Daily Archives: September 9, 2009

Wheat berry Salad

This salad is excellent picnic food and I make it to take with us sometimes when we go out for the day.  But I do make it quite often otherwise too. Shri likes to take it for lunch so this is what the girls and I had for lunch too, yesterday, with the steamed trout.

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Wheat berry Salad

Wheat berries – 125 gms

Chickpeas – 1 can (drained weight 200 grams)

Sweet corn – 1 can (drained weight 140 grams) or a little more if you like

Frozed or fresh green beans – I do this by approximation; enough for a salad for 6

Tomatoes – 2 large or 3 small, diced (in to chunks not too small)

salt to taste

Pesto – again, approximate as per taste ; use just enough to coat the salad ingredients well, say 4 tablespoons but not too much

(I always leave the pesto out near the cooking surface for a while because most bottled varieties tend to be quite thick to begin with but actually contain a lot of oil, so they become a little more fluid this way, which makes me feel I am able to use less than I would otherwise.  I may be wrong about this but that is what I hope is happening !!)

Snap the frozen beans in to 1 inch or 1 and half inch long pieces and place these in a steaming basket/container. Bring a large quantity of water in a sauce pan to boil, add the wheat berries and cook them till they are soft enough for you. As the wheat berries cook, steam the beans till they are soft (but not so much that they are easily squashed; they will cook well before the wheat berries are done) on top of the same saucepan.

In the meanwhile put all the other ingredients except the salt in a large bowl. When the beans are done, cool them and  add them to the bowl, sprinkle some salt on top and mix everything well.

Drain the wheat berries when they are done, allow them to cool (else I tend to think the heat will soften the tomatoes too much, making the salad kind of mushy) and toss with all the other ingredients.

This is light and delicious, a great salad any time of the year.  Noor and I love it with cherry tomatoes instead of the regular kind. Grated carrots work well too.

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Filed under Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Salads, Versatile Accompaniments

Steamed Trout

Fish is one of those things I strangely cannot remember having watched my mother cook when I lived at home, though we had fish curry quite often  as both she and my father loved this dish and a friend of my father’s would often bring us delicious fresh water fish from his village that was not far from where we lived in Bokaro. And although Boudi, who is an excellent cook, makes the most delicious fish curries including Bengali cuisine classics such as bhapa maach and doi maach, I somehow never paid attention, when she was in the kitchen making one of those dishes, either. So each time I go back now to Mumbai for a holiday I tell myself that I am going to learn from her to cook one of those dishes. I never seem to get around to it though.

So fish has remained something that I don’t really know much to do with, which is the reason I either toss canned tuna or salmon in to pasta sauce or salads, or grill fresh fish as I learned to do a few years ago.  It is only recently that I have finally started to make a basic fish curry once in a while, and the girls do enjoy it.

And then this last Saturday we ate at the home of Doris and Jean-Luc, the parents of Indira’s childhood friend Celine and Doris made some excellent steamed white fish that Indira really loved. Luckily Doris cooked the fish after we arrived, so I was able to watch the process for myself. It is such a simple way to cook fish,  and so healthy too,  it made me regret that I hadn’t tried it all these years , especially when the girls were babies when it would have been so light and nutritious a meal for them.  Anyway…

So today for lunch I steamed trout, which Indira said, in her droll way, was “deliceuse !”

Noor was very satisfied with her lunch too, but then we had the fish with a salade de ble (made with wheat berries) which she loves, so it might have been that which worked for her.

Here’s my variation on the way Doris cooked the fish :

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Steamed Trout

Trout fillets

1 tablespoons of fresh rosemary

salt to taste

lime juice – enough for a liberal sprinkling over the fish, say 2 tablespoons, or a few slices of lime

Sprinkle first the salt, then the lime juice over the fish fillets(or place the slices of lime on top of the fillets).   Fill some water in the bowl of the steamer and set it to heat. Now spread the rosemary on top, place the fillets in the steamer and cook the fish till it is done.

Eat this hot, squeeze some more lime  if you like after breaking up the pieces of fish a little.

This preserves all the natural taste and sweetness of trout and, once again, a process tout simple.

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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Quick Meal Ideas, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments