While I was drowning myself in aromatic robust flavoured rich Indian dishes I did not realize how much I was missing the simple taste of a simple salad at the back of my mind and so come Thursday I was hopped up on images of fresh salads. That is the funny thing about Calcutta's November , one night you feel cool comfortable and ready for soups and spicy delicacies and the next thing you know its hot again , you are sweating and you need summer salads. Besides what Europe traditionally calls Summers is probably what we call the winters at least the better part of it and to be honest warmer.
So there I was hopped up on ideas of low calorie salads clicking , browsing, scribbling making quick notes of what is available in the refrigerator and what can be easily stocked from the market and so I note down at least 25 ideas for use and then decided on the fresh sweet taste of an Orange and carrot based salad which were lying in the refrigerator and needed given respect with a herb based dressing which provides the much required bite and a kiss of lemon. All I did was pay a visit to the fresh vegetable market the next day and stock up on some mint leaves while I had some celery and chives lying around. The real twist comes from the green chili which is freshly made in a paste for the chicken.
With a bit of input this turned out healthy delicious and a very satisfying lunch with the knowledge of health and a lasting taste.
What was tossed in
1 large sized red carrot
1 cucumber as fresh as possible
1 whole orange skinned
For the dressing
2 tsp finely chopped mint leaves
2 tsp finely chopped chives
2 tsp finely chopped celery
Juice of half a lemon or less
1 to 1.5 tablespoonful extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper as per taste
For the chicken
1 breast of chicken
1 to 1.5 tsp ginger green chili paste (I used half a chili for subtle taste but you can decrease or increase the amount as per your taste)
1 tsp olive oil
Start by first using a mallet to flatten the chicken and then marinate with the ginger chili paste, oil and salt and keep aside for 1 hour to 2 hours
Peel the cucumber and then use the peeler to shape the vegetables. The orange must be de-seeded and skinned. Assemble the salad and make the dressing. Here is an interesting tip I learnt from a book which deals with salads alone that I had borrowed from British Council quite some time back but do not remember the name. Never use the dressing from before, else it becomes watery but you can always assemble the salad and store it in the refrigerator. Whisk everything together to make a nice summery dressing.
Steam your chicken and then cut in stripes. Toss with vegetables , add dressing and ooh la la you have the perfect healthy lunch with a summery feel and the right bite. The surprise element from the green chili and ginger makes this a winner.
P.S. I used the micro oven at 900W to steam my chicken and it took 1.5 minutes on each side. Do not over steam your chicken lest they be stringy.