Cucumber Sesame Salad

Another weekend whizzes by.
And still no sign of peace, quiet, resignation, relaxation. In fact weekends are more challenging with never-ending social commitments, dining out and classes which cannot be taken during the week.
In times like these, I dream. I dream of mountains, of chilly soft breeze, of a great book and of some irresistible coffee.

What! Then why a SALAD recipe?!

Cold cucumber sesame salad

Cold cucumber sesame salad

When you have spent more time in the car than on your comfy bed.
When you have spent more time choosing gifts for brothers and nephews than lounging in front of your television.
When you have attended back to back Rakhshabandhan pre lunches and dinners, rather than eating khichdi.
For those times dear friends, when you pigged out more than you should have – This post is for those times 🙂

I am so not a salad person. All that raw-chewy-leafy is too much for me to chomp on. But weirdly, I felt like skipping dinner and munch on something light-cool and crunchy.

Dear husband’s jaw dropped open when he saw me tossin the greens. Salad huh? Since when?!
Since now.  And he beamed, thinking his naturopathy has rubbed off on me. Poor chap doesn’t realize, my salad fad is so temporary.

Sweet, salty, lemony dressing

Sweet, salty, lemony dressing

Picking my favorite raw veggie, cucumbers and decorating them with a bit of color(Read: carrots) and drowning the dish with a lemony sweet vinaigrette, topped with toasted sesame and peanuts is my very own mix mash of innumerable salad recipes that I have come across.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cucumbers, washed, sliced as you please
  • 2 tbsp thinly shaved carrots
  • 2 tbsp onion rings
  • 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1-2 tsp sugar or honey. I used sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes – optional.
  • 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp roasted crushed peanuts

Method

In a bowl, add the vinegar, lime, sugar, salt and oil. Mix in the onion rings. Pour this vinaigrette on cold cut cucumbers and carrots. Mix well. Sprinkle sesame seeds, peanuts and red chili flakes. Toss.

I ate it fresh. But you could refrigerate for 30 minutes so that the cucumbers soak up the dressing.

There. Done. Serve.

Sesame seeds and peanuts add crunch

Sesame seeds and peanuts add crunch

Serving Suggestion: A calm quiet peaceful solitary setting. Enjoy every morsel. Stun with every flavor.

I did not have this privilege. My 6-year-old was tearing my back down. Grimacing at the bites that I so lovingly offered. Husband was panegyrizing the benefits of salads, in some massive effort to turn me into a hermit.

Soon, I shut the mad room out, bowl in one hand, my inseparable book in the other, and walk into the dreams that I so frequently dwell in.
Bliss.

Summer Salad

Summer Salad

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Ginger Scallion Red Curry Thai Noodles

Such a long name for a noodle which is so simple to put together.

Thai red curry ginger scallion noodles

Thai red curry ginger scallion noodles

Such is life. We complicate simple things. But then, if we don’t add drama to simplicity, what’s the fun huh?
I could just call it Noodles or maybe Scallion Noodles( to be more descriptive), but chances are you would have just ignored the post and carried on with something else. So, I try to elaborate. And I try to emphasize the Thai part. 🙂
We make traditional noodles all the time, but a Thai dish topped with toasted sesame and peanuts has the birthright to YELL out for attention. Yep. This simple dish is that awesome.

Scallions add flavor!

Scallions add flavor!

I did not add any vegetable apart from sweet corn( because that’s all I had in the refrigerator), and it took me less than 10 minutes to put it together(took more time to think of a name. wierd. Funny right?)

This meal was a last minute improvisation with what ever was left in my pantry, and the husband being bitten by the traveling bug, dinner was just for me and Milee.
Since I added red curry paste, I was doubtful of the heat that the noodle carried, so quickly made a cheese paratha for the child. But the final outcome was sooo good(and not too spicy) that Milee literally grabbed and made me swap dinner plates with her. Kids!

