“Although the raw food movement hasn't quite gathered momentum in Jakarta, you can still easily create delicious raw and/or vegetarian food at home,” says Petty Elliott.
Raw and vegetarian food has gained much popularity in recent years, most notably among the health conscious and adventurous eaters of the US and Europe. Although there is a large community here in Jakarta favouring vegetarian or raw diets for health or religion reasons, there still aren't many restaurants offering this kind of cuisine.
There are many innovative ways of enjoying raw food; from raw fish to vegetables, such as sashimi, ceviche (a Peruvian dish of raw fish marinated in a tangy broth of citrus juices, chilli and salt), ikan gohu (Manadonese or Moluccas style sashimi) salad, rujak (tropical fruit salad), raw gado-gado (mixed vegetables with raw peanut sauce, chilies with tamarind or lime juice) and raw soup, but it is quite challenging to create raw and also vegetarian food at the same time.
By no means am I dedicated to raw and vegetarian food, but I do think it’s beneficial to enjoy raw and vegetarian food from time to time as it is easy to prepare and healthy. Serious raw food followers believe that the human body is not designed to eat cooked food but they do permit heating the food to below 40 degrees C (to avoid enzymes disrupting the ingredients).
A couple of weeks ago, I gave a cooking demonstration and created around 10 different dishes using local ingredients for a very special event, the pre-event of the 7th Women’s International Conference to be held in Bali from 4 to 5th April, organized by International Association of Human Value and The Art of Living Foundation. I am sharing with you three simples and delicious raw and vegetarian recipes from the event. Enjoy!
3 Colours of Raw Pasta with Spicy Coriander and Cashew Pesto
This is very easy to make and full of flavour. You can make the pesto a day or two in advance. Just remember, if you use extra virgin coconut oil, the pesto will freeze below 25˚C. You can also use grape seed oil or canola oil. It is not a good idea to use extra virgin olive oil for this pesto as coriander and extra virgin olive oil do not go well together in this case.
150 gr of raw carrots, young carrots preferably
200 gr zucchini
100 gr cucumber
100 gr jicama (bengkoang)
Juice of 1 or 2 limes
Salt and black pepper to taste
For the pesto
A large bunch of coriander, around 120gr including the stalk and leaves, (Washed, dried with kitchen towel and chopped roughly)
50 gr cashew nuts, lightly dry roasted in the pan (under 40˚C heat).
1-2 cloves of garlic
4 long curly green chilies (add more 3-4 bird eye chilies for a spicier result)
150 ml coconut or canola oil
2 tablespoons of lime juice
Salt and black pepper to season
For the pesto
1. Roast the cashew nuts at a very low heat. This will take around 20 minutes and the colour won’t turn brown.
2. Simply add all the ingredients into a strong blender or thermo mix. Process the mixture for 1-2 minutes and you will have the texture of pesto.
3. Add the lime juice and mix well. Season with salt and black pepper. Check the final seasoning. Add salt if necessary.
4. Transfer the pesto into a bowl and set aside.
5. Prepare the vegetables. Wash all vegetables and dry with kitchen towel. Peel the carrots and jicama.
6. Cut the cucumber in half and scoop out the seeds with a small spoon and discard.
7. Using a “julienne” grater, grate each of the vegetables into long strands.
8. Season the vegetables with salt, black pepper and lime juice. Mix well and divide into 4-6 portions and place into serving plates.
9. Drizzle each portion generously with pesto. Serve immediately.