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.

Eating healthy the Indian way

Healthy Indian food diet can be made still more healthier. Traditional Indian meals are surely well balanced in all aspects especially when the meal has roti- sabzi- dal- chawal, yogurt with salad. But when we switch over to healthier cooking options, the oil content in all the preparations can be controlled.

The cooking techniques that can help to make daily Indian food diet healthier are steaming and pressure cooking. These are ideal ways to preserve most of the nutrients present naturally in food. For cooking of vegetables, use minimum oil for tempering and cook covered on medium heat so that they get cooked in their own juices.

Look at making the Indian snacking healthier. A lot of snacks can be baked instead of deep-fried. Like for example namakparas, shakkerparas, gujias (karanjis), etc., can be baked. Date and Anjeer Baked Karanji is a good snack recipe. Similarly choose steamed snacks instead of deep fried ones – like dhoklas and idlis. Both these items can be made in various combinations and therefore add variety. Also the popular Gujarati snack muthia can be steamed instead of deep-fried. Vegetables like fenugreek, carrot, etc., can add nutrient value. Check the recipe of Methi Gajar Muthia.

Other tips to make Indian food diet healthier are

  • Always eat fresh food. Cook just as much as needed so that there are no leftovers. Use fresh vegetables or meats or fish.

  • Ideally vegetables should not be chopped or cut too much in advance as certain vitamins and minerals are lost. Also do not cook vegetables in too much water and then drain away the cooking liquour as this way too a lot of minerals and vitamins are lost because they get leeched in the water.

  • When you think you should have paranthas switch to phulkas instead. And when you make paranthas roast them on non-stick tawa so that a bare minimum of oil need be used. Spinach and Cabbage Parantha is an interesting version.

  • Talking about food combinations starch and acids should never be eaten in one meal. For instance, white bread and citrus juices cannot be digested together. Fats and sugars too should not be eaten in one meal. Simply put, do not combine cereals, bread, potatoes or other such foods with oranges, grapefruit, pineapple or other acidic foods.

  • There should be only one kind of protein in one meal. The protein based foods will excite acids in the stomach while the starch or carbohydrates will get the alkalis flowing and therefore they will neutralize each other, forming a watery solution, digesting neither. The food then rots inside though we get the feeling of fullness. And this rotting food causes all kinds of digestive problems like gas, heartburn, cramps, bloating, constipation, etc., and eventually the blood stream will absorb the toxins produced by this rotting and result in allergies, hives, headaches, nausea, etc.

Top 5 Indian recipes – dals rock and rule!

One very important part played in Indian diets is by the dried version of peas and beans called pulses. Pulses as well as lentils, legumes, beans and peas have been part of daily diet for times immemorial. The traditional Indian diet is healthy and nutritious and revolves around dal, bhaat (rice), sabzi (vegetables) and chapati. Moong ki Dal and Kali Dal are popular fare in homes in North India.

Pulses, as we all know, are the edible seeds of the legume family. Pulses include peas, beans and lentils. Some, as green French beans, papdi, green peas and broad beans are eaten fresh. Others, like moong, urad, chana and masoor are eaten dried or sprouted. Regardless of their place of origin, most of the pulses are available world-wide and have become widely naturalized outside their native regions. But greens combined with dal are also healthy preparations. Something like Methiwali Dal.

Beans are dried as quickly as possible after picking to preserve their flavour and texture. There used to be a time when most of the pulses were sundried, but now in the present days of automation, most of it is artificially dried. Most pulses are widely available and the lesser known can usually be found in specialized stores in wholesale grain market. Pulses keep well and are easily reconstituted but should be stored in a cool and dry place. The normal shelf life of dried beans and pulses is six to nine months, then they begin to harden and shrivel.

All types of beans and lentils are high in protein and 30 per cent more is released if they are eaten with a cereal. That is why, in India, dal is eaten mostly with rice or roti. Most pulses need soaking and cooking, the exact time depends on the particular type and quality of the bean. Beans and lentils should be picked over before washing and soaking to remove any stones or pieces of grit.

In the Indian kitchen, dal is ubiquitous. Egyptian lentils called masoor, black eyed peas called lobia and mung beans called moong are worth mentioning. Dishes like Sambhar and Rasam use split pigeon peas, Dhansak uses meat and lentils. Dosas also have rice and lentils like black gram or urad. Up north, urad is a favourite as is rajma and chana.