Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Meat'less' balls in Marinara (made with millets and sprouts)

Meat'less' Balls in Marinara
A wise friend once told me, that to move a step ahead you sometimes need take two steps behind, Even in India's fave game of cricket, a fast bowler will cover greater distance and throw the ball at a much faster pace when he starts running from afar, this concept applies to a slingshot as well, where you pull back the attached rubber tubes to the desired extent to provide power for the projectile.

Whenever one is stuck in a situation and finds no way to move ahead it is imperative to reflect, to look back, to connect with your roots and borrow a leaf out of the old (in this case ancient wisdom). Hence as humanity has progressed by leaps, reached the moon and Mars, there has been so much evolution that humans are now at a loss with all the chaos around them, this is the very reason why the world is moving back to where it all began.

Moving to yoga, moving to sustainable living, moving to doing away with highly processed foods and replacing them with a clean plant based diet.

As more and more meat and dairy eaters choose to ditch both for a clean and sustainable lifestyle, ancient foods like:

Also known as Dinkel wheat, spelt is a species of wheat that has been cultivated since 5000 BC. An important staple in parts of Europe during the medieval era, this slighly sweet and nutty grain survived for many years as a relict crop in Central Europe and northern Spain before making a comeback as a health food. Spelt’s tougher-than-average husk protects the nutrients within, making it higher in minerals, protein, iron, vitamin A and  heart-friendly niacin (vitamin B3). Its lesser-than-wheat gluten content also makes it easier to digest.

A grain that has been nourishing people for more than 8,000 years, buckwheat was first cultivated in the Balkan region of Europe about 4,000 B.C and was one of the first crops grown by the early American settlers. Contrary to its name, buckwheat isn’t actually a wheat, but a pyramid-shaped fruit seed. Buckwheat groats, as the seeds are called, are gluten-free, heart-friendly and particularly rich in soluble fiber, which is important when you’re looking to keep blood sugar levels steady.

Chia seeds
A favourite of the ancient Aztecs, chia seeds have long been a staple in Mexico, Guatemala and other parts of Central America. Touted to be the next quinoa, chia seeds are extremely rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Chia seeds have a gelatinous texture when soaked in liquid similar to tapioca, which is why they work well as a binder in gluten-free foods and can be used to make a delicious vegan pudding.

Grown in South America from time immemorial – at least since 4000 BC – amaranth is a gluten free pseudo cereal that trumps the protein content of most other grains. Other than containing lysine (an importnat amino acis missing in most grains), it also contains three times the average amount of calcium and is the only grain documented to contain vitamin C. No wonder, the Aztecs loved this little grain! and

Tiny, light-hued grains that have been traditionally consumed in India since ancient times, millets are a nutritional powerhouse. Millet is actually the name given to several small seed grains in the Poaceae grass family. This tiny grain is gluten-free and packed with vitamins and minerals. A versatile grain, millets can be prepared like porridges, mashed like potato or fluffed like rice. Ground into flour, they can also be used to make dough, dosa, pancakes, muffins or bread.

Here are 7 millets that you can introduce in your daily diet and reap benefits right away!
o Little Millet (Saamai): Highest fat content of all the millets, digestion-friendly
o Pearl Millet (Bajra): High calcium, protein, iron and magnesium content, helps reduce bad cholesterol
o Finger Millet (Ragi): High protein and calcium content, good for diabetics and anaemics
o Foxtail Millet (Thinai):Highest mineral content of all millets, good for immunity
o Barnyard Millet (Jhangora): Highest fibre and iron content of all millets, rich in antioxidants
o Kodo Millet (Varagu): High fibre, protein and phytochemical content, ideal for diabetics and for weight loss
o Sorghum (Jowar): High antioxidant content, commonly eaten with edible hull, thereby retaining most of its nutrients

are making a huge comeback on breakfast, lunch and dinner plates the world over.

Today's recipe of Meat'less' Balls in marinara is made using Little Millet (Saamai) and sprouted black gram instead of meat mince, seasoned well and cooked in a homemade delicious marinara sauce, there is no way that you will miss or crave the lack of meat in this simple and nutritious recipe.


For the Meat'less' balls
1 cup cooked and cooled little millet (ensure it's cooked + completely cooled before using)
450 grams sprouted black chana, cooked
2 tablespoons water
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 cup diced red onions
1/4 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
2 1/2 tsp fresh oregano (or substitute half the amount in dried)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (reduce for less heat)
1/2 tsp fennel (saunf) seeds (optional)
1/2 cup cashew nuts, powdered (plus more for serving)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley (plus more for serving)

Marinara sauce (Ingredients)
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 (200 gms) box of tomato puree
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons any flavourless oil
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup vinegar


For Meat'less' Balls
If you haven’t prepared your millets yet, do so now (make sure it’s cooked and cooled completely before use).

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add water, garlic, and onions.

Sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly softened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat (and reserve pan for later use).

Add cooked chana to a food processor along with garlic, onions, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes and saunf (optional) and pulse into a loose meal (DON'T overmix). Then add cooked/cooled millets, cashew powder, tomato paste and fresh basil or parsley, Pulse to combine until a textured dough forms (you're not looking for a purée, but it should be semi-sticky).

Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt for saltiness/depth of flavor, red pepper flakes for heat, or herbs for earthiness, If it’s too tacky or wet, add more cashew nut powder and pulse to combine.

Scoop out heaping 1+1/2 tablespoon amounts (using this scoop or a Tablespoon) and gently form into small balls using your hands. Add to a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Heat a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the meat'less'balls and sauté for a few minutes, gently turning them to get a slight crust on either side, until golden brown on the edges and slightly dry to the touch.

These meat'less'balls are delicious as is, or you can add some marinara to the pan and heat over medium heat for 5 minutes (or until bubbling / hot) to infuse more flavor.

For the Marinara Sauce:
In a food processor place tomatoes, tomato puree, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

In a large pan over medium heat saute the finely chopped onion in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce and vinegar.

Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with the Meat'less'balls with marinara and additional cashew powder (optional)! These are also delicious atop any pasta. Leftover meat'less'balls keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave or in a 190 C oven until warmed through.


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Meat'less' balls in Marinara (made with millets and sprouts)

Meat'less' Balls in Marinara A wise friend once told me, that to move a step ahead you sometimes need take two steps behind, Ev...