By Youthika Chauhan
‘Yes. ALL of this is vegetarian’ I told for the umpteenth time to my curious guests who were in fact family friends known since several years. It was a random house party when I called some families home for lunch. I had decided to host a lunch comprising of never-seen-before vegetarian delicacies, for which I could swear by – for both their taste and nutritional acceptability.
Most of the guests who hailed from across India opined that delicious food is either unhealthy or non-vegetarian.My opinion is different, though. I believe with some creativity and knowledge, every food can be crafted for the needs of the tongue as well as the stomach.
Towards the end, my guests seemed to agree with this thought. I was pleased too, for being vegetarian never made me feel lacking options to please my taste-buds! I thought of sharing on this blog some of these self-crafted recipes to break the monotony of daily meals – because ‘casual’ house parties should never be taken ‘casually’ when it comes to food!
- Grilled Zucchini Bruschetta – Diagonally slice zucchini in 1 cm think pieces. Top these with corn, tomato pieces and olives and parsley. Top it with slight cheese and grill. Stir-fry pan can be used alternatively. Serve with Tabasco and more importantly, with a smile!
- Stuffed cous cous tomatoes – Soak bulgur wheat for an hour and cook with some oil. Add shallow fried onion slices and salt to this. Prepare tomato shells by removing the pulp and preheat this in an oven. Add the stuffing and reheat this for a few minutes. This goes well with pesto sauce and friendly gossip!
- Go-green cutlet – Blend spinach in a mixer and drain off the water. Mix this with boiled, mashed green peas (twice in weight as the spinach) and green chilly paste. Knead this like dough with pepper, salt and ginger paste. Top this with a whole wheat flour and shallow fry it in oil. As a dipping, try pudina chutney, in combination with fun and cheer!
- Crostini with grilled spiced eggplant paste – Cut bread into thinner slices and place it in the oven till crisp. Spiced eggplant is similar to our very own baingan ka bharta. Cook the brinjal on stove till the skin comes off on its own. Mash it with fingers once cool and then add red chilly powder, garlic paste and salt. Grill this in a microwave oven. Put a dash of lime and mustard sauce to add to its flavour. For better results, indulge in it with warmth of camaraderie.
- Creme brulée with gulab jamun – No meal is complete without a dessert. Gulab jamuns can be prepared as per the instructions from condensed milk brands. Separately, heat a cup of milk and half cup fresh cream. Add another cup of milk to custard powder (3-4 table spoons) and mix well. Mix these two mixtures and add 8-10 table spoons brown sugar. Stir well and strain to remove lumps. Refrigerate this briefly in heat-proof moulds which contain your gulab jamuns. Once set, take this out and cover it with a layer of sugar. Caramelize this with torch flame and enjoy!
About Youthika Chauhan
Apart from being a passionate food connoisseur, Youthika is a qualified food technologist and a nutrition expert. She writes as a hobby and has been a regular on Quora for food and related topics. Her writing experience extends to being the editor of a newsletter, UDAAN, which reaches to about 4000 alumni from her institute each year. Youthika is a regular customer of Holachef.