I know what your thinking. Indian food? For my health?? Tell that to the thick layer of ghee I find on most dishes in Indian restaurants.
While clarified butter and deep fried samosas are among its best qualities, they are not the only things going for Indian food. In fact, Indian food can be just as wholesome as it is delicious. Many dishes incorporate nutritious whole foods like lentils (dal) and chickpeas (channa), not to mention a vast array of spices.
Gyanish Gungaram of Diethack is of Indian origin and describes the health benefits of some commonly used Indian spices, including ginger, garlic, cinnamon, chili pepper and coriander leaves (cilantro):
Coriander leaves have a sweet and characteristic smell. They heal migraines, protect against the Salmonella bacteria, urinary tract infections, prevent nausea and is an anti-inflammator They also help to relieve intestinal gas, lower blood sugar and bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises good cholesterol (HDL).
Unfortunately, most Indian restaurants glorify the cheaper, faster and fried side of Indian cuisine. But it’s really easy to make Indian food at home. Dal, for instance, is a staple in our kitchen: it’s low fat, full of flavor, and very comforting on a cold, cloudy day in London. Here’s the recipe from last week. The first step is the key: frying your spices. This is where the seeds pop and release their flavor. It doesn’t require very much oil so don’t be scared.
I’ll call this Halloween Dal because that’s when I made it:
Start with a big saucepan. Put in just enough olive oil to cover the bottom and add
* 1 heaping dessert spoonful each of cumin seed and mustard seed
* a few curry leaves
When the seeds start to pop, add
* 1-inch cube of fresh ginger, finely diced
* 2 cloves garlic, slice
* 1 onion, finely diced
When the onions are soft, add
* 1 tomato, finely chopped
* 250 grams dried yellow split peas, soaked for a while, then cooked until mushy
* handful of spinach, finely chopped
* salt and chili to taste
Mix it all together, cook until spinach is wilted. We had this with basmati rice, steamed spinach, and some green beans from a recipe in the Rasa cookbook.
For more Indian recipes, check out Mahanandi. The blog is very comprehensive, with detailed instructions, clear explanations of ingredients and beautiful pictures of every recipe.