Friday, 31 March 2017

Farali Buckwheat Upma - Spiced Buckwheat with vegetables #fastingfood #vratkakhana #healthyfastingfood

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Farali Buckwheat Upma is an easy to prepare with just a few ingredients, delicious and healthy dish that can be consumed during fasting season as well as on any other day. In this recipe, buckwheat groats are cooked with few nourishing vegetables, nuts and a delicious tempering with cumin seeds, green chillies and curry leaves and garnished with fresh chopped coriander.

Last year around Christmas time, I told myself that I will not 'feast or fast' in coming next year, but we end up thinking one thing and doing totally the opposite. Just after Christmas my dad passed away in India, one or the other reason I could not go to India to attend his funeral. According to Hindu mythology, family members should fast on Ekadashi (Sanskrit word for eleven, is an auspicious day which occurs twice in a Hindu calendar month), so I followed a ritual of fasting for five Ekadashi. I don't completely understand the reason behind this ritual, but I have a faith this kind of rituals were designed for the welfare of the common people, considering all physical, emotional etc aspects.  If my dad had known this, he wouldn't have approved this act by me, but I followed my heart and did this in my dad's memory.

So I decided to fast for five Ekadashi. Obviously when one observes Hindu fasting, they look forward to gorge on traditional, rich and calorie loaded farali food/vrat ka khana/fasting food. These are favourites of mine  Rajgira Panchratna Sheero ( Amaranth Pudding ), Buff Vada , farali Masala Puri and hugely popular amongst Gujaratis Potato and peanut Stirfry ( Suki Bhaji ). But this time I decided to fast on a healthy note, and believe me I did not crave for anything which is rich and not healthy. I did a bit of research on what type of vegetables I can add in my fasting recipes, as I did not want to use carb loaded ingredients like potatoes, cassava and sabudana ( tapioca or sago pearls ) and I successfully observed five days having peace of mind with healthy fasting food.

The first ingredient I chose to use was Buckwheat Groats, read here Why you should use Buckwheat and How to cook Buckwheat? The first recipe I created from Buckwheat, that was Farali Buckwheat Upma, filling and nourishing!

Upma is a south Indian delicacy, mostly prepared for breakfast and made with semolina and basic spices and herbs, also vegetables can be added to make for a healthier option. In my opinion, This buckwheat upma is a very very healthy option.

By the way, folks wishing you a very happy Chaitra  Navratri with healthy fasting.

A variety of vegetables can be used if not making for fasting, such as peas, corn, onion, mushroom or green beans.
Boiled potatoes or Suran - jimikand ( elephant foot yam ) can be used.

You will need:-

  • 1 cup cooked buckwheat groats 
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil 
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped vegetables such as carrots, capsicum, tomato 
  • 3-4 tbsp. cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp. raisins or sultanas 
  • Salt to taste ( for fasting use sea salt )
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped green chillies and ginger 
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice 
  • 2 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves 
Heat oil in a heavy base pan, add cumin seeds and let it splutter.
Add curry leaves, cashew and carrots.
Keep the heat low and cover the pan with the lid.
Cook the carrots for 4-5 minutes then add raisins, capsicum and tomato.
Let the vegetables cook for a couple of minutes.
Add green chilli and ginger, mix well.
Now add cooked buckwheat, add salt and black pepper.
Combine well, let the buckwheat cook for a couple of minutes.
Once done, add lemon juice then serve on a serving plate, garnish it with fresh coriander.
Enjoy with chilled plain natural yoghurt.

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