Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Taking Navratris West- with Sphagetti Squash

I have compiled a few of my go-to Navratri recipes from 2013 here and from 2012 here.

But me being me, what do I do when the stomach’s growling with hunger, and I want something “good” to eat while fasting? Sometimes, “good” for me is just another way of saying “out of the mundane routine”. Off and on, I try recipes and sometimes tweak it a bit to make it adhere to rules of my fasting. This year has been especially trying since we couldn’t get to do Indian grocery before the fasting week began. And so I got stuck with improvising.

I did have a little bit of Sama ke chawal and singhora flour. Not enough to tide me through the week though. So I have been living on whatever I can conjure up with groceries I can buy from local stores. One day each of aloo ki sabzi and zucchini had me wanting something “good”. The third day to satisfy my wandering mind and growling stomach; my dinner was a clear spinach-tomato soup and this  wannabe salad with Spaghetti squash – a fun vegetable that looks like spaghetti after it’s been cooked.

Spaghetti Suash - (Salad)

1 spaghetti squash (mine was just over 1lb)
2-3 plum tomatoes, diced
1Tbsp Salt/Sendha namak (adjust to taste)
1Tbsp + some more Crushed Black Pepper (adjust to taste)
3 Tbsp fresh basil chopped
2Tbsp Olive oil.

  1. Split the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. It can be really hard, so be careful.  If not, just poke some holes in it to let the steam escape and proceed.
  2.  Microwave on high for 5 min- seeds and all.
  3. When cool enough to handle, split it in half (if not done already). The squash will be easier to cut ( I always worry about things exploding in a microwave, so to me this step is a matter of safety).
  4.  Put it back in the microwave and cook for another 6 min.
  5. By now, the squash should be soft enough for a fork to prick it.
  6. Let it cool, and then de-seed it with a spoon. (I throw out the seeds, but they can be roasted and eaten like melon seeds). Set aside
  7. In a mixing bowl, combine together the diced tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil.
  8.  Now take a fork, and start scraping at the spaghetti squash right into the mixing bowl. The flesh strips away from the skin easily into vermicelli-thin strands.
  9.  Mix everything together, and it’s ready to eat.
  10. Reheats very well. I felt that the leftovers tasted better than the fresh made!

Another version of my Spaghetti squash makeover can be found here.

Here are a few other non-Indian recipes that are fasting-appropriate, or can be made so by adding some minor tweaks. Mostly, I get away by using “sendha namak” (rock salt) instead of regular and omitting onion and garlic (or derivatives thereof) from my recipes. Let me know if you have any others of your own!

 Borscht  (omit the onions)

Watergate Salad

My two cents: While Indian fasting foods are mostly fried and high in fat, there are plenty of options out there if we only try. So go ahead, be adventurous!