Recently I became the beneficiary of a hand-me-down juicer, thereby reducing my excuses for not drinking healthy. My increasing girth is proof of my undiminished love for food and beverage in all shapes and sizes. You could say that I am very secular when it comes to f&b, I have a glad eye for these things that sees beyond calorie count, type of creature and such other mundane matters. I drink my share of fruit juices; in fact at restaurants I have demanded that juices be fresh and canned any offer that suggested otherwise. However, what inspires is watching people quaff—with great gusto at that—vegetable juices in the cool of the morning. Just watching them has induced me to chase that elusive weight loss for another few minutes. But where could I run when the juicer had reached my doorstep and now stood enticingly on my kitchen slab.
Raw was never for me
Eating things uncooked is an absolute sign of disrespect to our forefathers who discovered the pleasures and uses of fire. A spot of raw on a dinner plate, in the form of a salad or sashimi or tartare or carapaccio or sushi does take a lot of gumption and is an acquired taste. Is it any surprise that a person who chows down a salad for a meal is asked whether s/he is on diet? Raw ensures that there is nowhere the taste of the vegetable or meat can hide. Of-course, in the case of salads, people do add a dash of dressing, but this is more akin to a bikini. The only way I imagine people so willingly do this to themselves is because the salad morphs into that magic mirror which shows a slimmer/prettier/handsomer version of their current selves.
But then I gave in
So you can imagine my trepidation when I opened the box containing the juicer. Reading the instructions made my heart beat to a tattoo that would have humbled the RPM of the juicers engine. The key, the manual stated, was to only use juicy vegetables and not pulpy or mushy ones like squash. With this information, I ventured to the market and got myself vegetables that I had seen on display in juice kiosks during my early morning sweaty jaunts.
I knew one vegetable was going to be as bad as the other and I also understood the pain I would be going though as I sipped the juice. Therefore I just hacked myself some carrots, bitter gourd, cucumber, bottle gourd and, with what was prescient vengeance, gleefuly put them through the grind. The juicer screamed in protest, was it the sound I would make with the first gulp of the vegetable juice? Then dribblets of juice began to appear, which turned into an outpouring of colour depending on the vegetable that was being ground. Simultaneously the machine began to violently spit out the ground veggies.
Less juice, more waste
It was quite a shock to see the quantum of ground veggies to the juice that was extracted from them. For a glass of awful tasting juice I had put an inordinate amount of veggies in. There was a clear imbalance between the input and the desired quantity of output. This health fetish journey that I was going to sip from was going to be wasteful. Not to mention, expensive too.
Something needed to be done, because I always had an opinion about those actors, models and health junkies who would proudly state that their breakfast consisted of ‘an omelette of 6 egg whites’. I always wondered where the yolks went. Did they go to make a custard for the evening? Or to brown a pie that was going to be baked? Or was it given to the servants? Maybe, it was just washed down the kitchen sink.
Given that I was not rich nor a wastrel, or a model or health junkie I had to do something with the ground vegetables. What could be done I wondered? And then it hit me that these could be made into vegetable cutlets or even into a vegetable dish. I tried my hand with a vegetable dish, I chopped some onions and browned them then added garlic and ginger to taste along with turmeric and garam masala. Finally, I added the ground vegetables and after some time a bit of hot water. I let the dish cook till the water had evaporated.
I hate to say this, but I think I have become a culinary alchemist. The dish was delicious, I swear. How can you go wrong with browned onions, ginger, garlic, and Indian spices? I have not grown any slimmer, my skin is not glowing and my hair continues to grey. Though I must tell you, my experiments with the juicer have continued. Somewhere it must be doing me good; check back with me when I am in my seventies. However, in the meantime I am going to add the byproducts of the juicer to idli and dosa batter. Who knows, I may begin using the juicer for fresh fruit juice and then start a line of preserves.
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