By Kiran Afzal
A salad – if prepared right – can be an absolute delight. Unfortunately, finding ingredients like tasty rocket leaves, kale, avocado and baby spinach to make that ideal salad is not the easiest thing to do. So, we decided to go out and look for the best places to score those leafy greens you’ve been craving for so long.
- The Farmer’s Market:
Luckily, all three major cities in Pakistan have a bustling farmer’s market. The Karachi farmer’s market is a weekly joyful affair that happens every Sunday at Haque Academy and every Wednesday at Alliance Francaise. In Lahore, we have the Haryali farmer’s market and the Khalis food market, both of which happen once a month. In Islamabad, their weekly farmer’s market takes place at Sattar Buksh over the weekend. And although not technically a farmers market, Empress Market in Karachi deserves a mention here just because of the availability of many hard to find ingredients.
Image: Karachi Farmer’s Market
- Online Grocery Stores:
With deliveries in Karachi and Lahore, Tazamart.pk offers the complete household grocery along with fruits and vegetables. 24Seven.pk is another option available in Lahore, which provides household grocery along with fresh produce, including organic vegetables. For all you Karachites, there is Subziphal.com which has a store in Phase 7 along with an e-commerce platform which offers delivery of fresh fruits, vegetables (regular and organic) and dry fruits to your doorstep. MandiExpress.pk takes it a step further by adding meat, seafood and healthy snacks to their website. There is also an option of ordering organic eggs, milk and chicken (from Health First) on their website. The third option, JustDeliverEase.com offers fruits, vegetables, meat and juices.
In addition to these stores there is Sungold Organics in Karachi and NadozGreenz in Lahore, which specialize in offering organic salads and herbs. The best thing on their menu is the various options of mix lettuce – Yummy!
There was a time when one had to scour the city for ingredients like basil leaves, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, quinoa and more but now ingredients like these are easily available at large supermarkets. In Karachi there is Agha’s, Springs, Ebco and Tee-Emm in the DHA vicinity; Naheed Supermarket in Tariq Road; Hyderi Supermarket in North Nazimabad; Greens and Shazz supermarket in Gulshan. Let’s not forget Imtiaz supermarket with five branches across the city.
In Lahore, the top supermarkets are Esajee’s in Defence and Gulberg, Greenvalley in Mall of Lahore, Al-Fatah in Liberty Market and Hyperstar in Fortress Stadium and Emporium Mall. In Islamabad, the famous ones are Esajee’s in Kohsar Market and Best Price in F-6 Markaz.
4. Specialty Stores:
Customer demand for healthy, preservative free and organic food has led to specialty stores that provide customers a one-stop solution by selling their own products or sourcing from suppliers. Neco’s in Karachi is a great example where they offer food, bakery & deli items along with groceries. In Lahore, Haryali store and the organic shop, both located in DHA offer the same concept providing fresh produce and groceries.
Image: Haryali Store
Here’s a basic salad recipe to give you some inspiration for your next grocery trip.
Green salad with fruits and a honey-lemon dressing
2 cups of lettuce (preferably mixed lettuce)
¼ cup of rocket/arugula
¼ cup of baby spinach
1 large grapefruit or 2 small oranges, cut into segments
2 tablespoon black or green olives
¼ cup walnuts, toasted
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Blend the ingredients for the salad dressing in a blender for 30 seconds till it is creamy. Alternatively add all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk for about a minute. Taste and adjust seasonings if required.
Dry roast nuts in a skillet for about 3-5 minutes over medium heat till they are aromatic. Keep shaking the pan so they don’t burn.
Take a big salad bowl and add lettuce leaves, baby spinach & rocket/arugula. Increase/decrease the quantity of the specific type of salad green based on personal preference.
Add fruits & olives to the salad leaves and lightly toss with about 2 tablespoon of the dressing. Taste and add more dressing if required.
Chop and crush the nuts then add as garnish on top of the salad.
If reserving the salad for the next day, then toss the salad with dressing separately in a small plate. Once the salad has been dressed, it will start wilting.
Note: Protein can be added in the form of grilled cottage cheese, grilled chicken or feta cheese.