a nutrient packed salad with beets, carrots and pomegranate seeds and stories from Mysore
It has been quite long since I wrote here hence I am trying to compensate the lack of nourishment with a deep red antioxidant rich beets-carrots-pomegranate seeds salad that I craved for. I was away for 2 weeks, visiting Mysore during the famous festival of dassara that they celebrate at the palace of Wadiyar Kings. That is where I had tasted this beets and carrots salad and was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of this pigment rich salad.
Arvind had some official work and I found an opportunity to work at the ISKON Mysore kitchen during this break. I had been asked to provide them some healthy recipes for prasadam (offering to the Lord Krishna) and was trying to work with them online for some time but I wanted to see the local produce and the local palate of the people better so I can accommodate those flavours in the recipes.. Arvind's official trip gave me an opportunity to visit and work with them hands on, it turned out to be a wonderful experience. I trained the Chefs and volunteers to bake a few whole grain breads, whole grain cookies and muffins as well as a few salads, curries, chaat style salads, snacks and a few desserts including this apple kalakand that was so popular last Diwali.
I visited vegetable markets with the ISKON volunteers first to see the local and seasonal produce they would use in the kitchen and was smitten by the simplicity of the markets and the feisty women selling almost everything on the roadsides and in the shops. I love talking to them, clicking pictures and exploring the way they cook and use the fresh produce.
But later I explored all the markets of Mysore although I could not buy much thanks to the restricted luggage allowance by the airlines. I wanted to buy at least half a dozen cast iron skillets from Devaraja market but bought only one, and carried it in my cabin luggage. The things I do to have my way. I had bought 2 cast iron skillets from Gangtok too and carried them the similarly by the way.
I shall be sharing more on what all we did in Mysore. Great food, many days of birding, roaming around the markets and clicking pictures endlessly was all I did during the 2 weeks. Training the ISKON volunteers was a blessing though I could not click any pictures of the kitchen as I was working with them hands on and the camera was forgotten conveniently. Although I clicked a few pictures from my phone and shared on instagram, follow me there (@sangeetaamkhanna) if you want to see.
This beets and carrot salad I tasted at the ISKON kitchen one day and loved it so much I wanted to make it as soon as I came back home. That one was simpler flavours with just salt and lime juice in it but I added a little zing with chaat masala and balsamic vinegar to add depth of flavours. Loved the result so much that I used all the beets in the fridge to make the salad 3 times over. I added finely chopped ginger once and red onions the other time but the combination of simply the beets, carrots and pomegranate seeds had made such a simple and honest salad that I came back to the original quickly.
(2 large servings)
beetroot peeled, cleaned and chopped finely 3/4 cup
carrots peeled cleaned and chopped similarly 1 cup
pomegranate seeds 1/2 cup
chaat masala 1 tsp (optional)
black salt 1 tsp (or use table salt)
pepper powder 1/2 tsp
balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp (or use malt vinegar or sugarcane vinegar)
lime juice or orange juice 2-3 tbsp (I used orange juice as that was handy)
little sugar if required (I did not use, you would need if you use lime juice)
any salad dressing oil 2 tsp ( I did not use*)
Mix everything together and toss well. Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. The salad stays well for about 4 hours at room temperature so I could pack this salad to Arvind's lunch box as well.
*I did not add any oil in the dressing as I had this salad with a meal that already had some ghee and oil. If the salad is consumed as a meal it needs oil in it to enable the vital vitamins to be absorbed.
I had this salad with the best comfort food to come back home to. Khichdi is that comfort food for me, I can have it every single day. We had great food in Mysore, explored many places in the city and loved the Mysore masala dosa, idli and the best coconut chutney, variety of palya and loads of Coorgi food as well. But home cooked food has it's own charm and one always wants to come home and have a warm meal in the comfort of home. We were back after 2 weeks and it felt like ages. Khichdi was the order of the day.
There is a reason khichdi is called super food. It is the most nutritionally balanced food if some vegetables are added to it, the turmeric and asafoetida used in khichdi make it anti-inflammatory and healing too. I made a quick baingan ka raita with it and had a lavish meal with fresh buttermilk to wash down all this.
Let me know if you would like to know the recipe of baingan ka raita. I love it for all the minerals it adds to the meal in the most yummy way. Loads of insoluble fiber to cleanse the gut as well. In fact this whole menu is healing and cleansing type so you can have it whenever you want to wash your sins in the best enjoyable ways. This is a mung, short grain rice and bottle gourd khichdi.
Beet-carrot-pomegranate salad made a new pairing with the khichdi that had loads of bottle gourd in it too. I include loads of vegetables in my meal everyday and was craving for these as it is not always possible to eat lot of vegetables when traveling. I had to compensate for all the lack of nourishment and cleanse my travel eating sins too.