A raita recipe for summer.

A raita recipe for summer.

Last month, I shared the pumpkin+curd raita  recipe. Today, I share the spinach+curd raita recipe. This, again, is from my mum’s kitchen, and a personal favourite.

I love curd, and any recipe that has curd is a favourite. Be it boondi raita, or the pumpkin raita, the cucumber raita, or the spinach raita….I love them all. And, summer is the perfect time for raita, right?

What with the heat leaving us exhausted and thirsty, round the clock, any recipe with curd is beneficial. And, it is a blessing if you are a curd-lover, for I know some people who are allergic to this milk product.

Sigh.

So, sharing today, this cooling recipe that requires no more than 20 minutes to prepare, and is not only tasty, but nutritious, too.

A cool recipe for the hot summer

INGREDIENTS:

Spinach + Curd raita

 

Spinach leaves – 1 bunch, washed clean

Curd – 200 gm

Green chillies – 1

Ghee – for tempering

Cumin seeds & asafoetida – for tempering

Sugar and salt – to taste.

 

NUTRITIONAL VALUE:

CURD:

  • Rich in calcium, potassium, zinc.
  • A good source of proteins, Vitamins A, B6 and B12.
  • Contains live bacteria that’s great for immunity and our intestinal tract.

SPINACH:

  • An excellent source of calcium, Vitamins A and C.
  • Consists of fibre, protein, zinc, phosphorus and choline.
  • Protects against high blood pressure and heart disease.

METHOD:

Clean the bunch of spinach leaves, wash under running water and leave it in a colander for the water to drain.

Then, chop finely the spinach leaves and the green chilli.

Chopped spinach for the raita

 

In a pan, pour some ghee for tempering (approx. 1 tbsp). Once it’s hot, crush some cumin seeds on your palm and add them to the ghee. Then, add the asafoetida and the green chilli.

Next, throw in the chopped spinach leaves and saute for a couple of minutes and place the lid on the pan.

Take the lid off after a few minutes, and then cook till the water from the spinach leaves evaporates completely.

Switch off the burner.

In a bowl, take the thick curd (minus the water) and whisk it well. Add sugar and salt to taste.

Add the cooked spinach to the curd and mix well.

Spinach and curd raita

 

Ta-da! Your cool spinach+curd raita is ready!

You can enjoy it with chapati (indian Flat Bread), or have it just like that. Either ways, it’s delicious and makes for a perfect accompaniment with pulav or biryani, instead of the usual cucumber raita.

 

Spinach and curd raita with chapati

 

Do try it out and let me know if you like it.

Love,

SHILPA…

A cooling summer raita that's delicious and nutritious, too.

A cool recipe for the hot summer.

A cool recipe for the hot summer.

Summer has arrived here, in Mumbai. The heat left me stunned when I went for my walk last evening, and today, it’s even hotter …it’s only going to get worse day by day.

Sigh.

As the season changes, it becomes important that we plan meals that help us stay cool from within. For, apart from staying indoors during the day time, wearing cool cottons and staying hydrated, it’s only the food that we eat that will provide us with the cool respite we crave during summer.

So, today, I decided to make myself a cooling pumpkin raita for lunch. It’s what mum prepares often and I love, immensely.

A cool recipe for the hot summer

 

PUMPKIN AND CURD RAITA

Ingredients:

Pumpkin – 200 gms

Curd – 1 cup

Finely chopped green chilli – 1

Salt – to taste

Sugar – a half a teaspoon

Ghee/Oil and cumin seeds – for tempering

Finely chopped fresh coriander leaves – for garnishing

 

Nutritional Value:

Pumpkin – Antioxidants such as beta carotene (found in orange coloured vegetables and fruits) that helps protect the body from cancer, heart diseases and age-related degeneration.

It contains Vitamin C, fibre and potassium that keep the heart healthy.

Curd: Has high protein and calcium content that keeps the bones healthy and the body energised through the day. It helps in better digestion thanks to the live bacteria and is good for the skin, too!

Method:

Wash the pumpkin thoroughly and slice off the skin. You don’t need to throw away the skin, but can use it to make this crispy chutney–my mum’s recipe.

Pumpkin peels

Chop the pumpkin in cubes and pressure cook for 10 minutes.

Once cooked, bring it out and allow it to cool.

After cooling, squeeze out the water of the pumpkin and mash it well.

Beat the thick curd in a bowl and add salt and sugar as per your preference.

Add the mashed pumpkin to the curd and mix well.

Cooling salad

Heat ghee in a tadka pan. If you don’t have/use ghee, use oil. Mum insists on using ghee as it tastes better and adds to the nutritional value of the pumpkin raita.

Crush half a teaspoon of cumin seeds in your palm and add it to the hot oil.

Allow the cumin to sputter and then add finely chopped green chilli. Switch off the gas and add this to the raita.

