Top Vegetarian Recipes from Madinat Jumeirah's Chef Gabi Kurz
Indian and Italian aside, it’s tough uncovering a good selection of vegetarian treats in the UAE, but Madinat Jumeirah Resort’s Chef Gabi Kurz has developed a wellbeing cuisine that is both wholesome and nutritionally well-balanced, using only organic and plant-based ingredients, many from her own in-resort garden. You may remember her for opening Magnolia in 2007, the first fine-dining vegetarian restaurant in Dubai, which sadly has since closed down to make way for an al fresco function area. Good news is you can still find her dishes scattered across many of the resort’s fine-dining restaurants. A Bavarian at heart, Gabi, with her mother’s influence, shunned the heavy German meat-eating region’s standard choices by becoming vegetarian at the age of five, going on to author a number of award-winning cookbooks, as well as a blog on how to influence your own wellbeing with the right ingredients and healthy eating. We bring you a sample of some of her recipes, but to see the vegetarian guru in action, sign up for her bi-monthly cooking classes.
50g green asparagus
250ml asparagus stock or vegetable stock
1tsp agar-agar powder (jelly produced by boiling several kinds of seaweed together)
10g mesclun lettuce
2tbsp balsamic vinegar
4tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel the last 2/3 of the green asparagus stems.
Slice and then steam the asparagus.
Bring the asparagus stock to the boil then stir in the agar-agar and boil 1 more time. Season the resulting liquid to taste.
Pour the asparagus stock and the asparagus into portion cups and chill for 1 hour or longer.
Shortly before serving, remove the asparagus jelly carefully from the cups, placing on plates and garnish with mesclun lettuce and a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
*Agar-agar is the vegetarian alternative to gelatine, a jelly produced by boiling several kinds of seaweed together. It’s dried and sold in powder form in most supermarkets and many health food stores.
Asparagus is often called the aristocrat of vegetables. It is in high season now, and makes perfect light meal fodder. With a good supply of vitamins and minerals, it supports detoxification. If you want to impress your friends with a dinner party, this might just be your perfect entrée. Easy to prepare in advance, it can remain in your fridge until ready to serve.
The 4 Cs
200g cauliflower, steamed
20g chickpeas, cooked
5g coriander seeds and leaves, crushed and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
100g baby spinach, steamed
100g kohlrabi, peeled, steamed and puréed
2 tbsp pomegranate syrup
1 tbsp pomegranate seeds, fresh
15ml olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Roughly mash the cauliflower and chickpeas.
Season with coriander, cumin, salt and pepper.
Form little burgers out of the mix and fry in a non-stick pan with some olive oil until they turn golden.
Season the kohlrabi purée and the spinach with some olive oil, salt and pepper.
Serve the cauliflower burgers on top of the spinach surrounded by kohlrabi pure and drizzled with pomegranate syrup as well as seeds.
I called this dish the 4 Cs because of the ingredients - cauliflower, chickpeas, coriander and cumin - a true fusion dish with my favourite ingredients. Deliciousness aside, don’t forget the benefits of chickpeas - full of manganese, fibre and folic acid.
80g frozen blueberries
100ml whipped cream
60ml low-fat yoghurt
30g agave syrup
1 lemon, juiced
1 cinnamon stick
Blend the berries with the lemon juice and agave syrup.
Mix 1/2 of the berries with the whipped cream and fill into 2 small cups.
Stick a small cinnamon stick into the centre of each cup and deep freeze for 3 hours or more.
Freeze all of the remaining blueberry purée in the meantime.
Shortly before serving, blend the frozen blueberry purée with the yoghurt and pour into dessert glasses.
Serve with the ice lollies.
Blueberries are called super fruits because they are high in antioxidants. Try to eat them as often as possible to help boost your metabolism when it’s hot – and yes, the frozen recipe is also an advantage here for keeping us cool! Agave is a natural sweetener suitable for vegans. You can substitute with sunflower or acacia honey which have quite a mild flavour.
INFO: Chef Gabi’s wellness cuisine is available at a number of Madinat Jumeirah’s restaurants including Arboretum, Pier Chic, MJ’s steakhouse, Samar Lounge and Talise Spa. Cooking classes this month are on 9 and 23 June, www.jumeirah.com, www.talisenutrition.com.