My first cooking competition

When you are living abroad, it is always a pleasure to meet people from your own state/town. Like any other country, Kuwait also has many forums and communities where people gather to celebrate their festivities, technical seminars, cultural programs for kids and adults and also for protesting against any issue in India to express solidarity to our fellow Indians back home. Tamil  Nadu Engineers Forum (TEF) is one of those forums in Kuwait which is for the Engineers who work/live in Kuwait and hail from the state Tamil Nadu. The forum is one of the most active in the country and they conduct numerous programs throughout the year. Their summer fest programs are conducted in phases and yesterday there was a series of events for ladies. It is a nice thought to conduct ladies only events because all the women in the family leave their daily chores for a day (that includes kids as well) and have time for themselves. Rangoli competition, salad making and best budget were scheduled for yesterday along with speeches by a Naturopathy doctor and Varma specialist on the topic “Healthy Living”. Both the doctors gave detailed insights into how healthy living can be followed in a simple way in our daily lives and was really useful.

I participated in the salad making competition and this was my first cooking competition! I was so excited obviously but was clueless what to make. One of the bloggers I follow has really interesting salad recipes and I adapted her salad and dressing ideas from here. I made lettuce wraps and mint/coriander dressing to go with it.


For the salad I used black channa dhal, steamed corn kernels, fresh cucumber, carrots, raw mango, pomegranate pods, tomatoes and chopped walnuts. I mixed all of these with fresh lime juice, salt and pepper. Served the salad on the lettuce leaves so that it can be had as a wrap.



In a mixie jar, added chopped fresh coriander leaves, mint leaves in the  ratio 2:1, along with two garlic pods and blended together with a spoon of sour yogurt. Then mixed with 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt, pepper and few more spoons of yogurt until I got a creamy dressing.

Coriander-Mint in yogurt dressing
The rules of the competition was to prepare everything that the venue except that we were allowed to cook/steam/blend at home. The vegetables chopping, mixing and assembly had to be done there within 45 minutes. The competition was judged by nutritionists on the criteria of taste, health benefits and presentation. The judges were specific about the ingredients (fresh yogurt/store-bought, frozen corn/fresh,etc), method of cooking (steam/blanch/grill,etc)  and their nutrition values. It was announced that the judges took almost 1 hour to evaluate the salads before they could decide the winners. Though I didn’t win the competition, I was more than happy to have participated. It was fun to meet other food enthusiasts from the forum and I learnt some presentation ideas from other participants.  Hence I consider the participation itself as a success.

That was one memorable weekend and thanks to TEF for the opportunity. Looking forward for more such events:)





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