Tortillas

This is not a recipe for making your own tortillas. Instead, it’s instructions for how to find tortillas and treat them well. Seek out someone who makes tortillas as a matter of the heart; it will make your life rich beyond words. There’s something holding this place in many cultures on earth – paratha in India, rice in Japan, tortilla in Mexico. If they’re mediocre, your focus turns to what’s carried by them. But when a master makes tortillas, it’s undeniable who’s in charge. Mi Tierra is a great East Coast option and they ship once a week. If you’re in the middle of America, or need an alternative to corn, try Siete Foods. 
My view is not that it’s impossible for anyone to make them with love. Nature allows for that. I am simply suggesting to learn by eating, and to honor the source.

Roasted Radish, Spinach & Yam Tortillas

2 bunches pink radish, cleaned and halved
12 pearl onions or baby red onions, peeled
2 yams (garnet or white)
1 pound spinach, cleaned and chopped
avocado oil
pink salt

garnish:
avocado, thinly sliced
cilantro sprouts or chopped cilantro leaves
2 radishes, julienne

Bake the yams whole at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Toss the radishes and pearl onions in a generous pour of oil and a heavy pinch of salt. Lay them on a baking tray and put them in the oven below the yams. The tray will catch any drips of sap from the yams as they finish cooking. Keep everything in for another 20 minutes to give time for the onions to caramelize and the radishes to wilt.
Pull the yams out and tear off the skin, being mindful not to burn your fingers. Add the spinach and smash it together. This will gently cook the leaves. Pull the radishes and onions and add them to the same bowl. Smoosh everything together and season with salt to your liking.
You can fill your choice of tortillas and warm them in the same oven for ~10 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully transfer them to a platter and garnish generously. The avocado and herbs will lend freshness and the sauce brings spice.

This combination of vegetables makes a great filling because there’s balance and variety in taste and texture. The yams fill the space and hold the things in place as you eat. It’s also a little on the sweet / meaty side which gives a great palette for enjoying homemade hot sauce.

If you endeavor to make the hot sauce, please heed our warning to wear gloves at each stage. Also, don’t touch your face. Don’t have a taste. Don’t let your children or your beloved animal friends anywhere near this. It’s not at all funny.

Hot Sauce for Beginners

2 red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded
1 pound habanero peppers, stemmed
1 head of garlic, peeled
2 T pink salt
1/2 C water
1/2 C apple cider vinegar

Again, before starting this process and at each stage, wear disposable gloves.
In a food processor, pulse to combine both kinds of peppers, garlic, salt and water. You aren’t aiming for a puree, just a somewhat evenly chopped mixture.
Transfer to a perfectly clean (read: sanitized) bowl or jar. Cover with cheesecloth and rest where it won’t be disturbed by anyone — you or your cat — for 24 hours.
Add the vinegar and stir to combine. Cover again with cheesecloth and leave alone for one week. The importance of this stage cannot be overstated. The sauce is fermenting. It needs time to off-gas.
Set up a bowl with a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Use a blender to puree the sauce. Pour through the cloth lined sieve and squeeze out the pulp.
Pour into a jar or glass bottle and seal.
Discard pulp and cheesecloth. Carefully rinse all your tools under a slow stream of water and put everything through the dishwasher if possible.

You can try this recipe with sweet peppers only, or mostly sweet with a very few for heat. It’s totally different, of course, but also delicious.

Our windowsill library is rooted by one book: The Secrets of Natural Health by Dr. Shyam Singha. He is the most hilarious, wise, effective healer by way of food as medicine. You really must meet him, and we can only hope he would enjoy the sensical stretch of tying his life’s work to this page. He is not a Mexican man, or a tortilla maker, but he is a proponent of joy, function, and freedom.

The origin of “doctor” is “teacher.” Not [someone] that takes away the pain. So if you can’t teach, you are only celebrating somebody’s pain. Or suppressing somebody’s pain… Or replacing somebody’s pain… You haven’t enabled them to not create the pain.
. . . Once in a while a phenomenon happens, an Einstein phenomenon. And when he [Einstein] is dying, you know what he said? He said, “Oh God, if I am ever born again, make me a plumber, not a scientist,” Because he created so much misery, by giving knowledge into the hands of fools, who are more destructive than constructive.
-excerpted from an interview with Dr. Daniel Redwood, 1995
Dr. Shyam Singha

The grandma influence and caretaker / chef many of you know and love as inseparable from Mandarava is Elie. She recounts evening meal and satsang in Shyam’s house in the late 1990’s.

 

Dr. Shyam Singha was a Master Acupuncturist, Osteopath, Homeopath and Chef. He was the Founder and Chairman of the Natural Therapeutics Research Trust Ltd. of London England, a Registered Charity since 1969. As a practicing Holistic Physician of thirty-five years and director of four clinics in England, Dr. Singha was one of the most sought out healers of his time.

His students have included Dr. J.R. Worsley, the renowned English acupuncturist and educator, and Dr. James Gordon, the holistic physician and author from Washington, D.C. who serves on the faculty of the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Shyam Singha was born in Kashmir of Kashmiri and Russian blood on August 2nd 1920. His background was deeply religious. His mother was a great devotee of Sant Kirpal Singh (originator of Ruhani Satsang), himself a frequent visitor to the small Ashram she had built. By the age of twelve, Shyam had read the great Indian epics, including the Mahabharata and Ramayana and his passion for reading all the great teachings of the different disciplines continued throughout his life.

This background nurtured in Shyam Singha a deep and lasting search for inner truth and led him to sit with the great spiritual masters, Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, Gurdjief, Guru Ram Das, Swami Vishnu Devanada, Krishnamurti and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, amongst others. Most gurus gave Dr. Singha the name of Bodhisattva (whose function is to lead others onto the path of spiritual enlightenment, postponing his own entrance to Nirvana).

After graduating from Patna University and gaining his BSc. in Aeronautical Engineering, Shyam Singha joined the Air Force. He came to England in 1953, where he worked as an aeronautical engineer. He then switched to accountancy and became chief accountant to a large international firm. He then turned to Naturopathy and Osteopathy, studying at the British College. He then went to Hong Kong, China, Japan and Taiwan and studied with the great guru of acupuncture, Dr Wn Wei Ping.

Thereafter he opened the first British School of Acupuncture for the British Acupuncture Association.

He was a painter, a philosopher, a poet, a chef extraordinaire. And he drew on all these gifts in his capacity as a physician. He died on April 30th 2000.
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