Saturday, August 20, 2011

Do It Indian Style with Warm Flat Bread and Spicy Beans

The thing I love most about being VEGAN (no animal products) is exploring all types of ethnic cuisine. I was raised on a typical American Diet:  fast food, meat, potatoes, hot dogs, boxed mac and cheese, and canned vegetables. When I made the transition to Vegetarian (no meat, but still eating eggs and dairy) many years ago, I had no idea what to eat. I was surrounded by carnivorous family and friends. I had no guide or mentor- I just knew I wanted to be a Vegetarian and was bound and determined to do it- alone if necessary.

After a year of existing on cheese and egg-filled spinach quiche (to make sure I was getting enough protein) and steamed veggies with brown rice, I got so bored. I needed more!

I went to my local library and borrowed Vegetarian cook books.  I had no idea what to cook. All I knew was American and Italian. Now I was experimenting with Indian, Asian, African..... Meat is a luxury or served as a condiment rather than the focus of the meal in those cultures. Most of the time, they exist on a plant-based diet so they have to really work with what they've got and make it good and nourishing. I was like a kid in a candy-store once I discovered Vegetarian ethnic cuisine and every night I tried something new.

That was a long time ago and my diet has since evolved. I no longer eat dairy products- no milk, no eggs, no cheese. I love eating this way. I feel so much better. I feel so clean and healthy. My Vegan diet can get boring if I don't explore and experiment.  It can also be unhealthy if I am not disciplined and careful. Again, I rely heavily on lots of ethnic dishes to keep it exciting and balanced.

That being said, I have a delicious recipe to share: Home-made, Whole-Wheat Flatbread and Spicy Beans. It's delicious, healing, and suprisingly easy to make. The recipe here calls for butter but you can replace it with your favorite Vegan alternative.

This is an Indian (not Native American Indian- India Indian) dish and I love to create the atmosphere to go along with the meal. I light candles, play Indian music, cover my living room coffee table with a brightly colored cloth, and scatter large pillows on the floor around the table to sit on. I place a big bowl filled with the Spicy Beans right in the center of the table and guests are encouraged to use the flatbread to scoop up my glorious concoction- family style. Cooling Cucumber Raita (made with soy yogurt and lots of mint) is served on the side along with lots of fresh tropical fruit and nuts. It's so much fun to eat this way and my friends are always asking when I plan on doing another Cynfully Good Indian Shin-Dig!

Try this recipe. Even if you are not a Vegan or Vegetarian, it's a refreshing change from the same old boring meat and potatoes. If you do it up the Cynfully Good way, your family and friends will love it!

Here's the recipe:

Warm Flat Bread with Spicy Beans

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