Daily Archives: 6 April 2010

Easter Lunch with an Indian theme

Lunch with friends at home on Easter Sunday – obviously time for, eh, curry. However, this time I am not the chef, nor is this (yet another) “on location” special.

Today is exciting as Fashpolitico is appearing as a guest chef. We were round at her house at the weekend, and she did a star turn with a colourful selection of spicy Asian goodies. Spicy Indian cream tomato soup with bhajis to start, then squash in tomato and coconut milk, dahl, coconut green beans with mint, saffron and spiced rice and cucumber raita, all followed by an orange and cardamom cake. And all absolutely delicious.

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Chicory and Peanut Salad with Chilli-Lime Dressing

I’ve noticed I’ve got a bit of a habit of favouring complex or time-consuming recipes. To make up for this, here is a quick and easy salad with an Asian twist to it.

I made this a few days ago to accompany a chickpea and squash curry. I liked the idea of the crisp, fresh vegetables with a sharp citrus and chilli dressing to contrast with the rich, spicy curry, and the two dishes worked together really well. The salad was huge, but it all went between three people. I think the “lightness” of the salad meant it was easy to keep picking at it once we had finished the main course, although I must confess that the raw veggies also were also perfect for dipping into the remaining satay sauce…

For the salad:

• 2 heads of chicory
• 1 large carrot
• 1/2 cucumber
• 3 spring onions
• 75g peanuts
• handful coriander
• 5-6 mint leaves, finely chopped

Place the peanuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven at 180°C until lightly golden. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and chop roughly.

Cut the chicory in half, then slice each of the halves into very fine strips lengthways.  Peel the carrot, and slice into fine strips lengthways with a vegetable peeler. Cut the cucumber into quarters, and remove the seeds. Cut into thin batons. Top and tail the spring onions, and cut – you’ve guess it – lengthways into thin strips.

Place the sliced vegetables in a bowl and toss gently. Sprinkle over the peanuts, coriander and mint. Just before serving, pour on the dressing.

For the dressing:

• 1 red chilli
• 1 unwaxed lime (rind and juice only)
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

Remove the seeds and veins from the chilli, and chop finely. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Allow to sit until you are ready to serve the salad, and whisk again just before using.

Worth making? Yes. There is a nice mixture of textures and flavours here, with the bonus that there is very little salt in this recipe (apart from the soy sauce). Nothing here is particularly unusual, which made the end result all the more impressive, and I am sure that the basic recipe would lend itself to easy adaptation (cos lettuce in place of chicory, adding beansprouts or pea shoots…so many options!).

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Filed under Recipe, Savoury