Foodmantra

Eat Well. Feel Good.

How to make oil free Pakoras? Moras Pakora

Moras Pakora:

Miraculous Moras

This recipe is an interesting variation on the dal wada/ pakora. In this particular recipe the aim is to showcase this wonderful ingredient called the Moras bhaji/ Chiu chi Bhaji. This is a special leafy plant that grows in the marshy mangrove areas. Its speciality is its incredible resistance to salt content in the soil. This salt seems to permeate into the vegetable. The leaves are not flat but slightly swollen and juicy. Resultant taste is bafflingly salty, slightly sour and the texture of the leaf is crunchy almost like biting into salty chip. This appears for a very short period in the markets and we can owe this largely to the gujarati community that consume this leaf as a snack to compensate for their salt-less fast that they have to follow for periods upto 5 days straight. This keeps the salt cravings at bay.

Print Recipe
Moras Pakora
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Batter
Tadka
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Batter
Tadka
Instructions
  1. Wash the dals until the water turns clear. Soak the dals in water for about 2 hours atleast.
  2. Drain, then grind it to a fine paste in the mixer with very little or no water.
  3. In a large wide pan. Heat some ghee, add the jeera, hing, green chillies, then add the mixture and add 2 cups of water. Keep stirring, on a medium-low flame and add the salt and the sugar and continue to stir with a flat spoon, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Don’t be tempted to add more salt, because of the saltiness of the moras will come through after baking.
  4. Do this for at-least 1 min. if it gets too thick before that, add water ½ cup at a time. The idea is to make sure that the dals cooks and doesn’t have the raw taste like batter.
  5. Usually after about 15 minutes of stirring, the ghee will start to separate from the mixture, and the mixture will have a slight shine. At this point give it a good stir, scrape the sides down and turn off the flame.
  6. Wash and pick the leaves and discard the stems of the moras bhaji. Roughly chop it up and mix it with the cooked batter. Spread it out and let it cool down till it can be handled.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200*C, grease a tray with very little oil, make tiny balls of the mixture and arrange them on the tray. You should get about 18-20 of them. Use some water or oil while shaping the balls if the mixture is too sticky. Ideally it should not be. Bake it at 200* for 5-7min then for another 10 min. on high to get the brown colouration and the crispness. The center will be slightly gooey, but the mixture is cooked completely even before baking so. Enjoy oil free guilt free binging on these pakoras.
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How to Make Oil Free Pakoras? Don’t Waste Cauliflower Stems SuperFood

It’s that time of the year, rains ruining your travel plans and messing up your laundry duties. We all need the warmth and feel good factor of bhajiyas and pakoras with chai but with all the goodness of no oil of-course. So I’ve come up with a few recipes to do just that.

Cauliflower stem and leaf pakora:

It’s the monsoon season, vegetable prices are soaring and one can’t afford to throw away any edible portion of vegetables especially when they are so expensive. Did you know the actual raw yield of a head of cauliflower is just about 55%. If you purchase 1 kg cauliflower for 63 rupees which is the prevailing rate. You are essentially dumping 28 rupees worth of perfectly edible cauliflower in the bin which is wrong on so many levels.

Making this cauliflower stem pakoras is incredibly simple and is sure to brighten up a gloomy monsoon evening. Best enjoyed with a cup of piping hot chai.

 

Print Recipe
Cauliflower stem pakora
Course Snacks, Vegetarian
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Snacks, Vegetarian
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Wash the cauliflower, destem the florets and keep aside. We will not be using the florets. You may use the florets for your regular sabji or any other purpose. Once cut you can store the florets immersed in water for upto 24 hrs in the refrigerator.
  2. Roughly chop up the stems, leaves and the stalks. In rare cases the cauliflower comes whole along with the larger leaves that completely envelope it. Make sure you don’t include these as we want to make sure that the pakoras don’t have too much leafy content which will leach out water and not allow them to crisp up adequately.
  3. Once this is done put all of these contents in a blender and blitz the mixture till it is finely chopped up but not to a paste. Add some salt to the mixture, mix and keep it aside. The salt is added for seasoning ofcourse but also to ensure that the leafy portion lets of some of the excess moisture. Moisture being the enemy of crispyness.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the batter and keep it aside. Keep water for boiling. Squeeze the blended cauliflower and drain the excess water. Now add it to the batter, check the consistency as mentioned in the ingredient list.
  5. Once the water is boiling, add the batter in small dolops either with a spoon or your hands. The batter will be sticky so keep a bowl of water handy so that you can quickly rinse your fingers before dropping the next pakora. The boiling process is to make sure that the contents of the pakora are cooked and it gives structure for us to be able to spread out on a baking tray. Poach for about 2-3 mins, drain and cool in the refrigerator. Cooling in the refrigerator will help in the drying out of the surface of the pakoras and help in the browning process in the oven.
  6. Grease a baking tray with 1 tsp of oil and spread it. Preheat the oven to 200*C, add the pakoras to the tray and bake. After about 2 mins, increase the temperature to max, around 250*C. You might have to turn them around slightly to achieve even browning.
  7. After about 5-7 mins it should be crispy, golden brown and ready. Serve hot with ketchup or sauce of your choice.
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How to make oil free Pakoras? Waterchestnut Pakoras (Singhada bhajiya)

