Forget the diets, forget the food fads, forget super foods. Focus on your indigenous history. Focus on the food you ate as a child. That is what will heal you, nurture you and make you whole again.
I recently came back from a trip to Italy. And, despite Italian cuisine being my favourite, all I could think of eating once I was back home was my mum’s Dali Thoy with Rice and Upkari. Upkari, Upperi, Poriyal are South Indian words for a simple vegetable stir-fry garnished with coconut. In Chitrapur Saraswat Cuisine, we make upkari with any vegetable – Parasbi or French beans, Tendli or Ivy Gourd and Cashew, Cabbage, Cauliflower.
Here in Dubai, we get most vegetables throughout the year – and beans is one of them. I pick them only when they are bright green, sweet and crisp. I love to pair any upkari with a spicy dal – whether it is Dali Thoy with a lot of chillies, Sambhar or even Amti (more on that later) and rice.
Any upkari is simple to make – a little oil, tempering with red chillies, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing and curry leaves. Put in the vegetable, saute on a medium flame, add salt and cook for a bit – I like to retain the colour on my vegetables and leave them a little crispy. When its all done, add fresh grated coconut and serve! Delicious!