Holidays Indulgence – don’t feel bad about it!
Summer holidays are meant to be fun, right! No matter how careful we are about our diet in routine, we put to sleep our wise, mindful, health- conscious selves during holidays. It’s as if we develop a split personality during vacation that doesn’t recognise it’s own reasonable side. I believe this carefree, unwinding is necessary once or twice a year, to keep us sane and refreshed for the hectic routine of the rest of the year. So let’s not feel bad about it!
We watched many wonderful movies and TV shows, did a lot of binge eating (some healthy, some not), tried new restaurants and then went away to the northernmost mountains for a little getaway. Of course, no one thinks twice before indulging in yummy food after a whole day of trekking, bumpy jeep rides and sightseeing. Exploring delicious food when visiting a new place is an added temptation if you are a foodie.
Getting Back to Routine – because we’ve had our break.
When back home, all my husband and I want is simple food – lots of vegetables and lentils! The first thing I cooked on coming back was daal chawal(lentils and rice), our ultimate comfort food that makes home feel at home. The very next morning we went out to buy groceries to stock up the fridge with fruits and vegetables. Why? Because the mind and body got the break it needed from the routine and now we find ourselves more willing and receptive to continue with our simple menu. All human nature needs is a break!
There are a few basic vegetables that I stock in bulk – like carrots, bell peppers, peas and cabbage. These versatile vegetables can be cooked in a variety of ways, in combination or on their own, in curries, grilled sides, salads, with rice and pastas.
Raita – a summer comfort food.
Raita is one of my favourite ways to add a vegetable side to everyday menu. Raita is a popular cool condiment in South Asia, made with mixing yogurt and raw or cooked vegetables. The food from this region has a reputation for its inclination towards chillies and spices, raita comes as a balancing component on the plate that tones down the heat from masalas.
Cucumber raita remains my most favourite summer side but there are plenty of other vegetables that taste great when added to yogurt, cabbage is definitely one of them. The mildly sweet taste and crunchy texture of cabbage makes it a perfect addition to the lightly seasoned yogurt base for Cabbage Raita.
Cabbage Raita – quick, simple, summery!
For my cabbage raita, I use my home made yogurt
because it’s more economical, additives free and, of course, has the benefits of “real food”. I do a quick sauté of cabbage, onions and garlic with a few spices to enhance the flavour – just enough to remove the rawness from them. You can cook cabbage more or less to your liking. Just don’t forget to add lots of fresh herbs because they bring out the fresh summer flavours as nothing else does. This fibre and nutrient rich condiment goes great with almost all vegetarian and non vegetarian mains. I even enjoy it as an odd time, guilt free snack quite often.
For a vegan version, replace onion and garlic with a pinch of asafoetida/hing and you can add some coarsely crushed peanuts or cashews for more texture.
3 cups thick yogurt
1/2 head medium Cabbage (Almost 2 cups shredded cabbage)
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
2 green chilli peppers
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander and mint leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1 curry leaf or bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
This Is What You Do:
Cut cabbage into thin long strips as for coleslaw or shred using a vegetable shredder.
Rinse to get rid of grit.
Finely chop, onion, garlic, green chillies, coriander and mint.
In a bowl beat yogurt till smooth. Add salt, black pepper, green chillies, mint and coriander. Set aside.
In a frying pan heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onions, garlic, cumin, bay leaf and red chilli flakes. Sauté for a few seconds.
Add cabbage. Continue to sauté for another couple of minutes or till the cabbage is somewhat soft but still retains bite and crunch. We don’t want to cook it down to a mushy texture.
Remove from heat. Add to the yogurt mix in the bowl. Stir to combine.
Garnish with mint and coriander leaves.
Serve chilled or room temperature.