By Venu Bendapudi
egetable pesarattu is
made mostly of whole
mung in addition to a
small quantity of oats,
barley and flax seeds.
Using additional grains
is one thing but getting vegetables in and blending them along
with the batter adds a whole new
dimension. Vegetables do not
have a binding agent in them.
When you blend them with the
batter and make a crêpe, it tends
to break into pieces if you’re not
careful. It is important therefore
to not only add the right amount
of vegetables, but also to blend
them the right way to make sure
that the batter has the right con-
The process here is fairly sim-
ple once you have set the right
quantities aside. The first step of
course is to soak the grains
(whole mung beans, oats, barley,
rice) and flax seeds for about six
to eight hours. Soaking not only
renders the nutrients in grains
more digestible and more easily
assimilated by our bodies but
also softens the grains to ensure
you have a well-blended batter. I
usually blend the chillies, ginger
and vegetables first into a very
fine paste and then add the
soaked grains, as you can see
from the picture on the right. If
the vegetables are not blended
really fine you’ll end up with
some large pieces floating
around in the batter and this is
not good if you want to make a
— Published with permission from
www.healthy-indian.com, a resource
for healthy recipes and lifestyle tips.
2/3 cup whole green
1 tablespoon brown rice
1/8 cup barley
1/8 cup oats (steel cut/groats)
1 teaspoon flax seeds
1/4 cup baby spinach, washed
1/4 cup carrots, peeled
1 tablespoon grated
3 green chilli peppers,
1/2 teaspoon low-sodium
1. Collect all grains (other than
2. Gather all vegetables in a
3. Soak all grains in a container for six to eight hours.
Water level should be at least
2 inches over the grains.
4. Grind in mixer/grinder
(preferably one from India
like Preethi) until you have
a fine batter of reasonable
5. Heat pan on medium flame
for about five minutes. With the
back of a rounded ladle, spread
the batter thin and even. Add
few drops of oil all around the
7. Alternatively, spread sooji
upma and serve as upma
pesarattu, a popular Andhra
8. Once the bottom is well-cooked, fold pesarattu in
half and serve with coconut
6. Sprinkle onions and
cumin seeds in the center
and cook for about five to
eight minutes on medium
For a healthy, satisfying crepe, pour it on Batter Up!
A Day in the Life of a Food Vendor
ing man, cheeks flushed, in a
wrinkled blue suit). Kati roll
with veggies (a construction
worker in dusty boots, whistling
the theme song to “Frasier”).
On a good day, after paying
the driver and the garage, and
splitting the cash proceeds with
his colleagues, Ahmed earns
about $125. For a cart owner,
that sum is not unusual.
He could make more, working
longer hours alone, but he
Ahmed likes to tell the cautionary tale of a pushcart vendor
who made the best food — so
good he once netted $3,000 in
one day. That vendor worked
alone, and worked himself so
hard, Ahmed says, that he got
sick. Now he can’t take care of
anyone and has no one to take
care of him.
Ahmed’s son, Kowshik, who
dreams of working for NASA,
will be a high school senior in
the fall, and Ahmed wants all his
children to go to college. “But
now I cannot get sick,” Ahmed
says, “and I cannot stop work-
At 3: 30 p.m., Ahmed’s shift
ends and he walks back to the
subway; his partner will stay
until the cart closes at 8.
By now, Ahmed’s feet are
sore and his back is aching.
Lately, his back is always aching.
The F train is delayed, but
Ahmed, who likes to keep up on
all the latest memes, and has
been deprived of internet access
for the duration of his shift,
doesn’t mind. He passes this
time catching up on funny
Three times, he watches a
2015 clip of a 102-year-old
woman who intends to blow out
her birthday candles but instead
sends her false teeth flying out
onto the cake.
People on the platform turn
to stare as Ahmed belly-laughs,
nearly weeping with delight. On
the train, he learns that a preschool has accepted his daughter.
By 5, he is home, where he
makes a few phone calls and
takes a shower. Akter, who
works part time as a cashier at a
nearby Key Food, is also home.
She makes a pot of coffee and
warms up the food that Ahmed’s
mother cooked earlier: beef
curry, potatoes in broth, shred-
ded bitter melon sautéed with
onions, a cucumber and tomato
salad, and two kinds of rice.
It’s a feast, set up on the narrow table in the living room,
where a soap opera plays on TV.
As they catch up, Karen climbs
onto the sofa to snuggle, and
Akter fixes her hair.
After work on Fridays,Ahmed
goes to mosque, but not today.
In just a few hours, it will be
time to watch the news, turn in
and start it all again.
Every year, they save money
so Akter can take the children to
visit relatives in Dhaka in the
But last week, she suggested
that they plan a Caribbean cruise
for the six of them instead.
Ahmed didn’t think they could
afford that kind of vacation, not
to mention so much time away
from his cart.
But riding the E train today,
peeling potatoes, changing out
the empty propane tank, he’d
been thinking about it all the
What would it be like to go on
a cruise, he wondered. To board
a big ship with your family, to
vacation as they do in the
movies, to fall asleep at night
without setting an alarm.
—The New York Times
Continued from page 38
INDIA ABROAD May 26, 2017 39 HEALTH