nan khatai, the indian shortbread

nan khatai, the indian shortbread | conifères & feuillus

In the midst of darkness, light persists. – Mahatma Gandhi

Growing up in Montréal, Diwali always lacked the fanfare of Diwali celebrations taking place in India or elsewhere around the world. But still, we celebrated by lighting small clay lamps around the house and, of course, with homemade sweets. Today’s recipe is for my not-so-sweet nan khatai. nan khatai, the indian shortbread | conifères & feuillus Continue reading “nan khatai, the indian shortbread”

rose lassi

Rose Lassi | conifères & feuillus

If there be thorns, there shall be roses.

When we first made our journey from India to Canada, packed in our suitcases among our humble belongings was a small treasure trove of what always seemed to my younger self as magical potions and such. Having grown up in India, my parents were well versed in homemade ayurvedic remedies. We brought with us such things as eucalyptus (nilgiri) oil, sandalwood oil, churna and rose water to name a few.Rose Lassi | conifères & feuillus Continue reading “rose lassi”

sprouting and growing fenugreek (methi) & a recipe for gujarati methi roti

methi or fenugreek | conifères & feuillus

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.  -Hippocrates

Fenugreek, known as methi in Hindi, is an important flavouring ingredient in Indian cuisine. It’s used as a herb (fresh leaves), spice (seeds or dried leaves), and vegetable (sprouts). It has a very distinctive, slightly bitter taste (acquired if you ask me) and is best known for its therapeutic properties. I grew up hearing all about its medicinal and nutritional benefits and now, digging around on the internet, I see that my parents knew well. methi or fenugreek | conifères & feuillus

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the plague of 1896 & mango pickles

Gujarati mango pickles | conifères & feuillus

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

A bubonic plague pandemic came to India in 1896 via rats on cargo ships from China. Over the next thirty years, India would lose 12.5 million people to this disease. Initially, it was confined to port cities but eventually, it spread to rural regions of the country as well. [1]

By the time the pandemic reached my ancestral village in Gujarat, my paternal grandfather was but a newborn. This meant that he had minimal resistance and the least possibility of survival if infected. But parents will do whatever possible to ensure the safety of  their children and so, as difficult as it may have been, arrangements were made by my great-grandparents to have him taken away to live temporarily with relatives living further away until the threat would pass. But things didn’t turn out quite as planned and what was meant to be temporary became permanent. Soon after he was taken away, his entire family fell victim to this deadly disease.

Indian mango pickles | conifères & feuillus Continue reading “the plague of 1896 & mango pickles”

khichdi & kadhi, gujarati peasant food

gujarati comfort food, khichdi & kadhi | conifères & feuillus

Every peasant cuisine has incredible ingenious tricks for getting a lot of nutrition out of a small amount of ingredients.  –Michael Pollan

A simple dish consisting of rice and lentils, khichdi is deeply rooted in the history of the Indian subcontinent. Originally, a peasant food of rural India, it has since been reincarnated into elaborate dishes fit for royalty. Present day, amongst Indians, it holds the title as both the ultimate comfort food and a perfect plant-based source of protein. Throughout India, it is one of the first foods given to babies and long before the word “detox” became a thing here in the West, it has been Ayurveda’s answer to detoxification.

Each region of India has its own version of khichdi. In my birth province of Gujarat, it remains much like the original peasant dish and consists of no more than rice, split mung dal,  a pinch of turmeric and a dallop of ghee and is always served with kadhi, a spiced, soup-like yogurt curry.gujarati peasant food, khichdi & kadhi | conifères & feuillus
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gujarati toor dal (split pigeon pea soup)

Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) Soup | conifères & feuillus

Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy. It’s not about nutrients and calories. It’s about sharing. It’s about honesty. It’s about identity. -Louise Fresco

My last post featured a Westernized version of the classic Gujarati toor dal soup. Today, I’m posting my family recipe for the traditional version. Toor dal (or split pigeon pea) has been cultivated in India for at least 3500 years and is a staple in Indian cuisine. However, in a Gujarati home, toor dal (which refers to both the uncooked legume as well as the soup) is a daily affair and is eaten during every meal. Although classified as a soup here in the West, it’s not eaten as you would a soup: it’s ladled over rice and eaten alongside rotis and a curry, at the very least. (Google ‘Gujarati thali’ to see what a typical Gujarati meal looks like).

Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) Soup | conifères & feuillus

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chickpea biryani done an easier way

How to make the perfect chickpea biryani each time.

The humble chickpea never fails to amaze. On their own, chickpeas are an excellent source of protein. When combined with a grain such as rice, they become a source of a complete protein and can replace proteins acquired from eating meat (only without the fat). But when you make a biryani with them, they bring you to a whole new level.

Chickpea biryani is healthy, packed with flavour and makes for a great meatless meal.how-to-make-chickpea-biryani
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