By Danielle Kutchel
The enterprising women at the Gurdwara Siri Guru Nanak Darbar Officer have created a book full of delicious vegetarian recipes for the community to try during lockdown.
Earlier this year, a group of female volunteers at the temple came together to create a recipe book, called ‘Healthy Veggie Bites’, filled with vegetarian starters, mains and desserts.
The recipes are all simple with clear instructions and easily-accessible ingredients, making it possible for the whole family – even kids – to get in the kitchen and make a meal.
Volunteer Harmeet said the idea for the recipe book was born out of the Gurdwara’s pre-Covid food service for the community.
‘Langar’ is considered a privilege to be involved in for those at the temple.
“All the people, regardless of what cultural background they are, come together and have the meal together and through all this it reinforces the Sikh spirit of inclusion, equality, love and kindness for humanity,” Harmeet explained.
“Because of all these things it has a high significance in our religion.”
When Covid hit, the Officer Gurdwara was heavily involved in delivering free groceries to community members.
The recipe book was a logical extension of that service – by providing the recipes with the groceries, the team hoped to inspire people to get in the kitchen with their families and cook nourishing, delicious meals.
Volunteer Rinkujit said she was “so excited” when the idea of the recipe book was first shared.
“I personally feel that being creative during lockdowns is very important. This project motivated me to be creative and help the community become creative,” she explained.
“I also feel that food connects people, and staying connected and staying positive is really important in these challenging times.”
For her fellow volunteer Manpreet, it was an opportunity to do something she loves – cooking.
She said she gathered tried and tested recipes from her family members to add to the cookbook and share with the community.
Another volunteer, Manmeet, said the process of putting the recipe book together had been an interesting one as she and her colleagues learned the stories behind each family’s recipe or the way in which they had tweaked it to make it their own.
There are even recipes from other cultures, like a simple tzatziki recipe from a Greek friend of Manmeet’s.
She said the book had motivated her to get into the garden and grow some new herbs too.
“It’s more than just recipes that it brings to the table,” Manmeet said.
Harmeet said the creation of the book had been an “enriching experience”.
All the women said they had received positive feedback from colleagues and the wider community as people got stuck into the recipes.
They’re proud to have been part of a project that has provided people with inspiration and an emotional outlet over lockdown – something that has built bridges and created connections during a challenging time.
Around 800 copies of the book have been distributed so far.
‘Healthy Veggie Bites’ is available for download at https://www.sgnd.com.au/ and community members are invited to visit Gurdwara Siri Guru Nanak Darbar Officer after restrictions ease to try more Indian food and learn more about the temple.