Your Healthy Tweaks To Traditional Indian Recipes ?

Discussion in 'Cuisines of India' started by startinganew, May 29, 2019.

  1. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    Over the years I've moved from cooking quick and spicy meals as a student in school for myself, to try and make my meals as healthy as possible for me and family. I was wondering what kind of changes you make to traditional recipes to make them healthier for you/your family.

    In my case, it's usually inspired from a food blog or hearsay from a friend or relative and sometimes my own twist due to lack of ingredients at home. But here is the key thing - some changes tend to be a hit and remain in our menus for a long while, while others tend to be forgotten after the first experiment.

    So I thought I'll ask here if you all have any tried and tested go-to tweaks you make to traditional Indian recipes to make them healthier.
     
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  2. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    Here are the ones that are a hit at my home:

    1. Dosai/Idli batter:
    Replace urid dal with urid dal with skin. Out of the 3.5 parts of idli-rice, replace 1 with brown rice, 1 with millet, 1 with oats/quinoa and 0.5 will be red/white poha (aval or flattened rice)

    + Extra fibre
    + Diversify grains from our daily rice and wheat.
    - Color of idli won't be white. But no one seems to mind. :)


    2. Raita for biriyani
    We love our biriyani at home. But I used to always worry about how little veggies we consume on biriyani day till we discovered Spinach raita. It tastes delicious and I have to reserve some for me or else it will be over!

    How to: A teaspoon of oil + Add lots of diced onions and saute for a minute just to soften a bit + add loads of spinach leaves and saute for just a minute or two. Add a pinch of salt and jeera powder. Wait for it cool down and then add curd. (Google for a more detailed recipe)

    + Adults always love it and ask me for recipe :)
    - Kids don't seem to want to even try it :-(

    3. Pakoda in the oven
    Who doesn't like a crunch to go along with kichdi or sambar sadam ? I started doing this with any vegetable: Usually cauliflower and broccoli or bittergourd.

    How to: Dump veggies in a large bowl. Add some olive oil, besan, rice powder, salt, chilli powder, jeera, dhania and garam masala. With your hands toss it till each piece is covered with the batter. Bake at 400F for 25 mins or more till it look golden brown. (times will vary depending on the size of your veggies so please google for a detailed recipe so you can find steps with pictures and also quantities for ingredients)

    + Good flavor change from the usual onion-tomato based cauliflower/broccoli curries I make
    + No deep frying needed
    + Less time in kitchen :)
    - No minuses. :p

    4. Chapati
    Sometimes I replace 1/3 wheat flour with almond flour. Other times instead of water I use beetroot paste or spinach paste. And other times 1/3 flour with besan. Each case just make chapatis as usual. No oil or salt needed with each of these additions. I'll add ghee for kid though.

    + Some protein or fat or veggies included in diet on those days when my kid wants to eat only chappati (not dipped in a curry)
    + When chapatis are green and bright pink - kid is excited to sit down for meal.
    - Extra time needed though for making these and also washing up mixie for the veggies.
     
  3. Neelaa

    Neelaa Bronze IL'ite

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    Vegetable Bajji,
    Cut seasonal vegetables in thin strips, add a spoon of maida, gram flour and rice flour. Add salt, ajwain and a tdp of hot oil, make small balls, flatten it and dip it in gram flour or maida batter and deep fry. Vegetable Bajji is ready. Taste varies with vegetables and batter.
     
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  4. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    Hi @Neelaa Thank you for replying to my post! :-D

    I will try using Ajwain in my baked pakodas - never use that spice in my kitchen even though I have a bottle of it! I shop at the indian grocery store like I were a Youtube chef! :facepalm:

    I avoid deep frying at home though - otherwise I would be tempted to have fried stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner. :rolleyes: We keep it as a treat when we eat out. :thumbup:

    Thank you for sharing your home recipe! One question though - to get the flavor of Ajwain - do you use powdered or whole form?
     
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  5. Neelaa

    Neelaa Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi startinganew,
    I get ajwain in whole form. You could powder the whole ajwain using stone pestal.
     
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  6. SinghManisha

    SinghManisha Platinum IL'ite

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    Blended spinach wherever possible. It’s st.patricks day often in my kitchen.
     
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  7. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    :D @SinghManisha I wouldn't know where to add blended spinach other than in chapati atta and fruit+veggie smoothie. To what else can it be added?
     
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  8. deepthyanoop

    deepthyanoop Gold IL'ite

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    I use spinach puree to make palak pulav, pesto sauce for pasta,even in uthappam or idli dosa batter :). If making marinara sauce for pasta, you can add some vegetables like carrot,red bell peppers along with tomatoes,which will give the sauce an attractive colour too. One of my friends knead her chappathi dough with dal+ any vegetable puree for her kid,who won't eat dal and sabji with chappathi :)Here in IL Chitvish Recipes forum, I remember she mentioned adding grated carrots with coconut for Aviyal( a South Indian preparation).I tried that too :)
     
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  9. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    @deepthyanoop So many nice ideas - thanks a lot for sharing.

    Palak pulao: Wow, my kid loves pulao but I usually rotate between carrots, peas, beans and corn. Will definitely try palak pulao next time.

    Palak pesto sauce for pasta: Husband and I love pesto but I never tried to make it at home. Thank you for the idea. Will try this too.

    Spinach puree in idli/dosai: We love our idli/dosai at home no matter how many times it is repeated. I tried to add carrot in my toddler's dosai once - more than a year ago. He spit it out and then I never tried it again - on my, where is my perseverance?! :thinking: :( Will need to try this also. Especially because batter gets dry and thick in the fridge anyway and I need to add water to use it each new day - so adding spinach puree would be so convenient.

    You mean instead of adding cut carrots and capsicum you make a puree and add in order to add some color and make it easier to eat for kids? :-D


    What a cool idea! I only use chana dal in dough - because that's the only lentil I have in powdered form at home. But I could just add the dal that is made for rest of us! :banana:

    Thanks again!! So much to learn from each other's tricks! :p
     
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  10. startinganew

    startinganew Gold IL'ite

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    deleting since my message got posted twice
     

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