Thursday, 1 October 2015

FINGER MILLET/RAGI SPAGHETTI IN CREAMY VEGAN BEETROOT SAUCE ~ PINK FOR OCTOBER SERIES


My Tryst With Food And Travel is " going PINK FOR OCTOBER ". This is my minuscule effort to spread awareness about BREAST CANCER. I am however neither competent nor qualified to offer further information about breast cancer. If you are looking for support and information regarding breast cancer please visit NATIONAL BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION INC. by clicking on the link provided here. I am quoting these lines from the national breast cancer foundation inc. for my esteemed readers and valuable friends and family. "October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. We have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go and need your help!"

I wanted to be a part of this brilliant initiative not only to be a tiny feather in the mammoth wings of spreading awareness, but I have a personal reason too. It was the year 2009. I was busy packing my bags and was happy with the eager anticipation of my trip to Koh Samui, the exotic island in Thailand. It was a friends kind of a holiday, where only us, friends, had decided to head out. The next few days on the island was just like living a beautiful dream with a sun kissed face and wind in our tresses throughout. I still revel in the happiness that holiday had injected in my life. True, a place is important for a great vacation, but it's the people who travel with you who make it memorable. Natasha is just that, a friend, a person bubbling with smiles and she infuses happiness wherever she goes. Natty as we call her is one friend who has always gone out of her way to help bring a smile on her friend's face and I love her for being a large hearted genuine friend.

We were back and beaming with happiness, rejuvenated after the week long trip. Natty and I got busy after that with our own work and travel. We would speak over the phone, but it would be brief conversations. We had travelled to Koh Samui in the July of 2009. I for some reason or the other could not meet Natty, the rest of the year after that. So I was very insistent that she had to make it to little D's birthday in the January of 2010 with her kid son. A day prior to little D's birthday to remind her I called her, but her phone remained unanswered for most part of the day which got me worried. So I called up her husband by evening and he informed me that she was in the hospital, the whole day undergoing tests and that she would call me once back. Later that night she called me. I heard her with a heavy heart and sent a prayer to heaven as we all do hoping that it was not Cancer. Natty told me earlier in 2009 she noticed a very tiny lump and immediately saw her gynecologist. The doctor checked her and gave her a Vit E capsule, telling her that it was very common to have tiny bumps in your breasts and that it would soon go away with the vitamin E, hinting at some kind of deficiency. Natty was asked by the doctor to visit her only after 3 whole months of taking the prescribed Vit E capsule. Now the lump slowly but surely grew and after three months, it was noticeably bigger. Natty went back to her gynecologist and reported the same. She doubled Natty's Vit E dosage and sent her back. Hearing this I was not sure whom to be more angry on, the doctor for her bad and careless diagnosis and prescription or Natty for not letting me know about this for one whole year, inspite of being such a close friend.


Natty's  test results came a few days after little D's birthday. It was confirmed that she had stage 2 of breast cancer. I, was determined from then on to be hand in hand, step in step with my friend in her battle to win over cancer. It was one of the toughest battles that Natty had ever faced, yet she fought on bravely. After the surgery in which thankfully, in the hands of an adept surgeon , her malignant tumor  was fully removed without mastectomy. Then began the chemotherapy sessions which were horrible. Sitting with her on many of her sessions I would tightly hold her hand and both of us would look into each other's eyes and tell that this would, soon be over. Yes it was soon over. She had defeated the monster and was declared Cancer free in the autumn of 2011. Touch wood and thank Almighty for that. Our Natty is back with a bang. It's been 4 years since and she is fit as a fiddle. But one thing I clearly remember the Doctor who was treating her say. "Why on earth did you not insist on a mammogram when you first noticed the lump. You are lucky that it was not a progressive tumour, everyone is not that lucky. " True, friends we all know about these things, but tend to ignore. Let's not ignore from now on. Let's not hide, but tell a family or a friend. Let's help a friend schedule a mammogram if she has a symptom. Let's spread the word that Breast Cancer is completely curable if detected early.  Early Detection is the most important thing in the Battle against Cancer.

