My siblings and I are very fond of having midnight snacks when we were younger. From junk foods, sandwiches, fast-food and pizzas… name it and we’ve probably tried it. It was our little tradition. A bond that was sacred to us three. But who would have thought the time would come where we would actually be munching on lettuce and cherry tomatoes instead of McDonalds’ take-outs, huh? We developed a phase hankering for leafy greens that I decided to prepare something new for a change. I chose to be less technical on the ingredients and whipped up my own version of a Caesar’s salad using what was readily available in the kitchen. I used lettuce, cherry tomatoes, croutons, bacon bits and parmesan cheese. Tossed it all together and viola! Caesar’s salad which, modesty aside, my siblings actually loved.
Culinary experiments were a normal thing in our household. My mom encouraged us to nurture our love for good food and it was because of her that I knew my way through the kitchen. She was my teacher and I learned a lot from her.
Speaking of culinary experiments, here’s one thing I love about Zinio on my iPad – I get to download all the cooking magazines I want without having to worry about shelf space. I adore that app. It inspires me to cook and plan meals especially during weekends. As a tech-savvy individual, it has taught me that the internet is a vast goldmine of recipes waiting to be discovered and kitchen-tested. After focusing on pasta dishes for some time, I found another recipe that’s healthy and so easy to do. We used to order this at ramen houses before we realized this can be replicated at home. All you need are some carrots, cucumber, romaine lettuce, kani (crab) sticks and mangoes. Kani usually refers to imitation crab, which is white fish pressed into “sticks” for Japanese cooking. It shreds easily and is much less expensive than real crab. These are the ingredients for Nonstop Babble’s Homemade Kani Salad.
1 carrot, sliced thinly into strips
1 cucumber, sliced thinly into strips
Kani sticks, separated into strips
1 romaine lettuce, sliced thinly into strips
1 mango, sliced into strips
Japanese mayo or Raspberry vinaigrette dressing
I slice the ingredients beforehand and place them in separate containers. You can opt to have your guests mix their own salad combo that produces a lovely play of colors. I layer mine in a bowl starting with the romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumber, kani and then the mango strips on the top most part. As a final touch, add Japanese mayo according to your preference or drizzle with some raspberry vinaigrette dressing recipe that blends in perfectly with the ingredients. Preparing this recipe typically takes about half an hour. I cut the recipe in half since I was preparing it only for myself. But trust me; you’ll go beyond second helpings of this salad. There’s just something about the stringy texture and spicy dressing that makes you want to eat it all up. It makes for a terrific midnight snack and ranks up high as one of those easy healthy recipes for dinner.
Preparing this salad has resurrected my love for Japanese food. And what’s not to love about it? Their dishes are pleasing to the palate and never leave you bloated after a full meal. Japanese cuisine, particularly sushi, has in recent years become much more familiar and appreciated around the world. I guess this explains the ramen houses sprouting all over the metro these days. Now excuse me as I find ways to satisfy this craving for sashimi in my next kitchen chronicles.
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