The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Tag: snack

My Cozy-Time Reading

There is a certain ritual I indulge in at mid-day, every day. Actually, it takes place around 4pm. I boil a cup of water in a steel saucepan, add a teaspoon or so of sugar to it, then a smidgen of chai tea masala, some fresh mint leaves and grated fresh ginger. As the water begins to boil, I add a teeny bit of black tea powder, then some milk. As the tea lightens in color and little ripples appear on the surface, I turn off the heat, place a steel lid over the pan and allow the tea to rest. In the interim, I open the pantry door, take out my favorite fried snack (Khatta Meetha mix), a few pieces of Math or Bajri Khakra, and place them all in a small bowl. I sieve the tea into my little IKEA cup, take the cup-n-saucer over to the breakfast table where my bowl of snacks sits, draw up my favorite oft-read book, sip and munch and read alongside.

Cozy Time Books

Cozy Time Books

These are my few minutes of bliss. It is my favorite time of the day, the little period of quiet when no questions intrude. No thoughts of dinner or life or career or relationships are entertained. I love the sharp tang of ginger as it makes its searing way down my throat. I love how it intersects with the cool mint and the fiery chai tea masala. I love how hot the tea is, temperature-wise and taste-wise. I love the crunch of the Khakra, the sweet-sour notes of the Khatta Meetha mix. I love my old books – James Herriot, Ruskin Bond. I love that my books date back to a life and time that have long passed the world by but I can savor those days during these sweet moments, 4pm every day. I don’t seek anything to stimulate my intellect, only that which can soothe and nourish it. In fact, there are only a few books that can do the job. James Herriot’s animal tales are sweet in their sensitivity, innocence and compassion. Ruskin Bond’s stories of Mussourie are hopelessly hopeful, full of loving sentiment and good cheer and beauty. I don’t seek much else during my tea time. I don’t ask to be supercharged or revved up.

I love the coziness of it all.

What are your favorite cozy-time books?

Halloween Healthy Goodie

When J announced that she’d bring her little daughter over for Halloween trick-n-treat, I knew that I couldn’t give her the horrible candy that goes around this time of the year. I wanted to make a little dried fruit and nut treat. J hadn’t gotten the little one started on nuts yet, so I’d have to skip on the nuts. I asked if she’d eat coconut but they hadn’t begun feeding her that either. So coconut was out too.

Let’s keep it simple, right?

I picked Nupur’s recipe for Date-Nut Slices, tweaked it and tweaked it and then some more… and then came up my own nut-free version.

Chop roughly 1 cup of dates. I used Medjool. They’re very soft and fleshy. If you use a drier variety, then you may need to soak them for a while so as to soften them. I had 4 dried figs, so I added them as well. Remember to get the pits out for the dates! Ghee is so good for you and little M is okay with it. So I warmed a couple of teaspoons of ghee, added the chopped fruit and began to stir it. I also threw in a smidgen of salt and half a teaspoon of dry ginger powder to add some heat and cut the sweetness. The fruit breaks apart and then becomes a delicious mess. Keep stirring until you achieve a homogeneous consistency. Take it off the fire. Let it cool. Now make a log of it, cover it in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer for an hour or more. Take it out, cut into slices, serve.

There you go – a delicious and healthy snack that is so good for you!

As we approach winter, it is important to consume foods that are warming and provide lubrication to our internal organs and joints. Both fall and winter are dry seasons; so it is vital that we include dried fruit and nuts (please soak before eating), ghee, olive oil, flaxseed, sesame, ginger and other “warming” foods in our regular diet.

Samosas… YUM.

Samosas are truly beloved in the Indian snack world. Imagine a deliciously spiced mix of potatoes and green peas encased in a triangular shell of flour and then deep-fried in golden oil. What emerges is a true favorite, the stuff that love stories are made of, at least love stories like mine where food played a big role. P’s aunt is well known for her lip-smacking samosas. I, for one, have never even entertained the remotest thought of making this at home. How could I, a mere upstart of a cook, even dream of tackling the mighty samosa?

Well, it’s not all that scary making a samosa, I am sure.

Enter Deep Frozen Samosas. Now I am most certainly not a fan of frozen food. Most frozen foods lack praana, the essential life force energy that we derive from food, water, air and so many other sources (meditation being one of the most vital and also my favorite one). But I can make an exception especially when delicious samosas are in question.

These samosas don’t contain onion or garlic but they have the perfect blend of spiciness for my palate. Also, the packet contains 2 pouches of chutney. P is confident that the chutney is a mix of coriander-green chilli type and the regular date-tamarind type. Hmmm, I am not so sure because I couldn’t discern much of a sweet flavor in there. Anyway, we took the frozen samosas out, thawed them for a bit (probably 15-20 minutes?) and then baked them. 350 degrees, 30 minutes.

Voila, you have the perfect snack for dull, rainy evenings! And possibly the best accompaniment to your steaming cup of masala-mint chai.