Category Archives: Online Dietician India

Moong Dal Payasa (Moong ki kheer- Split Mung pudding in coconut milk)

Another favorite from the family Mangalorean recipe box-the moong dal payasa is made for special occasions and festival feasts. Since I’ve been on a mission to try out (and publish on this blog) traditional Mangalorean recipes, this was undoubtedly the first thing that came to my mind as the sweet dish for this years Ganesh Chaturthi feast at home.
This is a protein- packed dessert and definitely a better sweet option for festivals than high- carb sweets like jelabis. Portion sizes should still be controlled.
Ingredients for Moong Dal Payasa:
  • Moong Dal: 1 cup
  • Jaggery: 1 1/2 cups (you could substitute with sugar,but jaggery gives the actual traditional taste)
  • Milk: 1 cup
  • Water:1 cup
  • Coconut milk: 1 cup
  • Salt:1/4th tsp
  • Saffron/Cardamom powder: a pinch (soak saffron in a little warm milk)
  • Cashews, raisins: a few(fried in a little ghee)
  • Ghee: 3tsp
Method:
  1. Roast the moong dal in a teaspoon of ghee till you get a pleasant aroma (do not let it brown).
  2. Add the milk and the water and bring it to a boil. Then simmer till the moong dal is well cooked, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the dal is cooked add the jaggery, the saffron milk/ cardamom powder.
  4. Add the coconut milk and stir for a minute. Switch off.
  5. Serve moong dal payasa/kheer hot or a little warm garnished with the fried cahews, raisins and the remaining ghee.

NOTE: Do not add the jaggery/sugar at the beginning or else the dal will not cook (I learnt this the hard way the first time I made this!)


Pineapple Rasam (Pineapple Mulligatawny Soup)

Pineapple is rich in fibre ,vitamin C and manganese.  Bromelain is an enzyme that is found in pineapple that can be helpful in healing tissues, reducing inflammation, and treating cancer because it helps restore the immune system. 

There are so many versions of the famous “Mulligatawny Soup” (the literal Tamil translation being just “pepper water” ) that I decided to add my own version-a pineapple  flavoured mulligatawny soup. The addition of the pineapple makes this soup a perfect soup for summer or winter.
Ingredients for Pineapple Rasam:

  • Pineapple: 1 cup (chopped)
  • Onion: 1/2 medium (finely chopped)
  • Garlic:2 cloves(crushed)
  • Ginger:1/2 ” piece(finely chopped)
  • Pepper: 1-2 teaspoon(freshly ground)
  • Turmeric: a pinch
  • Curry powder or Sambar/rasam powder:1/2 to 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies:1-2(slit lengthwise)
  • Water/vegetable broth/dal water: 2 cups
  • Oil: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste
  • Jaggery (gur): 1 teaspoon(optional)

For tempering:

  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Zeera/Cumin seeds-1 teaspoon
  • Peppercorns:3-4 nos.
  • Curry leaves:2-3 nos.
  • Hing/Asafoetida: a pinch (optional)

Method:

  1. Puree half the quantity of the pineapple into a fine paste and keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds,cumin seeds and peppercorns.
  3. When the mustard starts to sputter,add the curry leaves,turmeric and the asafoetida/hing(optional).
  4. Add the chopped ginger and the crushed garlic and stir-fry till slightly brown.
  5. Then,add the chopped onions,green chillies and salt and saute till the onions are golden brown.
  6. Add the pineapple puree along with the rest of the chopped pineapple pieces,curry or sambar/rasam powder,sugar/jaggery(optional) and stir continuously for about 5-6 minutes on medium heat.
  7. Add about 2 cups of water/vegetable broth (or you could also use the water after boiling dal) and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  8. Serve hot with a dash of freshly ground pepper.

Question: What is your favorite “summer” soup?


Beetroot Mocktail/ juice

This is a great drink for athletes ,sports persons and for those who exercise regularly as beetroot is loaded with nitrates . Nitrates when consumed are converted to nitric oxide which helps in opening the blood vessels and allows more blood and thereby oxygen to be delivered to the muscles. Beetroot juice which is naturally rich in nitrates, is believed to enhance exercise endurance among athletes. People living in high altitude areas will also benefit by drinking this juice as it increases oxygen supply to the body.  Besides this, beetroot  juice has also shown to reduce blood pressure.

Ingredients for Beetroot Mocktail:

  • Beetroot:1 small
  • Carrot: 1/2
  • Lime juice : 2-3 tablespoon
  • Apple: 1

Method:

  1. Blend all the ingredients together in a juicer.
  2. Serve chilled.

Note: The carotenes of beetroot will turn your urine and stools pink in colour which is normal.

