Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Daily Dinner (5): Navratri Thali with Buckwheat Vegetable Pancakes

Day 2 of Navratri fasting, and I was already missing food...a lot. These 9 days of fasting eliminates all grains, legumes and a host of spices from our food, two-times a year. While I am pretty liberal when it comes to restricting my regular spices, I do make an effort to eliminate grains. Like all these past years, my initial promise to myself was that I'd only permit myself fruits during   Navratri - one; or maybe two, times a day. And just like always, this promise barely lasted the first day of fasting. A while ago I wrote about how fasting always seems to draw my mind's eye towards food. I actually proved this point yesterday when during the drive back home,every traffic light I crossed seemed to me a big plateful  of forbidden food- savory stuff, not the sweet-like-fruit food. The wheels in my mind whirred and started taking me to spots in my pantry and fridge that I'd vowed to forget about.  This wasn't going to work....and so my new resolution was to serve myself a full thali of Navratri food
the rest of the fasting days.....a resolve that I knew I was actually going to keep :-) 

My other promise to myself this time was to actually lose a couple of pounds during this week's fasting ...which is why the only fruit diet came into being in the first place. Our usual fasting food (at least the one I make) tends to be mostly deep-fried, and yum...adding up the calories and pounds after just a week. Just because I gave up on my Fruit-itarian diet after one day didn't justify giving up on no-fried food for a week aspect. In lieu of the kuttu ka pakora then, I'd thought to make myself something with less oil...a thought that blossomed into visions of cheela (crepes) made with kuttu (buckwheat) flour. Unfortunately, there a fine line between success, and failure, and success again...which is why my pakoras turned cheela morphed into a pancake!!

Daily Dinner (5): Navratri Thali
Buckwheat-Vegetable pancakes

Buckwheat-vegetable pancakes, Tomato 'rice', Honey-yogurt, and stuffed Poblanoes

Kuttu ka atta (Buckwheat flour)  3/4 cup
Potato   1 small, boiled and mashed
Carrot and zucchini grated together 1/4 cup
Salt   (a little less than) 1tsp
Red chilli powder a generous pinch
Warm water, as needed.
Butter to grease your skillet

  1. Put everything together in a bowl and add warm water while mixing with a spoon. The final batter has a sticky, non-flowing consistency.
  2. Grease a non-stick pan with butter and drop a generous ice cream scoop full of batter onto it. Turn over immediately and now, flatten the scoop into a pancake-shaped round.
  3. After it is nicely browned on one side, flip again and cook till crisp on the other side.
  4. Serve (eat) warm.
My two cents: First of all...I was cooking only for myself, that's why such weird measurements. It was mostly a bit of this and a pinch of that...till it tastes right!

So, my failure- to- success story. I started with the kuttu ka atta, spices and water and spread it onto a greased skillet.....I got droplets of flour all over the surface. It didn't stick together. So I added grated zucchini and carrots, thinking that the veggies would hold this flour together like it does in pakoras (fritters)...didn't really work. The only other 'binder' that can be eaten during fasting that I could think of was potatoes. I added that. By now the batter was too thick to be spread into crepes, and I ended up with pancakes!!

Oh well! At least they were low(er)-fat, and still yum. 

Also, the tomato-'rice' you see isn't really made from real rice, but a look-alike called sama-ke -chawal. These are small white, roundish-grain looking substitute for rice, that I don't know the name of. It cooks and tastes exactly like rice though. I cooked it with 2 tsp of home-made tomato puree and a pinch of salt. Was still bland for me though, which is why the stuffed pepper side came handy.