Multigrain Salad


Following the knife skills workshop, Ian proceeded with a grain workshop.

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In this workshop, Ian introduced us to four grains, i.e. Couscous, Bulgar, Quinoa and Kasha. Ian showed us how to cook the different grains and we got to taste the texture of all the grains which is lightly dressed with olive oil and salt. Most of the grains can be cooked like pasta but the nutrients will be lost in the water. So, if you cook it the pasta way, save the water to make stocks.

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A good place to buy such grains is Galloway’s Specialty Foods.

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The grains are used along with some fresh vegetables, herbs, seeds and dried fruits to create a healthy multigrain salad.

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The above are some of the vegetables and herbs that were prepared from the knife skills workshop.

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Couscous is the easiest and quickest to prepare among the 4 grains. All you have to do is … pour boiling liquid over the grains, cover with a plastic wrap and let soak for 5 minutes. The ratio of couscous to liquid is 1:1.25. The traditional way of cooking couscous is by steaming. You can use orange juice or even beer to flavour the couscous.

Couscous comes in the form regular or whole wheat. Couscous is hard wheat that has been milled and it has high protein content.

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Bulgar is wheat that has been cracked. You can cook bulgar like couscous i.e. pour boiling liquid over it, cover with saran wrap and let it soak overnight if preferred. The ratio of grain and liquid is 1:1.5.  Bulgar is chewier than couscous.

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Kasha is toasted buck wheat. Kasha is cooked like rice. The ratio of grain and liquid is 1:1.5. Season with a pinch of salt. Bring the cold water and kasha mixture to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Kasha has a soft, creamy and mushy texture. It has a nutty flavour.

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Ian toasted the quinoa on a dry pan to bring out the nuttiness of the grain. Toast until the grains start to pop.

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Cook the quinoa with water and a pinch of salt. The ratio of grain and liquid is 1:1.25. Quinoa is also cooked like rice, i.e. bring it to boil, cover and lower heat to simmer for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Cooked quinoa is like little tadpole or comma. It is nutty and a little chewy with a crunch.

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To prepare the multigrain salad, Ian combined all the prepared grains in a large mixing bowl. The first to go is the couscous. Ian rubbed the couscous to loosen the grains. He seasoned the couscous with a little good olive oil and salt as couscous has a very neutral taste. The rest of the grains were added in.

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To the grains, Ian added chopped carrots, celery, parsley, apple, craisin and pumpkin seeds. Toss to mix well.

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Season the multigrain salad with good olive oil and …

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… some freshly squeezed lemon juice. Ian prefers a ratio of 2 parts of oil with 1 part of vinegar (lemon juice, etc). Lastly, season with sea salt to taste.

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You may add beans, cheese or hard boiled eggs to make a more hearty salad. This salad can be served warm or cold.

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This multigrain salad can be stuffed in pita pocket topped with some grilled chicken strips for lunch. In the workshop, Ian demonstrated how to wrap the multigrain salad in rice paper roll. The rice paper has to be dipped in warm water until it’s pliable for wrapping.

Ian, thank you for the very informational workshops.

5 thoughts on “Multigrain Salad

  1. Pingback: Chow Times » Stocks 101: Chicken Broth with Matzo Balls
  2. I love cooking with different grains. Only recently I cooked with couscous for the first time. so easy to make and really fresh tasting when mixed with vegetables and herbs.

  3. Hi etranger, we have not been blessed by a Trader Joe’s in Canada yet. For those of us here in Vancouver we have to go down to the states and the nearest one is in Bellingham.

    I had some Tabblouleh yesterday along with my shawarma and found it very interesting. I think it was principally parsley and had cracked wheat tomatos and some other spices. The flavour was good but the texture takes a little getting used to. It was almost like eating grass but tasty grass.

    • With couscous the texture is a little easier to chew. But it is still something I usually don’t want a big serving of — which is why to be conservative when you start chopping vegetables for this. Did you see the huge bowl in Suanne’s pictures?

      Pretty soon you have more than your family will eat without complaining. I suppose you could fry it up in a pan like fried rice and add some eggs and shrimp to make them think it was something new…

      I like the idea of putting it in a rice paper wrap. Maybe also with a few shrimp or hard boiled egg slices on the bottom to make it pretty.

  4. Recipes for variations on this salad can be found using the name Tabbouleh, pronounced it Tah BOO lee. You can use any one grain, but traditionally it is made with bulgur. You can find it at any restaurant that sells falafel and other middle eastern/mediterranean food.

    It makes up a LOT of salad fast, and it does keep for awhile in the fridge. I’ve never had it hot.

    BTW, you can buy whole wheat cous cous. I actually just did yesterday at Trader Joe’s. Do you have Trader Joe’s in Canada? It is part of the German chain called Aldi’s. Now I am inspired to get some cucumber, mint, etc. and make this salad!

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