Recipe & Food Styling | Healthy Burritos with Brown Rice – Dreams are the Tiny Seeds..
‘Whenever you have a dream inside your heart, never let it go cause dreams are the tiny seeds, from which beautiful tomorrow grows.’ reading this proverb left me reminiscing about the good old times.
The thrill of getting employed, striving for power, reaching high-income bracket and standing on your own, right after the college is hard to explain. Yes, twenty years back life revolved more around making money and gratifying the ego.
And then, in between the hustle and bustle of life, the seed to plant a tree of my dreams was lost somewhere.
But no regrets…it feels good that I had been there (employed) and done that (earned). As they say ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’
Some days back I received a call from a very loving seventy plus paternal aunt of mine, after ages. She inquired about my family and about how am I keeping myself busy.
“I write a blog and take food styling assignments for which I often go out for shoots.” I replied to her query.
“What…working…but why do ‘you’ need to go for work now, you are well settled in life. Why can’t you just relax, look after your children, house and enjoy life. Is everything alright?”. I could feel the concern in her voice.
“Oh, no aunt, its not only for seeking comfort and money that I work for, it’s the joy of achievement, for finding purpose of life, creativity….Huh….I would have continued till she interrupted me “Your definition of life is beyond my comprehension, ok..will talk to you later…there is someone on the door”.…snap..and the line got cut.
Poor lady, I doubt she will ever call me again
What started off as a simple pastime of cooking and writing recipes for Lite Bite few years back has matured into taking food styling assignments and classes for college students.
I am almost 9 shoots (food and product styling) old and still standing on the shores….yes, there’s a ocean out there and I have just started to build a boat….long way to go…….
The very first restaurant styling was a good learning experience and I was quite comfortable taking up the next restaurant styling shoot for a popular Asian cuisine restaurant in Chennai.
I was really apprehensive taking up a food styling project for non-veg food. But then as my hubby said, food is food, and if you have taken your passion to a professional level, you should be ready to face any challenge. And as long as you are not supposed to eat or taste what you style…you should not be wary of anything.
Food styling for a restaurant is quite different from that of a branded company or product shoot. Most of the times the shoot is done in the restaurant and the food to be shot is prepared by the chefs. We need to work upon the theme suggested by the restaurant management and select props accordingly.
I have to admit that it was the very first time I ever saw or touched a mussel or king crab in life but I was comfortable styling the same.
The next styling shoot for a very popular brand of South India – Aachi Group was a different experience altogether. The shoot was for 9 varieties of Aachi pickles.
The people who are directly involved in FMCG Ad shoots are company representative, Ad agency media person, professional photographer and the stylist. Any photograph shot during the shoot is to be passed through all these filters before it is finalized.
The concern person from the Ad agency sent the layouts to be followed for the images. The background used was white, as all the images are to be used for advertising purpose.
Hunt for fresh vegetables and other props started a day before the shoot. I was keen on getting the leaves for each of the vegetables used in the shoot. It was difficult to get leaves of turmeric, tomato and citron (narthangai), thanks to a friend who sourced it for me from his farm house.
The pictures are hazy and very grainy, as these are clicked with my point and shoot camera from a far distance while the shoot was in progress.
Final images are not yet released from the Aachi shoot, henec could not share the same here.
Healthy Vegetarian Burrito or Kati Roll
The feeling of apprehension which used to linger before every shoot about how I will manage my home and profession without compromising the quality time is no more.
During most of the days of shoot I make sure there is enough ready-to-eat munchies and food such as semi-cooked chapattis, potato filling, dips, boiled beans, cooked brown rice and bowlful of Dosa batter (rice & lentil crepes) in my pantry.
I feel less stressed. Now that my family has adjusted to the sudden unannounced long hours of work. Both my children enjoy cooking food with the help of their father when I am out for a shoot.
Such small helps help me relax amid frenetic lifestyle of a food stylist
Most of the days during a shoot I prepare dinner, pack in air tight containers and refrigerate. Burritos or Kati rolls was what I prepared for children during the last shoot.
To me Burrito is just another fancy name given to our chapatti rolls. Just that our indigenous green chutney is replaced with a more modern Salsa and the Makki ki rotis (cornmeal flat breads) are now called as wraps or Tortillas.
