Category Archives: Salads

Different-Delicious-Pan-fried Chicken

I love that the girls coax me every once in a while to try and cook something new. Recently, it has mostly been about chicken.

Ever since we bought this little book with interesting chicken recipes, we’ve tried 3 or 4  every few months. Of the lot that Noor selected some weeks back that she wanted me to try and make, this is the one that seemed easiest to tackle for a weeknight dinner.

And what a great choice it has turned out to be- so versatile, quick and easy, and flavorful and delicious too. It is great as a snack by itself; as a filling for tortilla wraps, as a side dish with rocket or another green salad; and as a star, very filling ingredient if one wants just a large bowl of salad for a meal.

Here’s how I’ve adapted the original recipe –

Delicious Pan-fried Chicken

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400 gms of boneless chicken breast, cut in to filets
For the marinade:
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp of red wine vinegar
3-4 large cloves of garlic, crushed well or finely grated
2 tsp of red chilli flakes
2 tsp of dried oregano
rock salt/Himalayan salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a small mixing bowl, and turn out in to a large shallow bowl. Toss the chicken filets gently in it, cover with cling film and leave in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours. Take the bowl out of the fridge and leave on the kitchen counter for 5-10 minutes just before you’re ready to fry the chicken.
Gently heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a grilling pan, place the chicken pieces in the oil, and fry on both sides for a few minutes on medium heat till the meat is cooked thru and starts to turn a nice brown color. Cool and store in the fridge if you’re going to add the chicken later to a salad, serve fresh and warm if you want to have this on the side with some  salad.

Substitute honey for maple syrup, balsamic vinegar for rice wine vinegar, thyme for orgeano; maybe add a few thin slices of ginger root to the marinade instead of the garlic. Any which way, this is a winner with lots of warm, delicious flavor.

P.S. If you use this as a filling for tortilla, add a few slices of  quickly-stir-fried red bell pepper, and perhaps some guacomole on the side as the original recipe suggests. I personally prefer adding 2-3 rocket leaves to the wrap; I find the crunch of the greens complement the soft and juicy chicken nicely.

Colorful, Tangy, Crunchy Koshimbir

For enough salad for 4, mix together two medium cucumbers, three tomatoes, 1 small onion, 1 small green bell pepper (all chopped fine), 3-4 tablespoons of peanut powder and season with salt to taste and enough sugar and lime juice (of one small lime) for a tangy well-balanced sweet ‘n sour taste.

And that’s it! A great salad that is really versatile and an excellent accompaniment for main course dishes like biryanis, pulavs, bhaaths, kheema, rajma… Remember to season about 10 minutes before eating so that the sugar and lime juice get a little while to mingle well with the veggies – or “for all of them to become buddies”, as Indira likes to joke 🙂

And the little bit of tangy juice formed and left at the bottom of the bowl, once the salad’s been eaten, is almost the best part of this dish!

Delish Mint-y Potatoes

I love the sheer simplicity of this dish as I much as I do the dish itself. Which, luckily, is one that the girls and Shri like a lot too. Noor, in particular loves it and her eyes light up when I say I’m going to make this for their lunch box for school!

This is another dish that I learnt to make from the young chef in the kitchen of our farm stay in Sikkim some months ago. In addition to the dish itself,  I was so glad to learn the little trick he told me about adding the salt to the oil, instead sprinkling it over the potatoes. That surely makes a subtle but important difference to the taste.

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Here’s how he made it –

Mint-y Potatoes (for 4-6)
5-6 medium sized potatoes
a handful of mint, washed, dried and chopped fine
2 tablespoons of oil
salt to taste

Pressure cook the potatoes or cook in boiling water. Allow to cool, then peel and cut them in to large chunks. Take care not to over do the cooking, as you want chunks that are firm to the touch rather than soft or crumbling.
Now warm the oil in a shallow frying pan large enough to hold the potatoes in a single layer, and add the salt to it. Let the salt turn color to a very light brown. Now add the potato chunks and the mint together, and saute together till the potatoes start to acquire a slightly crisped look and color. Take off the heat and serve while still warm, ideally.
These potatoes are great by themselves, or with paranthas. A light dish, and there’s so much flavor here from the mint that is not obscured by any spices. I might even serve this as a side dish with a big leafy green salad.

