Warm Mushroom and Water Chestnut Salad

Why is a mushroom a great friend to have? Because he’s a fungi. (No? Okay).

Mushroom Salad

If you, like me, are on a mission to stay away from junk food snacking, then warm salads are your best friends. They provide you that cosy, comfy, warm feeling and keep you full for longer. Bonus points for the health part too. The best part is that they aren’t that difficult to make, you can prepare large portions and store them in the refrigerator for reheating whenever your body says “nom-nom time”.

So the other day I came across a stall selling fresh young water chestnut that are my mum’s favourite. It made her happily squeal louder than she should have. I didn’t know what the fuss was about until I promised to try making her a water chestnut salad. I hadn’t cooked with water chestnut before but it looked rather innocent and friendly (insert puppy face fused with water chestnut). It turned out to be surprisingly yum because of its interesting, crunchy and lush texture. More water chestnuts, please!

Mushroom Salad 3

This is an Asian Stir-Fry style salad, so I suggest you keep your ingredients ready before you start cooking. Here’s what you will need:

Ingredients

  • Button Mushrooms – 2 cups (quartered)
  • Water Chestnut – 1 cup (chunks)
  • Boiled Broccoli – 1 cup
  • Ginger paste – 1 tbsp.
  • Garlic Paste – 1 tbsp.
  • Vegetable Oil – 3 tbsp.
  • Onions – ½ cup (thinly sliced)
  • Black Bean Sauce – 3 tbsps.
  • Brown Sugar – 1 tbsp.
  • Five Spice Powder – 1 tsp.
  • Chinese Rice Wine Vinegar – 1 tbsp.
  • Green Chillies – finely chopped (optional)
  • Spring onion greens and coriander to garnish
  • Seasoning

Method

Now that you have everything, it’s time to rock on with your wok on (couldn’t resist) high heat.

Add the oil and let it heat up. Once the oil is smoking, add the green chillies, onions and ginger-garlic paste. Sauté till the onions are slightly fried. Then, add all the sauces and condiments (black bean sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar and five spice powder) because you want them to latch on to your vegetables whilst they cook. First add the water chestnut and sauté it till the edges brown. Then add the mushrooms and finally the broccoli. Your wok must be smoking by now (if it isn’t then turn up the heat). This will give a beautiful smoky flavour to the dish. Lastly, season it with salt and pepper according to your liking. Garnish with greens and tuck in.

Happy healthy snacking (pat on your back)!

Mushroom salad 2

Grilled Aubergine Mediterranean Sandwich



Med Sandwich 1

Raise your hand if you get midnight hunger pangs. (Those with your hands down, I’m seriously judging you right now). The other day, whilst watching a tedious movie that went on for 3 and a half hours, I caught myself focussing on the main character’s lunch plate instead of his dialogues. (Happens, right?)

It was past midnight and the day’s dinner was wiped off a little earlier that night. I found myself staring emptily inside the refrigerator and just when I was about to abandon mission ‘don’t attack junk food’, I spotted it. Fat, purple and quite hapless looking. It was time to have a midnight date with the poor aubergine.

Agreed, the idea needed a tad bit extra effort for midnight hunger pangs but poor Aubergine! Thankfully I had some cottage cheese, candied walnuts and leftover salad from lunch in the refrigerator. A Mediterranean sandwich idea felt like a divine intervention.

I suggest you pick poor Auby over that tempting bag of cheese puffs next time and give this sandwich a chance. Fine, I know cheese puffs win anyway but try it when you’re feeling the love towards your digestive system.

Med sandwich 3 

Ingredient list: (Can be made vegan without the cottage cheese)

  • Aubergine
  • Bell Peppers
  • Red Onions
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Candied Walnuts (optional)
  • Lettuce: Ribbons
  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Dried Herbs : Any
  • Bread : Slices (I used honey-oat) 

For the salad:

I stir fried some red bell peppers and red onions in olive oil with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and garlic powder. I served it with ribbons of lettuce, crumbled cottage cheese and candied walnuts.

For the grilled aubergine:

Heat the grilling pan. Cut 1 inch thick slices of aubergine and rub them with olive oil, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley and oregano flakes. Add a tbsp. of oil in the pan and once hot place the aubergine slices on it. Grill on both sides on high heat till the slices are a little charred. Remove from the pan and sprinkle salt. On the same pan, grill some buttered slices of bread.

To assemble:

Place lettuce ribbons on the bread slices, gently lay a slice of warm grilled aubergine and over this spread the bell pepper and onion salad with crumbled cottage cheese. Sprinkle candied walnuts on top and seal the Mediterranean goodness with another slice of grilled bread.

From poor Auby to stunning Auby. It’s a date!

Med sandwich 2