Licensed to Serve


For those who missed the grand announcement on Instagram (@rangadevidasi) and Facebook, this past Friday Govinda's Catering passed our inspection from the NC Department of Agriculture. This is a hugely important step. It is one thing to sell meals as we have been doing, "among friends." Yet, I would not be able to approach any coffee house, tea house, farmers' market, or any other food establishment about carrying our delectables, without having that written piece of paper in my hand, ensuring that I have been duly inspected by the Dept. of Agriculture, who feels comfortable with having me sell food to the public. I have been working since November on all the steps and sub-steps to this one project. "Whew!" I repeat, "Whew!" Now that we have captured the elusive license, we are looking to have a reason to use it! Please let me know if you know of anyone who is looking to have a wedding, business luncheon, dinner party, etc. catered in the near future. I will give you all notice as soon as we have a confirmed location/time for Govinda's next public event. Very special thanks to Lee Aldridge for the wonderful head shot and to Angela Kennedy for her fantastic job putting the ad together! If you are interested in either of these ladies' work, let me know and I will be glad to connect you.

This Week's Menu:

Entree #1 - Green Split Pea Dal with Spinach and Coconut Milk One of the last times I made this dal, I had a Fijian theme to the menu. There is no particular theme this week, other than the menu is a collection of things I really wanted to make. Since I brought up the topic of Fiji though, I suppose it does fit in with this eclectic menu. Fiji is comprised of people from a variety of backgrounds, and there is a cross-pollination, so to speak, of ideas, language, customs, and of course, cuisine. The girmitiyas (indentured servants) brought to Fiji by the British, originally came from every part of the Indian subcontinent. I can't say exactly where in India this dal recipe comes from, yet it has several classic elements - spinach, coconut milk, hearty, creamy green split peas, and mildly flavored kalonji seeds - that make it universally loved. *GF, soy-free

(photo ?)

Entree #2 - Sprouted Bean Usal I found this recipe on the same menu back in January with the Mustard-roasted Potatoes. I remembered how utterly yumlicious it has come out each time I have made it, and couldn't resist making it again. Usal is typically eaten as a breakfast food in the Indian state of Maharastra. Being that it is summer time here (very like weather in India), it seems reasonable to cook lighter meals, and what could be lighter (bean-wise) than sprouted beans? The last time we made this, I had sprouted a mix of beans a few days before cooking. It was so satisfying to grow my own little sprouts, knowing that the finished Usal would be bursting with nutrition and life from those little guys. Bean sprouts are delicious by themselves, so just imagine how when you lightly cook and marinate them in a spicy gravy of tomato and coconut (and oh!, the coconut), the deliciousness factor rises to epic proportions! *GF, soy-free

(photo cookieshutter.blogspot.com)

Entree #3 - Lanka (Jackfruit Pakoras in Tomato Gravy) Last week when we made Arroz con Jackfruit, I was telling the kitchen team about some of the wonderful ways in which the Indo-Fijians cook with jackfruit. One of the most memorable dishes I ever had is called Lanka. I have no idea if the name stems from any connection or reference to Sri Lanka. There is no telling with a place like Fiji. Because of the simultaneously diverse nature of the peoples who settled there and the isolated remoteness of the islands, there exists a mish-mashed time-capsulization of traditions, cultural elements and names for things. Kind of hard to explain; maybe you just have to experience it. At any rate, the country is relatively untouched by the global internet culture. Case in point - nowhere could I find a recipe or photo of Lanka. The closest things I found were the recipes for Jackfruit kofta (photo below) and jackfruit pakoras. Fijian style Lanka is made by first cooking jackfruit pakoras, then cooking tomatoes down into a curry-spiced gravy. And then (and this is the best part) you add the pakoras to the sauce, where they soak up all that tomatoey flavor and become succulent and outrageously tasty. This is a completely vegetarian dish, I swear - but try feeding it to someone without telling them what it is, and I guarantee they will insist that it is not! *GF, soy-free

(photo easyfoodsmith.com)

Side Dishes: Brown Rice - $1/serving (1 cup) Tamarind Quinoa - $3.50/serving (1 cup) Tamarind rice is one of my favorite things to pair with Green Split Pea dal. Where the dal is mild and creamy, the tamarind is tangy and a little spicy, laced with the flavors of curry and cilantro leaves. Since several of our customers shy away from basmati and other varieties of white rice, I have begun making this with quinoa. Apparently this idea had already been thought of many times, as there were plenty of photos and recipes for tamarind quinoa on the internet. South American grain, meet South Indian spicing - fusion cuisine at its best! *GF, soy-free, contains peanuts

(photo thesizzlingpan.com)

Mustard Roasted Potatoes -$6/lb. As I was going back through my files looking for a link for one of this week’s menus, I happened upon the menu in January where I first included these potatoes. This recipe is so lovely, so crunchy, so mustardy that I cannot believe we have not made them for so long! Olive oil + lemon + rosemary + potatoes = awesomeness. We know that already. What you might not know is how exponentially enhanced the flavor becomes when you add some spicy mustard to the mix. You don’t want to miss these tasty taters this time around! *GF, soy-free

(photo allrecipes.com)

Chocolate Tofu "Creme" Pie - $4/slice, $20/pie. It is back! I have made this chocolate pie so many times, that I wonder if you all are tired of it. But then again I remember how incredibly good it is that I have been known to eat some of the leftovers for breakfast. Because it has coconut cream, tofu, dates, and walnuts in it, in addition to the chocolate, I can easily rationalize that it is a perfectly respectable morning food. It must be higher in nutrition than your average colorfully packaged commercial breakfast cereal, right?! *GF

(photo minimalistbaker.com)

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