Falafel – Healthy Baked Millet Falafel

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In my last post, I wrote about how my mom is a regular reader of my blog. She even has a dictionary to look up the meanings of certain words and ingredients which have different names in India. After I post a new recipe on the blog, my mom and I invariably get on the phone and discuss the recipe. We have made an intriguing discovery through these discussions - most of the ingredients I use are what we would consider "poor man's food" in India. Millet, Barley, Flaxseed - all these grains were considered to be "inferior" to the more polished or processed grains like Basmati rice. Back in India, "rich" ingredients like Basmati rice were reserved for special days or when a guest was dining … [Read more...]

Vegetable Stew

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“Two halves do not make a whole when it comes to a healthy relationship: it takes two wholes.” - Patricia Fry, author. While this quote was meant for an intimate relationship, I think it applies to all relationships - friends, siblings and parents. My relationship with my parents has evolved into something beautiful as I have matured. It wasn't always the case. I was a typical teenager - a little rebellious, demanding and full of strong opinions about anything and everything. I was always a daddy's girl, so my mom, Vishakha, bore the brunt of my teenage years. My parents are opposites of each other in many ways. For one, my dad dislikes change. He is one of those … [Read more...]

Quinoa Paella – A Healthy Vegetarian Paella Recipe

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There is something sexy about men cooking! Every culture has festivals or traditions where a group of men come together and cook out under the sky, generally on an open fire - be it the American barbecue, Indian biryani, or Spanish paella. As family stories flow over drinks in the open air, and men take charge of everything - from building the fire to the actual cooking, the whole experience truly is a food lover's paradise. I have worked with some amazing male chefs, and I personally know guys who absolutely enjoy cooking at home. But there are some men who lack the patience to work in the kitchen! Even these reluctant cooks light up when they see an open fire. Give them a couple of … [Read more...]

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Millet

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"Let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food". -Hippocrates Growing up as a kid in India, my daily diet reflected this simple philosophy. We ate our food according to the needs of our bodies. Eating seasonal food automatically took care of the body's nutritional requirements for that season. I also remember a number of my mom's home remedies to common ailments - Sore throat? Honey with turmeric. Upset stomach? Bitter green juice. Food was indeed our medicine. From what I read and hear about the food culture in the western world a few decades ago, it wasn't much different from India. It can not be a coincidence then, how the "factory food" culture has dragged in the same … [Read more...]

Mushroom Risotto – Brown Rice Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

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I started my culinary school program in the winter of 2012, along with 15 others chef wannabes. We spent one month to learn one specific skill set - from knife skills, butchery, baking to classical sauces - and then moved on to the next block. There are chefs who have dedicated their entire lives exploring just one of the skills on this list. So trying to even learn the basics of so many different aspects of the culinary world was just mind numbing. When my sister visited us here in Vancouver, I was nearing the end of my training. Lopa and her husband Nikhil spent about a month with us, and I was so excited to cook all the different dishes I had learned at the culinary school. Lopa and … [Read more...]

Roasted Carrots with Cauliflower Couscous

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It is much easier for me to be active and healthy in summer than in winter. In the summer the days are long in Vancouver, and I frequent the farmer's market to pick up the freshest local produce and make healthy dishes. When its sunny outside, it makes me want to go for a run, play tennis or do anything that makes me sweat! Now that it's winter, the days are getting shorter. It gets dark by 4 pm and it is getting harder to motivate myself to be physically active. Most of my outdoor activities have ceased, so I try to hit the gym at least five times a week. For me, being healthy is all about being in a positive cycle. If I work out and stay active, it makes me want … [Read more...]

Celeriac Mash with Wild Mushrooms

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You know what mushrooms go well with? Other mushrooms! If you have fresh wild mushrooms on your hands, throw them on a skillet and they compete with each other to see who can outshine the rest! Luckily for us, British Columbia has lots of forests and rain, ideal for wild mushrooms. BC is famous for wild mushroom foraging and a lot of that loot shows up at the farmer's markets. Mushroom is a versatile ingredient! You can serve mushrooms with meat or fish, sprinkle them on a pizza as it pairs well with spicy meats like salami or sausage, or use them to enhance flavors of a risotto. I personally think of mushrooms as a vegetarian's meat because of its earthy flavor and meaty texture. … [Read more...]

Whole Roasted Snapper with Cherry Tomatoes and Guacamole

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I was on the eating-out-is-cheaper-and-more-fun-so-why-cook-at-home diet for a few years. I thought cooking was tedious, time consuming, and often times more expensive than eating out. Once I discovered some simple cooking techniques, I was amazed at how convenient cooking at home can be. Slow roasting fish or meat is one of these simple techniques I often turn to in my daily cooking. A whole fish generally costs about 20% cheaper than fillets or steaks.The bones in a whole fish make the dish more flavorful. Most stores will gut and scale the fish for free, which can be a messy process in a home kitchen! The rule of thumb in roasting a whole fish is to cook it slowly on a low … [Read more...]

Lentil and Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs

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Anup and I love change, and it reflects in our past addresses. We have lived in three different countries, and seven different states over the last ten years, and I think we are just getting started. It has been a little over two years since we moved to Vancouver, and we are already itching to go somewhere new. For a while, we questioned whether something was wrong with us, as we saw many of our friends buy houses and settling down. But now, we have made our peace with it. We are wanderers! All this moving around and traveling has influenced the the way I cook. I love cooking with Indian spices, but being a classically trained chef shows up in some of the french cooking techniques I use. … [Read more...]

Chickpea Flour Crepes with Summer Berry Marmalade

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Some foods, you associate them with feelings. May be it reminds you of a special occasion, a certain period of your life, or a special memory you created with someone. I have many such foods and memories associated with my Grandma. One such dish - Puda, a simple savory chickpea crepe - makes me nostalgic. My grandma was my hero in the kitchen. She gave me some of my first cooking lessons - from making a cup of chai tea to baking a perfectly round roti bread. While I learned a lot of traditional Indian recipes from her, the most important lesson I learned was to cook with love and patience. For her, the journey of cooking was as important as the final destination of a meal served on the … [Read more...]