Crunchy salad with creamy chilli and turmeric dressing

My lovely friend G always jokes about getting enough roughage from his diet – it’s a standing joke now. But the meaning of the word fibre has gone out of fashion in the healthy food narrative these days. What a shame! Fibre is key to lots of imortant functions in our bodies, like feeding our gut flora – our gut bacteria needs fuel, just like we do. Not eating enough fibre can lead to  chronic illness and obesity. But equally, eating a lot of the right sort of fibre can prevent it. Continue reading “Crunchy salad with creamy chilli and turmeric dressing”

Coconut Curry with Lentils and Butternut Squash

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This curry is marvellous if you are struggling to figure out what to cook for dinner. It is very simple and only requires coconut oil, coconut milk and a few spices mixed in with whatever vegetables you may have lingering in the fridge – that’s it!. Now that our sunny bank holiday weekend is coming to an end, cooking may not be at the forefront of your mind. And that is when this dish comes in handy. It requires minimum investment and maximum return – a win/win scenario if there was one.

I happened to have some left over butternut squash, lentils, potatoes and celery at home, all of which went into the curry. Another combo, like tomatoes, courgettes, sweet potatoes for example, would have worked equally well. There are no limits here. The spices were reminiscent of my Mung Bean Casserole from the other night and worked equally well in this curry. I would have liked to have had more fresh coriander in this dish so if you make it, make sure you add plenty of it just before serving. I added a piece of salmon to my plate which I cubed and tossed in the spices and coconut oil until just cooked, approx. 5 min. If you are a strict vegan, however, it is just as good without the fish. If you can tolerate dairy then a bit of yoghurt on the side would work too. Only you know what works for your body.

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Coconut Curry with Lentils and Butternut Squash (serves 2)

1 can organic coconut milk

3/4 butternut squash, deseeded and cubed

5 – 6 broccoli florets

1 cup puy lentils, cooked

2 potatoes, cubed

3 celery sprigs, chopped

1 small onion or charlotte

1′ ginger root, finely chopped

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp turmeric

sea salt and pepper to taste

Fresh coriander

Fry the onions, ginger and spices in the coconut oil until soft. Add all the chopped vegetables bar the lentils and broccoli – stir until coated with the oil and spices. Add the coconut milk and bring to boil, simmer under lid for about 10 – 15 minutes – veggies should be soft, not mushy. Add the broccoli and lentils and cook for an additional 5 min (if you like your broccoli a bit crunchy cook for less time). Serve with brown rice and fresh coriander. Enjoy! x

 

Mung bean casserole with brown rice

20140502-120006.jpgOne of the most remarkable aspects of living in a large multicultural city, such as London, is the diversity of foods on offer. Supermarkets will tailor their wares depending on demographics and this makes for some interesting grocery shopping from one district to the next. In London you can find foods from all corners of the world and everything in between. Should that not be enough, however, the abundant Borough market in the city is on hand with anything you may be missing – it is a gem and a must see destination. Funnily enough, tourists tend to visit more than locals. Go figure. Still, we are truly lucky to be living in this melting pot of cultures and colours. Diversity is the key to acceptance, tolerance, interaction as well as education of the palate.

No where is this more noticeable than when travelling. The homogenous output of dishes and ingredients as well as the physical similarity of inhabitants in less diverse societies are stark reminders of how far we’ve come with integration in this country. Let’s celebrate our differences and share ways in which to heal our bodies and minds, whether through Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, Buddhist meditation, yoga, stillness, being kind and so on. We can all learn from each other.

Which leads me to the humble mung bean.  Used in Ayurvedic medicine and a staple in Indian cooking, it is considered a cleansing bean which can rid the body of toxins and bacteria. Folks suffering from gastric problems and irritable bowl syndrome could try to incorporate mung beans into their diet. They are high in potassium and contain vitamins A, C and E, folacin, phosphorous, magnesium, iron and calcium. They are also a source of phytoestrogens.

Todays recipe was inspired by my glass jar of dried mung beans that has been sitting on the kitchen counter for quite some time. I bought the beans in an Indian convenience store last year as my mother used to cook mung bean casseroles when I was a child. A spontaneous purchase for sure but my intention was to replicate her recipe and last night’s constant downpour was the catalyst I needed. Mung bean casserole it was. I can highly recommend this dish for anyone wanting a comforting veggie dish when all the elements are against you. It was super delicious and it didn’t leave me feeling too full or bloated either.20140502-113556.jpg

 

Mung bean casserole:

(serves 4 generously)

250 g mung beans, pre-soaked for at least 8 hours in cold water

1 stock cube or 2 tsp Marigold bouillon powder

1/2 – 1 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 – 1 ground cumin

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 courgette, finely chopped

1/2 can organic coconut milk

1 tbsp coconut oil

1′ ginger root, chopped

3 tbsp freshly chopped coriander

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the soaked mung beans well. Heat the coconut oil in a large casserole pan. Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes until soft. Add 500 ml of boiling water to the pan with the stock cube/powder and mung beans. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes – you want most of the water to evaporate and for the mung beans to be soft. Add the coconut milk, carrots, courgettes and spices then simmer for another 10 minutes until carrots have softened. Let sit for a few minutes then stir in the fresh coriander and serve with brown rice, chopped tomatoes and yoghurt. Enjoy x