I’ve always loved entertaining friends. I adore creating big, elaborate dinners, complete with wine, dessert and good conversation. Even after I started eating mostly raw foods, I still used to cook up vegan dishes for my omnivorous friends, unsure of what they might think of the raw eats. But as I got more into the raw lifestyle and mastered more and more gourmet raw recipes, I started testing them out at dinner parties. And guess what? My friends love the raw cuisine! When you think about it, what’s not to love? Fresh ingredients, crisp flavours, and all of this without the after-dinner heaviness that we used to experience after eating a rich, cooked meal.
A few weeks ago, we had some friends over for a delicious Indian-themed feast. We kicked off the evening with Black Sesame Paratha, Spiced Cucumbers, and Mango-Green Papaya Chutney from Matthew Kenney’s Entertaining in the Raw. These were tasty little bites! The paratha (bread) base was my least favourite part — the rounds were made from flax, nuts, zucchini and spices, and they were a little on the bland side, but were better in combination with the cukes and chutney.
Next up on the menu was Biryani with Coconut-Curry Sauce from Sarma Melngailis’ most recent book Living Raw Food. (As a side note, this is totally one of my favourite books — every single recipe is a hit!) The biryani is somewhat complex to make, as it involves turning jicama and other ingredients into the rice, dehydrating some veggies, and blending up a coconut curry sauce. It is totally worth the effort, and was a hit with our dinner guests!
The real star of the evening, as usual, was dessert — a recipe of my own creation. With the Indian theme in mind, I whipped up two kinds of raw ice cream — vanilla chai, and chocolate — sprinkled on a coconut-pistachio-cardamom brittle, and topped off the creation with chocolate sauce. Delicious!! Here are some photos and the recipe.
Vanilla Chai Ice Cream
1 cup cashews
1 cup young coconut meat
3/4 cup strongly brewed chai tea
1/3 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons melted coconut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, or seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon salt
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender untl completely smooth. Chill in the refrigerator, then run through an ice cream maker as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
For chocolate ice cream, replace the chai tea with water, and add 1/4 cup of raw cacao powder. Add extra agave to taste, if desired.
1 cup pistachios
1 cup dried coconut
1/3 cup agave nectar
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Combine ingredients into a food processor until just combined. Spread on dehydrator sheets in a thin layer and dehydrate 8-10 hours, or overnight. Flip onto screens and dehydrate a further 8-10 hours. Break into smaller pieces and dehydrate a few more hours, or until sufficiently brittle.
For the chocolate sauce, I blended up melted coconut oil with raw cacao powder, some agave, and a pinch of sea salt, then poured the sauce on top of the ice cream and brittle. The great thing about using a coconut oil-based chocolate sauce is that it hardens on top of the cold ice cream, just like one of those chocolate-dipped soft serve ice cream cones I used to eat in the summer as a kid!