Salads

Cold Asian Salads 2 Ways! Soba Noodles with Edamame and Ginger-Honey-Soy Dressing and Cucumber Sesame Salad.

That title was a mouthful! Summer was taking its time to leave us this year…not I’m complaining! I love the warm weather! So I treated myself to a refreshing lunch of cold soba noodles with edamame in a spicy honey-ginger-soy dressing with a side of cucumber sesame salad. The cucumber salad was so pretty! I used a peeler to make delicate little strips. It’s great to make ahead and stays well! The noodles were also super easy to make and would make an excellent side dish or light lunch when entertaining. Trust me, your guests will love it!

The kind of soba noodles I used was King Soba noodles with organic sweet potato and buckwheat. Soba noodles are japanese noodles made from buckwheat, which is a high-nutrient carb that scores low on the glycemic index.  I chose this particular buckwheat noodle mainly for the color, I felt it would contrast nicely with the edamame, cilantro and scallions, but any type of soba noodle will work.

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Honey-Ginger-Soy Soba Noodle Salad

You will need:

  • Soba noodles: They come tied up, you can use 2 bunches
  • Edamame
  • Carrot sticks (Or coarsely grated carrot)
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Dressing: Honey, ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sriracha
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

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Directions

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil
  2. Once it comes to a boil, dump the noodles in and let it boil for about 5 minutes.
  3. Check to see, to make sure it doesn’t get too starchy. It should not be al dente.
  4. Drain the noodles and submerge them in a bowl of cold water. With your hands, gently rub the noodles to remove the starch. This will help prevent it from clumping.
    • This is a really good blog post that shows how to prepare soba noodles step-by-step.
  5. In a blender, add about a 3/4 inch nub of ginger, skin removed, 1 tsp honey, 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil, a squirt of sriracha . Blend until smooth.
  6. Taste, and add water depending on  how strong the flavor is. Add ginger for more spiciness, add honey for more sweetness.
  7. In a mixing bowl, combine soba noodles with 1/2 cup edamame, a handful of carrot sticks,  and the sauce. Mix well.
  8. Serve and garnish with  4 scallions, chopped, cilantro and sesame seeds.

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Cold Cucumber Salad

dsc_0005This recipe is super simple!

  1. Cut 1 English cucumber in half length-wise.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler peel the skin, and remove the seeds with a spoon.
  3. Continue peeling the cucumber so it falls in delicate, strips.
  4. Do the same with 1 carrot
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine 2 tbsp rice vinegar  and 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil and 1-2 tsp sugar. Add a few chilli flakes for flavor and salt to taste. Whisk until the sugar dissolves.
  6. Pour the mixture over the salad. This can be served immediately, or later. The flavor seeps in  more the longer you wait. It’s so delicious I can’t wait for you to try!

This recipe yields 2 servings. double for a larger quantity.

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Mango Tandoori Tofu Pizza and Cucumber Mint Salad with Citrus-Sesame Dressing

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This  recipe is slightly indulgent and simply divine. The semi-homemade portion of the recipe is the garlic naan, which I purchased from Trader Joe’s, but you are welcome to make your own if you can.  It is topped with lightly fried tofu cubes in a makhani, or butter masala gravy (inspired from vahrehvah.com), chunks of tangy mango fruit, and sliced pepper and red onion, a mild cheese and cilantro.  The salad complements the spice of the pizza with cool cucumber, mint and corn with a citrus-sesame vinaigrette. There are several steps, but it is relatively simple to replicate, and if you are entertaining, it will be both a visual and sensory delight!

Health Stuff:

Stufft is about eating clean and veg, but ‘clean’ is not devoid of indulgence once in a while. There are a few substitutions in this recipe that make it healthier options. For example, I used tofu instead of paneer, and low fat milk instead of heavy cream. I also paired it with a fresh salad and topped the pizza with tons of veggies.

