BalanceMayIssue2017 - 45

Food

SPICE OF LIFE
Thali
plate´┐Ż for
sharing

Mira Manek's
mission is to
bring you healthy
Indian food
words by S C A R L E T T RU S S ELL

M

ost of us associate
Indian cuisine with

creamy, spicy tikka
masalas or calorie-laden kormas
from our local takeaway. But
Mira Manek wants to shake up
perceptions with her vegetarian,
superfood-laden and ultrahealthy Indian recipes.
'The north region of India is
known for rich, indulgent and
heavy food, which is what most
of the restaurants in Britain
serve,' says Mira, whose book,
Saffron Soul, is out now. 'But
there are so many variations. I'm
from Gujarat, where the dishes
are largely vegetarian and lighter.'
Mira, 33, grew up in northwest London feasting on dishes
freshly prepared by her mother,
aunt and grandmother. It wasn't
until her late-20s, while living

PHOTOGRPAHY: NASSIMA ROTHACKER

in Dubai, that Mira developed
her own cooking skills. 'When
I moved away from home, I
fell into the trap of obsessive
fad-dieting. I skipped meals,
thinking snacking was better.'
Mira's light bulb moment came
on a work trip to India. 'I was in a
place full of fresh ingredients but
was busy eating popcorn.'
In Saffron Soul, Mira puts
a fresh spin on dishes. Think
spiced tea, porridge with saffron,
plus salads, with zingy cumin
and ground coriander.

May 2017 BALANCE

45



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