Hello, all you wonderful people!
I was missing from the blogging world for quite some days, isn’t it? Well, that was due to a number of reasons. At first, hubby caught flu and was unwell for a week. Then of course, I caught it and was unwell too. After that horrid time passed, we went for a short weekend retreat to a lovely place called ‘Connemara National Park’ here in Ireland itself. It was a wonderful, little summer break. Anyway, I am back now and without much ado, let’s get started!
About today’s post….. Recently, I was delighted to be invited to join a group called as “FoodieMonday Bloghop”. It consists of a number of super-talented food-bloggers. Every week, all of them cook a dish each, based on a decided upon theme and post it on Monday. It is their 101th post today and my very first! Yay!
So, the theme this week was – “Shravan Vrat Special”. For all my non-Indian friends, here’s a quick summary- In the Hindu calender, Shravan month falls between July-August and this time-period is considered extremely auspicious to worship Lord Shiva, one of the supreme Hindu Gods. Many devotees fast to invoke his blessings and this fast is performed on Mondays.
To be honest, I had little to no idea about these fasts myself, as my family doesn’t perform these rituals. I had to ask around from my friends and relatives and also rely heavily on the internet to get to know more about the fasting rules and regulations, so as to compose a dish based on this theme.
The general aim of fasting is also to detoxify your body and eat healthier. The diet that you follow while fasting during the month of Shravan is very simple, restricted and completely vegetarian. You eat a full meal only once a day. In these meals, you are not supposed to use regular flours, rice, lentils, onions, garlic, spices and even common salt. Rock salt is used in place of the common salt. Usually people eat fruits, dry fruits, milk and its products like yogurt and cottage-cheese, a few vegetables like potato and sweet-potato. Sugar, honey or jaggery are allowed and there are some flours that you can use instead of your regular flour. During this period, it is important that one should also plan their meals in a way that they have enough energy throughout the day.
Basically, we all had a limited list of ingredients that we could use to make a nice dish. For the initial few days, I was completely lost on which way to go but finally decided upon a simple side-dish that was healthy, yet filling and tasty!
We all love roasted vegetables. They are delicious as well as very healthy. Hubby and I usually love roasting potatoes, carrots, broccoli and celery with our meals. This time the allowed vegetables that I decided to use for my roast dish were- potatoes, sweet potatoes and beetroot. I also made a tangy dressing of honey and lemon to drizzle on the veggies and a mild dip of Greek yogurt and beetroot as dipping sauce. I also roasted some almonds and cashews with the veggies and sprinkled them on top. Thankfully, everything worked very well with each other. Mission accomplished.
All ingredients that I have used here are allowed to be used during the fasting month of Shravan.
So, Give this simple yet delicious recipe a go folks, and enjoy!
2 large potatoes
3 medium-sized beet-roots
1 large sweet-potato
4-5 baby potatoes
1 tbsn + 1 tsp pepper powder
1 tbsn honey
Juice of 1 lemon
4-5 tbsn extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsn melted butter
3-4 tbsn of greek yogurt
1 tbsn cream
1 tsp cumin powder
Some fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Few pomegranate seeds (optional)
Rock salt to taste
– Start by making the dressing for your vegetables. Combine honey, lemon juice and around 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil in a bowl. Season with rock-salt and pepper. Refrigerate.
– In a small oven-proof dish, toss your cashews and almonds with some melted butter, rock-salt and pepper. Set aside.
– In a big pan, par-boil all your potatoes and sweet potato together in salty, boiling water for around four to five minutes. DO NOT OVER-COOK THEM as you won’t be able to slice them well then. Take them out for the water and set aside to cool.
– Peel and thinly slice two of your three beets into wafer-thin circles.
– In a frying-pan, saute the sliced beets for 2-3 minutes in a few drops of olive-oil. Season with rock-salt and pepper while they are cooking. Set aside to cool.
– Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees C.
– Slice all your potatoes and sweet potato in wafer-thin circles carefully.
– Season everything with rock salt and pepper.
– In a shallow bowl greased with olive oil, arrange the potatoes, sweet potato and sauteed beetroot in an attractive pattern of your choice. For the inner circle, use baby potato slices and small slices of beets.
– Once arranged, pour half of your honey-lemon dressing and half of your melted butter uniformly onto the vegetables. This will give them a lovely sweet and tangy flavor. Set aside the remaining halves.
– Put the prepared dish in the oven on the middle shelf and bake for around 45-50 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, take out your vegetables and baste them with the remaining dressing and the melted butter.
– Meanwhile, while the vegetables are getting roasted, prepare your yogurt and beet-root dip.
– Peel and cut your last beet-root into chunks.
– In a blender, combine your Greek yogurt, cream, cumin powder, rock salt and a few beet-root chunks and blend into a smooth paste. The amount of beetroot chunks that you use in the dip is entirely upto you, depending on how dark you like the color of your dip to be. I only had to use some shavings.
– Pomegranate seeds go very well mixed into this dip, but it is entirely optional. If using them, toss a few pomegranate seeds in the dip and mix well. Refrigerate.
– When around five minutes of baking time is remaining, toss your small oven dish containing the seasoned cashews and almonds in the lower rack of your oven. They will get nicely toasted along in the oven alongside. Keep an eye on them lest they burn.
– Once the veggies and dry-fruits all look nicely roasted and crisp, take them out from the oven. They should be deliciously crunchy throughout.
– Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves on top and if you want, even a little leftover lemon juice.
– Serve hot with chilled beetroot dip, as a side-dish or as it is.
– Cooking time may vary for different ovens, so keep a good eye on your vegetables throughout, while they are baking.
– You can choose to peel your potatoes and sweet potato before boiling. I, however, left the peel on.
– If you want, you can boil or saute the beetroot chunks a little, before making the dip.