The Art of Nourishment

I recently had the pleasure to co-host another online session of Vegan-Vegetarian Kitchen, produced by Healing Our Earth. Broadcast to a global audience spanning many countries, the aim of Healing Our Earth is to promote happier, healthier and inspired global communities by delivering multi-cultural, online “edutainment”.

The experience could best be described as sharing the art of nourishment. A collaboration of contributors who bring their own experience and knowledge to the screen in an effort to help restore and redefine the idea of nourishment, for ourselves, families and community.

The virtual program filled my home with laughter, insightful conversations, music, and “pop up” sessions led by several talented hosts. Of course, the centerpiece of the program was the food, with an emphasis on “Achieving Good Health Gastronomically”. Our very zealous culinary icons presented their curations from their homes through the magic of technology.

Nourishing Cuisines

Once again, we were transported to different countries to learn about their culture via nourishing cuisine from their kitchens.

From Mauritius Islands, a very charming daddy-daughter duo kicked off the session. Anil Samboo (senior flight purser and chef) and Saivani Samboo (child psychologist and counsellor, artist) presented their delectable Galette Patatas – Sweet Potato Surprise Crescents. The creative dish served ed as a healthy valentine dessert. Utilizing the humble sweet potato, Galette Patatas supports the immune system, is high in fiber, rich in vitamins and promotes memory function.

This staple food of Mauritius featured as the star ingredient. The sweet potato was boiled, mashed, flavored with vanilla and toasted coconut flakes, enhanced with the fragrant cardamom powder, and pocketed into a pastry dough that was shaped into little crescent bites, expertly pleated at the edges, and shallow-fried for service.

I could hear the crunch of the outer pastry, taste the chewiness of the dough with the smoothness and roundedness of the sweet potato filling and breathed in the fragrant spices, inspiring creativity and thought.

This delicacy stirred a lot of contribution from our panel on the versatility and stature of the sweet potato.

Watching the daddy-daughter duo demo generated fond memories. Chinese New Year celebrations with family in Hong Kong, learning the art of Chinese pastry and triumph in mastering the crescent shaped peanut and sesame pockets. An appealing, mirthful segment with collaborative stories had a charming flare.

The Quality of Quinoa

From the UK, Hasmita Solanki led the next segment.  A Risk Management Specialist by day, her passion is advocacy for food health and wellbeing. She meticulously demonstrated her “Spicy Aubergine Roast, Quinoa Congee with Magical Miso Dressing”.


200g quinoa (select color /flavor/texture of personal choice), soaked in lemon, for best results soak overnight, 6 cups of vegetable broth or water.

Miso Dressing: 2 tbsp. miso paste, 4 tsp. sesame oil, 2 tsp. Ginger/Garlic paste, 2 tsp. tahini or crushed sesame seeds, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tsp. rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp. honey or maple syrup.


Soak Quinoa for 2 to 4 hours in water. Drain prior to cooking.

Combine quinoa with 6 cups water or stock.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and let simmer on the lowest setting. 

I like to cook mine for 1 ½ – 2 hours, this can be prepared beforehand (night before).

Miso; While Quinoa is cooking prepare the dressing, mix all ingredients into smooth dressing. Once quinoa is ready, ladle into bowls and top with miso dressing.

Quinoa, known as the super grain, may be hard to digest sometimes. However, Hasmita offered a good tip: presoak the quinoa to rid it of the lectins from this seed. And cook it further down to a softer congee like consistency.

Spicy Aubergine Roast

2 small aubergines 1 tbsp miso 1 tbsp tahini1 tbsp honey maple syrup1 tbsp chili /garlic chopped1 juice of orange.

Garnish: Spring onions, sesame seeds, flaked almonds, chopped coriander, soy sauce (optional).


Mix together miso, tahini, chili garlic puree, honey, and the juice from the orange.

Halve the aubergine lengthways and score the flesh to infuse marinade across both aubergines and set aside for an hour.