Waterchestnuts are in season, with the rains come these decoratively arranged green jewels with a mellow ivory interior adorn the streets with numerous vendors selling them. Before we delve into making these beautiful waterchestnut pakoras, a bit about this seasonal super food.

Price point:

At 6o rupees for half a kg they aren’t exactly cheap. But their versatility and nutritional value outweighs this factor. It is a food that is consumed especially in times of fasting since it is a non-grain source.  It can also be converted into a flour (Singhada) and used much like regular flour.

Nutritive Highlights:

  • Potassium: Whats more, it is high in potassium and low in sodium, so it helps in the electrolyte balance in the body and especially beneficial for people with high blood pressure
  • Healthy Snack:Its incredibly helpful with satiety levels. 1 cup of water-chestnuts will only set you back 120 calories and is hence the perfect snack with instant energy.

  • Dietary copper: A lesser known fact is that it is rich in source of dietary copper which is required in organ and tissue functions not to mention stable oxygenation of blood.

 

Texture:

Its crunchy texture will turn to a mellow slightly firm potato like texture after cooking. What better way to enjoy them as pakoras in these rains other than maybe popping them raw.

Print Recipe
Waterchestnut Pakoras (Singhada bhajiya)
Cuisine Healthy, Indian
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Healthy, Indian
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Wash and peel the waterchestnuts.
  2. Hand chop the waterchestnuts into small cubes. Avoid blitzing in the mixer as after the steaming process the waterchestnuts may turn mushy.
  3. Prepare the pakora batter. Check the ingredient lists for the consistency of the batter.
  4. Fold the waterchestnuts into the batter. Get a steamer running. You could boil the pakoras but after my first recipe with the cauliflower stems, I found that steaming them is a lot easier and they look a lot like golden cookies.
  5. After steaming them for about 2 mins. Grease a baking tray with 1 tsp of oil and place the steamed dollops.
  6. Bake it at 180* for 5-7 mins to begin with and then increase the temperature to max for another 2-3 min till the pakoras brown and crisp up.
  7. Serve hot with a sauce of your choice. Ideally some ketchup or coriander mint chutney.
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Chaayos v Coffee Shops – Restaurant Wars

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We recently visited Chaayos in Versova Mumbai. Then we visited it again, and again, and again. We began wondering why we were visiting this little meeting point more frequently than say, a Bru World Cafe, Cafe Coffee Day or our next door Snacks Centre.

Here’s why

  1. The Location – like many of its wisely located competitors, Chaayos too, is located in areas with a high footfall. It is located in a place which is perfect for an semi formal meeting or catching up  with a friend for a quick chai.
  2. Novelty – While Bru World Cafe offers a wonderful variety and blends of locally sourced coffee, and a few chais too, and Cafe Coffee Day keeps reinventing their menu, there’s novelty in an All Chai place. India is still essentially a chai drinking country, and after the initial infatuation of teenagers sipping frappes at CCD in the 90s, we are all getting back to the good old chai. Inevitably so! So it is a bit of novelty and a bit of nostalgia.
  3. Price Wise – They are all roughly the same price wise. It costs around Rs 400 to 500 for two people. I was under the impression that Chaayos is cheaper, cause you know, its chai, but no, it isn’t cheaper. It seems cheaper somehow.
  4. Menu Wise – They have everything very desi, very healthy and very relatable on their menu. From Kulhad wali chai to Kaadha style to Chamomile tea. From bhajiyas to chana chaat to muffins. Something about the menu makes you feel at home. It is fresh, it is healthy, it is local. I think it is the reliability of the menu that makes you believe that this place is cheaper than other coffee shops even when its not.
  5. Crowd wise – While CCD reminds me of teenage couples and loud streaky girls around tables sharing a single pastry or coffee, the crowd in the Brus and Chaayos of the world is very different. In the Chaayos I visited I found the crowd to be more mature. In fact, Bru World and Chaayos have WiFi, and a very semi formal meeting kind of culture going. It is a quick chai, no involvement or whiling away time whatsoever.
  6. Comfort wise – The seating of Chaayos is not comfortable. I understand that they don’t want you to get too comfy because these places run on shorter turn around times, but their seating and crowded layout in the Versova outlet wants me to carry my own cushion for the narrow wooden classroom benches that barely accommodate an adults buttocks..!! Pardon my language, but the seating will not allow you to enjoy your chai comfortably for an hour.

