A balanced breakfast

A: If you are planning to put in a hard day’s work, it is worth starting the day on a right foot or in this case a hearty breakfast. In most modern cities this has, however, become quite unfashionable. It is more customary to dash to a coffee shop to pick up a croissant and coffee before landing up in office. So a balanced breakfast doesn’t fit in with the modern lifestyle. The closest substitute to a healthy breakfast is what the Swiss have designed for us – a bowl of muesli with some dried fruits thrown in along with some compote, yogurt or milk.

There are some lovely breakfast options available from around the world though. I fondly remember the idlis in Mangalore or the dosa in Chennai. Then there are those artistic spreads in hotels in France, the warm waffles in Belgium or the pancakes in the US. The adventurous take on the breakfast in Scotland is something totally out of this world – kedgeree or smoked kippers are absolutely hearty meals to start the day. And for a naughty start, there is the porridge with Baileys.

We need some simple sugars (not refined sugar, but sugar from fruits), some complex carbohydrates which release energy slowly (wholemeal bread or cereal) and some protein (milk, egg, cheese or meat) to keep the sugar levels steady and energy levels high. That’s what we expect from a balanced breakfast. It is also given that this should be tasty.

N’s home baked breads are usually quite wholesome – made of slow burning carbohydrates like spelt, rye or wholemeal flour. So I have been looking to add the two other essentials – protein and simple sugar to compliment the breakfast bread. During my short one year stint in Los Angeles I was really inspired by the general fitness of the people I met. This was probably the first time in my life I was in a city where physical fitness and passion for healthy food was so high on everyone’s mind. I have never seen so many fruit juice bars in any other city I visited. Simple sugars are not just in fruits but in carrots as well and that’s why carrot juice is one of the ingredients in the awesome juices freshly made in the fruit juice bars.

The torkari is quite simple and made from very fresh ingredients. So it is best to use fresh carrots straight from the garden or the freshest ones you can buy. Carrots sold as part of the whole plant are better as they retain the sweetness more than the ones that have been cleaned and processed. Also the organic ones are much smaller in size and taste much better. For the potato choose a less starchy variety. I use Charlotte potatoes. You need some potatoes that will still retain their shape after cooked. So the baking potatoes are not good for this dish. Shallots or red onions work well for this dish. Here’s the recipe for 4 portions.

N: I heartily recommend this breakfast. I am one satisfied customer :-).

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250 gm potatoes, cut into 2 cm x 1 cm batons

250 gm carrots, cut into 2 cm x 1 cm batons

50 ml vegetable oil

2 tsp black mustard seeds

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tomatoes chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp garam masala

50 ml water

Sprinkle some salt in the water in a container and take it to boiling point. Insert the cut potatoes carefully without splashing and cook in boiling water for 10 minutes. Take the potatoes out and set aside. Then cook the carrots in the same water for 3 minutes so that they are tender but still crunchy. Take it out and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the mustard seeds till they start to pop. Then add the chopped onion and fry for around 5 minutes in medium heat till they are soft. Add the chilli powder and turmeric and gently mix them with the onion. Next add the potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, salt, garam masala and water and cook for 3-5 minutes till the tomatoes are jammy.

Serve it with a generous slice of spelt, granary or wholemeal bread and a fried egg.

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