Hello again PPA family.
This is the third and final part of the Healthy Eating series which I started during Navratri. Now you may be wondering why such a gap between my last post and this one. Well, being January and the start of a new year, what better way to kick it off then with the right, healthy start!
But before we start I would like to thank everyone for their support in writing these articles, especially Deenita Pattni and Hasmita Zaveri who made a special effort to sample the recipes and indeed try their hand at some healthy farar cooking for themselves.
For those of you who have indulged in some delicious, festive favourites, I’m sure you’re looking forward to getting back to some better, healthy eating!!
Now, we already discussed how fasting cleanses and detoxifies your body so as a follow up, now is the time to start eating healthy. Your body is most receptive to nutrients after fasting (so having indulged over Christmas, may be worth considering a week of fasting or detoxing before you follow some of the ideas here.
In my healthy eating guide, the Indian way, everyday, we will be looking at the foods in our cupboards in a bit more detail to bring to you some ideas on how you can make some of your everyday classics even more healthy and nutritious.
Porridge Oats: Yes I’m afraid this boring old staple is at the top of my list! Oats are an excellent source of slow release carbohydrates that work fantastically in fuelling you for the day ahead. They also contain protein keeping you fuller for longer and the fibre in oats is known to help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. But we will be doing more than just cooking them in the microwave and eating them as tasteless gloop!
If you like a cold refreshing breakfast in the morning then you can create a wonderful variety of breakfasts with Bircher Muesli (featured in part 2). Simply replace the coconut in the recipe with a scoopful of porridge oats, mix and match with your fruits and nuts and refrigerate till you’re ready to eat.
Fancy a hot hearty breakfast? My Ba used to make ‘Kesar’ Porridge for my Dada, it was regular porridge oats made as per the pack instructions with chopped Pistachio’s, Almonds and few strands of Saffron added while cooking. Saffron is rich in antioxidants as well as a source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Top with a banana or any other fruit of your choice. Instead of sugar to sweeten, I would recommend either Honey or ‘Gor’. Did you know our humble sweet gor (jaggery) helps regulate our digestive system? It’s also iron-rich and a source of slow release energy too so wont spike your blood sugar levels as much as regular white sugar.
Enriched Thepla: I make these at least once a week and they are a firm hit amongst the kids and the elders!
Makes around 12- 15 thepla:
1 Cup normal Rotli flour – preferable wholemeal
1 Cup Porridge Oats
1/4 Cup Finely grated Dudhi
1/4 Cup Finely Grated carrots
Handful of finely chopped Methi or baby spinach
1 Tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive oil + some extra for cooking
1 Tbsp. of natural yogurt
1 Tsp. of Tumeric
Salt and Chillies to taste
Feel free to add your own spices here too, including garlic etc. You can also replace some of the wholemeal flour with Bajra or Besan.
Start by adding all your dry ingredients to a big bowl, so Oats, Flour spices and salt..Add the oil and well into the dry ingredients. Mix in your grated and chopped vegetables. Add your yogurt in a spoon at a time until you reach a consistency that will allow you to roll them out.
These Thepla are slightly thicker than regular ones and need to be tava cooked on a medium flame to allow all the veggies to lightly cook. Brush them lightly with a touch of oil whilst cooking and enjoy with a cup of chai or some natural yogurt, or indeed your favourate pickle
We quite often use left over rice for and various dishes which is fine, no one wants to waste food. But here are some variations to make them healthier.
To cook with Bulgar wheat (lapsee):
Soak in enough boiling water to cover it completely and leave aside. After 10 or 15 minutes you should be able to fluff it with a fork giving you a cous cous style consistency.
To cook with Quinoa:
Wash your Quinoa thoroughly with around 4 changes of water. You need to add 2 parts of boiling water to 1 part of quinoa, bring to a boil and allow it to simmer for around 20 minutes till the Quinoa has gained size and become transparent. Depending on what you are cooking you can add salt to taste or leave it plain while cooks
Below are some humble recipes that are delicious as well as nutritious using either Bulgar Wheat or Quinoa:
- 1/4 cup lapsee preferably fine but any will work – cook as per my previous instructions
- 1/4 Besan
- 1/4 Oats
- Finely Grated/Chopped Veggies of your choice – Try Dudhi, Cabbage, Cauliflour, Spinach, Methi Carrots, Peas.
- Minced Garlic – to taste
- Salt, Tumeric and Chillies to taste
- 1 Tbs of yogurt
- 1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
Mix all the ingredients together, you should need to add water to this as the all the natural juices from the veggies will provide the moisture you need to hold these together but if it still feels dry then feel free to add some warm water a spoon at a time.
Steam for 20 minutes and allow it cool.
Cut it into disks and stir fry in no more than 2 teaspoons of oil, Cumin, Mustard and sesame seeds and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Love Dhokri nu shak? Add these steamed & chopped muthya to any one of your green veggie curries for a delicious healthy Undhiyu type dish.
- 1 Cup Cooked Quinoa as per my previous instructions
- 1/2 Cup Besan, dry roasted in a non-stick pan till the colour slightly changes and keep aside
- 1 Cup Veggies of your choice – I use crushed peas, grated carrot, finely chopped onion and peppers and sweetcorn
- Salt to Taste
- Season with your choice of flavour, you can use Taco Seasoning, Oregano, Garam Masala – Be adventurous and feel free to mix the flavours around
- Crushed Garlic to taste
- Coriander – optional
- A little oil to fry
Combine all of the above ingredients. You should not need to add any other moisture as the veggies will help in keeping the mixture moist. However if it does feel dry I recommend adding a teaspoon of water at a time till the mix is at a consistency you can mould.
Shape into burgers using your hands, alternatively if you find this tricky then you can cut a ziplock bag, add the mixture between the two layers of plastic and shape the burgers without getting too messy.
Heat half a teaspoon of oil in a non-stick pan and add the burgers and cook on a medium flame. Add another half teaspoon of oil to the top of the burger before flipping to cook the other side. Cook until both sides are deep golden brown.
Serve on a Brown Bun with lots of Salad and sweet potato wedges – peel and chop sweet potato into chips, brush a small amount of oil, season with smoked paprika, garlic or your choice of seasoning. Enjoy this meal ultimate comfort food without the guilt.
Other uses for Quinoa and Bulgar Wheat?
Enjoy them as they are with your favourate curry or daal
Use both a base for delicious salads, combine with flavoursome ingredients such as tomato, feta cheese, red onion, chick peas and olives.
Quinoa is a balance of protein and slow release carbohydrate and Bulgar wheat is rich in fibre add these two ingredients to your diet on a regular basis in place of regular basmati rice which is a source of Carbohydrate with less nutrients.
Those of you who tried the almond cookies will know just how good they were. You can modify the very same recipe from Part 2, replace half of the almond flour with porridge oats and cook in the same way for a healthy cereal cookie or bar.
I hope you have enjoyed our 3 part series and I would love to have your feedback, please feel free to leave your comments below and do let me know if you would like to cover any other aspects of healthy living on iPattni – as I am pleased to say, I have joined the iPattni Content/Web team so look forward to sharing topics of interest
Look forward to writing to you all soon J