Parboiled rice (rosematta/oorpel ari) is the type of rice that is commonly made in Manglaore/Udupi, Kerala, and some parts of Tamil Nadu. It is fondly known as ‘bullet rice’ in my house as each grain of rice is double the size of the regular white rice. Parboiled rice is partially precooked in its husk, which helps to retain the nutrients that would otherwise be lost during polishing. It is believed to be good for the gut health and impact blood sugar less than brown/ white rice.
Here’s a simple way of cooking parboiled rice in the cooker (pot in cooker and draining method):
Soak about a cup of parboiled rice in water for about 15 minutes. Wash it well in several rinses of water, till the water turns clear.
Drain and put the rise in a pot that fits into the pressure cooker. Add about 4-5 cups of water into the pot.
Put some water into the pressure cooker and place the pot inside the cooker.
Close the lid and let it cook for at least 6-7 whistles.
When the pressure drops open the pressure cooker, add another two cups of hot water to the pot and stir.
Then close the pot with a lid and tilt the pot to drain the water(use a kitchen cloth to hold the pot). You can even use clips to keep the lid on the pot.
Once the water is drained, open the pot and fluff. Serve hot with curries.
Fish is a high-protein food that provides a range of health benefits. Fatty fish are an excellent dietary source of omega 3. The fish that are rich in Omega 3’s are mackerel, salmon, sardines, prawns and oysters. Omega-3 fatty acids are a vital component of the diet as they can minimize inflammation and keep the body healthy.
Here is a simple and easy Mangalorean fish curry recipe:
Mackerel/ or any fish: 4-5 (cut into 4 pieces)
Onion: 1 small (half to be used when grinding paste, half to be chopped and added to the gravy)
Coconut: 1/2 cup grated (fresh)
Coriander seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin seeds (jeera): 1/4 tsp
Methi seeds(fenugreek seeds): 1/4 tsp
Dry Bedagi chilies(or any long dry red chilies): 3
Short red dry chilies: 3
Green chili: 1-2 slit lengthwise
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Garlic: 12-3 cloves
Tamarind paste: 1/2- 3/4 tsp
Salt: to taste
Marinate the fish in a bit of salt and turmeric.
Lightly roast and grind the red chilies, coriander seeds, cumins seeds, peppercorns, and grind to a paste along with the grated coconut, garlic and half the onion.
Heat a pot, add the ground spice paste, chopped onion, green chilies, and a cup of water and cook the onion, and green chili.
Add a little more water if needed, to reach a thick consistency. Add in the fish and cook till done. Add the tamarind paste and more salt, if needed.
Do not stir the pot with a ladle, but gently swirl the pot to move the contents around.
Switch off after 5 minutes. Serve hot with parboiled rice.
Check out the recipe to cook Mangalorean Parboiled (red) rice:
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, triticale and in some cases oats. Gluten is commonly blamed for gut symptoms experienced by people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, recent research suggests that the carbohydrate component in wheat, rye and barley is more likely to be the cause of the problem (part of a group of foods known as FODMAPS.A gluten-free diet allows bowel healing and symptom improvement in people with coeliac disease.
Tawa vermicelli pulav is a recipe using the rice noodles found in the Asian section of the grocery store and the pav bhaji masala. I prefer using rice vermicelli instead of the more commonly used wheat vermicelli. It’s a tasty and unique dish to take in the lunch box too. The pav bhaji masala gives a very different flavour to the dish.
Kashmiri red chili powder: 1/2-1 tsp (as per heat tolerance)
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon: 1″ stick
Coriander: 3 tbsp(finely chopped) for garnish
Lemon juice: 2 tsp
Oil/ Butter/Ghee: 1 tbsp
Salt: to taste
Heat oil/butter in a kadai and add the cumin/jeera, cinnamon, cardamom, cashews ,slit chili(optional)
Then add the turmeric powder, sliced onions and the ginger garlic paste. Saute till the onions start turning brown.
Add, the mixed vegetables and stir fry till the vegetables are almost cooked.
In the meanwhile, boil some water with a tsp of oil in a saucepan. Once it boils switch off,add the rice noodles/vermicelli(broken into smaller pieces) and let it sit for 2 minutes and then drain and keep aside.
Add the chopped tomatoes ,salt and saute until the tomato turn soft and mushy then add the pav bhaji masala, chili powder.
Saute until the oil is released from the masala paste.
Add the rice noodles/vermicelli and mix well to coat every strand of the vermicelli with the masala.
Squeeze some lime juice, mix well and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve the Rice vermicelli tawa pulav with raita or as is.
Another Gluten free rice pulav recipe. The addition of coconut milk gives a different flavour to the pulav, You can add turmeric if you don’t like the white colour of the pulav-but I don’t add it as it makes the pulav look different.