Other Beetroot recipes:

  1. Beetroot Salad: Click here for recipe
  2. Beetroot Upkari(a simple Mangalorean style stir-fry): Click for recipe here
  3. Beetroot leaves dal: Click here for Recipe

Hearty Vegetable Soup

This is a hearty soup filled with lots of vegetables. The flavour and protein content of the soup is enhanced by the addition of moong/mung dal

  • Moong dal: 1/2 cup (wash in water, drain)
  • Celery- 1 cup chopped
  • Cauliflower- 1 cup (broken into bite sized)
  • Green beans- 1 cup (chop into about 1″)
  • Cabbage-2 cups shredded
  • Zucchini- 1 medium diced (about 2 cups)
  • Turnip- 1 medium (diced)
  • Onion- 2 medium (diced)
  • Tomato- 2 medium (diced)
  • Ginger: 1 ” piece (julienned)
  • Garlic-4 cloves finely chopped
  • Green chili: 2-3 slit
  • Palak/Spinach- 1 cup
  • Oil- 2 tsp
  • Cumin/Jeera seeds- 1tsp
  • Cloves-2 nos.
  • Cinnamon-1/2″
  • Bay leaves- 1 no.
  • Peppercorns- 3-4nos.
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves- 2 tbsp for garnish (chopped)
  • Moong/bean sprouts: 3-4 tbsp (optional)
  • salt- to taste
  • Pepper- 1/2- 1 tsp

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pot, when it’s hot add the bay leaves, jeera, cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns.
  2. Add the slit green chilies, ginger, diced onions and garlic. Stir fry till the onions turn translucent.
  3. Add the moong dal and saute for a minute, then add all the vegetables and stir fry for about 5 mins.
  4. Add about 6 cups of water, pepper, salt to taste and let it simmer for a good 25-30 mins (stir in between)
  5. Garnish with chopped coriander and sprouts, serve hot.

 


How To Stay Fit While on Vacation/Work Travel

‘The World is a book, and those who don’t travel read only one page’

To travel is to live-so whether you travel for work or for a vacation, enjoy every minute of it. Everyone deserves to take a break and come back refreshed. But weight watchers rarely are able to enjoy a vacation for the fear of putting on some extra ‘holiday/travel pounds’! Here are some tips for those who want to stay in shape even while on a vacation:
Diet: While it is very difficult (sometimes impossible) to stick to a rigid diet plan while on a holiday, weight watchers can still enjoy a variety by ‘eating smart’:
Avoid tucking into unnecessary fried foods like chips, fries, namkeens-these not only add on unwanted calories, but also make you feel sluggish and lethargic (the last thing you want while on vacation)
Eat a wholesome breakfast-anything from cereals and milk, oats, idli, sandwiches along with fresh fruits. Keep the Belgium waffles, chocolate doughnuts and muffins for the occasional indulgence. Eating a hearty breakfast and then stepping out to explore the place will keep you going till lunchtime.
Be adventurous-try out the local cuisine. You don’t have to stick to the tried and tested menus. Holidays are all about exploring and what could be better than exploring the local cuisine. Besides they can be a lot healthier than the fast-food joints that you would otherwise end up at.
Stick to portion sizes– You just need to know when to stop. Don’t eat till you feel stuffed and not able to move. Avoid eating at the buffets on a daily basis.
Keep yourself hydrated-with natures ‘zero-calorie’ drink, WATER! Avoid the sodas/aereated drinks and ice-cream sodas. Choose fresh fruit juices or tender coconut water instead.
Check out the local markets-If you don’t want to shell out exorbitant rates for fruits and salads at the hotels/restaurants, then check out the local markets for seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Exercise: Most hotels are equipped with a gym so make sure to pack your exercise shoes and some workout clothes. If working out in a gym is not your idea of a holiday, then you can still burn the extra calories by:
Walking/jogging– explore the nearby areas by going on a walk/jog in the morning or late evening.
Swimming: Cool off by taking a splash in the pool/lake or ocean.
Try out adventure sports-like rock-climbing, snorkeling, deep sea diving, water skiing, surfing, white water rafting. These are not only fun, but will also make sure that you are keeping yourself active.
Cycle/hike– instead of taking a tour bus or renting a car on all days, chalk out places that are close to where you stay and you can rent a cycle or go on a hike and get a feel of the place.
Dance: Check out the local hot night spots and have a ball dancing the night away.
Don’t stress out too much if you aren’t able to follow any of the tips-after all the whole idea of the vacation is to unwind, as Cliff Richards’ classic oldie ‘Summer Holiday’ goes:
“We’re all going on a summer holiday,
no more working for a week or two.
Fun and laughter on our summer holiday,
no more worries for me or you,

for a week or two”
You can always get back to your diet and fitness routine once you get back home!


