2 weekends ago, I attended a Wholegrain Burgers & Salads Class conducted by Chef Mayura Mohta (author of The Wholefood Kitchen - Naturally Nourishing Meals for a Healthy Lifestyle) at Shermay's Cooking School. (For those unaware, Shermay's Cooking School is closing and shifting office from end June onwards).
In the recent months, I'm on an exercise and diet regime, hoping to lose some weight and eat more healthily. My knowledge with wholegrain/herb/spice ingredients and cooking is very limited and honestly I'm not sure whether I would enjoy eating these food. Rather than buying the ingredients and exploring recipes myself, I thought perhaps by attending an initiation class like this (with tasting), I could try for myself whether this category of food would actually appeal to my palate.
To my delight, Chef Mayura really convinced me that healthy wholegrain food like quinoa, millet and wild rice can actually taste yummy and not difficult to prepare! In a span of less than a week, I've already tried and adapted some of the recipes. Certainly a good start!
Will not be sharing exact recipes here due to copyright, and also I didn't follow the recipes exactly, just estimated and adapted everything to my personal taste.
The first recipe I tried was the Quinoa Beet burger. I always thought that quinoa is very difficult to cook but surprisingly easy, just cook in water till all the water is absorbed and you can see sprouts appearing, so cute!
In this burger, besides cooked quinoa, I also added beet, carrot, sweet potato; and spices/herbs included ginger, garlic, cumin powder, Gochugaru Korean Chilli Powder, tumeric powder, salt, parsley and spring onion. After mixing all the ingredients and shaping them into burger patties, they were then oven-baked. At this point, they were ready to eat, or they could be frozen for up to 2 weeks.
The Quinoa Beet burger was very flavourful with the spices/herbs added and sweet due to the beet, carrot and sweet potato. I pan-fried it (without oil) for a while, so the exterior was very crispy. Overall the texture of the burger had a lot of bite, due to the quinoa and root vegetables. I also paired the burger with a Avocado Yogurt dip and loved the combination!
Another recipe I attempted was the Potato Oat burger. Pretty straightforward and I believe would be accepted by kids too.
In this burger, I added potato, zucchini, rolled oats, instant oats (which is a binder, alternatively use an egg), feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, assorted seeds and nuts (pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds). I reserved a portion of this for my son, and for the remaining added spring onion, parsley, cumin powder, Gochugaru Korean Chilli powder, all-spice mix, ginger, garlic and salt. Likewise after mixing all the ingredients and shaping them into burger patties, they were then oven-baked. At this point, they were ready to eat, or they could be frozen for up to 2 weeks.
Love this burger! Very creamy and fragrant due to the addition of potato and oats. The feta cheese, sundried tomatoes and nuts/seeds added texture and taste to the burger. The kiddo ate one burger (sandwiched with burger buns) and he didn't even know zucchini was added! Haha, clever way to trick kids into eating more veg yah? For my version, I loved the addition of the spices and herbs which enhanced the overall taste. Paired the burger with beet hummus which was even better than eating it plain.
The beet hummus that I paired with the potato oat burger was made using beet, chickpeas, sesame seeds, lemon juice, garlic, dried parsley, cumin powder, black pepper and salt. Whereas the avocado yogurt was made with avocado, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, garlic, lemon juice, black pepper and salt. These two dips are very versatile, besides having them with burgers, they could also be eaten with chips or bread sticks.
One of the salad I learnt from the class was the Wild Rice Salad. Interestingly, wild rice isn't even a rice, it's actually seed of grass which is high in fibre, protein-rice and gluten-free!
The cooked wild rice takes a slightly longer time to cook then quinoa, is very chewy and earthy. I love it! This salad is mixed with cooked wild rice, celery, pomegranate, yellow bell pepper, spring onions, fresh parsley, fresh mint leaves, feta cheese, raisins and assorted nuts/seeds. The dressing paired during class was a pomegranate dressing made with pomegranate juice, garlic, salt, paprika powder, lemon juice and olive oil. I replaced the pomegranate juice with homemade strawberry jamr.
Totally love this salad, very flavourful, with lots of different textures and tastes. I made a large batch and finished it over 3-4 meals. Will definitely have this salad once or twice a month!
Update as at 7 Jun
Made Quinoa Salad and love it as well! Besides quinoa, added chickpeas, arugula leaves (rocket leaves), red bell pepper, carrot, sundried tomatoes, olives, fresh parsley, dried raisins, dried cranberries and assorted nuts/seeds like almond, cashew, pine, sunflower, pumpkin (the dried fruits and nuts/seeds came mixed in a pack). For the dressing, I used lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, maple syrup and paprika.
The different textures as well as flavours worked really well together here. The dressing of lemon juice and maple syrup gave a very refreshing taste to the salad. The surprise for me was the arugula leaves. I hated the taste of it and would avoid it whenever I eat salad. But surprisingly the strong nutty flavour blended perfectly with the rest of the ingredients and I actually added more to the salad.
Another satisfying salad that I could add to my list now!
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing
- Millet Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing
- Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
The burgers and salads were in fact so satiating (had them late afternoon) that I felt full without necessity for dinner! The class certainly expanded my horizon and changed my perception about wholegrains altogether. Wholegrains will certainly form part of my diet from now onwards!