This can be made in a pressure cooker or even in the rice cooker. I normally fry it in a kadai and then transfer it into the rice cooker and add water and let it steam. I know many who even do the frying of the onions and veggies in the rice cooker itself-but I prefer to do it separately.
Ingredients for Mixed vegetable pulav with coconut milk
Basmati rice: 1 cup
Mixed vegetables(Green beans, carrots, peas): 1 cup
Onion: 1 medium (thinly sliced)
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tsp
Green Chilis: 1-2 (slit length wise)
Cashew nuts: 10-12nos.
Jeera: 1 tsp
Bay leaf: 1 no.
Coriander leaves: 2-3 tbsp (chopped)
Coconut milk: 2 cups
salt to taste
Wash and soak the rice for 20 minutes.
In the meanwhile , heat 2 tsp of ghee in a kadai /pressure pan and add the whole spices (cumin seeds, pepper, cinnamon, etc) and saute for a few seconds.Then add the green chilies and cashews.
Add the sliced onions and saute till the onions start turning golden.
Add the mixed veggies and saute for a 1-2 minutes(if using the rice cooker, then make sure to saute it for a little longer till the veggies are half cooked)) .
Add the ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw aroma of ginger and garlic goes away.
Drain the water from the soaked rice and add it to the kadai and fry for a few minutes (if making in a rice cooker, now would be the step to transfer from the kadai to the rice cooker).
Add the coconut milk, salt to taste add 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and mix well.
Pressure cook for one whistle(if using rice cooker, just switch on and it’ll be ready in 15-20mins)
Once the pressure drops, open the lid and gently fluff the pulav.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with a spicy side dish(as this pulav is mostly bland, it’s best served with something spicy)
Who doesn’t love paneer? Besides being a good source of protein, paneer also contains calcium and phosphorus. Since paneer is high in protein and low in calories, it is often recommended for weight loss as several studies indicate that eating high protein foods tends to increase feelings of fullness and help decrease overall calorie intake, which in turn may lead to weight loss.
Try out this yummy recipe with mushrooms and red bell peppers. Mushrooms are high in antioxidants, selenium and low in fat, and calories while the red peppers(red capsicum) is optional, they do add loads of flavour to the dish while also adding antioxidants and Vitamin A to the dish.
Ingredients for Paneer Mushroom Mattar Masala:
Mushrooms: 1 packet (sliced)
Capsicum(optional): 1 big (cubed)
Paneer: 250g (cut into cubes)
Tomatoes: 3 big
Onions: 1 big (2 medium)
Cashew nut: 8-10 nos.
Ginger Garlic paste: 1 tbsp
Green chili: 1-2 nos. according to spice tolerance( slit lengthwise)
Red Chili Powder: 1 -1.5 tbsp(as per spice tolerance)
Garam Masala: 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Bay leaf: 1
Jeera: 1 tsp
Coriander leaves: 2 tbsp – finely chopped
Salt: to taste
Heat oil/ ghee in a kadai and add the cubed capsicum and saute for 5-8mins. Keep aside.
In the same kadai, add the onions and saute till translucent. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cashews and saute for about 5 mins till the tomatoes look cooked. Switch off and let this cool.Then puree this in a blender.
In the same kadai add a little more oil, then add the turmeric powder,green chili, jeera, bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon stick and saute for a few seconds.
Add the puree, red chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala and stir fry till the oil separates.
Add the peas and mushrooms and saute for a few seconds. Add a cup of water and mix well.
After it starts to boil,let it simmer till the gravy has thickened.
Add the paneer and the sauteed paneer and mix well.
Switch off and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.
Zunka/Junka is a common Maharashtrian dish which is also known as pitle/pitla in some places. The basic dish is made with besan/chickpea flour and water with a tempering of onions, ginger and garlic. This simple and quick dish is mostly eaten with bakhri made from either rice or jowar.
Kobiachi(Cabbage) Zunka is a variation of this dish by first adding cabbage and then the rest of the Zunka ingredients.
Ingredients for Cabbage Zunka:
Cabbage- 2 cups (finely chopped)
Onion- 1 cup (finely chopped)
Besan(chickpea flour)- 1/2 to 3/4 cup
Garlic pods: 3-4
Turmeric- 1/4 tsp
Hing/Asafoetida: a pinch (optional)
Chili powder- 1-2 tsp(as per your spice tolerance)
Garam masala- 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves : 3 -4 tbsp (finely chopped)
Oil- 2-3 tbsp
Heat oil in a kadai and add the smashed garlic and hing(optional). When it turns slightly brown, add the onions and saute till the onions turn translucent.
Then add turmeric, chili powder, salt and stir fry for a few seconds.
Add the cabbage and mix well such that the spices coat the cabbage evenly.
Cover and cook. The cabbage will go soft and release its own juices after about 7-10 minutes.
Now quickly stir in the besan/chickpea flour and saute gently on medium heat. Make sure there are no lumps of the flour. The besan will absorb the juices and cook.
