Roasted Smashed Potatoes

smashed-potatoes

It is said that you can take an Indian out of India, but you can never take India out of an Indian. Many of the habits and passions we develop back home stay with us for the rest of our lives, no matter which corner of the world we end up in. One such passion that every Indian carries in his heart is the game of Cricket. A single game of cricket can last anywhere from 4 hours to five days. Yes, that's right, days. And the country of 1.2 billion people suspends itself in a unison every time the men in blue step out on the ground! My early memories of cricket take me back to the days when the only access to the game was through a transistor radio. My dad would intently listen to the audio … [Read more...]

Quinoa and Lentil Bowl

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Anup and I always end every year in style! We celebrate our marriage anniversary on Christmas Eve (13th this time!) followed by the Christmas Day celebrations with friends and family. My sister's birthday is on December 26th, and then there is the New Year's Eve! Because I preach natural foods on my blog, I stick with 100% natural Tequila shots that night! So after this last hurrah, the first week of January makes me feel like the vacation is over and it is time to go back to school. January brings with it the plethora of pressure to create the "New You". The television ads reminding you of the need to detox, eating healthy and shedding those extra pounds you might have gained over the … [Read more...]

Crispy Chickpea Polenta

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India is a land of storytellers! From the religious stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata to the ancient Indian collection of animal fables Panchatantra, we grew up listening to various stories as kids. My grandma used to tell me stories about India's independence movement; how people would come out and throw their gold ornaments on the streets as a donation for the freedom fighters. She would tell me about her early years with her husband, and how her life changed when she became a widow in her twenties in a society which had no place for widows. She had a way to explain things to my young mind, and with her words she could take me to a different world as if I was traveling back in … [Read more...]

Kale and Chickpea Stew

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“If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.” - Ryan Gosling, The Notebook Hello again from Canada! I have flown back half way around the globe back in my little nest tucked away in a valley we call Vancouver. After my all-senses-on-overdrive trip to India, this nest on the 20th floor in a high-rise building overlooking the mountains and a lake makes me feel like a monk in meditation. This not hearing a sound for hours, no one asking me if I was hungry yet, no neighbours knocking on my door to ask for some sugar - this is going to take some getting used-to! My travels in India involved a lot of time spent traveling by road. I ended up eating a lot of street foods and restaurant meals, all prepared … [Read more...]

Vegetable Curry – Visiting Unpredictable India!

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It has been over 3 years since I visited my homeland, India. India! It evokes so many contradicting emotions in me. The cultures, colors, smells, people, animals, foods and life in general - India can be overwhelming to many visitors, and sometimes even Indians. Most visitors and travellers marvel at Taj Mahal or Kutub Minar but I have always thought that India's beauty rests not in those famous monuments, but in the unpredictable chaos that is daily life. To promote tourism, the government of India had launched a campaign called "Incredible India" a few years ago, but I think "Unpredictable India" would have been more suitable because one has to learn to celebrate the uncertainties and … [Read more...]

Buckwheat Salad

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The word salad invokes a lot of old memories - most of them unpleasant. For a country which boasts the lowest meat consumption rate in the world, India surprisingly lacks salads in their meals. In fact, I don't remember ever eating a salad as a meal in India. I think this has something to do with Indian families trying to stretch the meal budgets; making a curry out of the vegetables allowed us to eat other cheaper carbs with that curry. So we would have smaller portions of the vegetable dish, what we called Subzi, and pair it with roti bread or rice. My mom would occasionally slice up an onion or carrots if they were about to go bad, but I wouldn't call that a salad by a long shot. Salads … [Read more...]

Baked Quinoa Fritters

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One of the most overplayed jokes in the western world goes like this - "If you don't like the weather in {your city} now, just wait a few minutes!" The people saying it also invariably act like they just made it up. The joke implies that the weather in that particular city is very unpredictable. The weather in Vancouver changes so much though, this joke is more like a fact of life. Vancouver's coastal location moderates its temperatures, but the sea breezes and mountains all around the valley make Greater Vancouver a region of microclimates. This translates into quite a bit of local variations in weather. Vancouver also gets a lot of rain because of the mountains, and I am yet to identify a … [Read more...]

Millet Polenta with Fiddlehead and Samphire

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Growing up in India, cooking using the produce available during the season wasn't something trendy, it was the only way to eat. Sabjiwalas would load the fresh produce from the farms on their carts and go around the neighborhood. Each Sabjiwala even had a unique shout to call out his clients, letting people know what he was selling that day. "Dungri, Batata ane Bhinda Lai Lo", buy my potatoes, onions and okra today! My mom would buy the produce for the next couple of meals, and haggle over whether she can have the cilantro and chillies for free! Those sabjiwalas were like our family members. If mom didn't buy anything from the guy for a couple of days, he would knock on the door and ask … [Read more...]

Black Rice and Carrot Salad

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“It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.” —Dorothy on The Golden Girls I was fortunate to have had two moms growing up, one mom who I spent my evenings with and another one who was my day-time mom, my grandma, who I called "Baa"! My mom had a full time job, working six days a week, so it was my Baa who influenced me more during my early years. She even gave me my first self-defence lessons, showing me how I could bring a boy down to his knees by twisting his arm if he made advances at me! My grandma was a tough cookie. She was widowed while still in her early thirties and she took it upon herself to raise her five young children. Back in those days, women in … [Read more...]

Vegetable Stew with Black Soybeans

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"Hunger is the best sauce." - English proverb I have been fortunate to have had many inspirational figures around me while growing up. Many of them have taught me invaluable life lessons that have made me the person I am today. One such person who has taught me the simplest of all lessons, is Anup's grandma, Elizabeth. The lesson she taught me was something she mentioned in passing, and yet, it has had a profound impact on me! Elizabeth is in her late seventies, and is in great health for her age. The small house she lives in is in the middle of a vadi, a small garden, that she maintains herself. Her home looks like it just jumped out of a story book! It's surrounded by varieties of … [Read more...]