recipe of REAL food, some Magging and a pumpkin salad | caramalaised pumpkin salad with garlic-thyme butter and cheddar shavings

Yes there is a recipe of REAL food. And the recipe to real food needs a lot of unlearning, a lot of un-conditioning in modern times. The 'food markets' have conditioned us so much that we started thinking of food differently, we don't recognize an eggplant or pumpkin as food anymore and the 'dead' noodles coming out of a cheap packet is perceived naturally as the yummiest most desirable 'food'.

Caramelized pumpkin packs natural flavours, would it appeal to the palates paralysed by MSG laden 'tastemakers'?

pumpkin salad with garlic-thyme butter and cheddar shavings

Just think about the number of people who wouldn't feel hungry by the name of pumpkin and a packet of Maggi will make them hungry instantly and will bring back loads of 'happy memories' that they made in hostel rooms and mountain holidays.

Just imagine what Maggi has done to their growing up years not to mention to their system. They don't even realise there are chemical reasons behind this 'feel good addiction', the way a cheap small pack of instant noodles has clouded  and hijacked their sense of taste and satiety.

I have been watching some discussions and jokes about Maggi and MSG on social media lately and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth every time someone proclaims MSG is a natural component of many natural ingredients. See this facebook discussion to know how some people spread more ignorance about the facts. No wonder MSG has become the common salt in almost every home and street food vendors have been using MSG to make even sambar, daal and chhole tastier.

Maggi and their ilk have garnered such a following that people are not even believing reports from Govt. authorities regarding other toxic chemicals found in them, limits permissible or not. And then they claim that everything edible natural food also has some or the other toxic component. But is that equal to junk food being laced with toxins too?

The most frustrating discussions and arguments came from people who were comparing Maggi with pesticide ridden vegetables and even alcohol, nicotine and even spurious medicine. As educated and aware consumer we must know pesticide ridden vegetables and fruits are a different matter on it's own. Nicotine and alcohol are not even distantly related to the issues of junk foods that our bodies haven't even known as food.

All these convenience foods that have been made 'hyper-tasty' with the help of several chemicals including MSG, more chemicals go into them to prolong the shelf life. These food like objects find place on our tables and in our lives through a very strategic marketing that involves clever advertising and placement of the shiny packets on supermarket isles as well as the corner grocer of the colony.

Maggi and it's ilk creeped into our kitchens stealthily, hijacked the sense of taste and satiety so much so most of us started rejecting real food. And many of us even started arguing to defend Maggi.

True that Maggi has not killed anyone that the arguments are saying, but we can't be this shortsighted to ignore the metabolic disorder that is fast becoming an epidemic. Young innocent kids are getting diabetic and obese, adults develop multiple hormonal imbalances even before they reach middle age. I wonder why many of us do not realise that our body is equipped to heal itself if we stop eating trash and start nourishing it with real food.

Many said that they eat Maggi 'only occasionally' for a 'rare treat'. Just imagine Maggi being called a 'treat'. The trash being called a 'treat'. Need I say more to emphasize how Maggi and it's ilk has hijacked the sense of taste and satiety in today's world?

Aren't there real noodles tossed with real ingredients to make a tasty meal?


I wish a trend starts when there are fresh noodle makers just like the bread bakeries around towns, we already have dosa and idli batter makers who sell ready batter for everyone's convenience, the fresh noodles made with real ingredients will be a welcome business venture. One can use their own seasonings, sauces and vegetables to cook their own favourite concoction. That kind of real noodles will be better even if they are made of white flour, at least one would be saved from the load of chemicals.

Just do away with fabricated food friends. Period.

And now a recipe of REAL food, the kind that wouldn't even appeal to the 'tastemaker' addicted palates and minds. But I hope they try it sometime and know how pumpkins can pack more flavours than they imagine. All of you who come to find real recipes here know it already :-)

Caramalised pumpkin pan grilled with thyme-garlic butter, served with cheddar shavings ...

pumpkin salad with garlic-thyme butter and cheddar shavings

Just imagine firm yellow pieces of pumpkin being slow braised in a pan along with butter and thyme, some large slices of garlic that turn crisp by the time the pumpkin gets nicely caramelized both sides. The flavours seep in so well that no tastemaker can replicate this.

Choose a ripe pumpkin with tough flesh, orange yellow in colour and almost brown skin. Slice the pumpkin, peel off the skin and chop the flesh into bite sized fat slices. Get started to make this delicious salad.

pumpkin slices

(2 large servings or 6 servings as a party starter )

about 2 dozen bite sized fat slices of pumpkin (400 gm)
thyme leaves 3-4 springs
butter 1 tbsp
sliced garlic as much as you like ( I used 4 fat cloves)
salt to taste
mature cheddar cheese to shave over the cooked salad ( I used a small leftover cube)


Grease a flat griddle with butter and arrange the pumpkin cubes and garlic slices over it. Sprinkle with salt lightly, sprinkle half the thyme leaves too and let the pumpkin pieces grill slowly on low heat. I prefer covering the griddle with a domed lid for this.

Turn over the pumpkin slices and sprinkle the other half of thyme leaves. The addition of thyme leaves at different phases of grilling ensures the flavours seep in really well. The garlic slices will start browning slowly alongside.

Cover again and let it grill and caramelize. Poke with a sharp knife to know the pumpkin has softened to your preference. The surface should be nicely caramelised and spotted.

pumpkin salad with garlic-thyme butter and cheddar shavings

Arrange in a serving plate and shave mature cheddar over the hot pumpkin slices and see the cheese shavings melt.

Dig right into it and see how it surprises you if you haven't loved pumpkin ever.

For party starters this salad can be served with some cocktail sticks or small forks so the guests can pick up he pumpkin cubes easily from a platter. Avoid serving it in a deep bowl, always a wide shallow platter.

Eat real food, forget Maggi and forget all reconstituted foods that come in shiny cheap packets. Eat local and seasonal vegetables and fruits and see how you get more nutrient value for your hard earned buck.