Tag Archives: healthy Indian recipes

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Pongal/Khichdi (Indian Lentil and Rice Risotto)

Category:Healthy Indian Recipes,Indian Dietitian Online,Recipes-Healthy Breakfast Tags : 

Pongal is both a festival as well as a dish. In Tamil Nadu (a state in South India)it is the “harvest festival” and the dish is made on this day(I suspect, that is why they both share the same name)! There are actually two versions to this dish-the sweet one(sakkarai pongal) and the spicy one(khara pongal).
As a kid I would insist that my mom made only the sweet pongal(blame my sweet tooth for it) and subsequently, I almost forgot what the spicy version tasted like.It was much later when I started my career as a Dietitian,that I was re-introduced to the khara pongal, as it was on the breakfast menu for the patients.Again, having rice for breakfast was new to me and I tried my best to avoid it for a while.Then my seniors decided that they had to make me try it, and one fine morning(I still remember that it was a cold, rainy, Friday morning) I was ordered to taste it.So,there was me,squirming in my seat when the cook brought me a tasting cup of steaming hot pongal and another cup of raitha. Duty called(it was a rule that the dietitians had to taste the food before it could be sent to the patients) and so I took the spoon and dipped it into the cup and took a little(I was after all JUST tasting) and tasted it-and my,my, it was the tastiest pongal I had eaten. I ended up finishing the whole cup(even though I had eaten a substantial breakfast at home) and have ever since become a pongal fan!! After that I would bug mom to make the khara pongal at regular intervals.
The recipe is quite easy and if you want to up the nutritional value,you could add your favourite veggies to this rice+lentil dish.The cook at the hospital even shared a secret(that even my mom didn’t know)-just before serving the dish,mix a cup of hot milk for a nice flavour(and for some added calcium indeed)!! Vegans can omit the milk.
Ingredients for Khara Pongal/Khichdi: (Serves 3)

  • Rice:1/2 cup
  • Split mung dal: 1/2 cup
  • Green chillies: 1 or two(slit lengthwise)
  • Ginger:1″ piece(chopped fine)
  • Turmeric:1/2 teaspoon
  • Milk:1 cup(optional)
  • Mustard seeds:1/2teaspoon
  • Zeera/Cumin seeds:1 teaspoon
  • Urad dal(dehusked and split black matpe bean)-1/2 teaspoon
  • Chana dal/Bengal gram dal: 1 teaspoon
  • Peppercorns: 5-6
  • Curry leaves:3-4
  • Oil: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Wash the rice and mung dal separately and let it soak in water for 10-15 mins.
  2. In the meanwhile,heat the oil in a pressure cooker, then add the mustard,cumin seeds,urad dal, chana dal, and peppercorns.
  3. When the mustard starts to sputter,add the curry leaves, the chopped ginger and the turmeric.
  4. Stir the ginger till it turns slightly brown,then add the chopped onions and the green chillies. Fry till the onions are translucent.
  5. Drain the water from the mung and rice,add the mung dal and saute for 2-3 mins on medium heat. Then add the rice and again stir for a minute.
  6. Add a little more than 3 cups of water and salt, mix and close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook for about 3 whistles. (If you have a rice cooker,then transfer the contents to a rice cooker and cook till the rice and dal are well cooked).
  7. Once it is done,mix well (the dal should be completely mashed).
  8. Just before serving mix the hot milk(optional, and check for salt) and serve piping hot with either raitha or chutney(we ate it with the tomatilla chutney ).

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Microwave Cauliflower Sabzi (No Oil)

Category:Healthy Indian Recipes,Indian Dietitian Online,Lunch Box Recipes Healthy Indian,Recipes- Side Dish Tags : 
 The Microwave version of the Gobi/Cauliflower sabzi was inspired by my mother-in-law who uses the microwave daily for her cooking (and not just for reheating stuff). I’ve tried making it with absolutely no oil, but you could add a teaspoon if you want. The resulting “No-oil, Microwave Gobi/Cauliflower ka sabzi” is not only easy to make but also turned out pretty good. You could even try the same recipe with broccoli(or any other vegetable) in lieu of the cauliflower.
Ingredients for Microwave Cauliflower Sabzi:
  • Cauliflower: 1 (washed and cut into tiny florets)
  • Red chilli powder: 1-2tsp (or according to your spice tolerance)
  • Turmeric powder: 1/4th tsp
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Cilantro/Coriander leaves: 3tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Lime juice: 1 tsp 