What We Didn’t Like

The fact that you MUST enter your phone number each time you place an order, so they can send you promotional random messages every now and then.

I also did not like their seating arrangement and uncomfortable wooden benches.

 

I would love to go to Chaayos again. You should try it if you are more a Chai guy, or Chai gal. They do offer coffee, but the options are limited. Their menu is very fresh and desi, so perhaps the healthier pick when compared with the many a, often stale smelling bakery items from some of the coffee shops we have mentioned above. They make you chana chaat and fry your bhajiyas in front of you, which makes me find it safer to eat than the stuff in which I have no idea what ingredients might have gone.

Anyway, do try it out and tell us if you agree or disagree with out opinion about Chaayos.

Celebrate BIG Weekends on a Small Budget; Rose Sparkling Wine

Rose Sparkling Wine

Budget Champagne

We love to celebrate..!! And if anything you’re like us, the kind that like to celebrate everything from “new fax paper in office” like Chandler to welcoming the weekend, then this Budget Sparkling wine might be the right pick for you too.

At MRP Rs 590, as on date in Maharashtra this baby is the small budget version to celebrate the little joys in life. Honestly speaking, I’m not wine connoisseur but I like the emotion attached with bringing in a celebration by popping a bottle of Champagne. If you love to celebrate every little thing too, but don’t wish to spend two grand on it each time, then you should try the ceremony of this Frizzano bottle by Good Drop Wine Cellars in Nasik.

I’d say the wine is best paired with spicy Indian curry, or may be even a creamy butter chicken. I also tried pairing it with some fruit for the little sweetness to complement the tartness in the wine. There is Champagne for the more sophisticated palates among us, then there is something like this affordable bottle, you buy this more for the fun of it than the flavour. I’d say the loud flavours of a nice spicy curry with garam masala would mask some of its less flattering notes.

This little celebration will not burn a hole in your pocket. If you do happen to try it, let me know what you paired it with and whether that pairing was a success.

10 Unbelievable Benefits of Eating Dal-Rice-Ghee Everyday; Why is Dal-Chawal the ULTIMATE Desi Superfood?

Health Benefits Dal Rice Ghee

Health Benefits Dal Rice Ghee

The Everyday Dal-Rice-Ghee

When raindrops pitter patter on freshly washed leaves and even when beads of sweat trickle down my neck on a summer afternoon, when I sit cozy wrapped in a blanket on a chilly December night and also after a tiring day at work, I crave a warm bowl of Dal-chawal & ghee. It is the most comforting desi meal that was ever made! Call it Varan-Bhaat ani toop in a Maharashtrian home, Dhal-Bhaat in a Bengali home or even Sambhar-Rice with ghee; Dal-Rice with ghee is eaten as a complete meal across India and for good reason.

The ULTIMATE Desi Superfood – Dal-Chawal-Ghee

Dal and Rice together are a complete vegetarian protein; the ghee tadka not only enhances the flavor but also helps us absorb the nutrients from the dal-rice, turmeric and cumin. Adding desi cow’s ghee increases the benefits of our everyday meal. While a variety of dals and rice can be used to make our favorite meal, the most common preference is arhar or toor dal with fragrant basmati rice and cow’s ghee. This combination is made in heaven, and executed to perfection by our mothers. In their kitchen, the secret ingredient is warmth and lots of love.

 

Unbelievable Benefits of Eating Dal-Rice-Ghee Everyday

Now, let’s talk about everything that goes into making Dal-Chawal-Ghee that makes it so great. Every ingredient that is added in making dal chawal compliments other the ingredients enhances flavours and also makes the dish more nourishing for the body in that combination.

#1 Building Muscle – Complete protein for vegetarians

Dal-Rice is considered to be the perfect protein for a vegetarian. The proteins and amino acids in dal are complimentary to those in rice. Dal and rice are both incomplete proteins but eating them together makes the combination a complete protein for vegetarians. Grains, such as rice or wheat can act as complementary proteins for legumes such as lentils. They contain the cysteine and methionine that lentils don’t have, and lentils provide the lysine that grains do not have enough of.

