Thursday, March 13, 2014

Holi Special: Baked Gujiya

Gujiya is undoubtedly a Holi favourite! We'll tell you how to make a healthier version without altering its taste.

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For the dough, you'll need 
  • Wheat flour - 1 cup 
  • All-purpose flour - 1 cup 
  • Ghee - 3 tbsp. 
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Milk- 4 tbsp

For the filling: 

  • Grated coconut - 1 cup
  • Crumbled paneer - 1 cup
  • Raisins - 1/4 cup 
  • Powdered sugar - 1 cup
  • Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp. 
  • Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Nutmeg powder - 1/2 tsp
Method of making

Step 1: Make a soft but tight dough with ghee, water and salt. Keep it aside for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Roast the shredded coconut till it turns brown in colour. Add the crumbled paneer, and mix till it melts.
Step 3: To the above mixture, add powdered sugar and all spice powders. Mix well and let it cool.Step 4: Divide the kneaded dough into small balls and roll each into a small-sized chapati.

Step 5: Place one tbsp. of the mixture at the centre, and seal the edges with milk.Step 6: Once all are made, place them on a baking tray, and put inside a preheated oven.Step 7: Bake at 375 °c for 20 minutes or till they turn golden brown.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Making everyday foods healthier: Pasta

Pasta can be a filling and nourishing meal. It's easy to make and highly adaptable, so you can desi-fy it. 

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How to make it healthy!? 

A one pot meal: 
Add meat, a wide range of vegetables and herbs, lentils, nuts, and some cheese, too. This would make your bowl of pasta a nutrient-rich meal containing carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. A cheesy pasta will give you the extra goodness of calcium. 

Make it fibre rich! 
Just pick the hi-fibre variety from your neighbourhood supermarket. You can choose from a range of multi-grain and whole-wheat varieties. 

Tomatoes, a plenty! 
The classic pasta is made with a rich-tomato sauce base, delicately spiced with herbs. So buy fresh tomatoes to make that sauce. And when cooked and reduced, this tomato sauce is a rich source of an antioxidant called lycopene. We'd recommend that you get lots of this antioxidant if you want to look younger for longer, as it has special anti-ageing properties. Add a dash of olive oil to your pasta to aid lycopene absorption.

Gluten Free?  
For those of you who want to go the gluten free way, pasta can be your friend. Today, many brands make pasta out of brown rice, soya and corn. They taste just as good, too.

Here's the calorie count for some of your favourite pastas:

Pesto Pasta - 618 kcal
Pasta aglio e olio - 653 Kcal
Pasta in tomato sauce - 210 Kcal
Pasta and mushrooms in cream sauce - 255 kcal
Chicken Pasta - 293 Kcal

Friday, March 7, 2014

What's on your plate?

Here's a guide to a healthy eating plate. Make this a part of your daily diet, and gift yourself good health! 

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The healthy eating plate is a good guide to eating well. The goal here is to help you plan well-balanced meals on a daily basis. 
Developed by nutrition experts at the Harvard School Of Public Health, not only is the food colour coded and easy to remember, it also tells us how much of each food group we must be eating. 

Your plate must have: 

Whole Grains: Healthy sources of carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole wheat, barley and millets such as ragi and bajra should make up a quarter of your food plate. These grains are full of fibre and water-soluble vitamins -- important nutrients -- that refined grains such as white rice lack. Reduced blood sugar and bad cholesterol are some other advantages. So switch over to red or brown rice and have whole-wheat and bajra rotis. 

Protein: This body-building and repairing agent is best obtained from sources like fish, poultry, whole and split dals as well as nuts like almonds, walnuts and pistachios. They should occupy ¼th of a healthy eating plate. 
Processed meats in the form of sausages, pepperoni and salami should be avoided as they contain high amounts of the carcinogenic chemical, sodium nitrite.

Vegetables: For optimal health, experts recommend that veggies occupy a majority of your plate. Have them fresh, frozen, cooked or raw, but eat 'em. Include different coloured veggies to reap the goodness of multiple immune-boosting antioxidants. 
Vegetables have anti-cancer properties and help lower blood pressure, too. 

Fruits: Rich in beta-carotene (a red-orange pigment found in veggies and fruits), vitamin C and minerals like potassium and phosphorus, including a range of easonal and citrus fruits in your everyday diet is the best way to nourish your body with natural goodness. Shakes, fruit salads and yogurt smoothies are fun ways to include fruits in your every day life. The next time you are craving something sweet, pick up your favourite fruit. It will help satisfy that craving for something sweet. 

Healthy Oils: Avoid vanaspati and dalda, as they are artificially manufactured, and are full of artery-clogging trans-fats. Natural oils such as gingelly, groundnut, soyabean, ricebran, coconut and sunflower are your best options. Keep a check on your oil intake; it mustn't exceed 15- 20 gms a day. 

Fluids: Water not only has zero calories, it is also the best way to hydrate your body. Ditch those sugary colas and packaged juices if you don't want to add on unnecessary calories. For other healthy sources of fluid, freshly squeezed juice, tender coconut water and up to 2 glasses of milk are fine.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Holi Special: Kanji

This spiced drink is a popular beverage served on Holi. It has the goodness of fermented veggies and is known to be an effective appetiser.

