One thing that the lockdown in India – now in its fourth phase since the deadly Covid-19 hit this subcontinent – has proven is that food is more than a couple of ingredients cooked together to quell hunger. Through the period of home quarantine, food has risen as a saving grace. It started as a chore for most of us, and has slowly evolved into a happy recluse, a welcome break from the daunting, invasive, schedule that is work-from-home, and a therapeutic activity to de-stress.
Whether you’re only now donning the chef’s hat, or a lover of all things culinary, making the most of the extra time at hand to experiment with dishes, one thing is for sure – ease is king, both in terms of saving time (hello, cleaning, dish washing and other not-so-awesome household tasks?) or the paucity of ingredients created by the lockdown. To that end, celebrity chef Sarah Todd who won hearts during the sixth season of famed culinary TV show, Masterchef Australia, is a champion. Todd's social media is a flurry of hunger-inducing, jaw-dropping dishes that she manages to pull of with the deftness of an archer drawing a bow.
Here are some of Todd’s top recommendations for your quarantined kitchen, that are easy and delicious in equal measure:
Puffed Amarnath Salad
40 gm amaranth grain
80 gm mixed salad leaves
1/2 cucumber (diced)
40 gm raisins, soaked in water
150 gm seedless white grapes
100 gm feta (cut in small pieces)
75 gm cashew
For the dressing:
1 tsp mustard
15 ml olive oil
10 ml balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
- Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- Whisk the mustard with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the dressing.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and serve with the puffed amaranth.
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
2 tbsp miso paste
100 gm silken tofu
50 gm baby spinach
750 ml vegetable stock
Fried spring onions
Spring onion to garnish
- In a medium pot on medium heat, add ginger garlic paste and sauté.
- Add miso and stock, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add in the vegetables you are using. This can vary depending on what you have in the fridge.
- Add the tofu and let it stand for a few minutes before serving.
- Top with spring onion and fried spring onion. Serve!
300 gm dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
250 gm caster sugar
100 ml water
6 egg yolks
500 ml double cream
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon,
- Set the bowl on a saucepan of simmering water and slowly melt the chocolate, taking care that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
- In another pan, dissolve the sugar in 100 ml of water and bring to the boil. This should take about 5 minutes.
- While the syrup is cooking, whisk the 3 eggs and 6 yolks with an electric whisk until it is light and creamy and it forms soft peaks.
- As soon as the syrup reaches 120°C, drizzle the hot syrup onto the eggs with the mixer beaters running.
- After pouring all the syrup into the egg mixture, whisk on full speed for 3 to 5 minutes until foamy and mousse-like. Leave to cool.
- Fold the cooled egg mixture into the melted chocolate.
- Lightly whip the double cream and fold into the chocolate mousse mixture. Pour the combined mixture into small glasses or bowls and chill overnight. Serve the next day!
Raw Papaya Salad
5 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp (packed) palm sugar or golden-brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
15 green beans
1 ½ to 1 ¾ pound green papaya, peeled, halved, seeded
10 large cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup chopped fresh coriander
2 green onions, very thinly sliced
1 fresh red Thai chilli with seeds, thinly sliced
2 tbsp coarsely chopped salted peanuts
- Grate your papaya or use the traditional method used in Thailand, where you score the papaya using a knife and them run the knife under the surface, so it looks shredded.
- Combine the palm sugar, fish sauce, garlic and chilli in a food processor so it turns into a light, red coloured dressing. Keep it aside.
- Place the papaya, green beans and cherry tomatoes in a bowl. Pour the dressing over it and give it a toss.
- Garnish with green onions and peanuts and serve!
Love these recipes? Well, we have some good news. On May 22, at 11:30 am Todd will be joining us for a LIVE Cook up series on Living Foodz Instagram handle to show us how to whip up easy brunch dishes. Todd will also share notes on cooking and eating healthy through the lockdown, as part of our weekly Instagram Live Series, Digital Dialouge, where we bring in experts from various fields for freewheeling conversations, educational demos and fun sessions, spanning everything from mental health to food.
Images: Sarah Todd, Shutterstock.com