The pretty and pleasant looking green (at times purple) leafy vegetable-cabbage, needs no introduction. Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C along with Vitamin B6, Vitamin B2 & Vitamin K. It is also a great source of manganese, dietary fiber, folate & copper.Since cabbage is high in fiber, it provides good roughage making it a great remedy for constipation & other digestion related problems. The presence of beta-carotene helps in maintaining eye health and delaying cataract formation. Lets look at some interesting ways to enjoy more cabbage in our diets.
Raita is one of the most popular accompaniments or side dish served along with Indian meals. For those of you who are not very closely familiar with the Indian cuisine, raita is a yoghurt (curd) based preparation (prepared in sweet / salty forms) and served along with the main course.Raitas are extremely cooling and refreshing and therefore very popular in summers when the mercury levels are on the rise. Though all year around, raitas are served in Indian households with spicy food. The cooling properties help in balancing out the heat emanating from spices and meats and hence they are always served with dishes such as pulao and biryani.There’s a raita to go along with almost every kind of meal. Lets have a look at some recipes of this yogurt preparation, which will definitely add that zing to your meals. The first standard step is to keep a bowl of whisked yogurt ready and add fresh vegetables, fruits & select herbs/seasonings.
Honey popularly known as liquid gold, has many health benefits. Research says honey contains antioxidants that help prevent cancer, reduce gastro-intestinal disorders & has anti-bacterial & anti- fungal properties. External application of honey helps in healing minor cuts & burns too.Honey is extensively used in baking but the versatile golden good can be used to add a magical touch to many recipes. Try & buy honey in its real & pure form as often one finds adulterated versions in the market. Lets look at some easy recipes that can be made delicious with a touch of honey.
We Indians love our pickles. Pickles (called ACHAR in Hindi) have been an integral part of our meals. We have savored them with parathas, enjoyed them with plain dal rice, licked off generous amounts from the containers with pooris or sometimes just had them along with plain curd – rice.We all have our favorite family recipes consisting of delectable pickle our mums and grand mums make seasonally. So yes, pickles occupy a special place in our hearts apart from our kitchens.While the process of making some pickles can be long drawn, there are some very “easy to make” pickles. Lets look at some easy vegetarian pickle recipes to tingle our taste buds.
Spinach commonly known as Palak, is one of the most popular leafy vegetable. From being an active ingredient in daily cooking at homes to featuring as a culinary delight in exotic menus, spinach is a versatile green. Apart from its rich colour, spinach is widely known for being a powerhouse of nutrients. Spinach is high in niacin, zinc, protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. It is low in fat and even lower in cholesterol.Studies have also shown that spinach contains nutrients that help in prevention of cancer, asthma, lowering of blood pressure, improving bone, skin & hair health. Now that’s what we call a powerhouse of good nutrition. Lets check some delicious ways to get your family to eat more of this ‘Magic Green’.
More & more people are being diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency. A fat soluble vitamin, deficiency of vitamin D leads to risk of developing bone abnormalities & lower immunity levels. Vitamin D has several important functions like regulating calcium absorption in the system. This vitamin also plays an important role in regulating mood & fighting depression.Though our bodies produce vitamin D when directly exposed to sunlight, certain foods can also help us get vitamin D when included in our diets. Let look at some easy delicious ways of getting more of this “sunshine vitamin”.
A simmering pot of dal (lentils) in Indian kitchens is a common sight. A staple dish across Indian households, dal is a favored source of protein for vegetarians. Though every Indian kitchen has its own favorite dal preparation, there are many ways to prepare dals. Dals are made differently across homes & can range from being spicy & sweet to extremely hot depending on regional influences.Usually, a dal recipe requires the dal to be boiled to a stew like consistency & many a times vegetables are added along with Indian spices like turmeric powder, coriander powder & garlic or ginger. A tempering is added towards the end to finish the preparation & lend smokey flavors. Lets look at some delicious Indian dal preparations.
Highly versatile, smoothies can be made with a variety of fruits & vegetables. A great way of adding nutrition to our diets, smoothies also make a great beverage during summers. Many avoid smoothies as often restaurants serve sugar laden versions made with packaged juices & flavoring agents. Some don’t like smoothies as they are often made with milk.A healthy smoothie is a real thing & we would love you to try these delightful smoothies made with nutritious fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, calcium rich yogurt, coconut milk & superfoods. Add or alter ingredients as per personal taste to enjoy a real treat loaded with health benefits this summer. Smoothies are great in between meals when hunger pangs beckon & suit every mood.
From being a staple food item in many homes to being used as a trencher (absorbent plate) in middle ages, the journey of bread has been an interesting one. In India, when bread came from Goa, it was known as Pao. Pao was initially made with whole wheat as no one used maida (refined flour) during those days. Bakers across North of India, than started making other varieties & soon the humble bread was used widely in street food items.Though many instantly think of sandwiches, there are many others delicious recipes one can make with bread. Lets look at some such delicious dishes.
