The apple may have the Biblical advantage, but my bet is on the strawberry. This brilliant-red berry with its intoxicating fragrance and divine taste has the love advantage hands-down. It is juicy, sweet with just the right hint of sassy sour as love should be, it makes a perfect pairing with that other lovers' favorite-- chocolate-- and it even looks like a tiny little heart.
So here is my third Valentine's Day recipe gift to you as we continue our countdown to the big day: Strawberry-Boondi Raita, a perfect accompaniment to the Asparagus and Saffron Biryani and the Pink Lentils with Roasted Mushrooms that I've just shared with you.
Staying with our theme of arousing and heart-healthy foods for our Valentine's Day meal, strawberries have been considered aphrodisiacs since ancient times, and they are nourishing food for the old ticker. Like all berries they are packed with antioxidants and studies show they lower heart-disease risk. How much more perfect can this edible Valentine get?
I know that my raita is a rather counterintuitive use of strawberries-- as a savory side instead of a sweet dessert. But life -- and love-- should be full of pleasant little surprises. And the succulent sweet-sour strawberries are a perfect foil to the slightly spicy crunch of the boondi.
Boondi, if you are not familiar with Indian snacks, are tiny little chickpea-flour balls that are available in clear plastic packets at any Indian grocery store. They make for a delicious snack, but they are also great in raitas where they are often used. Boondi is available both plain and with some masala added, and you can use either in the recipe depending on your taste. I like the hint of spice in this raita.
For the "yogurt" in this recipe-- yogurt is the base of all raitas-- I use my very simple and very delicious tofu yogurt. When I serve this to guests they can never tell the difference. In fact, Desi-- also an omnivore-- prefers this to the regular yogurt.
Next, stay tuned for a gorgeous breakfast to get your Valentine's Day to a raring start.
(Makes eight servings)
For the "yogurt," you need 1 tetrapack of silken tofu (12 oz) + 1/4 cup nondairy milk + juice of 1 lemon + salt to taste.
Blend the ingredients together to a smooth, yogurt-like consistency.
Add to this:
1 tsp crushed, roasted cumin seeds
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1 cup of thinly sliced strawberries.
1 cup boondis
Mix well. Keep in mind that the boondis soften the longer they stand in the yogurt, so if you want the boondis to be crunchy, mix them in right before serving.
Garnish with a couple of strawberry "hearts".