Lifestyle

Delicious, nutritious and guilt-free: A Dubai chef on why courgettes are a wonder vegetable

Delicious, nutritious and guilt-free: A Dubai chef on why courgettes are a wonder vegetable

With so many of us having spent so much more time at home over the past year, we’ve been constantly looking for ways to innovate and bring zing and zest to our meals. If you’re looking for inspiration for a vegetable that can be the star of the dish, look no further than courgettes, says a Dubai chef.

Christopher Kinsley, Head Chef at Flow (Jumeirah Emirates Towers and Dubai Internet City) says at present he loves cooking with courgettes, a vegetable also known as zucchini. “They are such a diverse vegetable to cook with, can be used in many ways, and are packed with nutrients.

"They come in green and yellow, and I use them for many gluten-free dishes as a substitute to pasta and noodles. As they have low water content, they cook quite fast and are easy to prepare.

Christopher Kinsley, Head Chef at Flow
Christopher Kinsley, Head Chef at Flow, uses a spiraliser to create zucchini noodles for many gluten-free dishes as a substitute to pasta and noodles

Kinsley often creates ‘zoodles’, which are zucchini noodles. All you need is a spiraliser (several versions are available in any kitchen supply store or hypermarket, all reasonably priced). They come with a safety feature and grip, says Kinsley, so you don’t have to worry about mishaps in the kitchen.

The chef says courgettes are a great alternative for those with food allergies, or even those looking for healthier options, as they are easily found all year round, as well as being locally sourced.

All you need is a spiraliser to create zoodles
All you need is a spiraliser to create zoodles Image Credit: Shutterstock

If you doubt the courgette’s versatility, the following number should convince you - at Flow, Kinsley and his team use courgettes in almost 60 dishes across their seasonal menus. “You can slice, cube, or julienne courgettes and include them in all types of cuisines. People tend to generally think of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern food when it comes to courgettes, but they can be included in all types of international cuisine. For example, I love to julienne them and add them into Chinese stir-fry, or even a ragu sauce for the zoodles. They have a very adaptable flavour as they are quite mild in taste.”

All set to start cooking with zoodles? The Cashew Crusted Salmon with zoodles and Grilled Eggplant with Thai Curry are very easy to recreate at home for the everyday chef, says Kinsley. “Although they are simple, they are rich in unique flavours that you may not have thought of, so I hope readers give them a try.”

RECIPES

Cashew and Quinoa Crusted Salmon with Spiralised Zucchini and Thai Curry Coconut Sauce

Cashew and Quinoa Crusted Salmon with Spiralised Zucchini and Thai Curry Coconut Sauce
Cashew and Quinoa Crusted Salmon with Spiralised Zucchini and Thai Curry Coconut Sauce Image Credit: Suuplied/Flow

Serves 5

Ingredients

• 700gm salmon fillets with skin on

• 250gm green zucchini

• 250gm yellow zucchini

• 300gm carrots

• 30gm red chilli

• 60gm spring onion

• 20gm fresh coriander leaves

• 3gm salt

• 40ml olive oil

• 25gm raw honey

• 60gm whole mustard grains

• 50gm cashew nuts

• 40gm quinoa pearl flakes

• 1L coconut milk

• 125gm mild Thai red curry paste

Method

1. Portion out the salmon and divide into 140gm fillets each.

2. Spiralise the green and yellow courgette and carrots.

3. Slice the red chili and spring onion thinly.

4. Wash the coriander leaves in cold water.

5. In a baking tray, season the salmon with olive oil and salt and brush on top honey and mustard.

6. Add the quinoa pearl flakes and crushed cashew nuts on top.

7. Place the salmon in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 8-10 minutes.

8. In a saucepan, add coconut milk and Thai red curry paste.

9. Bring to boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

10. Add in the spiralised zucchini and carrot.

11. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.

12. Remove and plate in bowl, with the salmon on top.

13. Garnish with the red chilli, spring onion and coriander.

14. Serve and enjoy!

Grilled Eggplant with Toasted Cashew Nuts, Quinoa Flakes and Spiralised Zucchini Thai Curry Coconut Sauce

Grilled Eggplant with Toasted Cashew Nuts, Quinoa Flakes and Spiralised Zucchini Thai Curry Coconut Sauce
Grilled Eggplant with Toasted Cashew Nuts, Quinoa Flakes and Spiralised Zucchini Thai Curry Coconut Sauce Image Credit: Supplied/Flow

Serves 5

Ingredients

• 600gm eggplant

• 300gm green zucchini

• 300gm yellow zucchini

• 350gm carrots

• 30gm red chilli

• 60gm spring onion

• 25gm coriander leaves

• 3gm salt

• 40ml olive oil

• 50gm cashew nuts

• 40gm quinoa pearl flakes

• 1 litre coconut milk

• 125gm mild Thai red curry paste

Method

1. Slice the eggplant into slices measuring to 0.5cm.

2. Spiralise the zucchini and carrot and slice the red chilli and spring onions thinly.

3. Pick the coriander leaves and wash in cold water.

4. In a baking tray, place the eggplant slices and season with olive oil and salt.

5. Toast the quinoa flakes and crushed cashew nuts and keep them aside.

6. Place the seasoned eggplant into the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 5-6 minutes.

7. In a saucepan, add the coconut milk and Thai red curry paste.

8. Bring it to boil and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

9. Add in the spiralised zucchini and carrot and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat.

10. Plate the vegetables with the eggplant and sauce on top.

11. Sprinkle the toasted quinoa flakes and crushed cashew nuts on the eggplant.

12. Garnish with the red chilli, spring onion and coriander.

13. Serve and enjoy!