Home is where good food is

I believe in one thing. It is food that can keep us fit and healthy. It is food that can make us unfit and unhealthy. So why not stick to the first type of food so that we can actually experience longevity? And this first type of food is clearly defined by me as home cooked. It could be hot rotis straight from the flame with a light drizzle of fragrant ghee, the long grains of dazzling white basmati grains that somehow make rajma or kadhi as precious as caviar or those spongy wadas that soak up the sambhar. Well, be it a pulao, or a khichdi, maybe a stew or dal rice, it could be some dry vegetable with roti, but traditional home recipes do wonders for the spirit. These recipes keep the heart ticking ensconced in warmth of tradition and cultural riches. Food eaten together keeps the family together and even if there are major time constraints I am sure something can be done to get hot food onto the table once a day…the more Indian it is the better…the more traditional Indian it is the best!

I am sure these tips will come in handy: home food can be on the table in a short time and with some slight changes as suggested even the calories can be brought down!

• Chunks of fresh vegetables in a pulao, spiced up with cloves and cinnamon, go well with a tub of yogurt. Or do the same with a khichdi but add papads to the menu. How to make it healthier: You can use brown rice instead of long grained Basmati and can also have low-fat yogurt. Do not deep fry the papads, roast them!
• Tender chicken in an onion-tomato masala, eaten with rotis can be as filling, and even more nutritious, than a chicken sandwich. If the masala is made over the weekend in quantities it can be frozen in portion sizes. Use it for chana or rajma too. All you have to do is cook it all together. Or even add some boiled eggs to make Egg Curry. How to make it healthier: Choose only chicken breasts for the dish. Fry the onions in a non-stick pan and/or use olive oil. Skip the ghee on the rotis.
• When it comes to sweets, I encourage you to get good at halwas. They can be made almost instantly. And can really comfort one! The only down side is the amount of ghee that goes into them. How to make it healthier: Gajar Ka Halwa is one dessert that is easy to trim! Use low-fat milk to cook the carrots and use sugar substitute.
• I have once recommended in my shows that paranthas can be frozen. It will take up an hour of a weekend morning to fix a batch. If the freezer is well stocked then the week is a breeze. With the paranthas you could have anything…pickles, gourmet chutneys or a cup of hot tea. How to make it healthier: Paranthas can be made using a mix of different flours. In fact if you are making them fresh cook without oil.

Do hope these tips can be used by you. As for the promise of recipes, I fulfill it with Quick Khopra Pak, Mushroom Shagoti, Onion and Capsicum Uttapam.

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

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