CHAAT OF MOONG SPROUTS AND DEVANAGARE BENNE DOSA… Go for them!

Meet Neeno Kaur and Peter Singh: Making retirement count for something in Goa, making aquaponics farming fashionable for a sustainable retired lifestyle in an urban home setting!

BY TARA NARAYAN

Eating is Fun / Eating is Yuck! – A variety food column

IT’S been quite a week with me eating away like crazy. I would have spent more time at Darryl D’Souza’s the New Earth Summit taking place at the Panjim Convention Centre but all I could do was drop in and out for reasons best known to me. I’m restless and to sit and listen for long hours to one speaker after another right through the day — I cannot do it, no matter how good the speakers, and most all the 30 something speakers had something worth listening and taking note of. I guess it was too much of a good thing for me to absorb in one go.
Alternate health talk is all over the place these days and it’s practically oozing out of my ears! One of these days I think I’ll go and learn acupressure if nothing else to do something with the tail end of my life in the boondocks …mercifully, alongside the summit there was an interesting alternate lifestyle market of things fresh and organic at the summit and I spent some there checking out the fresh moong sprout chaat (excellent except there was quite a bit size stone in my order and I could have broken a tooth on it!), cupcakes of whole wheat flour and chocolate, Vaishali Sood’s HKG sourdough breads, Anya’s “pizza corners” (100% raw vegan and gluten free ingredients and nut-seed-spice bars), fruit salads, the range of Bragz home-made aperitifs or wines of jambul, caju, beetroot, rice, love apple, ginger, grape, moong, wheat, apple.
There were also eco-friendly (meaning non-chemical) household products for healthier homes like Seville’s “mitti cool” clay vessels for cooking, they’re very good I’m told and one should only cook in them! I told Seville I’ve quite some earthen pots but I hardly cook in them. She told me to start cooking, what am I waiting for? Well, there’s a movement going encouraging you to carry your own water bottle and the Ecoworld non-plastic, non-toxic bottles were beautiful but I always worry about how to wash them out, especially the copper ones. I like my glass water bottles, especially those with old fashioned soda water bottle marble tops if you know what I mean. I have so many glass bottles, you may come and take some from me.
Women’s sanitation is a big thing after the film Akshay Kumar’s `Pad Man’ film and Vaishali Chauhan’s Eco Femme washable cloth pads are real value for money for one may recycle them, Vaishali explained to me that one may wash them out and put them in the washing machine, “but do dry them out in the sun for sunlight is the ultimate disinfectant!” I’d say they’re better than any factory produced sanitary pads/tampons but not for lazy women who like to use and throw.
If you like the Himalayan range of Ayurveda-based products you may also want to look into the Sankalpa range of Naturopathy and Ayurveda based “healthy life” nutraceuticals as they are called nowadays — complementary “unicellular food.” Herbal medicines are driven by the thought that food supplements or super foods help sort out medical disorders with better nutritional inputs. Manish Paliwal, speaking on global peace and harmony projects at the summit was here and according to him their company is driven by “trisutra’s ahara, vihara, vichara philosophy.”
Somewhere along the way I met the interesting fellow Vikram Singh Atwal, he thought me how to say, “I love you, I am sorry, forgive me, thank you!” Looks like a whole lot of young generation is relocating to Goa for a less stressful lifestyle. Then why am I feeling so stressed out in Goa for I have been here for almost 20 years now?!
THEN meet Peter Singh and Neeno Kaur, a Sikh couple retired in Goa, who practice a most sustainable lifestyle, whereby they’ve set up an aquaponics project in their home at Dona Paula and says Peter, “We’re growing our own organic vegetables, fruit and fish…and now there’s more left over for us to give away or market!”
But the earnest duo would like to teach others how to do similar set-ups whereby they could grow their own organic food. Hey, he’s breeding chonak in his tanks and this aquaponics sounds quite interesting. It’s a system whereby the nutrient “waste” from growing veggies recycles to the fish to grow big and fat…no formalin, my friends, harvest your own fish! One starts small scale just to meet one’s own needs but then it’s also a great way to spread the message of being self-sufficient in some ways and especially when it comes to what one is putting in one’s mouth these times of so much adulteration and conning in the food business where commerce is the operative word. I must look up Peter and Neeno anew, a most engaging couple putting their retired lifestyles to useful purpose for the larger good of reaping good health and Goa!
All this and much more I’ll keep for another time. I must say the New Earth Summit has cheered me up a lot! If more folk to take organic farming in small and big ways there’s hope that soon preventive healthcare will automatically come into play in our life, and we may live happily and healthily ever after…of course one may first have to do some spring, summer, autumn or winter cleaning of the terribly jaded or cynical mindset. For the older I get the more I’m convinced that all diseases of the body, heart and soul begin in the mind and if the mind starts despairing and dying, what is there to live for? The thought alone makes me feel very ancient!
WHICH reminds me I’ve got another reason for cheering up this week. Lately the eating out scene has become so dismal, but this was before I discovered a place in town doing Devanagare bene dosa — these lovely golden soft dosa (south Indian pancakes of the very best kind) come dotted with loni or fresh white butter and taste divine…delicately hot one may savour a meal of them with some potato palya on the side. Palya is sort of non-spicy potato mash of the very best kind. I feel like going out to this place every day to check out Devanagare benne dosa…before I tell you more about where to go get them!
Devanagare is reportedly a place in central Karnataka where the dosa originated, a speciality dosa, you may find it at only two places in Panaji town, oh very ordinary somewhat hole-in-the-places but the menu is more honest and more pocket-friendly. Get some real filter coffee here too.
I think I’ll hug this place all for myself for some time, I am not telling you, I’m not telling you for love or for money! Okay, only for money, big money. Do you know that many restaurants and eateries in town are now CCTV-monitored, so you’re under surveillance and for all you know someone may be secretly watching you eat…am not sure if I like this or not! Maybe whoever the boss is enjoys watching people eat or keeping an eye on whether his staff is working, sleeping or whatever else that is not nice.

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