Food, as per the Indian scriptures, is divided into Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic foods. When consumed, these foods lead to purity, passion and inertia, respectively, of the mind and body. Eating Sattvic foods helps promote the qualities of serenity and calmness; it further promotes health, strength, lightness of spirit and earnestness of endeavour. Sattvic foods, in general, include, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, fresh dairy products, nuts, natural sweets such as honey and dates and nominal amounts of fat from dairy and vegetable sources only. Sattvic food should not be too salty, too hot, too bitter, too sweet or too sour. The general principle is, that there should be a restraint.
BABA (Excerpt from ‘Food is God’, by Mr. Prem Luthra, pages 15 -22.)
We have selected two wholesome and delicious recipes here for you today. The Paneer Tikka Wrap is a nutritious and satisfying one dish meal that is easy to put together. The Date and Coconut Tart is a family favourite from my mother-in-law’s recipe book. It takes a little more time, but is well worth the effort. This can also be made a day or two ahead.
(Makes 8 wraps)
*Kashmiri Chilli powder is a non-spicy chilli powder that also gives a good colour. Can be substituted with paprika or any other mild chilli powder
*Garam masala powder is a spice blend available at most Indian stores
*Kasuri methi, is dried fenugreek leaves. This adds flavour, but can be substituted with freshly chopped cilantro.
Powder the Kasuri methi gently, by rubbing it in between your palms. Combine it with all the ingredients for the marinade and set aside. Slice the paneer into 1/2-inch, thick slices and prick them with a fork on one side. Carefully apply the marinade on both sides of each slice and set it aside for 30 minutes. Discard any left-over marinade.
Combine the vinegar and chopped green chillies in a ceramic bowl and set aside. Oil a baking tray and individually arrange the pieces of paneer in it. Grill the pieces on the top wrack of a hot oven, at 200*C, for about 3-5 minutes, until golden brown at the edges. Now flip the pieces with a spatula and brown the other side too. Alternatively, you may pan fry the paneer pieces on the stove top until done. Remove the paneer from the oven/pan and allow it to cool.
Chop the cooled paneer into smaller cubes and keep ready. Heat oil in a wok and lightly sauté the onion first and then the capsicum, for a few seconds. Immediately add the chopped paneer and mix well. Add the salt, cumin and chilli powders and mix well. Test for seasoning and take off the fire.
To serve, heat each chapati/tortilla on a griddle, transfer to a plate and add about 2 tablespoons of filling along the edge of the tortilla close to you. Add 1-2 tsps. of the chilly vinegar on the paneer mixture and then tightly roll the tortilla away from yourself to make a roll. Wrap the bottom part of the roll in a napkin and serve immediately with a salad or by itself.
(Serves 4 - 6)
To make the pastry shell, sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and ‘rub’ it into the flour using the finger-tips of both your hands. Mix the flour and butter well till it resembles bread crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons of ice-cold water and gently combine the flour. Do not over work the dough. Add another 3-4 tablespoons of water as required. The water should be just enough to make a smooth but firm dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and rest it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Combine all the ingredients for the filling except the vanilla essence and cook the mixture on the stove top, stirring continuously until all the water dries up. Take off the fire, add the vanilla essence and allow to cool.
Reserve a small, lemon-sized ball of the pastry dough and roll out the rest to a 9-inch diameter circle. Place the rolled pastry on a round, greased baking sheet. Using your index finger to mark the distance between the cuts, make 1” deep, cuts along the edge of the pastry. Now, fold each alternate strip inwards and gently press it into the pastry, to make a decorative border. Prick the centre of the pastry with a fork, cover with cling film and rest it again in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 180* C, uncover and bake the pastry shell blind, for 10 - 15minutes – i.e., add a few dry beans on a butter paper and place them in the centre of the pastry. The weight of the beans, prevents the pastry from rising unevenly. Do not allow the pastry shell to brown too much. If the edges begin to brown, cover it with a sheet of aluminium foil (dull side down) until done.
Take out the ready pastry shell and evenly spread the date filling in the centre. Roll out the reserved pastry dough and cut thin strips from it. Criss-cross these strips on the date filling to form a latticed top. Bake the pie for another 10 -15 minutes or until done. When the sides leave the baking sheet, it’s done. Serve hot or cold, with fresh cream.