Healthy salads are a must in our daily meals. I have developed this habit over the years.Being a vegetarian for the past 7 years I am experimenting with different types of grains. My main motivation was to develop healthy, balanced food habits in my children and also expose them to new kinds of food.
I left India at the age of 18. Landed in erstwhile USSR, more specifically Kiev, capital of Ukraine. There was no specific reason, I think I just wanted to do something very unusual for a teenager at that time. It was 1988. In those days, food was dominant in my mind,I cooked whenever I had spare time. Maybe it was nostalgia for home or just a passion brewing within?
Hostel life is fun. You are exposed to fellow hostelries from different countries and cultures. I ended up engaging my room mates to teach me their cuisines. I have fond memories eating injure (Ethiopian crepe made with spelt flour) sent by my room-mates parents. Since the grain was not available in Kiev, and I craved for it, my room mate made its point to get it whenever someone travelled to Africa.
Then I remember living with a Moroccan girl who she just hated waking up in the morning sand never attended the first lecture. When I returned for lunch, she made sure there was a hot lunch waiting for me. Of course there was a trade- off, I had to share my notes and sometimes help her do her assignments, which I didn't mind as I was fed lovely tagine cuisines.
Well that's it for now but I promise to share more stories with you as we go on. Here are the outcomes of my all-time successful yet delicious experimental recipes.
Millet tabbouleh salad.
Ingredients: 1 cup foxtail millet ( thinai). Salt and pepper to taste, 2 -3 tbsp- lemon juice, 1/4 cup chopped cucumber, 1 cup chopped deseeded tomatoes, 1/2 cup each of choppedmint,parsley, spring onions and coriander. 3 tbsp. EVOO(extra virgin olive oil) Pomegranate seeds – 1/4 cup.
Step 1- cook millet in boiling water, my ratio is 1:3, for one cup millet I use 3 cups of water and since it's a salad recipe , I make sure to cook it on medium to high heat, keep checking as it takes only 10-12 mins. For this type of millet cook al- Dente. Drain water and leave the millet in a colander for some time I make sure to keep it for at least 30 mins and then I fluff it with a fork. * If not using the same day u can refrigerate millet for up to 36 hours.
Step -2. Now take a bowl add cooked millet and all above mentioned ingredients and mix well, garnish with pomegranate seeds and Millet Tabbouleh salad is ready.
Raw papaya and green mango salad - low calorie and vegan
Ingredients – one cup each julienned(a portion of food cut into short, thin strips) raw papaya and green mango,
Salt to taste,
1 tbsp.- brown sugar or powdered jaggery,
2 tbsp.- lime juice,
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes or as per taste
1/4 cup chopped spring onions (scallions),
1/8 cup julienne carrot,
Few sprigs of chopped fresh coriander leaves(cilantro),
Extra virgin olive oil ( EVOO) – 1 tbsp. and green chili for garnish.
Method. Mix all above mentioned ingredients and your easy and quick salad is ready. Serve chill.PS. used little extra lime juice as I enjoy extra zing in my salad.
Food Stylist, Neelima Sriram, expert in vegetarian & vegan international cuisine. Over the years her passion led her to research the chemistry of spices and ingredients to create traditional, contemporary, yet nutritious recipes. Involved in the food industry since 2000. She has successfully run a catering business in Central Asia, taught cooking in Canada and now continuing in Chennai. Being a globetrotter, she learnt international cuisine first hand. Recently she launched “Mindful Chef",www.facebook.com/MindfulChef1 which counsels on healthy food choices, sustainability in eating practices. In Canada, Neelima was a regular at cooking shows in specialized studios and TV. Recognizing her talent, local TV interviewed her for “Woman in Focus”. She is a certified food stylist from Denise Vivaldo of Los Angeles, US