Garnish with coriander and serve.

The Vitamin A-rich pumpkin is low in calories and rich in fibre.

Curd is loaded with the good, gut-friendly bacteria and helps in digestion.

Combining these two gives you a recipe that’s good for your heart, your skin, your digestion and also helps you stay cool in summer!

The low calorie count of pumpkin and the good bacteria of curd make this pumpkin raita good for your heart, skin and digestion.
Pumpkin-curd raita

My lunch for today…

Do try out this cool pumpkin raita and let me know if you enjoyed it!

Love,

SHILPA…

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Book on nutrition, by Rujuta Diwekar

Book on nutrition, by Rujuta Diwekar

 

INDIAN SUPER FOODS, by Rujuta Diwekar.

I received this book from my blogger friend, Ashvini Naik for a quiz on Instagram that I won. I wanted to do this post on the book ever since, but somehow it got delayed. Nevertheless, here it is, today. It is certainly not a review, but about a book that I found extremely helpful, informative and practical.

Rujuta Diwekar is a famous name amongst Indians for the health and nutrition tips she gives; lessons on diet that are easy to follow, make a lot of sense, and are inspired by the food habits of our ancestors.

I totally agree with Ms. Diwekar’s motto of eating what’s grown locally; eating every 2 -3 hours and eating all that you like, but, within limits.

In this book, Ms. Diwekar introduces us to 10 Indian Super foods that not only help in reducing weight, but help care for our overall health.

The foods she has discussed are:

GHEE: THE FAT BURNER

KOKUM (MANGOSTEEN): THE NATURAL ANTACID

BANANA: THE RECHARGER

KAJU (CASHEW): THE ANTI-DEPRESSANT

AMBADI (ROSELLE PLANT): THE STOMACH-SOOTHER

RICE: THE GRAIN THAT SUSTAINS

COCONUT: THE CALMER

ALIV (WATERCRESS SEEDS): THE BEAUTY PILL

JACKFRUIT: THE FERTILITY BOOSTER

SUGAR: THE ANTI-AGEING SECRET.

These are the ten foods she speaks about in a language and style that is so easy to understand and relate to.

She goes back to the times of our grandmothers and how they incorporated seasonal fruits/vegetables in their everyday diet to stay healthy.

How and why they insisted on avoiding certain foods in certain seasons as these harm not only our health, but also that of the Universe!

She has beautifully explained how, according to Ayurveda, one should not eat food that disturbs our personal constitution as well as one that disturbs the constitution of the Universe–a principle based on the understanding that what can cause harm to the human being, can also cause harm to the entire Creation.

She has also given tips on how and when to incorporate these super foods in our diet; ways in which these foods are used to manufacture snacks, health foods etc to be consumed by people when they need those nutrients the most.

She has cleared certain myths regarding foods like Ghee and Sugar–yes, the food stuff that is abhorred by the health fanatics.

Her very casual way of explaining makes one feel like she is having a chat with us, telling us what, how and why we ought to eat foods which will improve our health in such a way that we stay healthy–right from our gut to our skin, or from the inside to the outside!

I would suggest you read the book. Making certain changes in our diet based on Ms. Diwekar’s teachings is sure to restore your health and vitality and give you the body of your dreams!

Love,

SHILPA…

BOOK ON FOOD

 

Are you lactose intolerant?

Are you lactose intolerant?


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Do you remember, as kids, being coaxed to drink up that tall glass of warm milk every morning and evening? I know, some of you couldn’t even tolerate it and so emptied the glass in the flower pot or the sink, right?  The smell and the taste can be off-putting, so I can understand.

But, there’s a reason why our parents wanted us to drink that glass of milk, you know?

Milk is a COMPLETE FOOD as it consists of every such nutrient that we humans need.

 

We have heard it since the time we were kids about how drinking milk will give us strong teeth and healthy bones as it is rich in Calcium.

But, apart from that, it also helps keep the heart healthy and the blood pressure under control.

Milk fortified with Vitamin D helps us sleep well and helps produce serotonin–our  ‘good mood’ hormone–which could keep depression away. Now, this is an information my doctor provided.  He said that a lack of Vitamin D results in all of the PMS related feelings like mood-swings, irritability, depression, fatigue, etc, that, if not taken care of, can only worsen with time.

And, yet, so many of us find it unbearable to even bring a glass of milk close to our nose! Well, if the smell puts you off, you could always add a spoonful of some nutritional powder, like Horlicks, Boost, Complan, or even almond/cardamom powder–there’s a wide choice of nutritional drinks available in the market. Choose the one that you like.

If hot/warm milk gives you nausea or gas, try chilled milk. I love chilled milk. I add a spoonful of Horlicks to it and have it for my breakfast.  My last post was on coughs and cures, where I failed to mention that my cough usually gets cured by a glass of chilled milk, instead of the usually prescribed warm haldi wala doodh (milk with turmeric)!

