Every culture worships its mothers. Historically, African, Indian, Greek and early Christian civilizations had specific rituals dedicated to worshipping the Mother Goddess.

Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated all over the world including Canada, the United States, many countries of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In the United States, Mother’s Day began in 1872 when Ann Jarvis, an anti-war activist, called for Mothers’ Peace Observance Day, urging all mothers to rise up for peace. In 1914, Mother’s Day was recognized as a national holiday in the United States, and the second Sunday of May was set aside to honor the contributions of all mothers. Since then, Mothers’ Day has become commercialized with flowers, candy, gift-giving and eating out.

Food, cooking, feeding, nourishing and nurturing have all become synonymous with motherhood, but although our mothers are often worshipped, loved, feared and praised, they are rarely fully appreciated for all they do. This year on Mother’s Day, nourish and nurture your mother. Treat Mom to a simple and nutritious meal made at home. Let your Mom know that you love her, and that you can feed her too!

If you have siblings, get together with them to make Mom a special meal following the recipes outlined here, and get Dad involved in the process too. He can help you gather the ingredients, and handle the hot pan. Be sure that Mom doesn’t have to do anything! No planning, no cooking, and certainly no cleaning up. Give her the day off!

This menu of roti wraps with sprouted mung beans served with cashew chutney and strawberry lassi is suitable for lunch, brunch or for a picnic. All three dishes can be served at room temperature and most of the preparation can be done ahead of time.

Shop for the ingredients a week in advance in case you have to visit specialty stores for some things such as mung beans, whole wheat roti or tortillas. Sprouting the mung beans is a 2-3 day process, so allow enough time, and make sure you have the necessary spices as well. This is a simple menu, but if you have not cooked much, you might want to practice making these three recipes, at least once, before Mother’s Day.

Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff, author of Flavors of India: Vegetarian Indian Cuisine, lives in San Francisco, where she is manager and co-owner of Other Avenues, a health-food store.


Roti Wraps with Mung Bean Sprouts

Mung Bean Sprouts

First, sprout the mung beans as de-scribed below. Sprouts are at their nu-tritional peak when they are fresh. Unike the long white mung sprouts commonly found in supermarkets or Chinese groceries, the mung bean sprouts with short shoots that this recipe calls for are not usually available in stores.  However, making them at home is fun and easy to do.

Rinse one cup of dried mung beans thoroughly and drain them. Place the beans in a large bowl with 3 cups of water. Cover the bowl and let it sit on the kitchen counter overnight. Do not refrigerate. The next day, drain the water and transfer the soaked beans to a colander. Cover the top of the colander with a moist double-layer of cheese cloth, a piece of muslin, or a clean damp tea towel.  Fasten the cloth with a rubber band. Place the colander itself in a large bowl to catch any drips and keep it away from direct sun-light. Over the next several hours the beans will start to germinate and soon you will see sprouts emerging.  Place the cloth back on the colander, and sprinkle a little bit water to keep it moist. Towards evening, check to see if the sprouts are 2-3 inches long. If not, leave them at room temperature overnight.

When the sprouts are 2-3 inches long, they are ready to be used in the following recipe for roti wraps. One cup of mung beans will yield enough sprouts for this recipe with some left over.  If you are not ready to use the sprouts, place them in a covered container and refrigerate. If you rinse them every other day in cool water they will keep for up to two weeks.

Some recipes call for raw mung sprouts.  Uncooked mung sprouts contain a protein-inhibiting enzyme. Cooking for a few minutes destroys this enzyme making the sprouts  more nutritious.

Roti Wraps      

Makes 6 servings (with two wraps per person)

Ingredients

3 tbsp of vegetable oil

½ cup finely chopped green onion with  some of the greens

4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced

3 cups of fresh mung bean sprouts with   short shoots (see directions above)

½ tsp whole cumin seeds

1 cup carrots cut into match sticks or shredded

½ cup daikon or other mild radish, cut into match sticks or shredded

1 teaspoon salt

¼ tsp or to taste cayenne pepper

freshly squeezed juice of 1 or 2 limes

¼ cup water

3 tbsp chopped cilantro 1 package (about a dozen) whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat rotis (or gluten-free corn tortilla)

Method

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the green onion. Saute for a few minutes. Then, add the garlic and cumin seeds. Stir fry briefly, and add the bean sprouts, carrots, daikon, cayenne and salt. Continue to stir fry for five minutes. Next, add the water and lemon juice. Cover and cook the mixture for five minutes. Then open the lid and stir fry briefly to evaporate any liquid left.  Transfer the cooked mung to a platter, and garnish with cilantro.