Pineapple, Paneer and Pomegranate Toss-Up

Most of the event-related dinners for our training programs at work are hosted at the Taj Blue Diamond and going there always reminds me  of our courtship days, when Shri and I went often to their coffee shop because it was the kind of place where it was easy to linger over even just a cup of tea and a newspaper borrowed from their reading racks. The place had a very cosy feel, with the highlight of the decor being these pretty lamp posts whose style I recognized as European only a very long time later, when we moved to France two years after we got married and I began to come across the same kind of lamp posts on European streets in cities
like Cannes !

But I digress. What I meant to write about here, lest I forget the ingredients or the idea in all the multitude of things  that happen every day, was the idea for a salad I ate when I was the hotel earlier this month.

The chef(s) had basically tossed together chunks of pineapple with paneer and pomegranate and added some salt and red chilli flakes to season it.

For some reason, the salad had acquired a bitter taste by the time I took some to eat. But I think if one were to make it carefully, ideally this combination would make for a great and very different kind of salad, a pretty and colorful addition to the table. In fact I intend to make this one of these days and will probably leave out the chilli flakes and add some roughly chopped mint leaves for an extra dash of color.

Tangy green bell pepper, tomato and cucumber salad

This is Indira’s favorite salad (of the moment).

They miss many of the foods they loved so well in France such as avocado, parmesan cheese and the range of excellent olive oils we were able to choose from, so I am glad that they enjoy as much some of the recent introductions to our meals, such as this salad.

They love to dress this salad themselves and are a lot more generous with the sugar than I am. But then that’s why they like to do that part !

2 green bell peppers, cored, de-seeded and diced in to quite small pieces

2 small cucumbers, peeled and diced in to small pieces

2 tomatoes, chopped in to small pieces

1 or 2 small onions(optional), peeled and finely chopped

salt, brown sugar and lime juice – all as much as you like

Combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl about 15 minutes before serving, so that the flavors mix together well.

This is a fresh, delicious salad; Indira loves how the bell pepper and onion pieces make it nicely crunchy. The juice that remains at the bottom of the bowl once the salad is all eaten up is yummy too !

Adding apples and oranges-Apple, Clementine and Raisin Salad

Inspired by Novairah, I have used raisins, as she does, in salads a couple of times recently. They were particularly good in today’s lunch-time salad, since it had only fruits – I was bored by the idea of using any of the usual vegetables so on impulse decided to use apples and oranges instead – combined with the usual Mesclun.

This made for a nice lunch, with pasta.

I think I love salads as much for the color as the fresh taste, unmasked by spice, of the fruits and vegetables.

Apple, Clementine and Raisin Salad


1 apple (with the skin), diced quite small

2 clementines/small oranges, peeled and with the segments diced in to small chunks

some salad leaves, roughly torn by hand if too large to make it easier for kids to handle with their knives and forks

about 2 tablespoons of raisins (preferable the darker variety for a richer taste)

a few walnuts (optional), sliced in to quarters

2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil

sea salt to taste

Toss the fruits, the walnuts (if you are using these) and the olive oil in a salad bowl and keep aside for 10-15 minutes; just before eating, add the salt and salad leaves and mix well.

So who says you can’t add apples and oranges? This time, it worked out quite well, I’d say !

Broccoli,Baby Potato and Tomato Salad

Yesterday, when I realized suddenly that I did not have as much time to cook dinner as I had initially thought, I decided to make this salad on a whim, to go with grilled pesto and onion toast.

I kept the broccoli florets quite small and since the salad also had the girls’ favorite tomate marzounette (a type of small-sized tomatoes that have an oblong shape and are grown from a variety native to San Marzano in Italy) they ate it without comment.

I haven’t combined them before, but potatoes and broccoli do seem to go well together. I can even see this salad as part of a more formal meal, with baby potatoes in place of the regular sort for a nice touch.

Broccoli, Potato and Tomato Salad

steamed broccoli florets

boiled, peeled and diced potatoes (the potatoes should be firm, not overcooked) OR boiled and peeled baby potatoes

cherry tomatoes, sliced in to halves (or quartered lengthwise if the tomatoes are the marzounette variety)

Put the tomatoes, the broccoli and the potatoes in to a large salad bowl. Add some olive oil, toss the vegetables lightly in it, and leave aside for an hour.

Just before serving, sprinkle some sea-salt and lime juice and mix the salad.

Light, colorful, GOOD ! Definitely one to make again.