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Part 1: The Tofu Masala

You will need:

  • Extra firm tofu, DSC_7862cubed, dried
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Ketchup
  • 1 large tomato
  • Ginger-garlic paste
  • Coriander powder
  • Cumin powder
  • Red chili powder
  • Garam masala powder
  • Kasoori Methi
, or dried fenugreek leaves
  • Low-fat milk
  • Salt to taste

To Prepare:

1. (optional) Lightly fry the cubed tofu until golden-brown

2. In a saucepan, sauté a small yellow onion, chopped or half a medium onion.

3. Add ginger-garlic paste, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1/4 tsp garam masala powder, and 1/2 tsp red chili powder. (adjust spices to taste)

4. Add around 2 tbsp tomato paste, and 2 tbsp tomato ketchup (trust me, it tastes good!).  Add water, salt and a pinch of kasoori methi.

5. Bring the gravy to a boil, add tofu pieces and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from flame and add milk, stirring constantly. It will taste exactly like a makhani gravy!

6. Set aside.

Part 2: The Pizza

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Toppings:

  • Tofu butter masala
  • Red, Yellow, Orange peppers sliced into rings
  • Red onion, sliced into rings
  • Frozen mango chunks, cut into smaller pieces
  • Mild cheese (like mozzarella)
  • Cilantro

To Prepare:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. Toast the garlic naan for 1-2 minutes
  3. Layer the tofu masala (warmed) on the garlic naan
  4. Scatter a few pieces of frozen mango, unthawed
  5. Top with a layer of peppers and onions, and finish with cheese
  6. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese melts
  7. Finally, turn on the broil setting for the final 1-2 minutes to make the cheese brown and bubbly
  8. Garnish with chopped cilantro or red chili powder

Part 3: The Salad

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  1. Dressing: combine ¼ cup orange juice, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp sesame oil (a little goes a long way), salt and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Salad: peel and cut 1 cucumber finely, add sweet corn and chopped mint into a mixed green salad.

Enjoy!

This recipe makes around 4 pizzas

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Curried Carrot-Apple Soup

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Today was a beautiful Fall day. It was sunny, bright, and the air was crisp and cool. A perfect day for  a nice hot soup! I had some apples left from my apple-picking excursion, so I decided to make this curried carrot apple soup. It is savory, slightly tart,  with a bit of sweetness from the carrots and apples.  I served it with a side of chickpea salad with lemon-tahini dressing. I hope you enjoy!

This recipe makes about 4 bowls of soup. 

You will need:

  • About 6 carrots (mine were on the small side)
  • 1 large granny smith green apple
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • curry powder
  • 2 cans vegetable broth
  • Immersion blender!
  • Salt n’ peppa to taste!

Prep:

1. Peel and chop the carrots into small pieces. The easiest way is to cut into sections, halve and dice.

2. Peel, core and chop the green apple.

3. Dice the onion.

Directions:

1. Add 2 tbsps of canola oil in a pot. (I avoid olive oil in any recipe involving curry or indian spices because it changes the flavor.)

2. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté till translucent.

3. Add about 3/4  tsp of curry powder. Any curry powder will do. It is wise to smell the powder first to make sure you are ok with the flavors. A little goes a long way, so better to add less initially, unless you’re feeling risky.

4. Add the chopped carrots and apple to the pot, stir, and sauté for a few minutes.

5. Add 1 can of vegetable broth and reduce to med-high.

6. Allow the veggies to simmer until they are soft.

7. Turn off the flame, add 1 more can of vegetable broth and using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it is smooth, or to the consistency you like.

8. Bring to simmer again and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a dollop of yogurt/sour cream and some chives.

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Chickpea Salad: 

This salad is pretty much a go-to for me. It’s a healthy snack or side dish  to eat anytime.  I switch around the herbs from time to time between cilantro and flat leaf parsley. Today, for the first time, I used dill and added some tahini to make for a mediterranean-inspired salad.

1. Combine 1 can of chickpeas (rinsed), 2 bell peppers of your choice (diced), one persian cucumber (diced), half a red onion (diced), and a couple stalks of celery (diced), 1 Roma tomato (chopped) and some fresh chopped dill.

2. Add in about 1 tbsp of tahini paste, 3-4 tbsp of lemon juice, and a few drizzles of extra virgin olive oil.

3. Add salt an pepper, and combine well.

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Bon appétit!