Roots & Rustic – Salad

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Colours, they say, affect our mood. Something, I’m sure, we all agree. It could be the colours we wear, or colours that surround us… it does crazy things to how we feel, lifts our mood or pulls us down.

It also applies to the food we eat. Just to set the record straight- I’m only talking about the natural colours of food. All the food that nature offers are colour coded , naturally! And those colours are not just to please the eye but they are an indication of a certain specific nutrient that the particular food offers. How incredible is that – nature’s way of colour tagging the nutrients and health benefits!

I’ve been reading about this new Rainbow Diet / Eat by Colour Diet that is getting very popular. Was a part of one such discussion thread on the topic in a popular FB Food Group. There was a lady who mentioned that Craving for a certain vegetable is an indication of a certain lack of nutrient in our body. Need to look that up, but I definitely found that interesting.

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I’m talking about colours because that was the inspirations behind this post… this salad. Although colours are always on my mind when I make anything….but here was all the more important – Because it the base of the salad is Black Rice!

Black rice is an incredible offering from Nature! I got mine from the good folks of First Agro Sakura Fresh .

So this one is said to be a natural Super Food because it of it’s High content of Antioxidants , fibre , iron , protein. It is Gluten free too. It is starchy, yes. It has a this beautiful roasted nutty flavour and aroma …and it turns purple when cooked! The grains also look very rustic  -with streaks of purple , brown against pale white. Rice white_

After I clicked it all white , I decided to click it in another way too… something that is truly reflective of it where it has come from and something that justifies its characteristic – Right from the earth. ( So ended up using my old gardening tool as a prop … 😛 )

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Which one do you like more? 🙂

Anyway, back to salad. So, I had this black rice, but needed colours from the other elements of the salad. Had some baby carrots ( again from First Agro – arguably, they are only ones in the city that grow them I think) .I had roasted a few with some spiced honey the previous day ( that disappeared in no time)…and there was a demand for tha to be made again. So thought it would perfect with the black rice. And decided that I would need something sensationally spicy & fresh to lift the flavours of this salad, and a chimmichuri seemed ideal!

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I started this post by talking colours …. this salad is all that for me! Colours of salad elements…. makes it so much more sassy! Make more so much more appetizing. Bring in a certain balance in nutrition too!

For this  , I wanted to use the gorgeous blue deep plate / bowl plate ( is there even a name for such plate that almost a bowl ?) that my dear sis got for me. ❤ Salad solo_

If it looks good to eyes , but generally does taste good ( * there are always exceptions though) But this salad was true to itself.. that is what I think! Can’t wait to make this again…

Salad side

Recipe : Roots & Rustic Salad 

Ingredients – for 2-3 servings 

  • Black rice ( Used the hierloom black rice – You may use any other variant of black rice or even brown) – 1/2 cup
  • Baby carrots & Baby white radish ( use baby roots you like or regular roots cut in any shapes you wish) – no measure really for this ( as much as you like)
  • Purple Amaranthus leaves – 3/4 cup
  • Spring Onion – 3/4 cup
  • Lime wedge ( optional)
  • Mix of seeds and nuts ( optional)
  • salt + pepper for seasoning ( to taste)

Ingredients for the Spice Honey marinade for roasting the roots- Make sure you make enough to coat the roots you have for roasting. The following recipe will for a 1/2 cup of dressing:

  • Honey – 3 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
  • pepper powder – 1 tsp
  • balsamic vinegar – 1 tbsp
  • mustard oil ( you can use regular veg oil / olive oil) – 2 tsp
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for Chimmichuri Dressing :

  • Fresh & roughly chopped Basil + Parsley + Coriander =3/4 cup
  • Garlic pods – 3 med ( chopped / grated)
  • Olive oil – 2-3 tsp
  • Vinegar / Lime juice – 1-2 tsp ( based on how zingy you like it to be)
  • salt & pepper – to taste
  • Cruched dried red chillis ( or flakes , maybe) – 1 -2 tsp ( or to taste)

Method

  1. Wash & soak the black rice in water for about 30 mins – 1 hour. Cook it after in a pressure cooker ( with water in a 1:2 ratio) for about 2 whistles + 5 mins in low gas.
  2. When ready – rinse the cooked black rice in cold water. And keep aside. You could drizzle some olive oil and salt to that though.
  3. Baby roots :
    1. Clean the baby roots , do NOT peel the skin. Leave them on.
    2. Pre-heat the oven for about 200 o .
    3. Make the marinade by mixing all the marinade ingredients together.
    4. rub the baby roots with the marinade.
    5. Put them in a baking tray and bake/roast it for about 30-40 mins ( or based on your oven. DO keep checking on it though)
    6. When ready, take it off the oven and keep aside
  4. Clean the amaranthus and just pluck the leaves. Keep aside
  5. Finely chop the spring onions and keep aside
  6. To make the chimmichurri dressing
    1. Pound all herbs + garlic +  red chilli+ a little olive oil together in a mortar & pestle. ( you can do this all in a blender too. Note that the texture might vary though)
    2. I like it a little chunky and course – so I stopped when I reached that texture.
    3. Put the paste in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients ( vinegar , remaining olive oil ) and whisk well.
    4. Add seasoning and keep aside for the salad
  7. To assemble – there is no measure though – In a salad bowl / plate – add some amaranthus leaves, some cooked black rice, add the chopped spring onions , and the desired amount of roasted baby roots. Top it with some mixed nuts & seeds if you like. Drizzle the chimmichuri ( maybe a spoon and a half  per serving… or more if you like it that way)
  8. And eat!

 

 

Pear & Ginger flavored White Tea Soup

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“Where there is tea…there is hope”!

My tea (and not ‘mighty’) confession I find it difficult to tell the difference between a Darjeeling ..to English Breakfast…to Orange Pekoe ….to an Earl Grey ( oh,wait! Earl Grey, I can). But the likes of Green tea, White tea and Moroccon mint …Jasmine  and such…I can instantly tell. Probably because they each one of them have a very distinct smell besides their exquisite characteristic. And then are whole other categories of tea that I don’t even know of…hope to taste those at some point in my life though.

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Curried Sweet Potato Apple & Feta Soup

 

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 To share the story behind this post is going to be fun.

This is a complete happy accident. I wasn’t even planning to cook anything new that day. ( We had a few left over from the previous day!)  But then what is fun is having the same thing again the next day in the same form? I don’t enjoy it at all…and for me, it is a super opportunity to be creative. I love giving makeovers to leftovers….and I’m pretty darn good at it (that is one thing I can say confidently…..you ahead challenge me on that!)

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