So why do i write? and why do i write about food? well not only food, I also write about our lifestyle choices and the day to day bits that make me tick, the food comes with it, and yes it’s a big part of my life!
I have always loved to cook, i can remember myself growing up during the summer holidays, i was 11 or 12 and i used to invite a friend for lunch. I made simple things but still i loved cooking and also feeding, yes i am definitely a feeder.
Years went by and my cooking got better and adventures (at least that’s what people say) i have always liked to try new things, i have never been afraid of the kitchen and i am very aware of what goes in my mouth and what i feed others, it needs to have taste! look good, be nutritious and make you want to come back for more.
Last summer when i came to India, it was my 5th time here, but something inside me changed. I found myself obsessed with the food, eating only Indian food, not looking for any western alternatives and when we left to go back to London i was smitten with Indian food, even more then i was in the past, i think that South India and especially kerala opened up the door to some really interesting tastes and palettes. Yes, i have cooked Indian food in the past but suddenly it was a different song that was playing in my head, and i felt like i had to follow that song so i started looking, exploring and learning when i came across a wonderful book: Happiness Tastes Like Curry, By Efrat Dvir.
Efrat lives in Auroville in Tamil Nadu, the place is definitely on my list, i contacted her asking to send me her book to London, and so it came in an Indian wrapping smelling like just like India.
The book is beautiful and tells the most wonderful stories about India and food and Efrat’s recipes are amazing. I spent the first week just reading and then i got up to cook. I loved the recipes because they felt and smelt like India and i loved the stories, they really inspired me so i made some of her food and stayed in touch with Efrat and i also took some inspiration and re created my own recipes, inspired by colours, tastes, people and locals.
Ishay my other half goes to the market every Saturday to get vegetables for the week and last week he got really excited about these beautiful orange-yellow long carrots, he bought a lot, to say the least. I find myself many times being creative and cooking with whatever i have in the fridge and this time it was those carrots.
Efrat has a recipe in her book for Carrot bites with dried apricots and a yogurt sauce, the link to her original recipe is here, it is in Hebrew so hopefully you can read it and try and make it: http://saloona.co.il/blog/לביבות-גזר-ומשמש-מיובש/
I had a glimpse at the recipe, had another look at my fridge and with what i had in it, created my own version, inspired by Efrat and her book so i give you Tamaraindi version to Carrot and Date Bites With a Beautiful Tamarind Sauce
These bites are sweet, but not too sweet and they go perfectly with the Tamarind sweet-spicy sauce and a nice salad on the side.
I bake the bites because that is what i prefer and they stay moist and lovely inside but crispy on the outside.
What you will need
For the Bites
- 1 x Kg carrots of any kind, peeled and boiled in water, boil them whole
- 1 x Cup of chopped dates, use Medjool dates if you can but really and kind should work
- 1 x Bunch chopped fresh basil, the whole bunch
- 1/2 x Bunch chopped coriander
- 3 x Eggs, if you are vegan you can avoid the eggs and add x 3 spoons of Tahini paste
- 2 x TBSP garam (chickpea) flour
- 6 x TBSP oats
- 1 x TSP salt
- 1 x TBSP cinnamon
- 6 x Chopped garlic cloves
- 2 x TBSP olive oil to drizzle while baking
For The Sauce the sauce is also perfect for just dipping bread, Samosas or over plain rice, it keeps in the fridge for a while.
- 1 x Handful of Tamarindi soaked in warm water
- 3 x TBSP Jaggery
- 1 x TSP chili powder
- 1 x TSP salt
- 1 x Pinch turmeric
- 2 x Cups of water
Let’s get started
- In a large bowl grate the cooked carrots – you might want to cool them down a bit so your hands dont burn
- Add chopped dates, garlic, basil, coriander and garlic
- Add eggs or tahini paste, oats and flour and all spices
- Mix well until you have a firm mix, if you feel it’s too ‘wet’ add 1 TBSP of oats
- With wet hands grab a handful and form into a round flat ball
- Place on a greaseproof paper and drizzle some olive oil
- Bake in the oven 180 for about 30 minutes, flip after 20 minutes
For the Sauce
- Place Tamarind in a bowl and pour a cup of warm water over it, using your hand crush the tamarind until it becomes a paste, remove any seeds and add the whole mixture to a saucepan
- Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until the mixture boils, leave to cool and keep in a jar refrigerated
Enjoy with a nice green salad!