Prepare the rotis or whole what tortillas as follows: Heat a griddle or tava on mod-erately high heat. Lay a roti or tortilla in the pan and cook on one side for a minute or so. Spread no more than ½ teaspoon of oil on top, quickly covering the whole surface, and then flip it over. Cook on the second side for a few minutes.  Flip the roti again a few more times while pressing with the back-side of a spoon or a clean kitchen cloth to cook the whole surface of each side evenly.  Stack the prepared rotis together on a plate, cov-ered with a clean towel to keep them warm.

To make a wrap, spread ½ cup of the mung bean sprout mix onto a roti or torti-lla, keeping the filling away from the edges.  Fold into a wrap as shown in the illustration.  As each wrap is completed, move it to the serving platter. If you plan to serve them hot, have your oven preheated to 350 degrees and place the platter of wraps in the oven to keep them warm. They can also be served at room temperature, or packed for a picnic.  Serve with Cashew Chutney and Strawberry Lassi, recipes below.

Raw Cashew Chutney

Makes  6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

1 cup raw cashews

½ cup warm water

½ cup fresh cilantro (or parsley)

1 or 2 fresh hot chilies, such as jalapeno,   seeds and veins removed

2 to 3 tbsps of freshly squeezed

1 teaspoon salt

¼ tsp or to taste cayenne pepper

freshly squeezed juice of 1 or 2 limes

¼ cup water

3 tbsp chopped cilantro 1 package (about a dozen) whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat rotis (or gluten-free corn tortilla)

Method

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the green onion. Saute for a few minutes. Then, add the garlic and cumin seeds. Stir fry briefly, and add the bean sprouts, carrots, daikon, cayenne and salt. Continue to stir fry for five minutes. Next, add the water and lemon juice. Cover and cook the mixture for five minutes. Then open the lid and stir fry briefly to evaporate any liquid left.  Transfer the cooked mung to a platter, and garnish with cilantro.

Prepare the rotis or whole what tortillas as follows: Heat a griddle or tava on mod-erately high heat. Lay a roti or tortilla in the pan and cook on one side for a minute or so. Spread no more than ½ teaspoon of oil on top, quickly covering the whole surface, and then flip it over. Cook on the second side for a few minutes.  Flip the roti again a few more times while pressing with the back-side of a spoon or a clean kitchen cloth to cook the whole surface of each side evenly.  Stack the prepared rotis together on a plate, cov-ered with a clean towel to keep them warm.

To make a wrap, spread ½ cup of the mung bean sprout mix onto a roti or torti-lla, keeping the filling away from the edges.  Fold into a wrap as shown in the illustration.  As each wrap is completed, move it to the serving platter. If you plan to serve them hot, have your oven preheated to 350 degrees and place the platter of wraps in the oven to keep them warm. They can also be served at room temperature, or packed for a picnic.  Serve with Cashew Chutney and Strawberry Lassi, recipes below.

Strawberry Lassi

Makes 4 serving

I once had Strawberry Lassi in Gujarat.  After coming back to California where Strawberries are plentiful, I could not wait to try this recipe!

Ingredient

3 cups of plain yogurt

1 cup cool water

20 large strawberries, washed, cleaned and hulled

½ to 2/3 cups honey, agave syrup or sugar (adjust sweetener to your taste) ½ teaspoon edible rose water or vanilla extract

Method

Place all of the ingredients in the jar of a blender or food processor and mix for several minutes until pureed and well blended. Place a few ice cubes into four glasses.  Pour lassi over the ice and serve. If you are packing the lassi for a picnic, re-frigerate to keep it cool until you are ready to pack your basket. Serve along with spicy curry and raita.

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