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.