Fun filled festivities with fewer calories!

Everyone is looking out for Indian festive recipes now that the festive season is here well and good! It means those who have a sweet tooth and are health conscious will be literally looking at tightening their belts! It is so easy to go overboard in these days because there is so much food visible – fancy foods are made not only at home but there is so much variety available in the market too. You will find a flood of sugarless sweets and low calorie savouries on the shelves now. It is easy to get tempted and buy a lot of them with the thought that consuming them may not mean a lot of calories. But beware, drop by drop does an ocean fill! Too much of ‘low-calorie’ can also add up to too many extra calories! Secondly, there is always a trace of doubt as to what the commericalised ‘low calorie’ can mean!
Indian festive recipes are needed as festivities in our homes can mean a round of lunches, dinners and parties with a lot of snacky food and desserts. It is not always possible for the hostess or host to provide an absolutely ‘healthy’ menu to the guests: some people expect traditional fried foods too! But here we can suggest that you avoid whatever you think does not fit into your daily meal plan. Go for those dishes that look low in fat.
It is not so difficult to provide low calorie foods during festivals. Switch to baking instead of frying. One can bake samosas, namakparas and karanjis. For a sample try Baked Namakpara. You can also rustle up a variety of mini idlis and dhoklas. In sweets, sugar substitutes are the answer. Take a look at Sugar Free Mathura ka Pedha and Gajar Halwa Sugarfree. Otherwise use natural sources like dates and anjeer to add sweetness. For example, Date and Anjeer Baked Karanji and Date and Walnut Laddoo are good recipes.
It is the trend now to gift fresh fruit baskets instead of dry fruit boxes as the former are lower in calories! The trick to remain fit during the festive season is to eat in moderation. You will not be bogged down with any guilt pangs then! And then you always this little spot where you can read up on low calorie Indian festive recipes!

Maha Challenge wrapped up successfully!

First and foremost, here’s wishing everyone a very Happy Janmashtami!
A month’s already passed by shooting the Maha Challenge episodes, and the final pack up happened on August 19. As always, it was really a great learning experience for me as well as my team. Then, there were some of the lighter and fun moments, all those times when Madhuri had been on the sets. All in all, it was simply superb!
But, for me the hectic schedule just seems unending…just after the wrap up, I had to fly to Delhi, to attend the Indian Restaurant Congress 2011, where I was one of the key speakers.
Back in the office, my team is really tied and super busy with the new Website work. There is a lot which is being done for the revamping of the website… so that when it is launched in its new avatar, there is a lot more for all the food lovers and my fans all over the world. It surely is going to be improved and exciting! So watch out for it…!
For now, let’s just celebrate Janmashtami with some of these recipes…
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

The simplest of the curries – Aloo Mutter

Call it aloo matar or aloo mutter, the spellings just do not matter! What matters is that the peas should be glistening fresh, the potatoes peeled and raring to go and you have the provision to serve your aloo mutter with freshly made rotis or steamed rice. So here is the recipe of the traditional Punjabi home cooking at its best cooked inPunjabi a flavorful onion-tomato gravy. Perfect Yogurt is also good in a bowl along with this meal.
Place a non stick medium pan on medium heat and pour in 2 tablespoons oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add 1 bay leaf and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to change color, add the 2 medium chopped onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes or till the onions turn golden. Add 1½ teaspoons ginger paste and 1½ teaspoons garlic paste and sauté for ½ a minute. Add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1½ teaspoons coriander powder and 1 teaspoon red chilli powder and sauté for ½ a minute. Stir in the 2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes and 3 cups water. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 5 minutes or till the potatoes are half-cooked. Remove the lid, stir in 1 cup fresh tomato puree, cover again and cook for 8 minutes or till the potatoes are tender. Remove the lid, add 1¼ cups green peas, 1 teaspoon garam masala powder and salt to taste and stir. Cover again and cook for about 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis or rice. In fact, Lachcha Parantha is also an excellent accompaniment. This recipe comes in really handy when you do not wish to prepare two things: a dal and a sabzi! Make aloo mutter and things are simple.