Beet Salad -A celebration recipe

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For my birthday this year, a good friend of mine gave me an amazing book – ‘Share’ : A cookbook that celebrates our common humanity by Women for Women International (WFWI). The underlying message of Share is simple: for all our apparent diversity―as individuals, societies and nations―our actions, however small, can have an exponential, positive influence both on the world and the lives of others. Nothing more beautifully conveys our interdependence than the food we eat. The recipes featured in this uplifting book―provided by contributors who are all actively engaged in humanitarian issues, as well women from the eight countries in which Women for Women International (WfWI) work.

I am in love with the illustrations in this book. The night I received this book, I was up past midnight going through it. One recipe that caught my eye right away, was a beet salad recipe by Zainab Salbi, founder of women for women international. I love beets and it had many ingredients that I use everyday. Last weekend I finally decided to make this recipe.  As I was making it, I wasn’t sure how it would come together. However, when I tasted it, the flavors were out of this world! The flavors of sesame seeds, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh ginger along with all the chopped veggies were heavenly. This probably is one of my most favorite salads and I am going to make this again and again.

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I made some changes to the original recipe. Instead of using raw beets, I used roasted beets. I also replaced carrots with fresh orange bell pepper that is now in season and I added some grape tomatoes. I followed the rest of the recipe and it indeed was a celebration of colors and taste on my plate and my mouth!

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Stir fried Tindora {Ivy Gourd}

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Ivy gourd, also known as Tendli, Tindora or Tondle is a tropical vegetable that grows on a vine. It looks like baby cucumber, with a very mild crunchy taste. I remember eating it in a very typical rice dish called “Tondle bhath” which was served with a cool buttermilk drink flavored with cilantro and fresh ginger. In 2010 when my mom was visiting me she taught me this amazing stir fry version that can be enjoyed with Parathas. It is a simple recipe that starts with a tempering mustard seeds and then cooking the tindora with turmeric, cashews, green chilies. Finish up by garnishing with fresh coconut, lemon juice and sugar. The outcome is a very unique combination of flavors as well as textures, the soft and juicy tindora, creamy cashews and the crispiness of the coconut in a mildly spiced sweet and sour tindora stir fry.

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Purple Cabbage Parathas {flatbreads}

 

 

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I love buying cabbage, both purple and green, to add to salads and tacos. You’ll probably find some sort of half-cabbage head, in my refrigerator,  tightly wrapped in clear plastic because it keeps forever. It always comes through in a jam when I forget to pick up salad greens or purples! They are my back up veggies in the fridge. Today, I decided to use up the purple cabbage I have been saving in the refrigerator to add in my salad. It has been a rather cold week and I am in no mood to eat cold salad. So decided to use it up to make some ‘garam-garam’ parathas. The best way for me to chop cabbage is to mince it food processor. After all the cabbage was finely chopped, I realized I was out of cilantro. I had some kale (another hardy multi-purpose nutrition powerhouse)  on hand, which I thought would make a good substitute to add some greens. So chopped kale leaves, ginger and green chilies and made a brand new kind of Parathas… Yum! I love starting with simple ingredients and turning them into hearty, filling and super healthy dish. Did you know that Anthocyanin rich purple cabbage (beneficial for the nervous system and fighting free radicals)  has 10 times more vitamin A and twice as much iron as green cabbage?

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Mango Shrikhand – A Cool and Creamy Mango Yogurt dessert

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Happy April, new month and new festival to celebrate! Today we are celebrating Gudi Padwa, first day of the month “Chaitra” in hindu calendar, start of spring and beginning of a new year for the people of Maharashtra. Early morning we hang a ‘Gudi’ outside our homes which is a brass pot upside down on a long bamboo stick, adorned with a bright silk cloth, flower garland and a twig of mango leaves. It is a sign of prosperity and good things to come. Gudi Padwa is one of the four most auspicious days in the year. It is beginning of new harvest season and the air is filled with the aroma of ripe mangoes. To celebrate this auspicious day, we are making the authentic Mango Shrikhand (smooth, creamy, strained yogurt sweetened with mango pulp). It is one of our family favorite dessert and we always find reasons to make it through out the year. This probably is the easiest Indian dessert recipe that requires a few basic ingredients. The best part is that it can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to a month.

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