 

#2 Digestion Dal, Cumin and Hing

My mother often tells me to take a pinch of hing or asafetida with warm water when I have a stomachache or indigestion. Hing is taken as a home remedy for indigestion because it has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Dal on the other hand is rich in fiber and more fiber improves our digestion. Cumin is known to trigger our digestive juices and enzymes, it is also high in fiber and has anti fungal and anti microbial properties. Ghee also stimulates digestive juices. Cumin and asafetida used in Dal tadka together help in preventing intestinal gas that might be produced when digesting high fiber foods like dal. Such an intelligent recipe!! The counter action of all the ingredients together promotes good digestion.

#3 Anti-inflammatory and Healing

Spices like cumin, turmeric and asafetida are added in dal tadka along with ghee when preparing Dal Chawal. Turmeric, cumin and asafetida are loaded with antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties that help in healing. If you have a cold, indigestion or aches and pains, the combination of these spices in dal-chawal that is soaked and cooked down helps in speedy recovery. Ghee helps in absorbing the nutrients from these spices, and adds to the flavor. Proteins in dal chawal, helps in repair and building of new tissue and muscles making this the ultimate comfort food.

#4 Hair, Skin & Beauty

Turmeric, which is an important ingredient in Dal is known as the beauty spice. It is not only applied externally for glowing skin, but it also heals your skin and hair from the inside. For the best benefits, turmeric needs to be heated and mixed with fat such as ghee and black pepper. When this combination is added in making Dal Chawal along with pure cow’s ghee, which is also good for moisturizing skin, it increases your beauty and skin glow. Curry leaves are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and these properties make them very beneficial for skin and hair. Curry leaf tadka along with ghee and turmeric boost the beauty factor of Dal Chawal Ghee.

#5 Rich in Antioxidants

As I had mentioned earlier all these spices that are added in the tadka including turmeric, cumin, asafetida, curry leaves are loaded with antioxidants. The presence of antioxidants helps us fight cancer, diabetes and lifestyle related diseases.

#6 Rich in nutrients & also helps absorb nutrients

Other than being a good source of protein, fats and carbohydrates, the spices and cow’s ghee are also rich in Vitamins like A, D, E and K. Ghee is not only rich in nutrients, the fat content in it helps us absorb the nutrition from the other ingredients in Dal Chawal as well.

#7 Boosts Metabolism

High fiber, antioxidants and nutrients in dal, rice, ghee and the spices help speed up our metabolism. The turmeric also reduces inflammation in the gut and as such, which improves digestion and makes our metabolism better. Cumin is also known to speed our metabolism.

#8 Fat Loss

Better metabolism and good digestion results in fat loss. Fat loss might be linked with eating salad or starving yourself , but in reality, better nutrition and eating dal chawal will encourage long term fitness and fat loss. This food will make you look and feel good. Eating ghee also supports fat loss and reduction in belly fat, read more about this here.

#9 Helps in fetal development and specially good for women

While Cow’s ghee is beneficial in good memory and brainpower, immunity building of a baby in mother’s womb, toor dal being rich in folic acid helps in fetal development. Folic acid in toor dal is especially beneficial for women’s health.

#10 Prevention of Heart Disease

Fiber in Dal, healing properties of turmeric and cumin along with the benefits of pure cow’s ghee, which contains good fats, protects our body from heart disease.

 

Comfort Food & Super-meal for the Family

If these reasons weren’t enough, I’d still eat Dal-Rice-Ghee everyday for the sheer comfort and warmth filled in that meal. It is now being scientifically proven that positive thoughts and feelings impact the physical being. When a loving mother prepares Dal-Rice-Ghee for her family, the positive feelings in that meal will make a gloomy day brighter, and heal our body and mind.

I believe that Dal-Rice-Ghee is a Desi Superfood and Supermeal, and one should eat it everyday of the week. It can be in the form of Dal-Chawal-Ghee or khichdi, you can also experiment and create your very own Dal-Chawal-Ghee creations. I, for instance, came up with Dal-Chawal cheesy bites, which were fried in ghee, a bit rich, but also totally worth it! It was delicious. But if you’re in the mood for simple, then simple boil dal and rice, add some tadka, lemon and coriander on top, drizzle with some pickle masala and bite into a crunchy aloo papad along with it, and you are set for the day! Do share you Dal-Chawal-Ghee creations in the comments below and tag me in your Instagram pictures here.