Place the aubergines into a hot oven (220°C is ideal) and roast until caramelized, around 20 minutes. Whilst aubergines are roasting finely slice the spring onions.

Serve on platter of quinoa, topped with the roasted aubergine.

Finish by dressing with coriander, spring onion and sesame seeds, almonds, and soya sauce as optional.

Mushrooms – Fatigue Fighter

Mushroom Congee with Mushrooms, Sesame & Ginger Asian Greens, by Alisha Jain, psychology masters graduate, passionate about physical and mental wellbeing.

An ancient Chinese rice-based dish that has a lot of healing benefits for when we may be feeling a bit under the weather and need a little savory comfort food that nourishes the soul. This one is simple yet flavorful, and only requires a few key ingredients. 


2 cups washed short grain rice, 4 cups water, 1 cup mushroom/vegetable broth, 20g ginger, 2-3 green/spring onions, 100g mushrooms of choice (try choosing medicinal mushrooms like shiitake, oyster, lions’ mane, etc.). 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp sesame oil 


Wash rice thoroughly 3-5 times until water is clear to remove excess starch. 

Add rice to a large pot with the mushroom broth for medicinal purposes and umami flavor, along with water. Stir well and turn on the heat to medium. 

Add pieces of ginger and spring onion to flavor along with anti-inflammatory properties. 

Allow the congee to cook on medium heat for about 30 mins or slow cook for 1.5-2hrs.

Rice should be overcooked, breaking down to release additional starches to thicken up to a thin porridge-like consistency. Add chopped/torn mushrooms of choice, cover, turn off heat, let sit for 20 mins until the mushrooms are tender and pliable. 

To serve, garnish with sesame oil for healthy fats and an enhanced nutty flavor, top with fresh green/spring onions. 

Sesame and Ginger Asian Greens:

A side dish of dark greens to brighten up your meal, one that is packed with medicinal properties and healthy goodness. This one packs a punch of flavor as well. 


100g Asian greens (choi sum, gai lan, bok choy) 20g ginger, 1 spring onion, 1 tsp. sesame paste, 1 tsp. agave syrup/sweetener or choice 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil 1/4 cup water 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. black sesame seeds for garnish. 


Chop the Asian greens and start preparing the sauce. In a mortar and pestle, pound some ginger and spring onion, then transfer to a small bowl. Then add some sesame paste, agave syrup, and a little bit of warm water to thin out the sauce. 

To a hot frying pan/wok, add some sesame oil and throw in the greens and cook until slightly charred. 

Once charred, add sauce, and stir until greens are evenly coated.

Cook for 2 minutes and turn the heat off. Drizzle with some toasted sesame oil for extra flavor, garnish with black sesame seeds. 

Alisha’s in-depth knowledge, particularly on medicinal mushrooms is quite impressive. She had demonstrated her skills in this area and then some, in the last episode in January.

Her easy-going demos as she keeps the audience engaged, articulating the methodology of ingredient usage and cooking temperatures are deliberated with calm and poise.  Her ability to listen to the questions put forth and to be able to communicate effectively and simultaneously are much to be admired. I enjoy engaging with her and find it refreshing how she keeps her recipes simple and seasonal.

Squash – A Nourishing Antioxidant

“Warm Me up Butternut Squash Soup”, by Seema Bhatia, Culinarian, Ayurvedic inspired nutrition and farm-to-table, practicing food as medicine.

Ingredients for soup:
Olive oil
Mirepoix of 1 small red onion, 1 stalk celery, 1 small carrot all finely chopped

1 small potato finely chopped, to act as a thickener
Slow Roasted; ½ small butternut squash, 1 bulb garlic, 1 tomato halved

¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder, Himalayan pink salt & cracked black pepper to taste

½ cup vegetable stock, Enough coconut milk to blend to desired consistency

Ingredients for infused truffle oil:

¼ cup truffle oil

5 whole sprigs of fresh coriander

5 fresh basil leaves

1 fresh green chili finely chopped (optional)


In a heavy bottomed pot heat oil on medium flame. Add mirepoix and sauté in the onion, till fragrant and tender.Add potato & sauté, add squash, garlic, tomato and cinnamon  to coat evenly. Pour in vegetable stock, bring to a gentle simmer (2-3 minutes). Cool and blend with enough coconut milk to desired consistency.