I have therefore dedicated each of my Social Media platforms to Pink for October.

Today's dish is simple, hearty, healthy, different and most importantly delightfully good. It's a pasta dish, where again I have made a yummy, VEGAN sauce, cream, cheese, refined flour free and can vouch for this that once you lay it on your table both the young and the old will automatically be drawn to it because of its lovely colour and also ask you for more and more because of its delicious taste. I have used Finger Millet / RAGI Spaghetti, but you can use any Spaghetti of your choice. It's a vegan dish. I have however served it with a grilled chicken for my meat loving family. My vegetarian/vegan friends may leave that out and serve it with a piece of grilled Tofu instead. Also I would have loved a gluten free dish, the sauce being gluten free, but the super market had exhausted its stock of organic gluten free pasta. So for those on a gluten free diet, choose a gluten free pasta and as I have already said, the sauce is gluten free.

So let's get making this easy peasy dish right away.

FINGER MILLET SPAGHETTI IN CREAMY VEGAN BEETROOT SAUCE : 


AUTHOR ~ PIYALI 
SERVES ~ 2
TYPE ~ MAIN COURSE / PASTA DISH
TIME ~ 20 MINUTES PREPARATION + 40 MINUTES COOKING ( Will be reduced depending on how you cook the beetroot)

1) 250 Gms Spaghetti ( I used Organic Finger millet/Ragi Spaghetti)
2) 3~4 Baby Corn Chopped
3) 1 Tsp of Oil to use while cooking the Sphagetti
4) Fresh or Dried Oregano to garnish
5) Freshly ground Black Pepper to season
6) Red Chilli flakes (optional) 

FOR THE VEGAN BEETROOT SAUCE :

1) 1 Large Beetroot, weighing approximately 250 Gms
2) 10~15 raw Almonds blanched and  skinned
3) 200 Ml of freshly squeezed or canned coconut milk
4) 2 Tsp of corn flour
5) 1 Tbsp of finely chopped garlic
6) 2 Tbsp of finely chopped red/white onion
7) 10~12 Button mushrooms
8) 3~4 Sprigs of fresh thyme (you can use Italian dried herbs or dried thyme too)
9) 3~4 Sprigs of fresh oregano ( can use dried oregano)
10) 1 Tsp of Oil
11) 1 Tsp of freshly ground pepper
12) Salt to taste

THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE SPAGHETTI IN CREAMY VEGAN BEETROOT SAUCE :

1) Wash the beetroot and chop off its ends. Brush oil throughout . Grill the beetroot either directly over a flame or over a grill. It takes at least 1/2 an hour to cook as a whole. Remove the skin, wash and chop roughly.
TIP: It takes more time to cook as a whole, so skin and slice it into round thick slices, brush both the sides with oil and grill. Within 15 minutes it will be done.
TIP : You can roast the beetroot in an oven by heating the oven to 200 Degree C. Skin the beetroot, slice roughly, sprinkle 1/2 Tsp of oil and roast the beetroot for 15~20 minutes till it is completely cooked. 
TIP : If you want it quick, just chop and boil the beetroot.

2) In a food processor / grinder grind the cooked beetroot along with raw blanched, skinned almonds to a silky smooth paste.
TIP : Add water a teaspoon at a time if required.

3)  Fill a pan with water, add 1 Tsp of oil. Let the water boil. Cook the spaghetti Al dente. Strain the water and run cold water through the spaghetti and keep aside ready to use.
4) Finely chop garlic, onions and slice mushrooms thinly. In a pan heat oil and add garlic. Let the oil be infused with the garlic then add onions and sauté till they sweat. Next add in the mushrooms, followed by corn flour and cook for at least 2 ~ 3 minutes. Season with salt.
5) Next add in the beetroot almond paste and mix well. Season with pepper and more salt if required. Mix and cook for a couple of minutes. Next pour in the coconut milk and mix well. Depending on the consistency of the sauce you want add more coconut milk or water. Add in the fresh thyme and oregano and bring to a boil. Simmer if you want a more thicker sauce.


