Healthy low fat recipes – many options

Most adults do end up consuming around a hundred grams of fat every day! Wow, that is a bit too much. No wonder then obesity has been declared as an epidemic. We need to adopt healthy low fat recipes in order to lose weight and keep the fat off. According to experts, we need to be consuming no more than sixty grams of fat daily and this has different schools of thought (more about this later).
There are several ways to cut the fat from our diets. The first step that we can take is to eliminate the following fats and oils completely: butter, palm oil, chicken fat, lard, vegetable shortening and cottonseed oil. All seven of these have incredibly high percentages of saturated fat, which is linked to higher cholesterol levels and a greater risk of heart disease.
To cut down fat in daily cooking, the first step is to get good in ‘no oil’ cooking. Once in a while indulging in butter on toast seems so worthwhile then! It need not be that all the meals through the week be made without oil. At least aim to have three to four meals out of the twenty one in a week, with no oil. It will take a while to become accustomed to eating without butter or oil, but once committed to eating a healthier, low-fat diet, it becomes much easier to cut certain things. No oil cooking is possible. Try recipes like Garlic Rasam, Tamatar ki Kadhi with brown rice.
The next step is to decrease the amount of obvious fats that you eat such as cheese, pastries, full fat dairy foods and meats. In the cases of many of these foods, there are low fat substitutes that are available. Many of us have spent years looking at food labels to determine the number of calories in them. Now, it’s time to start reading the amount of fat grams in a food.
We also need to look at how we prepare our foods. In order to maintain our low-fat nutrition plan, we need to eliminate cooking with butter and frying our foods. Using olive oil is a good substitute as it is low in saturated fat and high in the heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Use it sparingly, however. Looking now for healthy low fat recipes? Try Corn Bhel, Rice Panki for starters.

Joy of Halwa

As a North Indian, I can say I have grown up eating halwapuri halwa is a special breakfast combination in Punjab and Delhi! The Golden Temple in Amritsar has the Kadaprasad which is a rich version of halwa…then of course we have the suji halwa which takes the name of sheera in some states. But what I was totally thrilled with is the Lakshwadeep Halwa I picked up in Kottayam this weekend. I have tasted Kerala’s most famous traditional banana halwa – firm, nutty and quite dark in colour (frankly, its black!) but is appetising in looks! I picked up not only banana halwa for family, friends and colleagues but also the more contemporary pineapple halwa and my discovery Lakshwadeep Halwa. It comes in little banana leaf parcels all tied up with twine.

First you have to untie the twine. And yes, the more interested ones had a good whiff of the parcel before opening it…the contents are soft and dark and in a ball shape…the first bite says coconut, coconut all the way and the second bite gives signals of something sweet (maybe jaggery or dates, dates it is ) and then the third bite onwards you get the ginger taste. By this time, the taste buds are completely satiated with the fruity flavours and one starts to fill up on it. Lovely but best to have only one half of it!

My chat here is slowly going to take you to the fact that one should really try out new things and also to savour the taste and then come to a conclusion about your liking or dislike for it. In fact, I love to create new recipes and this is what most of us crave for all the time…something new to keep the taste buds revved up. If one enjoys new flavours then life will take you onto a fast track of gastronomic discoveries.

So lets give you something new to start the week…no more Monday blues!

Soya Granule Lasagne
Chicken and Spinach Pizza
Corn and Coriander Rice

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Curries with no worries!

Working on a new concept for takeaways! I will let the suspense build up a bit and as soon as our trials take some shape I will let you know. Met one person from UK recently, Andy, and he is simply loving Indian food here! He can eat at any restaurant, and savour any Indian cuisine. Offered him a pack of buttermilk and on having the first few sips made a few faces…but as he finished the pack he wanted to know if he could carry some packs back home for his girlfriend! That’s the magic of Indian food!

Till some years ago, Indian food abroad had this picture of only being some spicy curries. But now the world is aware of the vastness and the richness of Indian cuisine. For us Indians, what is life without curry? In fact, life is not without hurry and worry too! Jokes apart, rich and heavy curries are enjoyed only once in a while and given the modern health challenges it is best to ‘skim’, ‘trim’ and ‘slim’ the curries. Indian food has many curries to be proud of and there are possibilities of some low calorie avatars too.

Curries are mostly made with a base of fat, onions, tomatoes, whole spices or even with nuts and coconut. At home, preparing curries in minimum oil is no longer an uphill task. Thanks to non-stick cookware and ingenuity of budding cooks! Pureed fresh spinach can make a rich base for mixed vegetables, or tender sweet corn kernels, or even paneer (as in palak paneer!). Make a puree of blanched spinach with some ginger, garlic and green chillies. Start cooking it in the tempered oil and add the masalas and vegetables or chicken. Puree fresh ripe tomatoes with ginger, garlic and green chillies. Sauté in a non-stick pan till a little dry. Then add boiled dal, or steamed vegetables and of course you can highlight the curry with red chilli powder and garam masala powder. Want a low cal makhni? Tomatoes are pureed with onion, garlic, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, red pumpkin, cumin seeds, kasuri methi, salt and red chilli powder. As you sauté this paste in one teaspoon of oil, keep ready some low fat milk (instead of cream) and a paste of cornflour with some sugar. Add these and simmer for a minute. Finish off the dish with the addition of your choice (grilled chicken or marinated chicken or steamed vegetables or paneer). See the pic of team working in the kitchen.

Let us add a couple of different recipes to our repertoire of healthy curries. Koftas are generally fried before being dunked in curry. But this one shuns oil. And also enjoy absolutely low calorie spinach with corn which takes on great flavour by virtue of being the best and the freshest of the season!

Tamatar Murgh Kofta, Corn in Spinach, Drumstick Curry

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor