Chopped Green Salad with Korean Oriental Dressing

Chopped SaladBest thing about this season is that fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant. I couldn’t believe how sweet and tender it was when I bit into a raw asparagus. Asparagus taste so good whatever method you choose to cook either char-grilled, blanched or pan-fried, but I’m going for raw today because it tastes so divine and sweet as it is. So I decided to make this super simple chopped salad to make most out of beautiful vegetables. It is tossed up with authentic Korean dressing, which is tangy, sweet and salty – full of flavour. This dressing goes really well over tofu or fish. I added a bit of cayenne pepper for a kick to my taste but leave it out if you wish. Enjoy x

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 cup of chopped cos lettuce
1 cup of green beans, blanched and chopped
1 bunch of asparagus, sliced
1 sprig of green spring onion, finely chopped
1 cup of bamboo shoot, sliced
1/4 of yellow capsicum, sliced
1/4 of red capsicum, sliced
2 tbsp of green olives, finely chopped
2 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds

Korean Oriental Dressing

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp minced garlic
a dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
ground pepper to taste

Wash and chop all vegetables. Place in a large mixing bowl. For dressing, whisk all dressing ingredients in a bowl or a jar with lid. Taste and adjust seasoning. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds for garnish.
Chopped Salad1


Miso Eggplant Grain Salad

Miso Eggplant Grain saladFriday to Sunday is a big cook-up day for me. On Friday, my duty is cleaning up the fridge, using up all leftovers and making big salads for the weekend. Then after a trip to the markets on Saturday or Sunday, I roll up my sleeves to prepare for the following week. It has become a bit of routine for me and I’m not complaining. All you need is some time in the kitchen and planning, which I think makes your life a lot easier and healthier, of course.

Since I’m enamored by Asian flavours, Korean in particular, I tend to pair miso with anything I can get my hands on. It is so flavourful, salty and nutty. I used one tablespoon when cooking grains and another to smear on the eggplant before it went in a frying pan. As well as miso paste, this salad recipe has all my favorites – eggplant, beet greens and grains. It is super simple and quick to put together, yet satisfying and tasty. I didn’t add any salt here because miso paste and feta cheese already contains quite a bit of sodium in them. So just add ground pepper if you need and brighten up with a squeeze of lemon. A big bowl of this salad in the middle of table is very much a sharing dish. It will go well with steamed fish or chicken. Yummy x

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 small eggplant
200g of dried grains (I used soaked chickpeas and lentils)
1 bunch of beet greens
2 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp olive oil
a squeeze of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
pepper to taste
30g feta cheese

Drain and rinse soaked grains. Cover with cold water in a pot, add 1 tbsp of miso paste and mix well, bring it up to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes or until grains are cooked. Cut the eggplant into discs and spread miso paste thinly on both sides. Heat a nonstick flying pan over medium heat, add olive oil and eggplants. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side until caramelised outside and cooked through. To assemble the salad, add cooked grains, eggplants and chopped beet greens in a bowl. Drizzle sesame oil, squeeze lemon juice, sprinkle sesame seeds and add pepper to taste. Gently toss to combine and transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese on top and more sesame seeds for garnish. Serve warm or room temperature.

Thai Slaw

Thai SlawThis is one of my favorite summer salads. Well, coleslaw was not my thing when I tried for the first time at KFC. I know KFC! I was young still at school. My friends used to get a burger, chips, buttery biscuits and coke. I got myself a tub of coleslaw that threw me away badly thanks to thick creamy mayo. Because of post-KFC-trauma and a fear of eating anything in mayo, I never really liked coleslaw for a while. Having said that, I’ve had some beautiful slaws in Asian restaurants. Quickly pickled or lightly dressed coleslaw is just the way I like it.

This gut-friendly salad has bright rainbow colours, crunchy raw vegetables (full of enzymes!), refreshing thai flavours, super simple to make and great for a fridge cleaning day. Make a big batch and use leftovers for rice paper rolls, sandwich filling or healthy tacos. To make substantial, you can add tofu, chicken, white fish or prawns on the side.