Return to pan and whilst slowly heating the soup, season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

In a small blender just whizz up all the ingredients of the truffle oil together.

Plate up, pour over a tablespoon of the infused oil.

Garnish and serve.


Zest of one lemon and roasted almond flakes.

Seema, producer for Vegan Vegetarian Kitchen, is an excellent mentor. She is founder of Pranayum holistic health and beauty, a coach and speaker on ‘The Art of Living’. Her tireless and seamless work in all of her areas of seva is denoted in her joy for caring for the people around her.

Her wide range of knowledge of all spices and their multi usage in the consumption of teas and beauty treatments are phenomenal. Seema’s captivating smile and encouraging words are her gifts to those whom she works with.

Ecuadorian Explosion

We were propelled towards our next segment with much vigor to welcome, a guru, who guided us on a mesmerizing tour of the Ecuadorian culture and the nutritional values of its local foods.

The final segment featured a “Culinary Exploration in Ecuador” with Dame Rev. Dr. Wai-Ching Lee, a Holistic Health Counselor and Culinary Health Consultant in Holistic Nutrition.

We were taken on a virtual tour of the beautiful “Tosa Blue Mountain Sanctuary”.

The calm and beauty of this hideaway spoke volumes. One could sense the quiet and peace echoed during the virtual tour.

Manuel Ugalde, the Cultural Liaison showcased his new product line.

Accompanied by Chef Jose, who kindly provided the terminology and translation on the uses of some of the many exotic produce that is grown in Ecuador, Dr. Wai-Ching Lee proceeded to take us on this wild journey of Ecuadorian fruits, holding up each item for our perusal.

Many of the tropical fruits are known to be low in calories, rich in antioxidants and vitamins, excellent source for well-being and digestive tract:

Tomate (tree tomato/tomarillo, savory taste used for salsas).

Sapote (Tuna Fruit (similarity to prickly pear, cactus variety, sweet tastes).

Babaco (Mountain papaya, sweet & sour notes).

Casava (yuca, versatile root)

Achochas (hedgehog, looks like a bitter gourd, tastes like cucumber, good in soups),

Guayaba (like guava, sweet & seedy).

Naranjilla (looks like an orange, sweet and sour notes, most popular, hint of rhubarb). Granadilla & Taxo similar fruit but different shapes (passion fruit, fleshly and refreshing). Guanabana (healing properties). Cherimoya (looks like custard apple).

Co-host Sharron Rose, M.A. President of Sacred Mysteries Production, an artist, with a passion for cooking, also spent time with us.

There was also special guest appearance by Dr. Ju Lee Tay from Johor Bahru, who provided insightful notes on the benefits of some of the produce and spices.

Enriching a Global Community

By providing these weekly programs, Healing Our Earth is able to reach communities around the globe that otherwise might not receive the enrichment and motivation to better themselves and their communities.

Healing Our Earth is celebrating their second anniversary in April. Although it was founded as a way to support communities virtually during the pandemic, there has been exponential growth in followers and partners globally. Their strong system of support from a seva community is handling the spotlight most effectively through transparency, integrity, and inclusivity.

I am grateful to Nil Kumar and his team of experts behind the scenes, who work incessantly to produce each program (116 to date) and present it exceptionally well to their global community.

To learn more about the recipes provided above, please visit You can also view the programs on their YouTube channel.

Hope you enjoy the read, would love your comments and any questions you may have, thank you!

Leave a Reply

Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.