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Go back to your food's roots with these recipes

In 1945, October 16, the United Nations (UN) dedicated the day to food. Foodies may ask, why this day? Each day is to be devoured and relished. On this day, the UN formed the Food and Agriculture Organisation, hence the special occasion.

Brown rice beetroot risotto

Every year, World Food Day is celebrated with a theme, and this year, it is Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.


Recipes by chef Ambar Saltani, Birdsong at Bandra. Pics/Atul Kamble

While India may be the last one to catch onto a world trend, it does complete justice once it is hooked on. Thus, in the past year, Quinoa, a grain-like crop grown in Latin America, along with Cous Cous, a North African grain, has found its way into Indian kitchens, for its nutritional benefits. The UN has even called 2013 ‘The year of the Quinoa’.

Don’t punch your fist into the air if you have adopted them into your diet. In line with the theme this year, Indian experts suggest that many locally-grown millets are equivalent to Quinoa in dietary benefits. “Locally-grown food is the best food for you. Think of the carbon footprints created to bring you packaged food from out of the country,” says Kavita Mukhi, founder of the Farmer’s Market in 2010.

“Proso millet or white millet is freely available. The health-conscious Indian should should try that,” says Mukhi, adding that brown rice, too, has been adopted into urban lifestyles.

“It comes closest to the component of our cell. It is whole, unpolished, alkaline -- a complete super food.”

Agreeing with Mukhi, is Dr Nandita Shah, Founder of SHARAN India that propagates plant-based diets. “While white rice is the most popular in urban cities, red, black and brown rice are slowing trickling into urban menus and diets for their health benefits. Most of the nutritive value of rice is in the skin. Once this is removed, its mostly just calories; the fibre too is in the skin,” says Shah, adding that whole rice is flavourful as compared to white rice which has
no taste.

Many vegetables, once considered ‘poor man’s food’ are landing up on gourmet menus, and everyday nutrition requirements. “It’s because they are so delicious,” quips Mukhi.

“The best vegetables are the ones which grow easily, locally and are organic,” reminds Shah, diverting the attention to plant-based diets. Many farmers on the outskirts of Mumbai, have taken to growing avocado, broccoli, pak choi and asparagus to counter the demand for these exotic vegetables To round up, according to Shah, today India produces all the protein in the form of soya beans but so many in the country are suffering from starvation because these are exported to feed animals so that they can be used for food. “It’s time to change.”

Brown rice beetroot risotto
Ingredients

× 300 gm brown rice, boiled and drained
×2 tsp olive oil
×1/4 onion, finely chopped
×2 cloves
×1 garlic pod, finely chopped
×1 beetroot, pureed
×15 ml soymilk
×3 gm fresh thyme method
× Add olive oil in a pan, add garlic and onion and sauté till it turns golden brown
×Add the boiled brown rice and mix
×Add the beetroot puree
×Add soy milk and stir well
×Garnish with thyme and serve

Pumpkin feta sandwich
Ingredients

× 100 gm pumpkin
×Pinch of cinnamon
×Pinch of salt
×Pinch of chilly flakes
×10 gm tomato, chopped
×3 gm fresh thyme
×Salt and pepper to taste
×1 lemon slice
×Parsely and walnut for garnish
×10 gm feta cheese, crumbled

Method
× Roast the pumpkin with garlic, olive oil and cinnamon
×Add chilly flakes, salt and pepper
×Puree the mixture, squeeze half a wedge of lemon juice
×Spread it on a bread of your choice
×Garnish with thyme, tomato, parsely, feta cheese and walnut 

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