Red Curry Fire

Red Curry Fire

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups boiled noodles, I used plain ones, but I believe egg noodles taste great in thai curry.
  • 1/2 cup scallion/spring onion whites
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste, or as much as you like
  • 4 tbsp scallion/spring onion greens
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp toasted peanuts, coarsely crushed
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil or peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn or any vegetable(mushroom/broccoli) – optional

Method

In a large wok, heat oil. Saute ginger garlic. Throw in the scallion whites and thinly sliced onions. If you are using any vegetable – add it now. Once almost done, mix in the red curry paste, soy sauce and salt. Saute on high for a minute or two. Quickly add the boiled noodles, salt and 3/4th of scallion greens. Throw in 3/4th of sesame seeds and peanuts saving some for garnishing. Switch the flame off. Mix well with gentle hands. Just before serving reheat in a microwave, garnish with leftover sesame, peanuts and scallion leaves. Serve hot!

How easy is that?!! 🙂

Toasted sesame and peanuts to garnish

Toasted sesame and peanuts to garnish

So, the long name describes my supper best. Just ‘that’ is enough for you to guess and put the ingredients together. In between big mouthfuls of red curry noodles, some crisp cheese coriander paratha, mother daughter duo made some awesome memories and a wonderful-definitely-repeating recipe.

Life is simple. 🙂

Take a big bite

Take a big bite

Bread Croutons – Garlic Flavored and Baked!

Garlic Herbed Bread Croutons

Garlic Herbed Bread Croutons

It’s inanely easy. Really, making baked croutons is no rocket science. Pleasantly surprised by the simplicity and the crunch of the little bites, has coerced me to make several batches ever since my first.

Crunchy crisp bites

Crunchy crisp bites

A french bread gives the best results, but leftover sandwich bread also would do. I had some whole wheat bread on my counter top waiting to be used. Just 5-6 slices is enough for a bottle full of croutons! They are great as add ons on soups/stews/salads or as it is.

Bottle Full of little bites

Bottle Full of little bites

First time I tried these, no special flavors were added. Plain crunchy beautifully toasted they were. But I’ve been experimental. Pounded garlic and mixed herbs add such drama to the flavors…. you will be in for a surprise!

Toasted to perfection

Toasted to perfection

Use whole wheat bread, top with a little olive oil, add any flavoring you like and BAKE! See. So simple. And not to forget, HEALTHY too. Try munching on them with your evening cup of tea. Delightful.

Cold Lettuce  + Fresh Veggies + Mayo + Mustard + Bread Croutons = Yummy Salad

Cold Lettuce + Fresh Veggies + Mayo + Mustard + Bread Croutons = Yummy Salad

When you want some body to your salad, cottage cheese or boiled peanuts or croutons are the keys to a filling satisfying meal. Top these crunchies on your soup or stew, and relish the carb with the slurrp.

Perfect Accompaniments

Perfect Accompaniments

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 6 slices of whole wheat bread or 1/2 a loaf of french bread, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed/pounded
  • 7-8 pepper corns, pounded
  • salt to taste

Method

Preheat your oven at 150C.
Mix the olive oil, crushed garlic, pepper powder and salt. Gently envelop the bread pieces with this oil. Spread the croutons on a baking sheet/parchment paper on a tray. Bake at 150-170C for 8-10 minutes, until they turn slightly brown and hard.

They can go from brown to black like in no time, so keep an open eye. Once done, cool and store in an air tight container. Use within 3-4 days.

Flavored with garlic and pepper

Flavored with garlic and pepper

Try different flavorings:

  • pepper and salt – plain simple
  • garlic and basil
  • garlic and pepper
  • garlic and parsley
  • mixed herbs
Bits of Baked Bread

Bits of Baked Bread

Milee’s Very Handy Tip:

Use these croutons as sides to a dip! She mixed cheese spread and green chutney, made a light green dip. Dunked these bites generously into the beautiful hued spread and relished every bit. Kids! They come up with the best ideas.