Fragrant, fresh and flavoursome – these are just three of the adjectives one might use to describe the taste of mint. However, our minty friend has found itself relegated to the wilderness in recent years, at the back of many household pantries and cupboards in recent years in favour of tastes from Asia and the Orient.
But we're fighting back. Now is the time to demonstrate just why mint is such an undervalued herb, with five delicious dishes that can very well work as part of a healthy light lunch or a lavish evening meal. This article comes with a warning - it may cause you to salivate.
1. Refreshing Raita
One of the best ways to complement a fiery curry or even as a side dip for poppadoms and naan breads, raita is still one of the most refreshing sauces in Indian cuisine. Deliciously quick and easy, all it takes is to combine fresh yoghurt and mint with a dash of lemon juice to create the perfect palate cleanser. If you're feeling brave and you fancy a little chilli even mixed in your raita, feel free to add some chopped green chilli too! Curry & Spice in Galway offers its own delicious blend of vegetable raita, as well as a mint-flavoured chutney which is also great with poppadoms!
2. Classic Tabbouleh
Combining all of the best ingredients from Mediterranean and gorgeous Greek food, a tabbouleh makes for the perfect lunchtime salad or an evening meal when accompanied with a grilled piece of meat or fish. Dublin's Herbstreet serve up a particularly fantastic quinoa tabbouleh, and if you're looking to eat more healthily then eating more Greek cuisine should be at the top of your to-do list. Tabbouleh is jam-packed with nutrition, with antioxidants from the fresh vine tomatoes, onions, parsley and lemon, and fibre from the surprisingly filling bulgur wheat. Fresh mint in a Tabbouleh really brings this dish together, bringing out the best in the tomatoes and the cooling cucumber.
For those cold winter evenings when you just want something warming and hearty to satisfy you, look no further than slow-cooked and Lebanese-inspired moussaka. It's a Mediterranean aubergine dish that is fused with stunning meat and spiced flavours, and there's no finer example of it than what they lovingly serve up at Sultan Restaurant Cafe & Shisha Lounge in Cork.
4. Thai Basil and Mint Chicken Stir-Fry
Yet another mouth-watering dish that goes down a storm with friends for a Saturday night catch-up, a vibrant chicken stir-fry with fresh Thai basil and mint keeps all of your taste buds a-tingling. The use of both the mint and the Thai basil helps the dish to look and taste so colourful and clean. An absolute must for anyone trying their new Thai takeaway for the first time. If you're in the Galway area, make sure you check out the Phad Kha Phaow at Khow Thai, which combines Thai Holy basil and mint with garlic, chili and a fried egg - delicious!
5. Mint & Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
It would be madness not to talk at least for a moment about the combination of mint and dark chocolate. Mint choc chip has long been a staple in the family freezer, but you just can't beat the real thing made fresh from an ice cream parlour. There's something naughty yet luxurious about the richness of the dark chocolate mixing with the sweetness of the mint – another great palate cleanser after a rich main course.
You're certainly guaranteed rich mains at Cork's Son Of A Bun American-style restaurant on MacCurtain Street, complete with delicious mint ice cream within its choice of ice creams for dessert.
To discover the very best mint-inspired takeaway dishes in your area, be sure to check out Deliveroo's restaurants that offer big flavours at wallet-friendly prices throughout Ireland.