In Expert Diet Tips On 29 June 2015
Written by Neha Chandna - Dietician, Nutrition Educator, Exercise Counselor with an M.Sc. in Dietetics and Food Service Management from SVT. She has worked with corporates such as HDFC and Standard Chartered as well as BPOs and MNCs on the Right ways of eating and living! Monsoons are here and it\'s that time of the year when your appetite is at its naughtiest best. The summer heat and sun reduce your urge to eat food and as the rains pour, you suddenly crave for hot and spicy foods. The monsoons have a calming effect on you and help you to relax and unwind. In this weather, it is natural to get tempted by your favourite bhajias with some hot hot chai. But for the health conscious, it would be such a big war between the heart and the mind. In such a situation, you need to know how to make some awesome low fat foods and yet satisfy your cravings. Choosing the right food and herbs is the only way to add some taste and health to your meals. Below is a list of some hot foods which can add zing to your boring food: Chillies and jalapenos: These contain substances called capsaicinoids which give a burning sensation post consumption. These foods not only add taste to your food, but also help to reduce food cravings. They also reach the gut and signal the fat cells to increase their activity, thereby increasing temperature and help burn calories faster than usual. You can always add a pinch of it to your soups, salads, veggies, dals, curds, etc. Peppercorns: They come in black and white colour and have a number of health benefits apart from just adding taste and spice to your food. It stimulates the taste buds and increases hydrochloric acid secretion which helps to digest food better, reduces fat storage in the cells, thus helping in weight loss, prevents gas formation, gives relief from sinus and nasal congestion, and also has antibacterial properties which prevent from infections. Garlic: It is a strong immunity booster and prevents you to ward off common cold and flu which is the main problem during monsoons. It helps to lower heart issues by reducing bad cholesterol in the blood, controls blood sugar levels and also reduces the risk of certain cancers. It Has anti fungal and anti bacterial properties preventing vaginal infections. Garlic can be crushed and added to your food everyday. Ginger: It fires the digestive juices which help digest food better, clears the sinus pockets which may get irritating due to the weather changes, and reduces flatulence and stomach cramps. Its anti inflammatory property reduces the debilitating joint stiffness which happen due to arthritis. The most important thing that it does is it clears nose and throat congestion. Just add a few spoons of ginger juice to your juices, soups, dals, and green tea and enjoy its benefits. Garam masala: A basic kitchen ingredient used in our daily Indian cooking. A mixture of spices like clove, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, cumin, fennel and bay leaves which add spice and taste to your boring food. Apart from adding flavour, the ingredients in it also have health benefits like helping digestion, reducing gastric issues and bloating, controlling sugar levels and reducing blood pressure, and are anti- inflammatory and anti- bacterial. Add a pinch of it to your hot soups, gravies etc. Recipes Baked Onion Bhajias Ingredients: 2 small onions, sliced 2 tbsp besan 1 pinch salt 1/4 tsp cumin 1/4 tsp ground coriander Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed 1/2 tbsp tomato puree 1/4 tsp ground turmeric 1/4 tsp ground coriander A pinch of ground cumin A pinch of ground ginger A pinch of chilli powder Method Preheat the oven at 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. In a pan, heat 1 tsp oil, add onions to it and saute for 5-8 minutes till translucent. Add the masalas and mix. In a bowl, add besan, salt, coriander, cumin and mix well. Add the onion mixture and tomato puree. Add water as per the need to get the correct consistency. Drizzle some oil onto the prepared tray, place 2 tablespoons of the onion mix onto the tray for each bhajiya, flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes, drizzle a little oil on top of the bhajiyas and bake until golden brown. Serve hot, enjoy! Non-Fried Batata Vadas Ingredients For the batter 1 tbsp besan 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi) 1/4 tsp chilli powder A pinch of asafoetida (hing) Salt to taste For the vadas 2 boiled and mashed potatoes 1/2 tsp ginger-green chilli paste 2 tsp chopped coriander (dhania) 1/2 tsp lemon juice Salt to taste A pinch of mustard seeds (rai / sarson) 1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi) 2-3 curry leaves (kadipatta) A pinch of asafoetida (hing) 1/4 tsp grated garlic (lahsun) Method In a bowl, add all the batter ingredients with enough water to make it a flowing consistency and keep it aside. Combine the potatoes, ginger, green chilli paste, coriander, lemon juice and salt together in a bowl and mix well. Keep aside. Heat a non-stick pan on medium flame and add the mustard seeds, turmeric powder, curry leaves asafoetida and garlic and dry roast for about 2 minutes. Add to the potato mixture and mix well. Divide it into 2 equal portions and shape them into flat rounds like tikkis and keep aside. Heat a non-stick pan on a medium flame. Dip the vadas in the batter and place them on the pan. Cover and cook on a low flame for 3 to 4 minutes, turn and cook on the other side as well. Remove the lid and cook on both sides till they turn golden brown. Serve with chutney.