Or cooking up a storm with Women’s Health and Chef Kunal Kapur
A few weeks ago I received a surprise call from Women’s Health (India) magazine asking me to participate in an activity that would kick off the food section of their magazine. All I heard was bloggers, food challenge and Chef Kunal Kapur. There was clearly no need for second thoughts!
Without rambling on too much, all I would like to say that it was a wonderful afternoon spent amidst people who love food as much, or even more, than I do. We cooked, we ate, we laughed (a lot). What’s not to love?
The task was to cook something that used all 3 ingredients – avocado, asparagus and quinoa – to rustle up a dish within 30 minutes that was “instagram-worthy”, tasty and preferably under 300 calories. Oh, and the catch was that we couldn’t go with widely known quick-fixes like guac, cold soups and avocado smoothies!
And here’s a clearer look at my recipe…
I know they called it a challenge but I don’t think I could have picked a favourite myself. I loved the crostata for its rustic wholesomeness, the sea bass for it’s simple elegance and the fresh veggie rolls for their raw, salad-y feel and bold Asian flavours.
To be honest, I was going with a glass noodle salad but after a quick chat with the Chef, I was willingly nudged towards changing it up by using the same recipe to make (fresh spring) rolls with glass noodles and converting my dressing into a dipping sauce!
Although the recipe in the picture above is quite legible, I’m typing it up below anyway. Or, better still, go buy the April issue of Women’s Health and get yourself a cutting!
Recipe for Glass Noodle Rolls with Asparagus & Avocado
- For the rolls:
- 50 gms transparent glass noodles
- 1 medium size carrot
- 1 ripe, firm avocado
- 12 asparagus shoots
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp salt
For the dipping sauce:
- 2 tbsp canola oil/light olive oil/any neutral favoured vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp Asian black vinegar/white rice vinegar
- 4 tsp Kikkoman soy
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp sweet chilli sauce
- ½ tbsp ginger, minced
- ½ tbsp garlic, minced
- Greens from 3 spring onions, minced
For the garnish:
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp pre-cooked quinoa
- Soak the noodles as per the packet instructions.
- While the noodles soak, set some water to boil in a saucepan with 1 tsp salt. Snap/cut the woody ends of the asparagus stalks and blanch them in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes, depending on their thickness. Transfer these to a bowl of iced water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Halve and stone the avocado. Peel and cut it into thin slices, lengthwise. Squeeze the juice of ½ lemon on these slices to prevent browning and set aside.
- Peel the carrot and cut into matchsticks, about 3 inches long and ¼-inch thick. Set aside.
- For the dipping sauce, whisk together the oils, the vinegar, orange and lemon juice until it emulsifies into a vinaigrette-consistency dressing.
- Take the orange zest, ginger, garlic, spring onion greens in your hand, hold it directly above the dressing bowl and give them a couple of good, hard squeezes to extract as much juice and oils into the dressing before stirring them in as well.
- Add the soy and sweet chilli. Stir and check for seasoning. Adjust as required (bearing in mind that the noodles and the veggies have no salt, so err on the side of more here).
- Drain the noodles and place them on a flat surface like a large cutting board or directly on a clean counter. Divide the strands into 12 portions.
- To assemble the roll, take 1 stick each of carrot, asparagus and carrot and align the tops (take the neater & prettier side to the top). Holding the sticks firmly in one hand, use 1 portion of the divided noodles to wrap around the centre and bottom of the veggie bunch, leaving the top exposed. Neaten the bottom with a knife and snip off any stray noodle strands with a kitchen scissor and place on the serving plate. Repeat till you have 12 and continue to arrange on a pretty plate. (Until this step can be done a few hours in advance, covered with clingfilm without touching the rolls, and refrigerated until required).
- Before serving, carefully spoon about ½ tsp of the solids from the dressing (the minced ginger, garlic, zest, onion greens) on top of each roll. These would have absorbed the maximum seasoning and flavour from the sauce and will make the rolls flavourful even though there's almost no salt in the rolls.
- Place the remaining dipping sauce in a bowl to serve on the side.
- Sprinkle the toasted sesame and quinoa over the rolls as garnish and serve
Pro tip from Chef Kunal Kapur
Smashing and bruising ginger, garlic, spring onions etc before mincing them helps extract the juices and oils for maximum flavour.