Foods that can stain your teeth

So you’ve tried every teeth whitening product and still don’t have those pearly white teeth? Don’t blame the product-it may be time to watch what you are eating!
Yes, that’s right; your diet can both help and wreak havoc on your teeth. Here’s a list of foods (and drinks) that you should try and avoid for your teeth, especially after you’ve tried a teeth whitening product:
Tea: Your daily cups of hot chai could be staining your teeth. This is due to the presence of tannins in tea.
Wine: Both red and white wines can stain the teeth due to its high acid content and also due to the tannins present in them.
Energy drinks, sports drinks, colas/aerated drinks: the acid content in these tend to erode the teeth enamel while the color added to the drinks stain teeth.
Dark colored fruits, berries: the natural color pigments in these fruits can latch on to the teeth enamel thus staining them.
Tomato based curries/sauces, soy sauce: again the natural color pigments present in these are strong enough to stain teeth.
Spices like turmeric, saffron and other masalas.
An easy rule of thumb to remember which foods can stain the teeth is that if the food can stain your clothes then they are more than likely to stain your teeth too!
Since completely avoiding all these foods is impossible, here are some tips to reduce the staining effect of these foods:
1. Eat these foods with other foods especially crunchy foods like carrots, celery, apples, and cucumbers. These tend to scrub the teeth while being chewed.
2. Sip drinks from a straw-thus minimizing contact with teeth.
3. Rinse your mouth after each snack, meal and drink. Brushing teeth after a meal if possible is a much better option.
4. Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove all food particles stuck in between teeth.
Take care of your teeth, after all like the saying goes, “Every tooth in a man’s head is more valuable than a diamond”!!


Pomegranate, Carrot and Dill raita

Dill known as ‘sabsige soppu’ in Kannada and ‘soa saag’ in Hindi, is a delicacy especially in Karnataka. It’s added to ‘dal’, upma, rice rotti’s and adds a distinct flavor. Pomegranates on the other hand are a good source of antioxidants, vitmain C, vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, manganese, potassium , phosphorus and fiber. 
The raita is a quick and simple accompaniment to a meal.

Ingredients for pomegranate raita:(Serves-4)

  • Yogurt(non-fat)-1 1/2 cup
  • Pomegranate seeds- 1/2 cup
  • Dill leaves- 2 tbsp (chopped)
  • Carrot: 1/2 grated
  • Salt-to taste
  • Red chilli powder- a pinch
  • Roasted cumin- a pinch(powdered)
  • Chaat masala- a pinch (optional)

Method:
1)Mix the dill leaves, pomegranate seeds, grated carrot, yogurt and salt together.
2)Chill for about an hour before serving.
3)Sprinkle the red chilli powder, roasted cumin powder and chaat masala just before serving.


Healthy snack ideas for kids

Kids are picky eaters and not eating enough at meal times is a common complaint. That’s why snacks play an important role in providing the extra nutrition that they tend to miss out. Most parents tend to focus more on providing a nutritious meal and overlook the importance of giving healthy snacks. Chips, cookies, cheese puffs, cupcakes are convenient snacks but not the healthiest choices. Here are some healthy snack ideas for kids:

  • Sandwiches (with 100% whole wheat breads)-you can use cheese, tofu, nut/peanut butter, guacamole, paneer, egg, vegetables or even fruit and cream cheese as the filling.
  • Seasonal fresh fruits-cut them up in fun shapes/ sizes(use a melon scooper/cookie cutter), mix them in low-fat yogurt, make smoothies or plain fruit salads.Fruit and cheese kebabs are also a fancy way of serving fruits that kids will love.
  • Fresh vegetables: cut them into strips and serve with dips like guacamole, hummus, peanut/almond butter.
  • Boiled/Grilled corn: makes a tasty snack when served hot.
  • Smoothie popsicles: You can pour their favourite smoothie into popsicle moulds and give that as a treat on a hot day.
  • Baked fries: cut up some carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beetroot into sticks or wedges. Toss them in a little oil, salt and seasoning and bake them to make a tasty snack. Here’s the recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Fries
  • Steamed snacks: like idli’s/vegetable stuffed idlis, dhoklas, khandvi’s can be cut/decorated into fun shapes.
  • Mini- rolls/burritos: whole wheat chapathis/rotis can be used to make rolls with egg/paneer/tofu burji(scrambled), rajma/ channa, mung(pulses/lentils) curry/usal or cheese spread.
  • Tikkis/cutlets can be made with paneer/chicken/egg/lentils, mixed vegetables, and shallow fried or baked . These can also be served inside a pita bread or sandwich.
  • Mini/triangle/cone dosas/uttapams: these fun size/baby dosas can be more interesting for kids than the regular adult size ones. Serve them with chutney/ketchup/peanut butter (you can even draw a smiley face on the dosa with it)!
  •  Nuts and dry-fruits: older children can be given a handful of mixed nuts and dry fruits.

