I grew up in a pure vegetarian and Vaishnava family. We grew up eating dal (lentils), chawal (plain rice) or roti (griddle cooked whole wheat flour Indian bread) and sabji (variety of vegetables) for most of our meals. In North India most families have a similar food platter in one of their meals. This lunch platter which usually consists of - a variety of dal(lentil/beans) or some related dish which has protein, one dry vegetable preparation, fresh homemade whole wheat flour roti, and plain rice - is made every single day. One can add a variety of salad, papad, raita, chutney to this basic platter as per time, budget and taste.
When we were growing up, we mostly had this food combination for lunch meal. This platter is a perfect balanced diet; it has only about 600 calories. It is a great combination of proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins etc. One can add some fresh yogurt in this platter to add variety and proteins. One can also add some green vegetables with potatoes or can replace potatoes with green vegetables.
This food is not only complete but also easy to make. It takes about 40 minutes from start to finish to make dal, chawal, roti and sabji. Please write to me if you have any questions about planning/ making this food platter.
Even though this food is perfect, delicious, healthy, balanced, low on calories and fulfills all the criteria of a healthy diet, still kids are not too much into it. We live in a western world where kids grew up seeing so many different varieties of food. They just can’t stand DCRS (dal, chawal, roti, sabji) for even two consecutive days. My friend says as soon as her kids get to know that menu is DCRS they would say they are not hungry. My daughter usually fills whatever vegetable is there on the table inside the roti to make a roll. She also mixes dal and chawal with salad to make a combo bowl. Her platter looks quite different even with the same items!
While it has been 15 years since we left India, still the above platter is our most satisfying meal. After a few days of vacation or traveling we just crave for dal, jeera aloo and roti. So try this simple, healthy and balanced food menu and please do share your thoughts.
Happy and healthy cooking,