Nov 6, 2011

Organic Mung Daal and Bottle Gourd Crepes (Chillas)

I emphasize on the Organic for a reason.

As an agrarian nation, we are probably more connected to what we put on our plates than many other countries. Or at least we used to be.

Do we know what is in season anymore? Do we know where our vegetables and fruits are sourced from? What about the hybridization of our food? Do you know our food is in the danger of being genetically modified?

Lately I have been buying more organic food than ever. Yes, it is only slightly more expensive than the poisoned food (thanks to inflation). We have many choices in Bombay now with a multitude of organic stores cropping up and the Farmers Market. While the stores source the organic produce and send it to you, at the farmers market you can buy directly from the farmer. Many stores claim to be selling 100% organic produce, but it is up to you to find out and decide whom to trust. Dry grains, pulses, oils, etc are easy to find organic since everyone is riding the 'Green Wave'. But be careful and compare prices. In the guise of it being organic there is no excuse for it to be exorbitant. I have a few links on a FAQs at the end of this post in case you are wondering.

I recently signed up for a very interesting initiative, something I have been wanting to do for a while. This group of volunteers (MOFCA - Hari Bhari Tokri) are aiming to connect the consumers with the organic farmers and have them grow seasonal, local veggies and supply on a weekly basis. I cannot wait for my first basket of the winter vegetables!

I'm quite the lazy cook in the morning and thinking up new and exciting ideas for breakfast is a task. My cooking tube light only shines towards the evening. I never used to be a morning person, but these days I'm all bright and chirpy in the mornings and unfortunately not creative enough to come up with breakfast ideas. So that usually means I have to think it up the previous night, or dig into the fridge for the dosai batter or serve up some cereal! K never complains, but sometimes I wish he would.

The good thing about this Chilla or crepe is that it doesn't require the whole previous night planning bit. If you have the ingredients you can make it in half an hour. The mung daal is what takes about half hour to soak, you could soak it longer, but if you forget worry not because half an hour is fine.

You need:

2 cups Organic Yellow Mung Daal (you could use the green ones with the skins too) Soaked for at least half an hour
1 cup Organic Bottle Gourd (Dudhi) grated with the skin
2-3 Organic Green Chillies
1 inch piece of Organic Ginger
1 teaspoon Organic Cumin (Jeera)
1 teaspoon Organic Turmeric Powder
1/2 teaspoon Rock Salt (kala namak)
Sea Salt

Grind the mung daal little bit at a time till it is a nice smooth paste. Add in the green chillies and ginger while grinding or chop them fine and add them to the batter. To the grated bottle gourd, add the cumin, turmeric and both the salts. Add the ground mung daal and mix well.

On a hot iron pan or tawa spread out the batter evenly and flip over to cook the other side.

You don't need to use oil if you have a well seasoned tawa.

Serve with coriander chutney or ketchup or as we like to have it with some French's Mustard. Mustard is the new ketchup.

This post is going to Kavitha's Healthy Cooking Challenge over at her blog Edible Entertainment. Thanks for hosting the challenge Kavitha and Smita!

Chunky Pumpkin n' Pasta

I make Italian food at least twice a week. Usually it's on weekends when we don't feel like paying through our noses for restaurant food and I still have a few tricks up my fridge from my shopping spree in Italy. There's nothing like eating a home cooked bowl of pasta while sitting on the sofa watching a film about a chef. The film I'm referring to is Toast, about chef Nigel Slater. The film is co-written by the chef himself and chronicles his early childhood memories from his canned-food loving mother to his sneaky but excellent cook step mother. His love for food started young like many of us and he was able to turn his life around to become a leading chef of Britain. 

In India and particularly in Bombay, sandwiches are available on every street. The Khau Gallis (streets where only food is made and sold) have a minimum of 3 stalls selling toasted sandwiches. Only in Bombay, you can find a sandwich that costs anywhere from Rs.15 to Rs. 150 on the street! They have endless stuffing choices and you will be charged depending on how posh the stall is. I also see many places have different rate cards for the weekends now.  The toasted ones are surely not vegan since they smother the bread with butter on top before toasting. The reason I rant so much about the sandwich is because I am getting to the ketchup served along with these sandwiches. On a recent junk food binge, I happened to read a label of a ketchup bottle at a sandwich stall. You usually associate ketchup with lots of tomatoes. But in this country we have found a cheaper alternative - Pumpkins! This particular ketchup had no tomatoes. Pumpkins, sugar, salt, preservative and some food colour! You can tell the difference if you are a ketchup geek because usually they are lumpier and tend to look a little more orange than red.

So here I was wanting to make some pasta for lunch and I didn't have any tomatoes. What's the next best alternative? Why Pumpkin of course! Pumpkin is very commonly added to pasta sauces, I haven't really invented anything new here. K was very skeptical about this attempt of mine because I left the pumpkins in big chunks and didn't puree them. But if you prefer a purée, just go ahead and blend it up at the end of the cooking and you will get a nice bright orange pasta sauce.

You need:

1/4 kilo Yellow Pumpkin cut into bite size chunks
1 onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
6-7 Mushrooms (which you could avoid and add capsicums instead)
Fresh/ Dried Oregano
Fresh/ Dried Sage
Red Chilli Flakes
Olive Oil
Nutritional Yeast (Optional)
Pine nuts as a garnish (optional)/ you could also use walnuts

Cooked Pasta of your choice (I used Penne)

Sauté the garlic, herbs and onion until the onion is translucent. Add in the yellow pumpkin and chilli flakes. Cook till it is nice and tender. I covered it so it cooked faster and kept checking on it in intervals. Add nutritional yeast (optional), salt and mix with the pasta. Garnish with nuts.

Nov 2, 2011

A Vegan Lunch in Bangalore

A whirlwind weekend trip to Bangalore got me to meet all the lovely vegans who live in the city with the most awesome weather! It was a vegan buffet at In the Pink, an organic vegetarian restaurant. The menu was customized for us and what a spread we had. A lot of great food, a lot of great new friends and lots of talking.

It was very hard for me to click pictures because one, I was hungry and two there were so many new people, I absolutely had to meet them! Unfortunately I forgot to click a picture with all of them! Sigh.

That Saturday was well spent!

My plate (Before) : Pumpkin Ravioli in a Bechamel sauce, Veggie Pizza, Falafels, Hummus, Potato Salad, Tabouleh, Cucumber Peanut Salad, Chilli Bhajjis, Curd Rice

My plate (After)

Dessert: Strawberry and Lemongrass Pudding
There was also a chocolate soymilk ice cream

Pretty Vegan!

No points for guessing what this means! It's not that difficult.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...