Once you declare to the universe that you are food person, the universe opens all the doors that lead to food. This is how blessed I feel. Opportunities around food are aplenty and at times it feels as if I do not have the requisite time to grab it all. Right from thinking about my next meal to cooking, reaching out to the right food sources, writing, photographing, styling and connecting with more food people has filled me with rich experience that I can share through my new column called the "Follow my food trail" with Weekender Bahrain.
Summer is upon us in Bahrain and this is the best opportunity to make use of all the wonderful summer produce that is available locally. The central market in Manama is treasure cove of the freshest haul from the local farms as well as from the countries next door. Apart from that, there are many lesser known organic farms in Bahrain which offer a variety of high quality, organic vegetables, herbs and fruits. Farms in Karbabad near Bahrain fort are one of my favourite places to stock up on my weekly fresh vegetable needs. During the summer, I prefer light but flavourful salads to keep me hydrated and full. One of my favourite salad recipes uses quinoa, chicken, mango and kale. Quinoa is rich in protein and so is grilled chicken that make this salad a meal in itself. The mango provides the necessary sweetness and the earthy flavor of the kale balances it all. Tangy vinaigrette of your choice can make it the perfect option for a week day lunch. You can arrange the ingredients in a large jar and keep the dressing on the side to take it to work. When you are about to eat it, simply toss the dressing into the salad jar and shake it up to combine well. For vegetarians, you can easily skip the chicken and add grilled tofu instead. This recipe serves one very hungry person or two moderately hungry people.
The Summer salad "Grilled chicken, mango, quinoa and wilted kale salad"
200 gms boneless chicken
1 large, ripe mango, chopped
1 bunch kale, ribs removed and chopped
Half a cup of quinoa, cooked
Olive oil – 2 tsp
Marinade for the chicken
Juice of one lemon
Crushed pepper, as much as you like
Salt, as per taste
1. Make the marinade by mixing all the ingredients such as lemon juice, crushed pepper and salt. Apply it well on the chicken and keep it aside for an hour or two in the fridge.
2. Meanwhile cook the quinoa and keep aside. (Add salt while cooking). You can even use a broth to flavor the quinoa.
3. Heat pan with olive oil and give chopped kale a stir until it wilts which will not take more than 5-6 minutes
4. Grill the marinated chicken on either side until it’s done. Cut it into smaller bite-sized portion.
5. In a salad dish, arrange the wilted kale first, then the cooked quinoa on top, the chopped mangoes and finally arrange the chicken.
6. Pour the dressing of your choice – balsamic will be great or even the simple lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper will be just as delish