Vegetables in Peanut Sauce

One of the most commonly found dishes in Bali is Gado Gado. Also known as Kacang Me Santok, the dish is a healthy sauté of assorted vegetables with peanut sauce. Aunty Puspa who runs Paon Bali Cooking Classes on the island of Bali, showed us step-by-step how to cook this authentic recipe. She even made her own coconut oil and ground the nuts for the sauce using only a mortar and pestle.

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Celebrate your BODY in Santa Fe

The city of Santa Fe is aptly known for high spiritual energy that stems from its unique landscapes and Native American history. It is home to a number of spas, yoga and meditation centers, spiritual healers and alternative medicine practitioners. While the choices are endless, many locals pick BODY of Santa Fe as their daily destination for a complete inner and outer retreat. Continue reading “Celebrate your BODY in Santa Fe”

Curry Masala

Curry Masala is the only Indian restaurant in Rapid City. “Someone has to serve the vegans, vegetarians and gluten and dairy allergic people” says Al, who is doing the community a service as well as running a successful business in downtown Rapid City. Many of the local patrons are searching for options that are able to meet their diet restrictions, which only Indian cuisine can provide.

There are no frills when it comes to the ambiance or the menu at Curry Masala. Formerly a pizza joint, the space now has few Indian posters and ethnic music in the background of the small but cozy dining area. The menu contains few options which indicate that the ingredients are fresh and everything is made from scratch daily. You won’t find the typical tandoori, tikka masala or naan here (although they are served from time to time). There are one-of-a-kind original dishes that incorporate influences of north and south Indian cuisine.

For appetizer, try the spinach pakora, a delicately fried vegetable fritter served with tamarind and mint chutneys. Entrée selections include rice dishes (biryani, pulao), curries (chicken, beef, fish) and homemade vegetables (cauliflower, eggplant, potatoes). I highly recommend the mango lassi, which is made with mango pulp, buttermilk and cardamoms. It is nothing like you have ever tasted before!

All the recipes are passed by mothers and grandmothers of owners, Al Rodriguez and Justine Ashokar’s families from southern India.

Traditional Indian food is very different than how we know of it here in the west. In Indian households, ingredients are fresh and healthy. Butter, heavy cream, artificial coloring and white flour are never used in home-style cooking. Spice mixtures are made from scratch and attention is given to eating a well balanced diet. Curry Masala has carried on this tradition and offers simply prepared dishes using organic, locally sourced ingredients. It is a real treat for those who wish to eat out but also have to watch their physiological needs. As advertised, Curry Masala offer food that is of good quality, healthy and delicious!

Justine also teaches Indian cooking classes at Curry Masala. If after a lesson you are inspired to go home and try the recipes, you can also buy the spices on site. There is a little storefront at the restaurant. Curry Masala has two locations in Rapid City – a casual cafe on 2050 W. Main St. and a sit town style restaurant at 510 St. Joseph Street.


The vegetarian traveler

It’s not easy to be a vegetarian while on the road. I know that because my husband used to be a traveling consultant. 100% travel, eating out all the time, fly out on Monday mornings and return on Thursday nights, jet lag, one hotel room after another… it is a tough drill. If your client is based in San Francisco or Austin, you have no reason to worry, at least as far as food is concerned! But if your travel takes you to places as remote as Leon, IA or San Angelo, TX, then it won’t be as easy.

Fast Food is of no use…

  • McDonalds does not serve vegetarian burgers in the United States. It’s an interesting situation: you can get veggie burgers at McDonalds in India, UK, Berlin. Also, the fast food giant serves far better fare in those countries than it does in the USA. But isn’t the quality of food meant to be the same regardless of location? Or do local factors make a difference? Unfortunately, I don’t know the answers to those questions.
  • Subway is a great option (at least you have fresh vegetables to pick from), although I would steer clear of the vegetable patty. For one, most likely, it is not fresh and secondly, I am positive that egg is used as a binder.

 Thank God for protein bars…

  •  Stock up on Lara Bars! These fruit and nut bars contain just that: dried fruit and nuts. No additives, no proteins, no supplements, none of the *energy* ingredients – good old-fashioned fruit and nuts. Many a time, I will have one of these for breakfast and it tides me over until lunch.
  • Odwalla offers a good selection of fruit-vegetable juices. Odwalla’s Superfood may look (and feel) like the vilest green object you have encountered but it packs much energy and nutrients (and taste) into a small bottle. There are also other selections: Strawberry C Monster, Soy Vanilla Protein Shake, etc. As always, check the ingredient list and if you find any ingredient that makes you uncomfortable, look for other options.

Snacks to the rescue…

  • Fresh fruit may not suffice for lunch but it sure fills the tummy when hunger strikes at 3:30 pm.
  • Fruit yogurt is a filling snack especially when you add fresh/dried fruit to it. As always, check the ingredient list; some brands contain gelatin and a host of unpronounceable ingredients.

Looking for the lunch box…

  •  Finally, it may be worthwhile to pack yourself some couscous salad from home. Cook couscous as per directions, add some chopped peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, toasted pine nuts, drizzle a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and fresh/dried herbs, toss it all together. Tastes good when warm, and even better when cold!

 Happy Travels!

– By Guest blogger, Lakshmi Jagad. Laxshmi is a writer, photographer and social media consultant based in Atlanta. She writes about her encounters with food on her blog, The Rich Vegetarian.

My Eats featured on Tiny Green Mom

Tiny Green Mom has featured my recipe for Caponate Pasta Bake in her month long series of healthy recipes for the entire family. The blog is very informative for parents who are interested in a green lifestyle and latest organic products, amongst other things. Make sure to bookmark it.

I made the pasta last night for a Ciancia (Italian conversation club) get-together. It’s very healthy, flavorful and easy to make. Ciancia members meet once a month and each of us brings an Italian dish or wine to share, while we try to practise our language skills, network and meet friends. The next meeting will be at my place where I plan to make an assortment of Gelatos! If you have a favorite flavor, let me know and I would make sure to post the recipe for you…