I can’t be grateful enough to have grown up in a country where the knowledge of ‘exotic’ spices seems like second nature. Even though I almost never cooked in India, I know my spices. These flavor enhancers add another dimension to food, almost like painting highlights and shadows to a still life that would seem flat otherwise.
Different cultures have their own way in which spices are used to cook food and this is how spice blends evolved. People in warmer regions of the world (closer to the equator) tend to use more spices to preserve meat because of its antimicrobial properties. This is why spice blends seem to have more complex flavors in regions like India or Africa versus Iceland or Norway.
Food sustains life,
Spice breathes air into that food.
Our cooking has evolved from roasting meats in a fire pit to complex multi layered recipes of modern day. During this evolution and development of several cooking techniques spices began to and still occupy the most critical dimension to cook flavorful food.
After all the sugary goodness over the last few weeks, the new year begins on a bitter but healthy note. I’m not big on resolutions but new beginnings and a fresh start is always a good thing!
So for me, hitting the reset button this year includes –
There are five ways in which I like eating apples:
- Slices of apple slathered with some creamy almond butter
- Microwave chopped apples for 2 minutes and top with coconut butter and raisins
- Apple pie
- Apple and cashew milk smoothie
- And this yummy APPLE CRISP!
I’m always on the look out for healthy food that can also satisfy the taste buds. There are days when I want to break the monotony of eating the same thing for lunch over and over again, so on one such day I pinged my friend Shweta of The Weekend List. She of course obliged with this wonderful chicken-sweet potato stew recipe, I’m loving this and plan to make it a lot more in the upcoming winter months.
Over the past few days the temperatures have been frigid cold and we got couple of inches of snow today, it was a perfect day to stay in and eat something comforting. A bowl of Dan Dan Noodles from Han Dynasty would’ve been ideal to beat the cold but of course since that wasn’t going to happen, I had to take it upon myself to make something even remotely close.
Okra (Bhindi in Hindi) and I have a strange relationship, growing up it was possibly one of my favorite vegetables. I have memories of going over to my mom’s friends place, she cooked the best fried crispy okra, sprinkled with dried mango powder, paprika and salt, YUM! Ever since moving to the States, in the last decade or so I haven’t eaten too much of it. Also I don’t particularly fancy the oil dunked ‘bhindi masala’ served in India restaurants here.
So I caved in and decided it was time for a Whole30 and September seemed like the best time, just before the holiday madness begins. The first question I’m often asked is, WHY? Why the torture? I know it sounds dramatic but to some people it is. So yes, its hard to eat out (or even get drinks) which makes socializing difficult but the end result is so so worth it.
I’m on Day 11 and after the initial slump is behind me, there’s an irrepressible amount of energy, I really feel like I’m on a caffeine high without a lot of caffeine actually in my system. That also explains a new post on the blog after a while, I know I’ve been slacking but there’s a lot coming up in this space.
Over the past year or so I’ve dealt with sleep related issues, nothing too serious but a very erratic sleep pattern. Of course the easy way out was to pop a pill and get some much needed sleep. However, pills to me are not always an ideal way of resolving problems. I’d take them if there was no other option but in cases like these there are natural alternatives that can help. There’s an enormous emphasis on healthy eating and maintaining an exercise routine, somewhere the importance of good sleep is undermined. Cultivating a good balance between healthy eating-exercising-sleeping is imperative to the overall well being.