Cover and cook on low heat for another 4-5 minutes.
Now open the cover, check that everything has been cooked well and mixed. The besan should give out a wonderful cooked aroma.
Garnish with lots of chopped coriander and serve hot with rotis or even hot rice, dal and pickle.
Everybody wants to ‘go on a diet’. Everyone knows that ‘you have to watch your calories when you diet’, but not everyone understands what exactly ‘calories’ are/mean! Most people associate calories with only junk food/ sweets/chocolates as they know that they are ‘high calorie’ stuff. But what many don’t know is that almost all foods have calories and that the body needs calories for energy purposes.
So why are calories getting a bad reputation? Well, that’s because we live in a world of abundance and we choose to feed our bodies with foods that have too many calories and too little nutrition.
To understand calories better, let us start with the some FAQ’s: What are calories? Calories are the units used to measure energy. Where do we get calories from? From the food we eat (fruits, vegetables, grains, pizzas, pooris, cake, chocolates, etc.) and from the beverages we drink (milk, juices, coffee, alcohol, etc.). The energy is stored in these foods in the form of ‘macronutrients’ namely carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Each of these macronutrients gives us ‘energy’ in varying numbers: Carbohydrates= 4 calories per gram Protein=4 calories per gram Fat= 9 calories per gram
Since all foods have calories and since our bodies need calories-how does one know what to eat and what to avoid?
Good question! To make things simple-let’s divide calories into three groups:
Good; Bad and the last……UGLY!! 1. Good calories: are those which come from ‘nutrient dense foods’. These are foods that are loaded with other nutrients like minerals, vitamins, fiber, essential fatty acids which the body needs, in contrast to the number of calories the food contains.
These can be found in regular foods that are familiar to most people like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains like brown/parboiled/semi-polished rice, whole wheat atta, jowar, bajra, barley, ragi/nachni, nuts and seeds, lean meats like chicken/turkey (skinned out), fish, soy and other dry beans/pulses. Healthy and natural fats are an important component of a balanced diet. Include natural fats like butter, ghee, olive oil , traditional Indian oils like coconut, til, mustard, peanut oil. Healthy fats can also be found in free-range poultry, wild caught oily fish, full-fat dairy products and eggs. Try to get the maximum calories through these foods and you will end up getting most of the nutrients that the body requires including the calories needed for the body to function normally.
2. Bad calories: These would be foods that man has changed from its natural format-like polished/white rice, white bread, refined flour/maida, juices, milkshakes, etc.
The trick is to ‘go slow’ with this group. Try to avoid or limit these foods as these have been stripped off their nutrients.
3. Ugly calories: or ‘empty calories’ are those foods that provide no other nutrients other than calories. These are usually foods that are either loaded with sugar or fat/oil/ transfat (vanaspathi, margarine).
Best examples of these would be cola/aerated drinks, alcohol, sweets (candies, cakes, pastries, donuts) fried foods like chips, fries, namkeens, pakodas, pooris, etc. Avoid eating these on a regular basis as these will provide you with only calories that you don’t need!
Now that things are hopefully a lot clearer, there are two more things to keep in mind-PORTION SIZES and regular EXERCISE!
Too much of even ‘good’ things can be bad for you. Eating balanced diets and exercising regularly is the key to staying healthy!
According to the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) in Australia, it may be true!!
The CSIRO reviewed the abstracts of about a 122 reviews published on apples and found that the saying does hold some weight. Scientific evidence does actually show that regularly eating apples can help:
Keep your heart healthy: by helping to lower total and LDL cholesterol. New research from the University of Western Australia show that eating apples may improve blood pressure and elasticity of blood vessels.
Maintain a healthier gut bacteria: by bringing positive changes to gut bacteria
Assist in weight loss: by helping you feel fuller for longer. Studies have shown that both adults and children who eat apples regularly are more likely to have a lower BMI which could be attributed due to the pectin (fibre) and polyphenols present in apples.
Apples are known to be subject to a host of pesticides and since most of the nutrition is in the skin, the best thing to do is either buy organic apples or do the next best thing – soak the apples in a baking soda solution for 12 to 15 minutes and then scrub it well.
Traditional Chinese medicine has for years used pears to help those suffering from lung infections. Just like in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine uses foods to heal certain internal organs and pears are used to dissolve mucus, detoxify, relieve constipation, lubricate the throat in hot weather, regenerate body fluids and relieve coughs.
Researchers in Netherlands conducted a study and found that fruits like pears and apples are rich in a plant compound catechin, which may help protect the lungs from chronic diseases.
Pears are a good source of dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin C. The fiber found in pear is insoluble, which along with the fructose and sorbitol, makes it an excellent addition for those who are constipated. Pears are considered beneficial in treating inflammation of mucous membranes, lowering high blood pressure, controlling blood cholesterol levels. , and alleviating arthritis and gout symptoms.