal if you’ve been pigging out. If cows can survive on greens (and they have four stomaches), so can you.

It’s easy to make. Just a matter of assembly. Except for the rice vermicelli and prawns, everything else is raw.  I favour steaming the prawns over boiling to retain the nutrients. Be careful not to overcook or you’ll get a rubbery texture.

Shopping list: rice papers, rice vermicelli, lettuce, mint, coriander, chive; for the fish sauce dip: rice vinegar, sugar, bird’s-eye chilli, garlic, lime, fish sauce

Hardware: salad spinner and a very large plate to soak the rice papers flat (you can also use a cake pan or baking tray)

Can I do it?: Of course. Assembly is easier than putting together IKEA furniture. But you do need a delicate touch not to tear the soft rice paper.

Credit: Vietnamese Cooking by Bobby Chinn. Full recipe here.

Tip 1: For the leaves, buy just enough a day or two before you make the rolls. Leaves don’t keep well. Wrap in newspapers if you need to store them in the fridge. Don’t leave them in plastic wrappers as condensation will ruin them. Use a salad spinner to get rid of excess water after washing.

Tip 2: Consume immediately. If you need to prepare these beforehand, place a damp muslin cloth (kitchen rolls will do too) over them to keep the rice paper from hardening.


Spin, baby, spin!

In salad, tools/utensils on October 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm


A salad spinner is something I wanted to get for a long time. Finding the right one is difficult. It’s either prohibitively expensive (More than RM100? Seriously? This piece of plastic?) or made of brittle plastic (drop it once and it’s a goner).

The search finally ended at Sogo, one of my two favourite places for kitchen stuff (the other being Robinsons). And this salad spinner costs less than RM50.

My life has changed since then. No more soggy salads or Vietnamese spring rolls. Or dabbing greens with kitchen rolls. It’s amazing how much water this thing removes. And it certainly does this job better than Mr. Bean’s sock.

Spicy Mexican Snack Cups

In appetiser, salad on June 22, 2010 at 2:13 am

This is easily one of my top favourite experiments to date. I made this for a small gathering. It’s a great party food. It looks interesting and is easier to prepare than it looks. That’s because it’s a salad dressed up to entice.

I love vege, but am not entirely thrilled at eating salads. I don’t usually order them when I eat out, but I used to have them for my dinners because they’re healthy and easy to prepare. With this flirty presentation, I might just start having salads again. (Yes, even adults need some encouragement to finish their vege.)

The cups make all the difference. Tortillas baked in the oven to give them a little crisp. I might just try the same technique with chapati.

This recipe has also introduced me to a new ingredient – kidney beans. It adds a nice texture to the salad. You get the crisp from the tortilla, the zest from the lemon, freshness from the pepper, zing from the shallots, mush from the tomatoes, wake up call from the garlic and finally, the crumble from the beans.

Shopping list: tortillas (get it from the frozen section of the supermarket), canned black or red kidney beans, tomatoes, garlic, shallots or onion, chilli pepper (not sure what this is – I used red pepper, also known as capsicum), lime or lemon

From the pantry: olive oil, corn oil for brushing (I used olive oil), maple syrup (I used honey)

Optional: coriander for garnishing, grated lime or lemon rind

Hardware: oven, bun tray (I used a muffin tray)

Can I do it?: The salad part is easy – just mix everything. Gentle skills needed to shape the tortillas into cups as they break easily.

Tips: Bake the cups shortly before serving. You don’t want them to ‘masuk angin’. Same with spooning the salad mix into the cups. Too soon and you’ll end up with soggy cups. Lastly, keep an eye on the cups in the oven. Be careful that they don’t burn.

Credit: Cook’s Kitchen Handbook & 500 Basic Recipes

The Best Pasta Salad

In pasta, salad on May 24, 2010 at 2:18 am

Jamie Oliver said that this is the best pasta salad. I agree. It’s simple to make. No cooking required, except for the pasta. If you can cook Maggi mee, you can make this. The only skills you need is knowing how to boil water, the ability to follow instructions on the pasta packet and chopping vegetables without injuring yourself.

Shopping list: shell-shaped pasta, cherry tomatoes, olives, chives, basil, cucumber

From the pantry: garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper

Can I do it?: It’s as easy as Maggi mee.

Credit: Jamie Oliver, Happy Days with the Naked Chef

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