Well, whatever be it, Burritos or Kati roll…a chapatti with any other name would taste as good….and as long as it makes your meal a delight to eat….what’s there in a name
Six large Tortilla wraps of cornmeal chapattis were semi cooked and packed in a zip-lock bag. I refrigerated small containers each of cooked brown rice, boiled and sauteed kidney beans and bell pepper salsa. It became easy for children and hubby to just reheat the semi cooked Tortilla wraps and place all the fillings according to their choice.
Depending upon the filling you use to make Burritos, it can make a complete meal in itself. Wholegrain wraps, beans, brown rice, vegetable salsa, herbs and spices…what more could you ask for.
What you need to make Burritos;
- 4 burritos wrap
- 1 cup of Black/Kidney beans
- 1 cup cooked Brown rice
- 1/2 cup Salsa
- A few Jalapenos
- 2 tbsp. Mexican/India spice mix
- Vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber, onion, salad leaves)
Here are the 6 steps and recipes you need to follow to make a filling and healthy Burrito.
1. Burrito wraps or cornmeal chapattis;
Nothing tastes better than a homemade Tortilla or cornmeal chapattis fresh from oven or tawa. For all those who are used to rolling chapattis day in and out, making Tortillas is a child’ play.
a). For cornmeal and wheat Tortilla, try this recipe of homemade Tortilla.
b). For making all-purpose flour Tortillas try this recipe here.
c). For cornmeal Tortilla try this recipe here.
2. Roasted red Bell Pepper Salsa;
a). Here is the recipe for Bell Pepper Salsa.
b). You can even try any of these fillings here.
3. Quick Kidney beans;
- 1 cup boiled Kidney beans (rajma)
- 1 onion
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. vinegar
- 2 pearls of garlic
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp red chilly powder
- 1/2 tsp. Garam masala powder
- Salt as desired
- 1 tbsp. oil
Method; Wash and boil kidney beans in a pressure cooker till done. Cool and slightly mash the kidney beans. Chop onion and tomatoes.
Heat oil in a wok and add chopped onion, tomatoes and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add cooked Kidney beans, vinegar (I used Apple cider), rest of the ingredients and sauté for another 1 minute.
Cool and use the filling for making Burritos.
You can try this spicy Kidney bean curry for Burrito recipe.
4. Indian Spice mix;
- 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
- 2 tsp. coriander seeds
- 2 dry red chilly
- 2 garlic pearls
- 1 tsp. black peppercorn
- 1/2 tsp. aniseed (saunf)
- 1 tsp. oregano powder
Method; Heat a thick bottomed wok and dry roast cumin, pepper and coriander seeds till they turn golden brown in colour. Add dry red chilly, aniseed, cardamom pods, garlic pearl and roast for a few seconds.
Place all the ingredients into a mortar and pound with a pestle into coarse powder.
This spice mix is different from Mexican spice mix which is normally used in making Burritos. My Indian palate is more attuned to aniseed and peppercorn (kali mirch) flavors and I could not help avoiding the same in making this spice mix for Burritos.
5. Brown rice;
- 1 cup Brown rice
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp. crushed black pepper
- 1-2 cardamom pods
- Salt as per taste
Method; Boil water, add salt, cardamom pods, pepper and rice in it. Cook till the rice is done. I used a particular variety of brown rice (Daawat Brown Rice) which takes less time to cook than other brown rice varieties.
6. Assembling the Burrito Wraps;
Heat a girdle griddle and slightly warm each Tortilla wrap. Brush a little oil inside each Tortilla.
Slice tomatoes, onion and cucumber into thin rounds or cubes.
Place a large salad leaf on Tortilla and a few slices of vegetables over it to make a bed for the filling.
Add a ladle of cooked brown rice and pour a few tablespoon of salsa over it.
Add 2-3 tablespoons of beans over the vegetable & rice bed and sprinkle Indian spice mix over it. Place a few slices of Jalapeno peppers and fold the Tortilla wrap tightly.
Serve warm with shredded cheese if you wish.
- Larger the Tortilla wrap easier it is to tightly wrap the filling.
- Warm the Tortillas slightly before wrapping, it makes it easy to roll.
- Keep the filling dry, wet filling will make the burritos become soggy.
- Baking powder added in Tortilla wrap recipe gives fluffiness to it.
- Make salsa with fresh Avocado and tomato for the filling.