Health Benefits Dal Rice Ghee

Health Benefits Dal Rice Ghee

5 Terrific Super Teas for Good Health, Glowing Skin & Detox

 

 

For a few of us chai is just an excuse for gupshup. One might want to simply go for a long drive and sip on a hot beverage in this season.. Lovely weather, drizzling & the cool breeze perfectly compliment each other. Just the thought invokes the desire in you.. I can really go for one cup of tea now …;)

I dunk my biscuits & brun maska and enjoy chai the most. I would say quite a few Bombay-ities including my besties love this practice. Pakoras with chai is a humble combination.

The consumption doubles up during the monsoon season to keep us going.

Tea for Health – Super Teas

This beverage is almighty with its aiding properties.

One can simply brew them when you are on the go..
Here are my favorite, dip-dip, on-the-go Tea options

For Slow metabolism – Green Tea

Sleepless nights –   Chamomile

Nauseous –             Ginger Tea

Bloated-                   Peppermint

Cold-                         Elderflower

Stressed –                 Lemon grass

For Glowing skin one needs to detoxify

Detoxifying helps rid us of all the impurities in our system; it is critical to our current lifestyle. Our body stores toxins because of unhealthy eating habits & unhygienic food. So eliminating the toxins becomes imperative for one to become beautiful not just from within but from outside also. We are what we eat & drink. Above-mentioned infusions are for beautiful & healthy you.

Garam Garam Adrak wali Chai

My all time favourite and I don’t miss it for the world unless am travelling is my regular chai.

Here I boil water with ginger & lemon grass and reduced to 1 cup followed by 1 tsp of tea powder & milk. Since I don’t add sugar, I add jaggery powder straight to my cup to avoid splitting.

For most of you adopting the jaggery flavour might take time however, you can add sugar to the same & enjoy. I have switched to jaggery many years back since it’s a healthy form of sweetener & I any day prefer it over sugar. Besides, it has helped me maintained my weight over the years. Jaggery is a super food packed with essential nutrients, aids digestion, prevents blood diseases, improves the metabolism, treats chronic cough, is good for your skin & above all delays the sign of aging, What else does a woman want ..;)

History of Chai

I seriously think we should thank the Chinese emperor Shen Nung as Tea was accidently discovered by him. While he was siting beneath a tree his servant boiled drinking water, some leaves growing nearby blew into the water. The emperor, a renowned herbalist, tried this infusion, which was accidentally invented. As a result of this we now have tea. A Buddhist monk first introduced tea, in Japan.

These are many hearsay stories. But drinking tea is known to have started in China many centuries ago.

During our schooling, in history class we all might vaguely remember the mention of Tang Dynasty. It was during this time that tea became the national drink of China.

A writer called Lu Yu wrote the first book entirely about Tea when it became a favourite beverage. Tea drinking has become vital part of Asian culture.

Did u know, in the 17th century, because of its popularity & high tax on tea not everyone could afford it which led to smuggling of tea into Britain as it was strongly desired. Later the taxation was regularized for all to sip a cuppa.

Tea bags were another accidental invention by Thomas Sullivan in the nineteen hundreds when he sent tea in silk bags to his clients & they steeped the tea without taking it out of the bag! India & China exported tea extensively to England during the 1900s as it became the nation’s favourite drink.

In India & almost all Asian homes the first thing we offer to our guest is tea. This tradition reflects gratitude, humility, which appends warmth to the guest.

Different countries have different ways to infuse the beverage. My favourite is Adrak wali chai (Ginger tea). I simply adore my cup of tea & love to sip it at leisure.

It irritates me when I am disturbed while enjoying my tea. Yes, it sounds crazy but it is indeed one happy moment. I am very particular when it comes to my tea because I prefer it a certain way.

Only tea lovers will understand what I am saying here. It adds the zing to the beginning of the day.

 

Hope this amazing health beverage brings makes a big difference not just for your palate but for a beautiful & healthy you.

Cheers to hot chai…

Happy Monsoon

 

 

Craving a Weekday Buzzzzzz? We found a Chiller buddy..!!

Rio FIZZY WINE

Rio Fizzy Wine

Rio Fizzy Wine

Disclaimer – Rio Fizzy Wine was sent to us for a trial. We did not buy this Fizzy wine. We maintain transparency with our readers so we must inform you that the information below is not a promotional activity or a paid article but our honest opinion about this product.

 

I’m a beer drinker. Most of my friends, family and loved ones are beer patriots. It is always hard for us, beer lovers to step out of our comfort zone and try a new chilled, fizzy drink.

 

Let me explain what an Alcopop is, an alcopop is like a flavoured soft drink, except that it’s got a small percentage of alcohol, so it’s not a soft drink. I don’t want to sound sexist, and offend myself, but Alcopops are often called “Women’s Drink”. I don’t think it is a “woman’s drink” but I do agree that it is a beginners’ drink. Alcopops are sweetened drinks that give you a light buzz, so anyone who is just trying out his or her first few drinks, can try something like this.