Phool Makhana- puffed lotus seeds, also known as fox nuts are commonly used during fasting rituals across India. The starchy white seeds of a plant called Euryale Fox are puffed like popcorn after removing the outer membrane. Phool Makhana have been used in traditional Chinese medicine extensively & also find an important place in Ayurveda for its various health benefits.Easily available across Indian markets, Phool Makhana are low in fat & sodium and high in carbohydrates, making them an ideal snack. They are also a good source of protein, fiber & essential nutrients like magnesium, potassium & iron. Phool Makhana are used to make Makhane ki Kheer during fasting & a delicious Makhana curry for main course. Many enjoy roasted Phool Makhana as a snack. Lets look at some of the health benefits of including Phool Makhana in our diets.
Rich in Vitamin C, lemons infuse a zingy taste when added to anything! Hot water infused with lemon juice is a popular secret of many for beautiful skin & improved digestion. Research also says that the citric acid present in lemons may help prevent kidney stones & lemon water provides hydration during hot summer days.We all reach for a chilled glass of lemon water during summers, but there is so much more that can be done with this juicy & tangy fruit. The outer aromatic skin (zest) is often added to cakes & other desserts to add flavor whereas the juice can be used to make a delicious salad dressing that can easily replace vinegar. Lets look at some tasty things to make with lemons this summer.
Local herbs & spices are being re-discovered & are being celebrated across Indian kitchens. Recipes are being developed to expand the culinary uses of local produce to widen their appeal. Many health conscious consumers are re-discovering local ingredients as are not only loaded with health benefits but also help you to connect with your environment. Till now, primarily used in falooda & milkshake, Sabja seeds (sweet basil seeds) are being talked about for their health benefits.Not to be confused with the much celebrated super food- Chia seeds, Sabja seeds are seeds of sweet basil & also known as tukhmaria in India. When soaked in water, Sabja seeds become gelatinous & swell in size. The sweet basil plant, native to Asia is known in Ayurveda for many medicinal & health benefits. The seeds have no distinct taste & can be easily added to a variety of dishes to enhance flavors plus they are relatively cheaper than Chia seeds. Lets look at some health benefits of including Sabja seeds in our diets. Do check with your doctor/dietitian before consuming.
Running towards the fridge and pulling out food items cold enough to handle the heat woes is one of the many things we do during the summers. One among these cold treats is the good old, utterly delicious Indian Kulfis that come in many flavors. Kulfi is a popular cold treat, not only in the Indian sub continent but has also gained fame across Europe, Unites States of America, Australia and South East Asia.Kulfis are creamy, delicious, satisfying, comforting and extremely mouth watering. Not only is kulfi a favorite choice of dessert post meals at home but is also a huge favorite at Indian parties, weddings and other large functions with friends & family. Lets look at some must try kulfi recipes.
We rejoice all “happy” occasions of our life with something sweet. We merrily cut fancy cakes on Birthdays/ Anniversaries or bring home a box of laddoos on days when we celebrate small and big victories. At times we promise children and ourselves something sweet at the accomplishment of a task or a job well done. At times we just have some “meetha” to feel good and up our mood, incase we are feeling dull and down.Desserts are good friends, if like any other food items, they are consumed wisely. As much as summers bring in bright, crisp days, they also bring along with them a host of seasonal fruits. So if you wish to enjoy some summer delights in a sweetened form, here are some very mouth watering and delicious recipes made with summer fruits.
The sweltering heat in the summers can drain anyone who is not sitting in the comforts of an air – conditioned room. Too much exposure to heat can tire a person mentally as much as it drains them physically. While its time to sit back and enjoy the crispness of sunny days, the heat waves also bring along with them their own sets of challenges like – sunburn, heat strokes, exhaustion, dehydration, prickly heat and many more.Rescue yourself from the relentless heat with these delicious foods that will help boost your energy levels this summer. Here are some foods that can help improve your stamina & maintain energy levels on a hot day.
Unless one has popped out of a snow capped world and is seeking the sun desperately, in all probability one is likely to grumble about the heat and rising temperatures during the on going summers. Since weather conditions is something nobody can do much about, at least we can take some easy precautions & keep ourselves hydrated in this extremely harsh heat.The common perception is to drink good amount of water to keep up the hydration levels. But not too many people try taking some help from food items as well, which are high on water content. Let’s have a look at how you ‘can eat your water’ with these easy recipes.
