Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Indian cooking and challenges

Main problem areas in Indian cooking are high fat content, fried foods, and high carbohydrate, overcooking of vegetables.

People so universally like our Indian food across the world, I am proud of our cuisine, in fact my friend has started a healthy dosa joint in New York (Indian Creperies)
I was impressed to see how little oil they used for cooking and used high protein fillings like shrimps and chicken and cheese in dosas.

Here is my solution to healthy Indian cooking.

1.Tadka (we use oil to roast spices and vegetable):
Biggest challenge is the cooks or our moms. Its not wrong to educate them about low saturated fat food, they grew up in different era where physical activity was much higher.
2.Personally stand with them when they start cooking to let them know that no more than a teaspoon of oil should be used to roast the cumin/jeera seeds (best is canola or peanut or coconut or mustard or sesame/til oil). Don’t heat olive oil.
3.Use an oil dispenser with a narrow opening when pouring out the oil, straight from the bottle is very tricky, you almost always pour out more.
4.Invest in good cookware, use anodized material, and stay away from other non-stick and aluminum.
5.Don’t overcook the vegetable they lose all their minerals and vitamins when that happens. Grill them on the pan or oven. Best is to use of small amount of any PUFA (polyunsaturated oils) with a basting brush to cover them with small amount of oil.
6.Use generous HALDI (turmeric) its known to be healing.
7.Limit halwas, pooris, and pakoras for festivities.
8.Roti is very healthy, when you make the dough make sure you have fiber in the flour, my personal choice is to add (channa flour, wheat bran/oat bran, and flax seed powder). Fiber will decrease the overall carbohydrate in the roti and it’s the best fresh bread I have ever eaten. But again like bread more than 2 will contribute to weight gain.
9. Eat lots of Dahi (home made) lots of probiotic properties good for the intestines, in fact raita (without boondi) and Lassi is famous in USA available in all health food stores.
10.Dont eat two carbs in same meal like Rajma (kidney beans) and rice.
Switch to brown rice or Quinoa: “Should be available in some stores”.
11.We Indians also tend to eat dessert after supper that habit can be curbed by either taking a little walk after dinner or having green tea or chamomile tea.
12. If you are a non-vegetarian stick to roasted or grilled tandoori type foods.
13. Many Indian dishes like stuffed baingan (eggplant) or stuffed capsicum (green pepper) are so yummy when baked in oven (my own experience).
14.Garnish the food with the herbs like cilantro (green fresh Dhaniya) it increases taste of food as well as many antioxidant properties and lipid lowering qualities.
15. Challenge your friends to host the healthiest food parties especially those who like to do kitty parties.
16.Unless you have high blood pressure there is no need to have low salt a recent study shows that low salt consumption can lead to high cholesterol and triglyceride levels and even insulin resistance.
I think this can be a starter, if I get more information or ideas I will post them.

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