January 6, 2018

Recipe: A Light South Indian Meal

Simple ayurvedic dishes made during the week for a quick meal

I grew up in a vegetarian household and while my sister and I were encouraged by my parents to eat meat when we were outside the home, once at home, we mostly ate vegetarian food from the Southern part of India. Known sometimes as a yoga diet or ayurvedic diet, the foods we ate at home growing up had little meaning to me. I mean, it was just food my mom made, so we ate it.

As an adult, I’m finding that I’m actually more and more curious about WHY our diet consists of certain grains and dhals (lentils) and why we eat plain yogurt after each meal and why we cook with certain spices like turmeric, asafetida and cumin, amongst others. Almost everything that goes into our South Indian diet serves a purpose. While South Indian food can be complicated to make, the recipes below are really quite easy and can be prepared within 45 minutes for a very light but healthy weekend lunch. I made some lemon rice and served it alongside a cucumber salad and a healthy dose of plain yogurt to round out the meal. This is perfect for a picnic lunch each dish can be eaten at room temperature. If you do make it, let me know how it turned out.

Lemon Rice with fried cashews (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked rice (I like Thai Jasmine rice, as it has the closest consistency to South Indian ponni rice native to that region, but basmati will do. For a slightly healthier alternative, try this recipe with brown rice.)

1/4 cup broken cashews, light fried in oil and set aside.

juice of 1-2 lemons (to taste)

1 tsp turmeric powder

pinch of salt

for tempering:

2 tablespoons un-roasted sesame oil (found in most Indian grocery stores. If unavailable, any flavorless cooking oil will do)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp urad dhal (black gram dhal)

2 dried red chilies

1 sprig of curry leaves

a pinch of asafetida (optional)

Method: In a large wok, heat some un-roasted sesame oil. Add the red chilies and curry leaves (it will start to splutter from the moisture in the leaves). Continue to add the urad dhal and the mustard seeds along with the pinch of asafetida. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop, immediately add the 2 cups of cooked rice.  Give it a good stir to coat the rice with the tempering ingredients. Once the rice has been heated through, add the turmeric powder and the fried cashews and stir the rice a few times. Finally add the juice of 1-2 lemons, to taste and a pinch of salt.

Cucumber Salad:

Ingredients:

1 long cucumber, quartered and diced

1 cup of sprouted mung beans (You can purchase these already sprouted from your local Asian supermarket, or you can sprout these at home).

1 bunch of chopped cilantro

1/4 cup diced green apples or pomegranate seeds

juice of 1 lime

salt to taste

for tempering:

2 tablespoons un-roasted sesame oil (found in most Indian grocery stores. If unavailable, any flavorless cooking oil will do)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp urad dhal (black gram dhal)

2 dried red chilies

1 sprig of curry leaves

a pinch of asafetida (optional)

Method: In a bowl, combine the cucumbers, sprouted mung beans, cilantro and diced apples (or pomegranate). Set aside. In a small frying pan, heat some un-roasted sesame oil. Add the red chilies and curry leaves (it will start to splutter from the moisture in the leaves). Continue to add the urad dhal and the mustard seeds along with the pinch of asafetida. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop, pour the tempering oil into the bowl with the cucumber salad. Stir the cucumber salad gently. Add the juice of 1 lime and a pinch of salt to taste.

Serve the lemon rice and cucumber salad along with a bowl of yogurt. ENJOY!

 

SHARE THIS STORY
COMMENTS
ADD A COMMENT