Every once in a while, N and I go on this mad salads and soup spree. Usually it’s triggered by an extended period of carefree indulgence, which bites us in the bum eventually. I love a salad meal, not only is it light, fresh, nutritious but also super easy to whip up in no time. It also means loads of experimentation, since it’s unlikely that you will go terribly wrong with a salad.I came across the idea of using broken wheat (dalia) in a salad on some food site, which I have lost track of. So, unfortunately, I can’t give any links to the original recipe. I’ve adapted and experimented with the ingredients for this one several times, and now it has taken on a new avataar.

This salad is a quick and easy summer-time meal when chilled and a winter one when slightly warm. The broken wheat and vegetables give you a range of flavours and textures, so even a non-lover of broken wheat will be happy to sit down to this meal. I know this because N, who is a fussy eater, loves this salad every single time I’ve made it. In fact, it was a big hit at a dinner party we hosted for 15 carnivores. The bowl was empty and the recipe was shared with several enthusiasts.

Here’s how you can make this lovely salad as a meal or as a first course.

Serves Two | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 2 minutes | Cooling time: 5 minutes


1 cup broken wheat (Dalia), preferably the coarse variety
3/4 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1 medium green capsicum, chopped. You may use any other peppers that you may have on hand
1 onion sliced into half moons
1/2 cup roughly chopped coriander leaves
2 tablespoons honey mustard salad dressing
1 green chilly, finely chopped
Salt to taste
2 cups of boiling hot water
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons of grated cheese of your choice


Pour your broken wheat into a salad bowl. Sprinkle the salt and pour the hot water over this until the grains are fully submerged. Cover with a lid and leave aside for 20 minutes.

Soak the sliced onion in ice-cold water for 10 minutes. This will get rid of any pungency the onion may have. Keep all chopped ingredients in the fridge until the broken wheat is soaked, so they remain crisp and fresh.

After the grains have fluffed up a bit, drain the remaining water from the bowl. Don’t worry if a little water stays back in the bowl, we intend to cook that out. Now heat a non-stick pan, drizzle some golden olive oil into it and swirl around to cover the surface of the pan. Once the oil is hot, tip in the drained grains and stir gently. It’s easier if you fold the grains in rather than stir vigourously. Over handling the grains will release the gluten and make them sticky. So just toss about gently, for approximately two minutes or until you feel them puffing up a bit.

Turn off the heat, transfer contents onto a metal tray and chill in the fridge if it’s summer. In winter, just bring it down to a cozy warm temperature. Tip the cooled broken wheat back into the now-wiped salad bowl, drizzle the honey mustard dressing and mix gently. Add the vegetables and toss everything together.

Adjust the seasoning and serve with a generous sprinkling of cheese. For honey mustard lovers like myself, add an extra drizzle on the plate!




Have you ambled into a book shop without any particular title in mind? Just given in to the bookworm instinct, prepared to pour over book covers and blurbs, to discover a gem quite by chance? That’s exactly what happened to me a few moons ago on a trip to a mall in Delhi. They (Landmark) were having some sort of a sale, and books were piled almost from the floor to the ceiling. What joy!

I pottered about and found this simply brilliant book – Home: 50 Taste-makers Describe What it is, Where it is, What it Means by Stafford Cliff. I loved the cover, the title and a quick flip through revealed that this was worth having on my bookshelf. However, it has never made it to the bookshelf since I brought it home. I love having it within easy reach just so I can flip through the pages, stare into beautifully captured homes, get lost in childhoods and the different interpretations of a home.

It’s one of those books, that teach us so much about personal style, photography and the meaning of spaces we create. A home is so much more than a place to park your stuff. As my world-view evolves, I see my need for a place to call home change.

There are so many things that endear this book to me. As the taste-makers talk about their homes or special places they reveal so much about who they are, how they think and sometimes, it completely changes the way you have perceived them earlier. That is an exciting promise, don’t you think?

Kenzo Takada’s home in Paris

The photography is a different trip altogether. Some pictures add visual elements to enhance a narrative while some spin a new tale all by themselves. Designing is always subjective, but the sheer personality it imbibes from owners or designers is enchanting. Just looking at the pictures gives you so many ideas to transform your home into a reflection of its occupants.

Beautiful kitchens, the bottom one is Donna Hay’s. So very her, isn’t it?

A busy living room wall, with great character

What I have learnt, from this book so far:

  1. Things that endure through the years, the many abodes and phases of your life are the ones that serve some purpose with an element of delight to the eye. So I’d suggest you don’t buy things unless you see yourself living with them for a long, long time
  2. On the other hand, it’s perfectly okay to include a few things that aren’t functional, but have an emotional connection for you. So that recipe your grandma gave you, can be printed onto parchment paper and framed to inspire wholesome meals in your kitchen
  3. Experiment, blend, get inspired by the trends and the design rules of your era, but leave some room to add your personal touches. A bottle filled with sands from all the beaches you enjoy may not come for a heavy price tag, but is a delightful reminder of fun times
  4. Bring in the light, let it dance around. Most beautiful rooms become even better when you throw in a good mix of light, natural or arranged
  5. Find a place for things that you love doing, make time to personalise it. Enjoy the after-effects. Donna Hay’s kitchen, Paul Smith’s office, Kenzo Takda’s pool in his living room all inspire to carve out spaces where happiness is easy to find

I’d definitely recommend this fat little book of treasures, in case you like the stuff I’ve been raving about in this post.

If you have any thing to add to this list (whether inspired by this book or elsewhere), I’d love to hear about it. Share with us, your go-to inspirations for building a home that you love.