It's a good idea to serve the sauce separately along with the spaghetti and herbs and seasoning. If you want to mix the sauce with the spaghetti, do so only when you are ready to eat. This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.

I have served my RAGI spaghetti pasta in creamy beetroot sauce with a spiced and herbed grilled chicken. You can use the same spice and herbs and grill tofu and serve along with the dish for a vegan option.
*******************************************************************************************************************

FINGER MILLET SPAGHETTI IN CREAMY VEGAN BEETROOT SAUCE :

AUTHOR ~ PIYALI
SERVES ~ 2
TYPE ~ MAIN COURSE / PASTA DISH
TIME ~ 20 MINUTES PREPARATION + 40 MINUTES COOKING ( Will be reduced depending on how you cook the beetroot)

1) 250 Gms Spaghetti ( I used Organic Finger millet/Ragi Spaghetti)
2) 3~4 Baby Corn Chopped
3) 1 Tsp of Oil to use while cooking the Sphagetti
4) Fresh or Dried Oregano to garnish
5) Freshly ground Black Pepper to season
6) Red Chilli flakes (optional) 

FOR THE VEGAN BEETROOT SAUCE :

1) 1 Large Beetroot, weighing approximately 250 Gms
2) 10~15 raw Almonds blanched and  skinned
3) 200 Ml of freshly squeezed or canned coconut milk
4) 2 Tsp of corn flour
5) 1 Tbsp of finely chopped garlic
6) 2 Tbsp of finely chopped red/white onion
7) 10~12 Button mushrooms
8) 3~4 Sprigs of fresh thyme (you can use Italian dried herbs or dried thyme too)
9) 3~4 Sprigs of fresh oregano ( can use dried oregano)
10) 1 Tsp of Oil
11) 1 Tsp of freshly ground pepper
12) Salt to taste

THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE SPAGHETTI IN CREAMY VEGAN BEETROOT SAUCE :

1) Wash the beetroot and chop off its ends. Brush oil throughout . Grill the beetroot either directly over a flame or over a grill. It takes at least 1/2 an hour to cook as a whole. Remove the skin, wash and chop roughly.
TIP: It takes more time to cook as a whole, so skin and slice it into round thick slices, brush both the sides with oil and grill. Within 15 minutes it will be done.
TIP : You can roast the beetroot in an oven by heating the oven to 200 Degree C. Skin the beetroot, slice roughly, sprinkle 1/2 Tsp of oil and roast the beetroot for 15~20 minutes till it is completely cooked. 
TIP : If you want it quick, just chop and boil the beetroot.

2) In a food processor / grinder grind the cooked beetroot along with raw blanched, skinned almonds to a silky smooth paste.
TIP : Add water a teaspoon at a time if required

3)  Fill a pan with water, add 1 Tsp of oil. Let the water boil. Cook the spaghetti Al dente. Strain the water and run cold water through the spaghetti and keep aside ready to use.

4) Finely chop garlic, onions and slice mushrooms thinly. In a pan heat oil and add garlic. Let the oil be infused with the garlic then add onions and sauté till they sweat. Next add in the mushrooms, followed by corn flour and cook for at least 2 ~ 3 minutes. Season with salt.

5) Next add in the beetroot almond paste and mix well. Season with pepper and more salt if required. Mix and cook for a couple of minutes. Next pour in the coconut milk and mix well. Depending on the consistency of the sauce you want add more coconut milk or water. Add in the fresh thyme and oregano and bring to a boil. Simmer if you want a more thicker sauce.

It's a good idea to serve the sauce separately along with the spaghetti and herbs and seasoning. If you want to mix the sauce with the spaghetti, do so only when you are ready to eat. This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.

I have served my RAGI spaghetti pasta in creamy beetroot sauce with a spiced and herbed grilled chicken. You can use the same spice and herbs and grill tofu and serve along with the dish for a vegan option.
*******************************************************************************************************************