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  • Carrots, peeled and cut into pieces – 2 large
  • Beetroot, peeled and cut into pieces – 1
  • Turnip – ½ cup (optional)
  • Cauliflower - ½ cup (optional)
  • Black salt – ½ tsp.
  • Hing – a pinch
  • Salt for taste
  • Coarsely ground mustard seeds – 2 ½ tbsp.
  • Chili powder – ½ tsp.
  • Warm water – 3 litres

Method of making

Step 1: Peel carrots, beets and turnip and cut into thin slices. Cut cauliflower into small florets.  
Step 2: Take an earthenware pot or a glass jar with warm water, and add veggies and spices.
Step 3: Mix well, and tie a muslin cloth around the pot/jar and leave in a warm place.
Step 4: Allow it to ferment. Check on it a few times every day, and give it a good stir.
Step 5: As it ferments it will develop a dark colour and a tangy, sour taste.

If you don’t like to be interrupted by the veggies, as you drink it – strain and discard them when it’s done. But we'd say, keep them -- fermented veggies are great for your health!
Refrigerate and serve cold before a meal. Consume as a drink, or soak baked vadas and serve.

Image for representation purpose only

Monday, February 24, 2014

Healthy recipe: Baked Fish

Fish is good for you, and you know that. Ditch the fried variety and make this healthier but equally tastier one.

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1 whole fish like pomfret, tilapia ( cleaned and descaled)
Green chillies- 3
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp.
Fresh pepper powder- 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp.
Lemon juice - 1 tsp.
Curry leaves- a handful
Salt- to taste
Coconut milk- 1 tbsp

For the marinade

  • Kashmiri chilly powder - 1/2 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder- 1 big pinch.
  • Pepper: 1 big pinch.
  • Lime juice: 1/2 tsp 
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp.
  • Coconut milk - 1 tsp

Method of making: 

Step 1:
Make a marinade by mixing all the spices with a little water to make a smooth paste

Step 2:
Ensure that the fish is evenly coated in the marinade for about 20 minutes

Step 3: Make a paste with the remaining ingredients and rub it well on the fish on both sides. Make grooves with a knife for better taste

Step 4: Place the fish on a baking tray of a pre heated oven and bake for 20 minutes till it is well cooked.

Step 5:
Serve hot with some steamed rice.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Nutrition powerhouse: Poha

Healthy and delicious, here's why poha makes for an excellent meal.

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Poha (rice flakes) is one of those Indian dishes that can be had for breakfast, lunch or even as a snack. Made from flattened or beaten rice, it can be made in a jiffy and is highly nutritious, too.

How is it made:
Rice is parboiled, flattened and dried to make the thin flakes. All over India, poha is made in many different ways making it a very versatile dish. Here we look at the many nutrition benefits of the humble poha.

Benefits of eating poha
Loaded with Iron: Eating poha regularly can prevent iron deficiency, anemia. Children as well as pregnant and lactating women can benefit greatly by eating a plate of it. Softened poha is also a great way to add dietary iron when an infant is weaned. Sufficient iron helps the body to produce hemoglobin, that carries oxygen to body cells and also builds immunity. Adding a dash of lime to poha, helps improve iron absorption greatly.

A complete meal: Mixed vegetables can be added to rice flakes to make it rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Add sprouts, soya nuggets, peanuts and even boiled eggs to make a well balanced and high-protein meal out of it. It makes a tasty and healthy packed lunch for toddlers, as well as office goers. Opt for beaten rice made from brown rice for an extra health boost.
Check out, Recipe: Baked poha

Carbohydrates are available in plenty in a bowl of poha. This makes it the perfect breakfast option to give you energy to kick-start your day. It can be eaten for a snack too in place of unhealthy, processed junk like chips and biscuits.

It's gluten free: If you are gluten intolerant, then replace wheat and barley with poha. It has very low amounts of gluten and can safely be eaten without causing symptoms like bloating and stomach pain. It's so versatile, it can made in a variety of ways to break monotony. Each state in India has it's own version of this dish.

Calorie count:

Vegetable Poha: 244 Kcal

Peanut Poha: 589 Kcal

Huli Avalakki: 222 Kcal

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cheap and Healthy: how to eat healthy on a budget

You don't have to spend a lot of money in your quest to eating healthy. Here are some tips to keep your grocery bill under check. 

Eat Seasonal
Fruits and vegetables when eaten seasonally have many benefits. They are not stored or transported for long periods, and hence have a maximum concentration of nutrients. And since they available in plenty, they are cheaper; just simple demand vs. supply . 
Buy Local
Why buy imported apples when you can get perfectly good ones at your local bazaar. Buying locally available fruits (papaya, amla, guava) and vegetables (greens and gourds), will not only boost health but also not pinch your pockets.

Buy Unbranded Grocery 
Unbranded anything doesn't have to be of poorer quality. They are plenty of grocery stores that offer good quality flour, rice, lentils or oats, that are high in quality and not branded. And these are likely to cost a little less than the branded stuff. 

Don't Shop Hungry
Avoid shopping on an empty stomach: This will help curb impulse buying and save you money.

Make your own Curd, up your Savings! 
Many of us end up shelling a few tens of rupees buying curd every day. Learn to make your own curd, and save big bucks at the end of the month. And it's actually really easy to make.

Ditch Processed Food
Whole foods are healthier and easier on the pocket than processed foods. Having idli for breakfast is any day cheaper that a bowl of cornflakes.

Buy and Cook in Bulk
Buying in bulk is likely to get you discounted rates, and will also save you multiple trips to the store. You can do this with grains and flours, and even fruits and veggies. Also, consider cooking large batches whenever you can. Freezing the extras is a smart way to save money and time.