Summers call for consumption of some chilled coolers – basically beverages which will help us combat the rising mercury levels. Many of us love enjoying a glass of India’s favorite drink – THE LASSI. Lassi (a thicker form of buttermilk) is a yoghurt based drink made with water, some spices and fruits for added flavor. It can be relished salted or sweet depending on how you want it. Unlike fizzy drinks and packaged juices, lassi is healthy & packed with health benefits. Yoghurt, the main ingredient used in making lassi, prevents bloating, constipation, reduces stomach acidity, improves immunity and aids digestion. Yogurt is also rich in calcium, proteins, carbohydrates, Vitamin A, B and riboflavin.There are many interesting ways in which lassi can be made at home. Lets look at how we can cool down with this delicious beverage.
Juicy refreshing watermelons are a summer staple. A slice of watermelon is a summer treat we all love relishing. This succulent fruit can be juiced, made into ice cold slush & popsicles or just savored on its own. Make the most of the summer season by making a variety of delectable dishes with this hydrating fruit.Watermelons are low in calories, fat & sodium which makes them a great summer snack. Watermelons also contain Vitamin A, B6, antioxidants & amino acids. Research says that the high level of Lycopene found in watermelons may help lower risk of heart diseases & the fiber present aids digestion. Lets see some cool ways to cook with watermelon this summer.
Punjabis are known for their lavish food menus. Whether one is invited for a home cooked Punjabi meal or relishing meals at a local dhabha, the food is full of rich flavors. Be a guest at any “Big Fat Punjabi Wedding”, and you will know that the food is as much a center of attraction as the bride and the groom themselves.Many Punjabi dishes boast of delicious buttery flavors and yet are amazingly comfortable. Most people would agree that they feel like enjoying a long nap after savoring delicious Punjabi dishes cooked in generous amounts of ghee and butter. Lets take a look at a few Punjabi dishes that will surely tingle your taste buds.
Summers are here and the temperatures are beginning to climb high. Soon, it will become imperative for young and old alike to keep themselves quenched and hydrated. But many of us don’t like to guzzle plain water through the day. Comes in coconut water to our rescue.
Hot summer afternoons, spent in the shade of mango trees while munching on tangy slices of raw mangoes sprinkled with salt & chili powder form one of the fondest childhood memories of many. “Kacha Kairi” or raw mangoes evoke many memories when they appear in the markets. From the tingling aroma of pickles made with raw mangoes to a soothing drink called “Aam Panna”, raw mangoes can be enjoyed in many ways.Raw mangoes have cooling properties & benefits of vitamin C. Its easy to find raw mangoes in abundance in the current season. Lets make the most of it by making these tasty recipes with raw mangoes.
The cooling properties & refreshing flavor of mint, widely known as pudina in Indian kitchens makes it a popular herb during summers. Apart from its unique aroma & taste, mint has many medicinal properties. Mint can be used in a variety of ways to make the most of its health benefits. Add them to beverages & ice creams for a fresh relaxing burst of flavors or season meats to tantalize taste buds. Try serving summer snacks with an easy mint coriander chutney instead of store bought ketchup.Mint offers many health benefits during harsh summers- acts as a digestive aid, helps in detoxing, helps cure common colds & many more. Lets look at some easy ways to enjoy the summer’s favorite herb- mint aka pudina.
Coriander, available throughout the year is extremely popular across Indian kitchens as a garnish. A wonderful source of dietary fiber, iron, magnesium & vitamin C, coriander also contains small amount of minerals like calcium & phosphorous. Apart from the aromatic leaves, the seeds & roots of coriander are also used in various curries. Coriander is also beneficial in lowering blood glucose levels in people suffering from diabetes, aids digestion & cures intestinal gas. Research also says that coriander may help cure anemia.With the versatility of coriander, its time to think out of the box & make some lip smacking dishes apart from green chutneys.
Grandmas always stressed on eating the good old beetroot. The first thing that pops up in our heads when we talk about beetroot is it’s striking deep red color & its not so striking taste. Beets are rich in nutrients and fiber. They are high on vitamin C, which is vital for boosting the immune system. Beets contain essential components like Potassium, Manganese, Iron, Vitamin B6 & folate (folic acid) that helps reduce the risk of birth defects. Beets are a very good source of antioxidants that help reduce LDL, also known as bad cholesterol & natural minerals like silica.Many don’t like the raw taste of beetroot, but there are other delicious ways of including this healthy food in our diets. Lets have a look at some delicious dishes that can be created with one the world’s healthiest foods.
When we are happy, we reach out for chocolate; likewise on days when we aren’t feeling too merry, we love indulging in chocolate. In celebrations, high teas, parties of young and old – chocolate is always in attendance … on its own, cooked, baked or simply combined with something else, chocolate seldom disappoints.Not only does it pamper our food palates or induce us into a food coma but goes a long way in enhancing the spirit of the occasion.Here are some chocolate desserts, which make the world seem like a wonderful place.All images courtesy: Pixabay.