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Munch some healthy bites

Neetha Bhoopalam, Jan 17, 2017, DHNS 23:35 IST
experimenting Neetha Bhoopalam
As a kid, I grew up in a joint family, and had the advantage of relishing a variety of food items. However, not in my wildest dreams did I know that cooking would one day turn into a passion for me.

Eventually, this passion of mine turned into my profession as well. I should say that one of my biggest inspirations has been my brother who is a gold medallist in Hotel Management. He has mentored me throughout my culinary journey. If I remember right, ‘Mysore pak’ was the first thing I made and I still enjoy making it.

It was after I quit my job in 2008, when my son was born, that I took up cooking seriously. Thanks to my strong connect with food, I utilised my time baking cakes and making homemade chocolates.

After a couple of years, I worked as a consultant with Webber Grill and started
conducting workshops and de-stress sessions for couples and corporates through
cooking.

I see my kitchen as a laboratory where I experiment a lot with various ingredients. Chettinad, Kerala and Goan food are my favourite cuisines. Though my forte lies in making exotic desserts like ‘croquembouche’, I have switched my preference to explore the goodness of Indian food based on the principles of Ayurveda and natural preservation.

Currently, I am experimenting with millet based food with an attempt to break the notion that it can be used to make only a few specific dishes. I want to bring in the versatility of this ingredient by using it in cakes, bread, desserts, ‘biryanis’ and some non-vegetarian dishes. ‘Raagi’ has a distinct taste with health benefits.

It is a great source of calcium, protein, carbohydrate, fibre, thiamine and iron.
Today I am sharing the recipe of ‘desi raagi salad’. Sprouted ‘raagi’ increases the Vitamin C levels which in turn helps in easier absorption of iron.

(As told to Surupasree Sarmmah)
(Neetha can be contacted at 9611035792)

‘Desi Raagi Salad’

Ingredients

n Raagi Sprouts - 1/4 cup
n Diced de-seeded tomatoes - 1/4 cup
n Diced pineapple pieces - 1/4 cup
n Diced cucumber - 1 cup
n Diced yellow bell pepper - 1/2 cup
n Diced apples - 1/4 cup
n Diced tender beans - 1/4 cup
n Raisins - 1/8th cup
n Roasted peanuts- 1/8th cup

For salad dressing

n Organic jaggery powder - 2 tsp
n Extra virgin olive oil or cold pressed coconut oil - 11/2 tbsp
n Lemon juice - 2 to 3 tsps
n Green chilli paste - 1/2 tsp
n Mustard powder - 1/4 tsp
n Finely chopped coriander - 1 tsp
n Himalayan pink salt to taste
n Freshly crushed black pepper - 1/2 tsp

To sprout the raagi
n Wash the raagi grains and soak it in water overnight.
n Next afternoon drain out all the water .
n Line a clean muslin cloth over a perforated vessel.
n Place the drained raagi seeds in the center of the cloth and tie it up.
n Let it rest for at least 10 hrs or keep it overnight.
*You will see the tiny sprouts the following day.

Method

n Boil the sprouted raagi in hot water for 2 minutes and drain it completely.

Make the salad dressing
n Mix the Organic Jaggery powder, Extra virgin Olive Oil, Lemon juice, Mustard powder, Lemon Juice, Green Chilli paste, Himalayan Pink Salt, Chopped Coriander. In a large bowl, assemble all the diced vegetables, fruits, raisins and nuts and the Raagi. Pour the dressing over it and give it a good toss. Sprinkle freshly crushed pepper for a punch and enjoy.

Tips
n Sprouted Raagi can also be sun dried and powdered . This powder can be used for making Porridge or Raagi balls too. Health and Nutritious too.

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