 

In this category, the only other Alcopop I have tasted is breezer, and I do enjoy some of the flavours. Breezer however, is not a wine based Alcopop.

 

Rio’s Fizzy Wine costs Rs 100 in Maharashtra as on date. It is slightly cheaper than some of its counterparts in the Alcopop category. However, for me the taste of this Alcopop was a bit harsh. It did not leave that smooth finish on the palate. I believe that if a beginner or someone new to alcohol tries it out, they might not comfortable with the loud notes in it.

 

Having said that, it is a Fizzy wine, and a one of kind product in this budget. Usually when I’m looking to unwind on a weekday, after a long hard day I prefer to drink a beer. I tried it out for a light buzz midweek, and found it to be affordable and enjoyable when had with a mild cheese or a fruit salad. Since it is on the tart, acidic side in its flavor, sweeter, milder and creamier foods will pair better with it.

 

Perhaps one can have this Rio Fizzy Wine with rich creamy pasta, a seafood curry with coconut milk or some pudding. It will pair well with creamy, sweet tasting food.

 

I found the product to be very unique and interesting because of the wine base, and rarely do we find wine based alco pops on the shelves. However, because of its tart, acidic taste I wasn’t a fan of its flavor profile. It wasn’t suitable for my palate, however, if one pairs it with a creamy, mild cheese then it might be a refreshing break for that weekday buzz that we all crave.

Eat Cheese, Cream & Mayonnaise to get Killer Abs??

Keto Foods

Keto Diet

What would you say if I told you that you could eat cheese, mayonnaise, cream and everything yummy and still get killer abs? Would you believe me? Would you say that I’m insane? Well, I’m not, and here’s some real good news for you. I’m going to share tips on how you can eat cheese, cream and mayonnaise and still lose fat! I’ve done it; my friends have tried it and if you like, you can experiment with this too! But before you do, do check with your family doctor first.

Keto goes against all conventional wisdom and turns the diet pyramid on its head. It’s a HIGH FAT, MODERATE PROTEIN and very LOW CARB diet. The battle with getting onto the keto bandwagon is predominantly a psychological one that often make me wonder, “Seriously, what am I doing?” Will I die of a heart attack eating this much fat?

Research has shown consistently that there is no link between cardiac diseases, fried foods, and cholesterol intake. The true enemy is sugar. Whaaaaaatttt???

What is a ketogenic diet?

To understand the diet we have to first understand that our body is used to operating on carbohydrates, and has become extremely efficient at doing so. So much so that as time goes by the body requires less and less carbohydrates to function and the surplus carbohydrates are converted to glycogen and subsequently stored as fat. Coupled with our often sedentary lifestyle our body becomes a fat storing machine. Back when we were kids of course we would be playing sports and engage in more physical activities, so these carbohydrates got utilised completely. But as adults it’s difficult to sustain those levels of exercise.

Ketosis is a state induced in the body primarily when a person fasts. In this scenario the body is starved of carbohydrates and it goes into a backup mode converting fats transported to the liver and converted to ketones. These ketones are what fuel the body kick-starting the fat burning metabolic processes in the body. However it is not always possible or safe to starve oneself. The idea is to limit carbohydrates to a mere 5%, proteins to 20%, and fats to 75%. The exact quantity however will depend upon your height, weight and activity. You can get an accurate estimate on https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator/

Typically for a Male weighing 75kg and 175cm the intake should be around

2000 calories

156g of fat

20g of carbs

106 g of protein

How do I Keto…?

To gain control over what you are eating, I would recommend downloading an App called ‘MyFitnessPal’ this has an exhaustive list of foods both retail and raw products with macros and calories in its database that will help you track of the same.

Count your macros not calories

Other macros to keep in mind is your salt intake Potassium, Sodium, Calcium and to a lesser extent Magnesium.

Affordable Ketogenic Diet Grid

Below is a list of vegetables that are commonly available in the markets. Of course there are a couple of ingredients that may have lesser carbs per unit but quite frankly asparagus and avocado are a luxury for our desi shopping lists.