1/2 red capsicum
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup chopped kale leaves
1 carrot
1 cup of bean sprouts
1 baby radish
1 bunch of coriander


1 tbsp peanut butter (other nut butter works fine if allergy is an issue)
juice of one lime
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced lemongrass
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp coconut sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Put all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Pour over the salad mixture and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Spiced Grain Salad

Multicultural food experience is one of the things I enjoy living in Melbourne. I’ve definitely gained many culinary experiences since I moved here. It is so great you can explore authentic foods from different countries in one city. Many immigrants like myself would agree that the way the dishes are prepared, cooked and served here is not exactly same as the traditional ones are, but I think it is inevitable to have a bit of fusion to adapt Australian culture.

I’m experimenting and mixing up different ingredients in my cooking as well like this grain salad. The only way of eating rice used to be simply cooked in a rice cooker or making a rice porridge when I was back home. I never thought about adding rice into salads, which has become one of my favorite ways of jazzing up a boring veggie salad. I’m also using exotic spices that I didn’t even know the names or how to use them. The flavours as well as their healing power in different spices is so amazing. I used brown rice, mung beans and toasted buckwheat in this salad for different textures, but feel free to use any legume or beans you have in pantry. I made a big batch and served a little warm for a lovely simple supper. Then I had leftovers for work lunch next day as you can easily leave it in fridge and serve cool. Either way really is delicious!


1 cup of brown rice
1/2 cup of mung beans
1/2 cup of toasted buckwheat
1 caramelised beetroot (1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp brown sugar)
1 cup of chopped parsley
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
handful of pepitas

Soak brown rice and mung beans overnight or at least 4 hours. Place brown rice, mung beans and toasted buckwheat in a pot, cover with cold water, bring it up to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until cooked. Drain and set aside. Heat olive oil, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a pan and add diced beetroot. Cook on low-medium heat until caramelised. To assemble the salad, place cooked grains, beetroot and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, lemon juice and spices. Mix well to combine. Check seasoning and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle pepitas on top.

Salad Medley

I have a habit of making batches of salads that will last me next few days. I keep telling myself I’ve got to eat more a variety of foods though when I’m addicted to something, then I tend to stick to that for a while. When my main meal is salads, I want it to be interesting, delicious and full of good stuff. So here I am. I cooked like a storm in my little kitchen and put up a few different salads on a plate, which I think is beautiful and vibrant. It is also wholesome, healthy and nutritious. I have to admit it took me an hour plus cleaning up a mess I made in the kitchen. But if you can invest an hour or so on cooking like this, your life gets easier at least next couple of days. Bam! Work lunch and dinner is sorted.

Let’s discuss how this plateful of goodness was made up.
salad medleySpicy Chickpea and Pumpkin Salad: I soaked chickpeas in cold water for about 10 hours. Do this before you go to bed or when you leave to work in the morning. Quickly rinse and cover them with water in a pot and boil for 15-20 minutes until cooked. Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add chopped pumpkin. Sprinkle cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, sea salt and ground pepper. Drain cooked chickpeas and add to a frying pan. Add a bit of more smoked paprika over chickpeas and stir well. Take it off the heat once pumpkin and chickpeas are browned and cooked.

Mediterranean Rice Pasta Salad: Boil rice pasta for 8-10 minutes to al dente and drain. Roughly chop sun-tomato, black olives and parsley and mix with cooked pasta in a large bowl. Simply drizzle e.v.o.o and season with salt and pepper.

Stir-fried Cabbage and Red Onion: Finely chop green cabbage and red onion and cook with coconut oil in a frying pan until browned. Season to taste and sprinkle caraway seeds and sesame seeds.

Tzatziki: Mix thick Greek yogurt, chopped cucumber and chives, lemon juice and sea salt in a bowl.