How do I convert my kitchen to organic?

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I’m here to share my experience with organic food and how it changed my kitchen!

My kitchen still functions the same with any recipe from any cuisine that I like to cook. The only thing that has changed is that 99% of the ingredients that I use now are sans pesticide. Sounds unbelievable doesn’t it….

There is a lot of information on the internet telling you that organic food is good for you or that there is no proven fact that organic food is more healthier compared to the conventional food. My theory is very simple, if my food is grown artificially or ripened or polished with the stuff that I cannot even pronounce, I prefer to stay away. I like my bottle of peanut butter to taste like peanuts and nothing else. For me, it doesn’t matter if I have to consume my condiments within a certain period of time. I prefer it this way as it gives me more confidence that there has been nothing artificial added to it to make it last long.

I was first introduced to the term ‘organic’ when I was interning in an Architect’s office in Auroville. I used to have my lunch everyday at the solar kitchen where most of the ingredients were grown locally and were organic. As a young individual, I never realised the importance and forgot all about it. In the year 2011, I was reintroduced  to organic produce through Farmer’s Market. This is when I took notice. The first thing that hit me was the taste. The produce were not only fresh but had a sweet, refreshing taste. I started cooking with organic produce and noticed that my cooking tasted of pure ingredients and that I didn’t have to do too much to enhance it. Thus my journey to  learn about different organic ingredients started.

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My approach has been slow but consistent. Organic food is 10-20% higher priced than conventional foods. My theory here is more simple, If I’m cutting down on my one or two bill(s) of eating out, I can buy better quality ingredients for my family.  I first made a note of all the ingredients that we consume at home and narrowed it down to the most consumed first. For example, rice is the most consumed ingredient at home and I changed it to organic first. I gradually made a progress and have converted my kitchen into an organic one over a period of 12 months. Now we eat out less and still save more on groceries than before!!

I eat organic food and I’m not a vegetarian!

It is very difficult to source organic meat. I’m told that there are organic chicken available in some parts of India. I haven’t come across any and I don’t see it available in Mumbai or Bangalore (as a retail product). I do eat fee range chicken or eggs and studies have proven that they contain more nutrition than the injected ones. I have shared more information on free range in my old blog post. I prefer the locally available seasonal fish in comparison to the frozen ones.

Does organic food taste good?

I’ve been asked this question by several people. I hope the pictures convince you that organic food is not boring as it may sound 🙂

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lettuce wraps 1

Asian style lettuce wrap with i2cook’s peanut butter. Click on the image to view recipe.

Millet & sundried banana bread

Crackly dried fruit bread with coconut oil. Click on the image to view recipe.

Do I eat out?

As a blogger, I get invited to a lot of restaurants for tasting. Organic food is a part of my daily diet and I tend to be strict about it at home. However, there are some exclusive restaurants in different parts of the country serving some locally produced and organic food like Tattva in Delhi, Carrots in Bangalore or The Pantry, Birdsong in Mumbai.

Where to buy organic food?

There are a lot of options now from where you can buy organic food. Our online store i2cook is a 100% organic store. There are also stores in different cities which stock fresh organic produce from nearby farms. Cities like Mumbai and Bangalore are holding Farmers market selling organic produce regularly. Esvasa has a good list of stores across India selling organic produce.

Read more….

Debate on organic food

Organic vs. conventional & a chart for fruits/vegetables

Why organic food might be worth all that cost….


Asparagus,Mint & Lemon Risotto

This post has been a long overdue and for some reason I almost forgot about it…..The Risotto is inspired by Jamie Oliver and it’s my first time to try out any of his recipes and I’m glad I did.
To get fresh asparagus in India is a rare thing and I happen to pick them at the Farmer’s Market; fresh, green and also organic.The method for cooking  risotto is almost the same as my previous post Yellow & Red Pepper Risotto apart from the flavouring ofcourse…

1 cup arborio rice
1 cup fresh or canned asparagus, cut into desired length
1cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic clove, minced
1 tbs butter
1tbs olive oil
5 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (can add more if you like)
2tbs  fresh mint leaves
1tbs lemon zest

In the cleaned skillet cook onions in 1tbs remaining butter over moderate heat, stirring until turned light brown, add garlic and onions, cook until soft. If using fresh asparagus, pre boil or if using canned; add them into the skillet and season with salt and pepper.Keep aside
In a saucepan heat broth and keep at a bare simmer or microwave.

Take a non-stick pan (chances of burning the rice is lesser),add olive oil and keep stirring dry rice for several minutes in the oil over medium-high heat until it is golden, but not burnt. This also helps the rice to release the starch later on, and creates a nice nutty flavour.
Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is absorbed.If you are not using wine; you can start adding broth.Add about 1/2 cup simmering broth and cook, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed.
Continue adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, and cooking, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is ‘al dente’, about 20 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and stir in the prepared mixture of onion and asparagus , parmesan cheese, mint, lemon zest,salt and pepper to taste.Serves 2.

My tastebuds: the mint and lemon gives risotto a different and a tangy flavour. I didn’t like the lemon too much and felt that the flavouring was not complete.

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Cindystar.


Farmers Market – Mumbai

This sunday was not a lazy sunday for me….I got up early than the usual, got ready and carried two cloth bags and went striaght to Bandra, National College Square. Why you may ask was the necessity for me to take up such a task on a sunday morning….I couldn’t resist the offer to visit a place, selling only organic products under one roof and directly from the farmers.

Kick start your buying with this nice hand-made paper hats
No question about it
Lovely Red pepper
Gorgeous Purple Cabbage
Fresh Mint
Asparagus - so rare to find fresh ones
Preparation table at one of the stalls
Indonesian Salad with peanut dressing – Gado Gado

There was a food stall serving Indonesian salad, Gado Gado. It is a mixed veggie salad with peanut sauce dressing. The base is mainly peanut butter.The best part about the salad what I noticed around was that,  even the kids enjoyed the veggies….looks like  peanut butter really worked with them.

For me it was a well spent sunday, sourcing out veggies like, cilantro, mint leaves, asparagus, purple cabbage, beetroot, red pepper. I also picked sonamasuri brown rice, sesame oil from Naturally Yours -they are based in Chembur and they deliver free of cost anywhere in Mumbai.

Farmers market is one of a kind in Mumbai, and started first by Kavita Mukhi, an entrepreneur and eco-nutritionist who founded the organic brand Concious Foods. Farmers market is scheduled every sundays from 10am to 4-5pm and updates can be found on their facebook profile. Don’t forget to carry your own bags this sunday. Have a great week.