Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vegetable Upma

Upma, or savoury semolina porridge, is a staple of any self respecting South Indian household. This tasty breakfast staple is best eaten piping hot and can be endlessly adapted depending on what you add to the basic semolina mix. Carrots and peas are the most commonly used veggies used to complement this dish.

We also have handy upma pre-mixes available - most famously by MTR, which is what I had and happily used this morning. I was originally going to make a ragi (millet) based upma, but then I realized I hadn't soaked my ragi overnight, so, screw that!

The pre-mix is essentially semolina with all the seasonings - so all you have to do is pour the mix into boiling water. In case you cannot find such a pre-mix, go to the bottom of the post for the full version of the recipe.

  • 1 cup upma pre-mix
  • 1 1/2 cups of assorted vegetables (I used carrots, onions, peppers, cabbage, tomato)
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • Coriander to garnish
To make:
Bring two cups of water to a boil in a pot.

Drop the cup of pre-mix semolina into the water and let it cook for 5-7 minutes.

Be sure to stir regularly to ensure no lumps are formed.
When the semolina looks cooked (no more than 7 minutes, usually), turn off the gas.

Add the vegetables. Stir thoroughly.

Garnish with the coriander and squeeze a quarter of a lime over.
Serve immediately.

If you do not or cannot find an upma premix packet, use plain semolina and add the following in addition to the ingredients outlined above:
  • 2 green chillies slit lengthwise
  • 1" piece of ginger grated
  • 3/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • Pinch of turmeric powder 
Vegetable Upma (Savory Semolina Porridge) on Foodista

The Leftover Salad

Everyone's got clumsy leftovers - not bad enough to throw out, and not tempting enough to eat them on their own. So, what do you do? Lazy that I am, I toss them all up in a salad. I had a quarter of an avocado and pepper each, and some mushroom rice from the previous night. My rice was slap-bang cold and I didn't have the time to thaw or heat it before as I was already late for work!

The Leftover Salad

  • 1 cup of fried mushroom rice (boiled would work great too!)
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • 1 cup lettuce
  • 1 cup green and red peppers
  • Handful of red cabbage
  • Handful of watermelon and sesame seeds (to garnish)
  • Dash of olive oil
  • Dash of dark soy sauce
To make:
Chop up the peppers and avocado into cute little squares, the cabbage into long slivers.

Add the rice. Mix well.

Add the olive oil and soy sauce.

Garnish with watermelon and sesame seeds.

Parsi Vegetable Dhansak

Once upon a time, I was a Parsi - I have Persian blood, which would explain why everyone thinks the Parsis are a crazy bunch. However, religion  - like milk - stopped making sense to me over a decade ago and I am now proudly atheist.

However, my point is, we do have some lovely food! My personal favorite is was the Patra-ni-Machhi (fish fillets with a spicy pesto, steamed inside a banana leaf).

The most famous of the lot is probably Mutton Dhansak. Dhansak is essentially white rice caramelized to a red/brown colour; topped with a spicy lentil and meat curry.

Here's a vegetarian recipe for Dhansak, courtesy of My Diverse Kitchen.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Curried Beets and Carrots

Since I do have a pile of organic carrots and beets and didn't want to mess too much with their taste, I just grated a couple of beets and carrots and added some dry savory spices. I've used curry powder - you'll get little packets of premixed curry powder at Asian stores. If you are feeling adventurous, try making it yourself with a little help from this curry powder recipe.

Very healthy and keeps well all day - In fact tastes better after a few hours!

  • 2 beets
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Handful of dessicated/fresh coconut (garnish)
  • teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 lime wedge
To make:
Peel your beets and grate them.

Grate your carrot and add to the grated beets.

Add the curry powder, chilli powder, and oil. Mix well.

Garnish with the coconut and squeeze the lime for that twang.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Avocado and Peppers Salad

This is a very simple salad to make and I can't wait to dig into this at lunch time.

Avocado and Peppers Salad

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 3 baby corncobs
  • 3-5 gherkins
  • 5-10 green olives
  • 1-2 jalepeno peppers
  • Handful of baby lettuce
  • Dash of olive oil
  • Rosemary powder, per taste
To make:
  • Chop up the peppers, corn and the avocado into bite size chunks.
  • Chop the gherkins and the jalepeno peppers into tiny chunks.
  • Toss everything together in a bowl.
  • Add the olive oil infused with rosemary as dressing.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Pink Salad

Named so because the beetroot will taint everything else a lovely rosy red color! There's also avocados and chick peas.