These snacks can be served with either a glass of milk/almond milk or some lassi/buttermilk.
Make sure to serve these snacks at least two hours before meal times, otherwise they may not be hungry enough for it.


Chicken and Vegtable Biryani ( a one pot meal)

In my quest to cook ‘healthy food’ comes this version of Chicken biryani which is also loaded with vegetables! Biryani is something every Indian is familiar with and is usually something made on festivals,special occasions or when you have guests/friends over. Whether it’s a ‘Vegetable Biryani’,Chicken Biryani or Mutton Biryani, most families have their own secret recipes.
Usually, a chicken/mutton biryani is made without vegetables, but here is my attempt at combining the vegetable biryani with the chicken biryani to ensure my family gets it’s daily dose of vegetables even on special occasions !
Ingredients: (Serves 4)

  • Basmati rice: 1 1/2 cups (rinse and soak in water for at least half an hour)
  • Chicken: 250gms (use chicken with the bones)
  • Onions: 2-3 big red onions/5 medium onions (sliced fine)
  • Tomatoes: 2 big (chopped)
  • Ginger paste: 2 tsp
  • Garlic paste: 2 tsp
  • Mixed Vegetables: 1 cup (peas, carrots, beans, capsicum/bell pepper and such)
  • Yogurt/curd: 1 cup
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves: 5 tbsp(finely chopped)
  • Mint leaves: 3 tbsp(finely chopped)
  • Green chillies: 5-6 slit(use less/more according to your taste)
  • Red chilli powder: 3-4 tsp(add less/more according to your taste)
  • Coriander powder: 2tsp
  • Cumin/Jeera powder: 1tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt: 3-4 tsp (adjust according to taste)
  • Oil: 2 tbsp

Whole Spices:

  •  Bay leaves: 1-2nos.
  • Cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Cloves: 3-4 nos.
  • Cardamom/Elaichi: 2-3nos.
  • Peppercorns: 4-5nos.
  • Cinnamon stick: 1″
  • Star anise: 1-2

Method:

  1. Marinate the chicken in a paste made with 1/2 cup yogurt, turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, half of the ginger+garlic paste, half of the chopped cilantro and mint leaves and set aside for at least an hour in the fridge.
  2. Heat the oil in a kadai or thick bottomed pan, add the whole spices and let it fry for a minute.
  3. Add the sliced onions and fry till it turns golden brown (add a little salt to let the onions cook in it’s own water)
  4. Add the remaining ginger+garlic paste, the slit green chillies and the chopped cilantro and mint leaves and fry for another minute.
  5. Drain out the water from the basmati rice and add it along with the mixed vegetables and stir for 5-6 minutes.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes,salt and the remaining yogurt and stir till the tomatoes are cooked.
  7. Add the marinated chicken and stir for a 5 minutes.
  8. Then add about 4 cups of water, cover and cook (with occasional stirring) till the rice is cooked.
  9. Serve hot with a mixed vegetable raita.

Healthy tip:

  • Since I use less oil while cooking(which also drastically reduces the calories in the cooked recipe), I add salt while frying the onions to let it sweat and prevent it from burning.

Strawberry Raita

Strawberries make a great low-calorie treat. They are loaded with nutrients and can protect your heart as well as guard against cancer as they are packed with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.

Try this delicious fruit raita that your kids will love eating with roti’s or with pulav’s or biryanis.

Ingredients for  Strawberry raita:

  • Strawberries: 1 cup chopped (mash a few)
  • Yogurt:  2 cups
  • Water: 1/2 cup
  • Chaat masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Roasted cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Red chili powder: a pinch (optional)
  • Pine nuts: 2 tbsp (or melon seeds)
  • Mint leaves/cilantro- a few (for garnish)
  • Honey: 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and serve with mint/ cilantro leaves as garnish.
  2. Chill before serving.