 

Very low Carbohydrates Ingredients

Vegetables Sauces Condiments
Cauliflower Cheese sauce Vinegar
Cabbage Cream Soy
Broccoli Mayonnaise Grated coconut
Spinach Pesto Olives
French beans Coconut milk Pickled gherkins
Mushroom Tomato Salsa Buttermilk
Eggplant Spinach puree Powdered indian masalas (Coriander, Cumin, Garam masala, Chilli powder)
Paneer Almond gravy  Mustard
Lettuce Dry Wine  Chilly
Tomato  Peanut butter
Cucumber
Green capsicum
Meats Flours
Sausages Almond Flour
Eggs Coconut flour
Mutton Oat husk flour
Chicken thighs Psyllium husk
pork belly with fat
Mackerel, Sardines (oily fish) salmon

 

Foods to avoid like the plague!!

Any form of sugar (jaggery, honey, grain sugar). Pasta, Cereals, Rice, Bread, Chapati, Fruits(Barring small quantities of Raspberry/ Strawberry), ketchup, fizzy drinks, fruit juices, lentils.

Just to give you an idea of the carbohydrate restriction in place. 1 large slice of bread has 20g of carbs which is the intake limit a day.

The  Four myths and their accompanying Commandments of Keto diet

  • ‘I’m on a low carb diet so I’m going to have the largest bucket of fried chicken I’ve ever had’
Thou shalt not eat too much protein

Many people mistake keto diet with a high protein diet. If you eat too much protein your body is smart enough to convert the excess protein to glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis. Thus your vital fat reserves remain untouched.

  • ‘Eating so much butter, cheese can’t be good. Will I die of a heart attack?’
Thou shalt not eat too less fat

This sounds a little strange to even seasoned keto followers. It’s a difficult psychological barrier to overcome when all your life you have been told that eating it can lead to health problems. Your body is the best signal, trust the unique body chemical processes that goes on in your system and be liberal with the use of oil, butter, ghee.

  • ‘Eating very less salt is good for your health’
Thou shalt season your food properly with salt

Sodium: Insulin, besides keeping blood sugar levels in check is also is responsible for storing sodium in the kidneys. When it is suppressed (as a result of reduced blood sugar levels) the sodium is flushed out of the body. Hence it is essential to salt your food properly maybe even slightly over-salting.

‘I want to be healthy but I don’t want to eat my greens’

Thou shalt honour Popeye and eat your Spinach

Potassium: is critical in muscle contraction and reduced levels in the body can lead to fatigue.(and other green leafy vegetables of course) to replenish your potassium levels

‘Eating too many nuts will make me fat’

Thou shalt eat your quota of nuts.

Magnesium is another important nutrient important in several bodily functions can be supplemented by tablets and eating nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds.

  • ‘Hey, if it says low carb it must be alright for me to eat.’
Thou shalt read the nutritional information carefully

It is very important that you read labels of every processed product that you purchase. Even the ones that state low carbs. Manufacturers have mastered the art of disguising sugars in their food by giving misleading names fructose, corn syrup, lactose, barley malt, dextrose, rice syrup, maltose, agave, molasses, cane juice, fruit juice, honey, and malt syrup. Sometimes it is mentioned as sugar alcohols and blatantly says zero carbohydrates but actually is sugar!! Don’t compromise. When in doubt ask for help or avoid that product altogether.

Useful Hacks to Keto

1. Snacking

Nuts: You can eat nuts like almonds, peanuts in moderation. I would suggest going for unsalted nuts although I mentioned earlier that you must salt your food, simply because they are less addictive and tempting. Take a fixed amount and eat it at leisure. Don’t take a big bags of nuts and keep munching.

Crudites: Cut up some bell peppers and cucumbers into sticks and keep it sealed in a ziplock bag. Just before using, put the cut up vegetables in cold water for a minute. Strain. This will make them crunchy. Gorge on these guilt free with some spicy mayo.

Greentea and Buttermilk: You can have these both as much as you need through the day to keep yourself hydrated. The green tea will suppress your appetite (add some lemon) and it’s a delightful beverage to sip while working. If it’s too hot opt for spiced buttermilk

2. Eggs

Eggs are probably the single most important ingredient that will save you when you are hungry. You can eat it by itself like an omelette. Boil, cut it up and add it to bulk up salads. Use it as a binder to coat chicken before crumbing it in some shaved parmesan/ almond meal and bake. Use it to make low carb pancakes.

3. Overcoming carb urges like rice and chapatti

Cauliflower couscous – There are times when the urge of having some starch is over-whelming. Check out the below recipe I found below.  Gives satisfaction of having had something that resembles rice.

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-cauliflower-rice-couscous-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-203344

 

  • Word of caution: Do consult your doctor before trying this diet if you are a diabetic or have an existing heart condition.

