Konkan food – a blend of three cuisines

Konkan cuisine is an interesting amalgamation of all food traditional: be it from Malvan, Goa or Mangalore. In keeping with the distinctive type of cuisine in each of these areas there is a plethora of flavors that can be played around with. Each household has its own variation of the same recipe hence the repertoire increases.
Malvan food is known for its fish preparations. What distinguishes Malvani fish curries is not just the variety of gravies but also the variety of recipes for the same kind of fish made by a dazzling permutation and combination of spices and ingredients and dry-to-wet cooking styles. For a good recipe read Malwani Fish Curry.

Goans traditionally use a lot of vinegar or toddy in their spicy dishes. Toddy is locally brewed palm vinegar. Garlic is another favourite. Goans believe in preparing everything freshly from raw ingredients, they believe it tastes much better that way. While that may be debated in some circles, one cannot dispute the outcome is usually mouth watering! Goans make the best crab preparations. Being a former Portuguese colony, Goan cuisine encompasses Portuguese dishes but is also characterized by strong flavors and tropical notes such as lots of coconut. It also makes exuberant use of many new ingredients such as cashewnuts that first entered India through the port of Goa. The long period of Portuguese rule, besides that of the Muslim and Hindu kingdoms, has left an indelible influence on the original style of Goan cooking and this has led to an exotic mix of truly tasty and spicy cuisine.
Mangalorean cooking is unique in the way the spices are used to enhance the taste and the flavor. When fresh coconut, chillies and various combinations of spices are ground the result can be described with only one word – culinary magic! The people of this region are fond of variety and therefore have perfected the art of improvising and coming out with a veritable repertoire of perfectly cooked food.
Another community that has now adopted Karnataka is the Saraswat Brahmins. Having coursed through various lands the Saraswats have a unique cuisine. They make use of practically every vegetable so much so that even the skins and seeds of many vegetables that most others discard, are used effectively in different chutneys. Even fresh fruits like mangoes and jackfruit are used in a variety of dishes both sweet and savoury. Among their vast repertoire Batata Humman and Mango Sasam have to be mentioned.

Nutrition – some hints for balanced eating

Eat a variety of foods in adequate amounts for each food has a different nutritional speciality. This way not only will your nutritional requirements be met, you will also be able to break the monotony of eating the same kind of food daily.

Always maintain a desirable body weight in order to prevent developing chronic diseases like diabetes or heart ailments or certain types of cancers. You can get this from the height-weight (easily available, especially with your GP) chart, which again is worked out, on the basis of your lifestyle.

Avoid foods rich in saturated fats and cholesterol as this can cause obesity, which in turn can give rise to heart ailments or diabetes or even certain types of cancer.

Eating foods with adequate fibres is considered very healthy for they not only provide bulk and thus prevent overeating, they also help prevent constipation, lower cholesterol and triglycerides.

Though water is not considered as a nutrient, it is very essential for the upkeep of our bodies. Lack of water over a period can prove to be life threatening as it could lead to dehydration and even death.

Salads should always find place on your daily menu because being mainly vegetable based they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibres. Beans or sprouts add proteins and when combined with pastas like macaroni, spaghetti or roots like potatoes or beetroots the carbohydrate content is adequate. Something like Button Mushroom Salad is a nice offering.

Of all the non-vegetarian foods, fish is perhaps the most ideally designed for healthy and quick family meals. Healthy because most types of fish are very low in fat and high in protein. There are some fish which are oily but they are high in essential fatty acids. Fish and Green Mango Curry is perfect for this month.

Limit your intake of alcoholic drinks since they are high in calories but low in nutrients. The metabolites (end products) produced by alcohol are harmful to the body, especially to the liver.

Desserts are an important component of an enjoyable meal and if they are fruit based they also provide the desired nutrients because they are packed with vitamins and minerals and are high in fibers. Try Low cal Crunchy Fruits with Yogurt.

Adequate and regular exercises are necessary along with healthy eating to make way for a meaningful life devoid of health worries.

Healthy balanced diet – fill up the nutritional gaps

When we hear the words diet and nutrition used so easily and readily these days, they almost become synonyms! The reality is that they mean different things.
Diet is the food and drink that a person consumes. Nutrition is dependent partially on diet because it is through your diet that your body is supplied with the food that is to be assimilated in order to feed and nourish the cells. Actually you do not live on the food you eat but on what your body digests and assimilates.
A good wholesome diet is always recommended but it does not always provide for good nutrition. Sometimes the body cannot assimilate it. Assimilation of food depends upon the functioning of the endocrine and exocrine glands. If the glands are malfunctioning the result is poor nutrition. Many people are born with faulty glandular mechanisms and as a result are sickly or puny. However, in a vast majority of cases, a good and proper natural diet can help improve and in many cases, cure a faulty endocrine system.
Deficiencies in the body do not happen overnight. It is something like losing weight by exercise. You exercise for a week and nothing happens. You exercise for another week and nothing happens. You still exercise for another month and still nothing happens. And then, suddenly, boom – the weight starts coming down fast as you keep exercising. So you can ignore your nourishment and nothing happens. Ignore it some more (in other words, eat a lot of junk food!) and still nothing happens. Spoil it some more and still nothing. And then suddenly, boom – the vitamin and mineral levels drop, the cholesterol sky rockets…and you are left wondering what went wrong?
Eating a healthy balanced diet should come naturally to us. We have around 21 main meals in a week. Try and have at least 19 good homemade meals with more of vegetables, pulses and fish and less of oil, desserts and heavy meats. As we have access to ready to cook packaged meals and also loads of imported fancy foods it is easy to give in to temptation. Quite a few foods that we buy off the shelves contain additives or preservatives some of which can prove harmful to the body. It is, therefore, always advisable to read the labels before buying anything. Some of the chemicals may be present in minute quantities, which may not be harmful in that small a quantity, but may have a cumulative effect. That is, over the years they may accumulate in the body before the harmful effects become apparent.
So the bottom line is…eat healthy foods daily ensuring that they are natural! Try recipes like Healthy Lapsi Pulao…