Cauliflower Sabzi Microwave

Microwave Cauliflower Sabzi (No Oil)

Method:
  1. Put the cauliflower florets in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 5 mins.
  2. Then sprinkle some salt on it and mix-well.
  3. Microwave again for 2-3 mins. Mix well. Repeat this procedure every 2-3 mins, till the cauliflower is almost cooked.Test for salt(add more if needed).
  4. Sprinkle the red chilly powder, turmeric and the cumin powder and mix well. Microwave again (mixing every 2-3 minutes) till the cauliflower gets cooked.
  5. Add the lime juice and mix well.
  6. Garnish with the cilantro leaves.
  7. Serve the “No-oil, Microwave Gobi/Cauliflower ka sabzi” with phulkas or as a side with rice and dal.

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Moong Dosa or Pesarattu(Savoury Mung Crepes) with Green Peas chutney

Category:Healthy Indian Recipes,Indian Dietitian Online,Recipes-Healthy Breakfast,Recipes-Snacks/Dips Tags : 

A ‘green’ breakfast! This dish is packed with protein and makes a healthy start to your day.
This is an easy version of the pesarattu(as there is no fermenting required).My mom learnt to make this moong dosa from one of our neighbours and as a kid I was not too fond of this ‘green’ dosa,but of course now it’s a totally different story. There are so many things that we hate as kids,but as grown ups we have a totally different take on it.
The peas chutney recipe is from my mother-in-law.I had never heard of(forget tasting) ‘peas chutney’ until she had made it for breakfast one day. I had to call her up to get this recipe and she was just so thrilled about it.
Moong dosa/Pesarattu (Mung Bean Crepes):
Ingredients for Pesarattu:

  • Whole Mung: 1 cup (soak in water overnight)
  • Green chillies: 1 or 2 nos.
  • Ginger:1/2″ piece
  • Zeera/Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Grind the soaked mung,green chilly, ginger and salt to a fine paste of pancake/dosa consistency(add about a cup of water while grinding)
  2. Add the cumin seeds and mix well.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan,when it’s hot, pour a ladleful of the dosa batter and spread.
  4. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove the cover, check if the dosa has cooked.Then,flip the dosa and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove and serve hot with chutney.

Note:It’s usually served with freshly chopped onions sprinkled on top as a garnish and some upma inside.
Green peas chutney:

Ingredients for Green Peas Chutney:

  • Fresh/frozen green peas: 1 cup
  • Green chillies: 1/2 or 1 no.
  • Salt: to taste
  • Mustard seeds:1/2 teaspoon
  • Zeera/Cumin seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sesame seeds:1/2 teaspoon
  • Lime juice:1 teaspoon
  • Oil:1 teaspoon

Method:

  1. Grind the peas(thaw first if frozen), green chillies and salt to a fine paste. Keep aside in a bowl.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan,add the mustard,cumin and sesame seeds.When the mustard starts to sputter,remove from flame.
  3. Pour this tempering on the chutney and mix,then add the lime juice and mix well.
  4. Serve with dosa’s or as a dip or use as a spread with sandwiches or wraps.

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Fish Cutlets/Fish Patties(Indian Style)

Category:Indian Dietitian Online,Online Dietician India,Recipes-Healthy Appetizer,Recipes-Snacks/Dips Tags : 

Here’s one more reason to increase your “oily” fish intake-the omega-3-fatty acids found in fish have shown to halt and slow down the age-related macular degeneration (AMD), in lay-man’s terms: AMD basically is a medical condition which is mostly seen in older adults and results in the loss of vision in the center of the visual field.
The research and findings conducted by Dr Elaine Chong at the University of Melbourne,Australia, involved 90,000 participants and showed that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids could cut the risk of developing AMD by 38%.
Experts suggest eating oily fish like salmons,mackerel,tuna,shellfish and herring about twice a week to get the benefits of omega-3!
Sources:

Now a simple and tasty way of including fish into your diet: fish cakes or “cutlets” as they are called in India. This is my mom’s method of making cutlets.
Mom would first steam mackerel,then take out the bones and mix it with mashed potatoes and coat them in rava/ semolina instead of using bread crumbs. Rava absorbs much less oil and tastes equally nice. I used canned tuna,but it tastes great with just about any fish you fancy.
Ingredients for Fish Cutlets:

  • Tuna: 1 can (5 oz)
  • Potatoes: 1 medium size (boiled)
  • Onions: 1/2 (finely chopped)
  • Cilantro: 2-3 tablespoons (finely chopped)
  • Giner+garlic paste: 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies: 1-2 (finely chopped)
  • Rava/Semolina: to coat the cutlets
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: for shallow frying

Method:

  1. In a bowl coarsely mash the potatoes.
  2. Drain the water from the tuna and add the tuna,chopped onions,cilantro,chillies,ginger +garlic paste and salt to the mashed potatoes and mix well.
  3. Shape into cutlets and shallow fry till the cutlets turn golden brown.
  4. Serve hot with chutney or tomato sauce.

Here are other Healthy Snack Ideas:

  1. Baked Sweet Potato Fries/snack
  2. Baked Carrot Fries/snack
  3. Fruit Chaat/ Fruit Salsa 
  4. Khaman Dhokla
  5. Handvo 
  6. Crispy Kale Chips

 


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Turnip leaves Mallung/Mallum (Sri Lankan simple stir-fry with greens)

Category:Healthy Indian Recipes,Indian Dietitian Online,Lunch Box Recipes Healthy Indian,Recipes- Side Dish Tags : 

I love trying out different cuisines and have been lucky to have wonderful neighbours from whom I have learnt different cooking styles. My love for Sri Lankan cuisine started back in the US when we lived in Minnesota for a brief period. There was one Sri Lankan restaurant in the neighbourhood and we loved the fiery food there. Though it is similar to South Indian cuisine(especially Kerala cuisine), they are heavy on the spices and it’s definitely not for those who have a weak stomach.

When we moved to Sydney, I was lucky to have a Sri Lankan neighbour who (once she got to know my love for Sri Lankan food) is always sending over food. This ‘mallung’ or mallum recipe I learnt from her. It’s a quick and easy stir-fry recipe for greens, where you have to finely chop/shred the greens. Since green leafy vegetables tend to reduce in quantity when cooked-don’t be disappointed if you end up with very little mallung.

I try to experiment with different greens and try to buy radish/turnips/beetroot with the leaves. And yes-please don’t throw the leaves of these vegetables as they are edible. Add them to your dals or make this Sri Lankan ‘mallung’ recipe 🙂

Turnip Leaves are a rich source of Vitamins K, A folate and minerals like calcium, copper and also fibre. So STOP throwing away the leaves and use them in your cooking.

Ingredients for Sri Lankan Mallung: Serves 4

  • Green leafy veg: 1 big bunch (kale, turnip greens, moringa leaves, amaranth, lal saag)
  • Red chili flakes: 1 tsp (or green chili paste)
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard leaves: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves: 3-4 nos.
  • Grated coconut: 1-2 tbsp (fresh or desiccated)
  • Lemon juice: 2tsp
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Wash the greens and chiffonade (roll the leaves and cut them finely) them.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the mustard and cumin seeds.
  3. When it starts to pop, add the curry leaves, turmeric powder and the red chili flakes (or green chili paste)
  4. Then add the greens and stir-fry for 5-6 mins.
  5. Add the salt and the grated coconut and mix well.
  6. Swith off and squeeze a dash of lime/lemon juice.
  7. Serve with rice and dal/sambar.

Note:

  1. Experiment with different greens. Cooking times will differ for different greens: like moringa(drumstick) leaves need more time to cook (and you may have to cover and cook for sometime).
  2. The red chili flakes add a unique taste to the dish, you can chop the dry red chilies and use that or use green chili paste.
  3. Always remember to squeeze some lemon/lime juice before you serve greens as the vitamin C will help in the absorption of the iron found in green leafy vegetables.

Sri Lankan mallung

Sri Lankan Greens Mallung/Mallum Recipe