 

 

6 Reasons to EAT Desi Superfood; Jackfruit Vindaloo Recipe

Vegan Meat Curry

Jackfruit Vindaloo

 

Jackfruit is in season and much has been said about the sweet treat. But we are going to pay tribute to its meaty avatar, which is in the truest sense a desi superfood, the RAW JACKFRUIT.

#1 High Vitamin C Boosts Immunity

Jackfruit is loaded with nutrients including Vitamin C and other antioxidants. These nutrients help flush out toxins and are even believed to help us in fighting cancer. The vitamin C boosts our immunity.

#2 High Fibre for Better Digestion

There is high fiber content in jackfruit, especially in the seeds, this aids healthy digestion and an effective excretion keeping the gastrointestinal tract clean and healthy. It therefore prevents constipation.

 #3 High Fibre for Weight Loss

The high fibre in jackfruit helps you feel full faster and you remain satiated with a smaller quantity of jackfruit for longer than other carbs like refined flour.

#4 Good for Bones due to Magnesium and Calcium

Jackfruit is rich in both magnesium and calcium. In women specially, deficiency of magnesium and calcium at a later age can cause osteoporosis. Eating jackfruit will keep your bones healthy because it is rich in these minerals.

#5 The Ultimate Anti-diabetic Carb

Jackfruit has a very low glycemic index. It has an unusually high ratio of insoluble fibre content. This means that it releases glucose into the body at an extremely slow rate, by which time most of it has passed through the digestive system.

Most importantly has a high satiating value, which keeps you full. A much ignored fact being that it is 80% of water and vital to keep hydrated during the summer.

#6 Good for your heart

Jackfruit is loaded with minerals, vitamins and antioxidant properties. Jackfruit is packed with vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 along with B12 and folic acid may help reduce the rick of heart diseases.

 

Uses of Jackfruit – The Vegan Meat

A lot has been said about the meaty character of raw Jackfruit. It is also known as “the vegan meat”. When cooked right, raw jackfruit texture tastes like that of pulled pork. It is meaty and chunky, it can be used in Biryani, kebabs, tacos and vegan burgers as a healthy, vegetarian meat replacer. This largest tree fruit is very versatile, you can eat it raw and cook it like a vegetable, you can also eat it ripe as a fruit. As a fruit, it stinks a bit, but one can get used to that. Jackfruit is eaten fried like chips in Kerala, it is also dried and ground into flour and used along with wheat flour to make healthy bread.

How to Cook Jackfruit Vindaloo?

This recipe will surely satisfy your hunger for meat without actually having to eat mutton or pork. This is a classic vegan spin on the Pork Vindaloo, You can eat it with pac or even stuff it in tacos.There is just something special about pulled pork and Jackfruit is the perfect substitute to achieve this texture as it separates into long juicy fibres that are flavour neutral and soak up any flavour that it is cooked in. This recipe is going to leave you wanting for more.

 

Jackfruit Vindaloo Curry

Vegan Meat Curry – Jackfruit

Jackfruit Vindaloo:

jackfruit cleaned deseeded 0.5 kg
onion chopped fine 1 large
garlic paste 1 tbsp
ginger paste 0.5 tbsp
Masala
Cumin 2 tbsp
Clove 3 pc
Cinnamon 1 inch
black pepper 0.5 tbsp
Turmeric 1 tsp
kashmiri 7 no.
red wine vinegar/ goan vinegar 0.5 cup

 

Instructions:

Pretty often these days you will get raw jackfruit already cleaned. Make sure to keep the seeds aside. These can be soaked overnight and boiled and added to other curries. Cut the jackfruit into wedges from the center, outwards so that we can achieve that wonderful pulled pork consistency.

First, measure all the spices, roast it over a low flame for 4-5 minutes or until you get the aromas of the spices. After the spices are roasted, let them cool down. Meanwhile, chop one onion, fine. Prepare the ginger garlic paste or you can purchase a ready-made one. Blend the spices in a spice grinder to a fine powder.

Over a heavy bottom pan, heat about 3 tbsp of oil, add the onions, saute, then the ginger-garlic paste cook until light brown in colour, now add the powdered masala, about 2 tbsp of it. The rest you can save for later, now add the jackfruit pieces, just about cover with water and let the jackfruit simmer for 8-10 minutes. When the jackfruit is cooked, take the pieces out into a wide bowl or a plate and use a potato masher to lightly mash the jackfruit without breaking it completely.

In the pan, add the red wine vinegar to the remaining gravy and reduce the gravy until it becomes slightly thicker. Check for salt. After the jackfruit is pulled thoroughly, add it back into the gravy and let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is fully cooked and absorbs all the delicious spice flavours. Serve it with pav or as a pickle on the side of a main dish.

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