“I make the food beautiful on my plate. You eat with your eyes as much as you do with your stomach. The restaurants do it, why not do it at home? Pamper yourself.”
After a recent lifestyle shift toward healthier living, Sahar has embraced an alkaline lifestyle that is heavily reflected in the recipes shared on her food blog. “In 2013, before my wedding, my grandmother died after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Whilst researching the condition, I was inspired by the alkaline way of eating,” she shared. “It’s truly done wonders. I, myself, have an autoimmune disease and I eat this way to heal. The food tastes good and makes me glow inside and out.” Growing up, Sahar was most exposed to Pakistani Indian food however her mother often experimented with fusion cooking including Italian and Hakka Chinese food. Sahar’s early experience often was to cook food for family and friends but she had to put her skills to the test for those not so closely attached. She took her passion to The Elbow Room, the restaurant of a friend, to help create food that would be eaten by the general public. We assume that since she is still pushing forward that the event went well enough to cushion her ambition.
Sahar has made her way from Isle of Man to London to Karachi and now presently resides in Toronto. With her, she has taken her roots and old school tradition, which she still pours into her food and recipes. Not all of us can say we are as well traveled and while we may be open to try new things, it can be difficult to know where to start. “I think people should begin with ingredients like coconut oil, spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, cayenne. You can add a pinch to everyday dishes.” For those who may be a little more apt to jump a deeper into the unknown, “I’d suggest daal, my favourite South Asian lentil dish. As well, buckwheat flour is so healing and great for pancake use.” If you are graceful in the kitchen, you can go ahead and skip ahead to the second step but for others who may have spices and flour spilled about, first, take a moment to clean up a little. Second, style your plate a little. As Sahar mentioned, “I make the food beautiful on my plate. You eat with your eyes as much as you do with your stomach. The restaurants do it, why not do it at home? Pamper yourself.”
Cashew Lime Chicken Recipe from Sahar Aman
Sometimes a recipe is like a Chinese whisper. It gets passed along from one generation to the next and is attributed with personal quirks on the way. This recipe for Cashew Lime Chicken is a childhood favourite, my Mum would make it for dinner parties she was hosting. Although I have substituted peanut butter with cashew, added coconut milk and my own touches, the heart of this recipe is still the same and the kitchen still smells as glorious as it used to all those years ago.
Feel free to use your favourite vegetables. My Mum would add bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and other beautiful flavours. I like to use what is in the fridge, usually organic mushrooms, red bell peppers and some greens. You could serve this dish with freshly boiled basmati, steaming rice noodles or even some quinoa.
3 garlic cloves
2” chunk of ginger
2 organic chicken breasts, sliced into strips
1tbsp sesame oil
1 red onion, cut into thin wedges
Pinch of red chili flakes (optional)
220g of mixed mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
2 big handfuls of Mangetout
¼ cup of cashew butter
2 cans of coconut milk
1tbsp rice vinegar
Freshly chopped handful coriander and lime wedges, to serve
- Blitz the garlic, ginger and tamari in a small chopper blender to create a paste, marinade the chicken strips with it and set aside.
- Meanwhile in a wok or deep pan, sauté the onions in the sesame oil on a medium heat.
- Once the onions start to give off their fragrance add the chicken in small batches and fry well. If using, add the chili flakes.
- As the chicken starts to take on some colour, throw in the rest of the vegetables, stir in the cashew butter and coconut milk and bring the contents of the pan to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked, vegetables are tender and then add the rice vinegar.
- Sprinkle with coriander and serve with lime wedges.