Lactose intolerance and food options:

When the body cannot digest the lactose present in the milk, it makes you lactose intolerant. One could suffer from nausea, vomiting, gas or diarrhoea and, hence, stay away from milk, altogether.

However, if not milk, then you can surely have other milk products such as curd or yoghurt, buttermilk, cheese, cottage cheese or paneer, ghee, butter and milk which is lactose-free.

Other alternatives are soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk.

Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach contain calcium as does Amaranth. Chia seeds, beans, lentils and tofu are other foods that also contain calcium in good quantities.

Milk products for the lactose intolerant:

Curd contains high amount of proteins making it a highly nutritional food. Add some fruits of your choice, some dates and other dry fruits and honey and you have a delicious and healthy bowl for a midmorning or evening snack, ready in no time!

You could also make a smoothie with curds and some fruits. Keep sugar out of these recipes, though. And, artificial sweeteners, too. Using honey, dates or raisins is a better alternative.

Curds go well with parathas, rice (curd-rice, any day!) or oats, too.

Buttermilk, when had after a heavy lunch, makes for the best digestive. Just add some cumin powder, rock salt (kala namak), some finely chopped green chillies and coriander and you get the best cooling, digestive drink, ever. You know that, don’t you?

Cottage cheese, or paneer, is another milk product loaded with calcium and proteins. And, it aids in weight loss, too. Homemade paneer tastes the best–soft and creamy–as opposed to the readymade one, which is often rubbery and lacks any taste. Just add a spoon of lemon juice to some warm milk and when the milk curdles and the curds separates, pour it through a cloth in a strainer. Gather the cloth, squeeze it lightly to drain the excess water and tie it up. That’s it. Perfect, soft, tasty paneer ready to be used in your recipes, or eat it as is.

Cheese provides calcium and proteins, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus and zinc. The best benefit of cheese, I read, is for the teeth as it prevents tooth decay. For those trying to gain some weight, you could add cheese to your diet. It helps improve the bone density and also strengthens the muscles.Opt for cheese with low salt content as otherwise it could affect your blood pressure.

And, finally, gheeor clarified butter, is another milk product that you can consume on a daily basis. It will help in maintaining your gut health, keep your joints healthy, your heart beating beautifully, your skin soft, and your weight under control. My post on Ghee has the method of preparing it at home. it’s really easy to make, or you could buy white butter from the market and use that to prepare the ghee.

So, if you have deleted milk from your daily diet due to lactose intolerance, do include it now through the various milk products.  You will be doing a world of good for your health–mental as well as physical health. Trust me!

Take care,

Love,

SHILPA…

 

options for (1)

 

 

 

Two herbs that aid your digestive system.

Two herbs that aid your digestive system.

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Cumin seeds, or Jeera, and Carom seeds, or Ajwain, are common herbs used in many a recipes. I love the flavour cumin seeds bring to every dish I use them in. And, carom seeds too have their distinct flavour as well as taste.

Combine these two herbs in boiling water and what do you get?

Best drink in aid of digestion

A glassful of a health drink that solves your digestion problems, gets rid of flatulence, fights acidity, helps in weight reduction and provides iron.

It’s a drink I begin my day with ever since my bestie suggested it to me. A glassful of this–actually, two glasses of this drink– first thing in the morning helps relieve any kind of digestive problem, increases my appetite and thus helps me increase my food intake, that I so need.

Surprisingly, this drink also helps reduce weight by dissolving body fat. So, if you are trying to shed those kilos, do try it out. In fact, dissolving fat is one of its few main benefits.

Lightly crush a teaspoon each of these seeds in your palm and add these to the water that you have kept for boiling. You may add ginger and honey, too. Once the water comes to a boil, switch off the gas and allow to cool. Strain and drink. Don’t gulp it down, though. Sip it slowly and feel it sliding down your throat, entering your system and working its magic!

You could prepare the brew with either of the herbs, or both together. But, a word of caution here: if you experience any discomfort, discontinue it immediately. Drinking plain, warm water with ginger, lemon and honey works well, too!

Did you know that the digestive process has a profound impact on our emotional and mental state? An increase in our stress levels and our anxiety affects our digestive system to quite an extent, and this in turn worsens our stress levels furthermore.

Keeping our digestive system in a good working condition is therefore a necessity if you wish to have a peaceful day.

To check if your digestive system is working well, take a look at your tongue. A light, thin coating reveals a good digestion and a thickly coated tongue reveals poor digestion.

Oh, also a bad digestive system often results in an irritable mood!

And, therefore, you begin your day with a glassful of warm cumin+carom seed water, with some ginger and a spoonful of honey. This is bound to keep your digestive tract happy as well as your state of mind!

Try it!

Love,

SHILPA…

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