Chef Sandeep Ali is the Head Chef at the multi award-winning fine dining Indian restaurant, Ushna at the Souk at Qaryat al Beri, Abu Dhabi. Although he has mastered the art of creating many different types of cuisine during his career, which range from Pan-Asian to European, Sandeep specialises in the flavours from India, as it is closest to his heart. Here is his go-to recipe for creating a light and refreshing salad packed with a flavour punch that whets the appetite.
1 Granny Smith apple
2 tbsp labneh
½ tsp star anise powder
½ tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
A handful of rocket lettuce
170g bocconcini (small balls of mozzarella), or goat’s cheese
A pinch of mint
A pinch of fresh coriander
A generous pinch of micro herbs
FOR THE DRESSING
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp star anise powder
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
Reserved apple peel
1 Prepare the marinade by combining the star anise, pepper, sugar and salt with the labneh. Allow to chill in the refrigerator.
2 Core and peel the apple. Reserve the peel, and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent it from browning.
3 Slice the apple into thick wedges and marinate in the now spiced and cooled labneh. Combine and allow to chill for a further 10 minutes.
4 Heat a barbecue or grill to high. Thread the apple wedges on to a skewer and char slightly.
5 Place all the ingredients for the dressing together in a blender and pulse until smooth. Adjust seasoning and tartness to taste.
6 Arrange the bocconcini and tandoori apple on the plate. Layer the rocket lettuce on top and dress with the apple honey dressing. Garnish with coriander, mint and micro herbs.