A stay-at-home mom and busy volunteer, Kaur, 32, lives in Farmingdale with her husband, Preet, 5-year-old son, Sehaj, her in-laws and grandmother-in-law.
What inspires you to cook?
Wanting to have a healthy life inspires me to cook. You can still experiment if you live a plant-based [vegetarian] life. It brings me closer to nature. It is also because of a love for God's creation. If you put an ounce of love in everything, it turns out great.
How do you keep meals interesting?
It is all about the flavors and ingredients you use. I make some sort of sauteed vegetables every day, but keep it interesting by using different spices. I don't use them as a salad or side dish. I also add rice and make a pilaf.
What is your philosophy of cooking?
I try to eat seasonally. I feel good about the farm-to-table concept. It tastes better and feels good. I like to keep things simple and let the taste of the vegetables come through. I use a lot of fresh ginger and garlic, olive oil and coconut oil. And I don't cook things beyond the point of crunchy and crisp. I only cook with olive oil or coconut oil.
Many complain they can't get kids to eat vegetables. How about your son?
He is very good about eating vegetables, and will try any vegetable. He has never questioned why he, we are vegetarians. We stress the importance of a balance between body and soul and also stress the ethical nature of being a vegetarian
What are your favorite vegetables?
Spinach and kale. I always have these two in the refrigerator. I cook with spinach every day. And, I often use kale in smoothies and juices.
What are your favorite tools?
I like a rice cooker. You can make different types of rice and grains. I even take my rice cooker with me when we travel to make dishes in our hotel room when there aren't that many vegetarian options. All you need is water, a few drops of oil, rice or grain and some vegetables, salt and pepper, and you can make a meal. A wok is the other tool, especially with sauteing vegetables. You want something that heats quickly and can hold a lot.
The recipe you picked to feature, is it a favorite one?
I like that it is fairly simple and you can substitute any greens that are in season. You can do the same with the vegetables. You also can add whatever you like or have on hand, mushrooms, peppers . . . You can eat it on its own or add rice, quinoa or other grains for a more substantial meal.
STIR-FRIED CHINESE GREENS
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
10 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
½ pound of any kind of greens, such as baby spinach or baby bok choy
½ head of broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
5 to 6 stalks of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon white or brown sugar
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in ½ cup water
Fresh basil for garnish (optional)
Sesame oil, to taste
1. Heat oil in a wok until hot; add ginger and saute for half a minute. Add garlic and continue to saute until lightly brown.
2. Add greens, broccoli and asparagus. Stir fry for about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, sugar and salt, continue stirring for about 1 minute.
3. Pour in cornstarch-and-water mixture and cook until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
4. If adding fresh basil leaves, do so just before turning off the flame. Finish by drizzling sesame oil on top. Serve hot with steamed white or brown rice. Makes 4 servings.