  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 -1/4 of a green zuccini
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1 beetroot
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 cup of chick pea
  • 3-4 gherkins
  • 1 jalepeno pepper
For the dressing:
  • Juice of one lime
  • Dry rosemary
  • Handful of coriander
  • Dash of olive oil
To make:
  • Pre-soak the chickpeas overnight - at least for 8-10 hours. That way they are tender enough to eat raw. Else, boil them for some time.
  • Peel the beetroot skin. Wash all the ingredients and chop up.
  • Toss them all up together in a bowl.
  • Add the dressing on top.

Farmer's Bounty Salad

I was aching to try out my yellow zuccini - and more importantly, finish off my green and red cabbage - with this salad.

Farmer's Bounty Salad


  • 1/2 cup of red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup of green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup of yellow zuccini
  • 1 cup of baby lettuce
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 of assorted greens (Which is my lazy-ass way of saying I dont know the name of the leafy green I used)
  • 5 gherkins
  • 1 jalepeno pepper
  • Handful of parsley/coriander
  • Dash of olive oil
  • Juice of one lime
To make:
Wash all your veggies thoroughly, remove zuccini peel if you like (I didn't), and slice all of the stuff up in thin slivers.
Farmer's Bounty Salad

Farmer's Bounty Salad

Farmer's Bounty Salad

Farmer's Bounty Salad
Toss them up in a bowl. Make a dressing of olive oil and the lime juice.
Farmer's Bounty Salad

Makes one large bowl, and keeps well all day!

What I Want Now: Raspberry pâtes de fruits

Its got a ton of sugar, which I am off; and we don't really get rasberries here in India. Plus, I still have my something sweet (but not ADHD-sweet): My walnut, orange, and date balls. So these little red vixens are on my wish list!

Photo and recipe courtesy Pixie Baker. I'd substitute the frozen berries for fresh ones, and the sugar with something healthier like agave nectar or maple syrup.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What I Want Now: Quinoa Pomagranate Salad

I'm soo trying this salad as I have just got my hands on some organic pomagranate and quinoa from Bolivia! Image and recipe courtesy Ooh-Look.
Those little ruby pellets sure perk up a dull looking salad!

Sunday Shopping at the Farmers Market and Nature's Basket

I was getting a bit worried about the future of a farmers market here in Mumbai after their Facebook page annouced that they need a guarantee of a 100 people showing up each week for the farmers trip to and from Nasik to be viable. I needn't have worried.

This Sunday's Farmer's Market was definitely much bigger and better than the one I went to two weeks back. There were a variety of stalls selling everything from vegan cheese and muffins, to eco friendly make up, as well as a much needed stall by Naturally Yours for cereals, pulses, and sundry.

All the produce looks soo fresh and inviting - except the carrots...For some reason, pesticide-laden GMO carrots look much better than their natural cousins. I definitely bought a lot less veggies this time, seeing how I am still finishing off the ones I bought two weeks ago! Best part is I finally got my hands on some quinoa and flax seed. You know what they say, if your heart is pure enough and your wish sincere enough, your wish will come to you!

Plus I got to meet Kavita Mukhi, the brain child behind Mumbai's Farmer's Market. Next week's market is at the same venue but from 5 PM onwards. Its a special event with a Q&A planned for all your organic-related questions.

The Produce Section

The Stores:

 And here's what I bought:

FINALLY- Got myself some keen-waah

Jaggery powder to replace my honey in my morning cuppa tea

Hummus in an earthen pot
Hummus with chickpeas, sesame and pumpkin seeds
Total damages:
  • 1 kilo carrots and beets - Rs 40
  • 1 kilo of assorted peppers - Rs 35ish
  • 2 pomogranates - Rs 75
  • Hummus - Rs 50
  • Quinoa - Rs 395/ 500 grams
  • Flax seeds - Rs 28/ 200 grams
  • Jaggery - Rs 54
And a trip to the Farmer's Market is never complete without hopping off to the nearby Nature's Basket (not before having falafels at, urm, Falafels, right across the road from the Farmers Market.
Just got the bare essentials this time: gherkins, jalepeno peppers, lavash crackers, yellow zuccini and avocados..What?! You do need some excitement in your daily salads! Am soo excited about the avocados!!! Best part is, you dont have to worry about it going mushy...and if it does, you can always scopp out the green gunk and make a face pack out of it for your face!
Welcome home, my green godesses!

PS: I've updated the BUYING GUIDE section with contact info and shop addresses, in case you cannot make it to the farmers market and still want to buy some of this stuff.


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