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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citrusy split pigeon pea soup

split pigeon pea and orange soup | conifères & feuillus

Happy New Year! 2017 has arrived! After all that cooking and baking and over-indulgence, are you craving some simple nourishment? Me too. And I’ve got the perfect recipe to take care of that!

Of all the soups that I have ever served to guests, this one shines as a favourite.  Plus, it’s so simple to make. Not counting the spices, there are only 3 ingredients: split yellow pigeon peas, tomatoes and oranges. The result is a delicious soup balanced equally with just enough spice and just enough citrusy flavour.

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indian-spiced cabbage with tomatoes and green peas

indian spiced cabbage curry | conifères et feuillus

From humble beginnings come great things.

A simple vegetable curry served with fresh rotis (Indian flatbread) is a typical lunch in a Gujarati home. This sort of humble food is deeply rooted in my humble beginnings. And though, now, things may have changed on the outside, at heart, nothing has, and this simple Gujarati girl still craves these simple yet delicious curries. I cook them not only to satisfy my own cravings but to ensure that I can at least pass this portion of my heritage to my Canadian born, half-Indian children.indian-spiced cabbage with tomatoes and green peas | conifères & feuillus; indian cabbage curry; cabbage tomatoe and green peas

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treasures from our homeland & gujarati dhokla

gujarati dhokla | conifères et feuillus food blog

Great food knows no borders.

I was three years old when, on an otherwise ordinary November day, we made our journey from our tiny ancestral village in Gujarat, India to Canada. Although, we wore our best clothing, I am sure, by Western standards, we did not purport to anyone of great status, nor were we. But unknown to even ourselves, we carried great treasures with us that day.gujarati dhokla | conifères & feuillus
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bitter melon curry

bitter melon curry; conifères et feuillus; food blog
The beginning of hardship is like the first taste of bitter food -it seems for a moment unbearable; yet, if there is nothing else to satisfy our hunger, we take another bite and find it possible to go on.  -George Eliot

Bitter melon, otherwise known as bitter gourd or bitter squash is a vegetable that is amazingly good for you. However, it comes with a small caveat. It’s also an acquired taste. As you can imagine, there is good reason for the word ‘bitter’ in its name. But there are also plenty of good reasons to make this vegetable a part of your diet. It’s a source of many beneficial antioxidants and vitamins and helps combat a number of illnesses.bitter melon curry | conifères & feuillus

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