Tag Archives: light

Light and Healthy Eats

Now that the festive season is over, and we have begun a new year,  may be we all want to eat light and healthy for a few days at least. I sure am trying. It is a healthy winter soup each night for dinner- pumpkin, cauliflower, spinach, and so on. I also tried an interesting turkey lentil soup recently. Aromatic, flavourful and warm. A soup is meant to be an appetiser, but sometimes ends up becoming the meal itself.

Not that I am feeling guilty for the over-indulgence. But it’s just nice to give the body a bit of a rest before we start again. Salads, soups, wraps, sandwiches can be varied and healthy. A low calorie meal can still satisfy your hunger.

And trust me, these need not be bland or boring.  Can be carefully planned and jazzed up. Who can ever tire of the classic soup and salad meal? Not me for sure. I love it. Only make sure your salads are varied and have many colourful ingredients, so that boredom does not set in.

A hearty soup stock with winter vegetables is satisfying  enough or at best pair it with a sandwich made with leftover chicken or ham. And yes, wholewheat bread. When eating a salad, try and avoid heavy salad dressings or dips. I prefer a lot of mustard instead, or even lime, for that zing in a salad.

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A salad with mixed leafy greens, crunchy celery, carrots and tomatoes makes for a delicious meal. For a heartier salad, add tuna or salmon, croutons and cheese. Yes, a bit of cheating is allowed, if only to pamper your taste buds a bit. Jazz up your salad with seasonal fruits. Nothing like apples and oranges in salads. A sea food salad is a good bet too.

Pasta salad makes a filling, but still light, meal. Add veggies to your pasta, as well as some chicken, and a dash of olive oil and you have a tasty meal ready.

Wraps with smoked chicken are one of my favourites. The wraps should be of whole wheat though. Or a falafel wrap maybe?

One must keep in mind that more of protein and less carbs is ideal these days. And of course fatty foods and fried stuff should be completely avoided. Red meat is best stayed away from. After all you have had enough of sorpotel and sanna during Christmas. Haven’t you?

Steamed vegetables, legumes and beans are again a wonderful way to detox your body. Keep away from those sausages, burgers, nuggets and pate. Those may be handy and easy to consume, but are heavy and far from healthy. Processed food is a big no-no for me.

Exotic Mushroom Ramen  - The Fatty Bao - Photo Courtesy Kunal Chandra-

Consciously add green leafy vegetables, whole grains to your diet. Hummus chicken with brown rice pilaf is a treat and yet, light. The brown rice chicken pilaf at Nothing But Chicken or their Bistro salad are great options too.

So keep eating light and healthy meals the next few days, to ease off your system. Stay fit, Stay healthy. Tell me how January goes.

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Simply Refreshing : Vietnamese Pop Up at Shiro

Vietnamese cuisine is fairly new to India and still relatively lesser known, but fast gaining popularity. Five Star Hotels and stand alone specialty Pan Asian restaurants are the only ones who generally serve this cuisine in metros.

The Vietnamese pop up at Shiro, in Mumbai, led by Chef Vu Dinh Hung from Ho Chi Minh City seemed like the perfect opportunity to step into the restaurant, after a somewhat long gap. Of course Chef Vu had trained the team here headed by Chef Sameer Juvekar and left. Yet, the entire meal served to us was authenticity personified.

This simple but flavourful cuisine, has borrowed a lot from China, Thailand and of course  has an obvious French influence too. But all to its advantage.

We began our meal with the customary summer salad rolls  comprising  vegetables, bún (rice vermicelli), & other ingredients wrapped in Vietnamese bánh tráng (rice paper). These truly were a refreshing start as it was light and easy on the stomach. The burst of crunchy veggies in the rolls felt good to bite into. Ours were the prawns and crabstick ones, but Vegetarians have an exciting Tofu option.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls - 07

Cha gio, or the spring rolls with vegetables came next. Unlike the Chinese spring rolls, these are lighter and easier to digest. One has to wrap them in a lettuce leaf and dip into the sauce to relish them in the traditional way. These surpassed our expectations. Absolutely extraordinary flavours and gave a boost to our palate.

No Vietnamese meal is complete without Pho and I must confess, I was secretly awaiting its arrival. Pho is a popular noodle soup, made with rice noodle, herbs, broth and chicken. It is filling, yet, not a complete meal. In fact it is quite light and refreshing. The dash of chilies and the paste added the right amount of zing to it and perked our taste buds beyond compare.

Olive oil, lots of tomatoes, Italian basil, pistachios, all have a large presence in Hung’s dishes, we discovered. Along with these, he mixes Western foods with Asian ingredients in his signature dishes to give them a contemporary twist. I loved that as he obviously does a perfect job of it.

The BBQ eggplant took us completely by surprise. I was reluctant to try it but with its unique marinade and copious amounts of peanuts and grilled to perfection, it turned out to be one of my favourites that evening. As in our baigan bharta, the eggplant flavour was masked, and yet distinctly enhanced.

Vietnamese Chicken Curry - 06

A mildly flavoured aromatic chicken and potato curry with steamed sticky rice followed. It was strongly reminiscent of the Thai curry minus the galangal and lemon grass of course.Vietnamese curries are made with freshly ground spices as opposed to pastes. Totally my comfort food. Relished it. Could have been a bit more spicy though.

Although each dish we were served, was savoured by us, but they had saved the best for the last. The glass noodles had an eclectic flavour. The myriad textures- crunchy, creamy, teased our palates and made us crave for more. It was a compete meal in itself, although Chef Juvekar, generously sent us some clay pot fish which had subtle saucy flavours and was equally delicious.

The chef’s creativity knows no bounds. The chocolate fondant with figs ( my first ever) was delightful and decadent. What a fabulous combination I thought, it was. The cream and crunch were married perfectly. The molten chocolate filled our mouth and we were satiated beyond words.

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The chef transported us to Vietnam through his culinary journey. Even after a meal comprising so many dishes, we were not uncomfortable. That is the beauty of a Vietnamese meal. The fresh ingredients have a lot to do with this. A memorable meal, I shall always cherish. On till April 26, pop by to experience this unique pop up:)

Rating: 4/5

Flavours of a bygone era : The Sahib Room & Kipling’s Bar

Dear Memsahib……my invite read. That set my pulse racing. It was like being transported to the style and elegance of the colonial era. I expected The Sahib Room & Kipling’s Bar at Palladium Hotel to be intimidating with a stiff-upper lip atmosphere, but I was wrong. The restaurant and bar are well-designed and exude bon-vivant chic, but, with a warm and friendly vibe, which immediately puts you at ease.

Sipping my Elaichi Daab- an interesting mix of coconut, almond and cardamom, I soaked in the ambience of this tastefully done up Kipling’s Bar. I couldn’t help notice a seat reserved for the famed writer Rudyard Kipling, with his spectacles, pipe et al who is supposedly away on a break.

A while later we shifted to the Sahib Room for the rest of our meal. A superlative menu with Awadhi and North West frontier specialities greeted us. There was style and sophistication even in the manner in which the food was served. Phalon ka shorba- the spiced mandarin orange soup could not have been a better start to our gastronomic journey. A unique, mildly flavoured, refreshing soup. Easily one of the best I have ever tasted. Dhungari Kumbh- Coal smoked forest mushrooms rubbed with fresh cilantro & ginger which came next, took my palate by storm. Melt-in-the mouth mushrooms with a smoky flavor were a never-before experience for my tastebuds. The idea of incorporating Philadelphia cream cheese in the Brocolli Dak Bangla appealed to me immensely. The cheese complimented the tart mustard flavor. We savoured each morsel in a relaxed atmosphere with attentive, but unobtrusive staff.

Sahib Ki Khaas Gilawat (2) (1)

Jaituni Pomfret was equally a delight with simple, rustic flavours. Nothing overpowering to mask the taste of the fish. And that is what good cooking is all about. There was no scope to go wrong with the Gongura Jhinga either. Succulent prawns, marinated to perfection. My tastebuds had experienced Nirvana already, but there was more to come.

The zafrani taftan and tandoori naan paired well with the Murg Awadhi korma, which was strongly reminiscent of my grandmother’s cooking. Flavourful and comforting with freshly ground spices. The gravy was lip-smacking. Purvanchal saag was an amalgamation of fresh greens, with a hint of spice, just enough to tantalise your appetite. What can I say about the Sasranga meat? This Kashmiri preparation of lamb, with spices was the piece de resistance that evening. Cooked to perfection, the meat cubes were soft and creamy, meshed in a puree of aromatic spices, flavorful, yet, gentle on the palate.  So delicious and satisfying was this, that we decided to skip the biryani, something I would normally never miss. Thanks to the fresh and quality ingredients, we did not feel uneasy after our meal.

 Sasranga 'meat'

It was time for some guilty pleasure. The Kolkata meetha paan ice cream had strong paan flavours in a velvety texture, with the right amount of sweetness. In the same vein, was the paan rasogulla, but with different flavours, which lent themselves beautifully to the soft rasogulla. Angoori rabdi was rich and creamy in texture with a burst of sweetness in the mouth. An appropriate finale to a royal repast. Chef Paul Kinny and his team ensure you will go back for more.

 

Fish & Olive Casserole: Recipe

 

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Ingredients:

500 gms fillet of any fish

3 cloves garlic

7 black olives

fish stock

chopped parsley

olive oil

salt to taste

Method:

Cut the fish into large pieces. Peel and chop garlic. Saute fish and garlic in olive oil. Pour fish stock. Boil fish for a few minutes, Chop olives and parsley.

Sprinkle over the fish. Serve hot. A perfect dish for a quick lunch.