I love cooking and experimenting with many cuisines of the world. To be precise, not all, but I can say I have tried perfecting recipes from many cuisines, namely Italian, French, Oriental, Thai, Moroccan, American, Mediterranean, Mexican, and a few more. But nothing beats my love for good old Indian Cuisine and homemade Indian meals. Maybe it’s to do with my Indian roots. The satiety that I feel after having an Indian meal is incomparable.
Indian Meals are one of the best balancing meals. However, it depends on how you cook and combine the ingredients!! Mainly, the credit goes to spices and several other plant-based ingredients that make Indian Cuisine a winner in the world of healthy food. Ghee or Clarified Butter has earned it’s fame on the scientific front much later but so thankful that it finally did. Not only this, but there are many other ingredients, native to Indian lands, that are helping people all over the world with mental and physical healing.
Making Indian meals healthy and delicious with spices and veggies
Indian Spices are and have always been the center of Indian cooking. They add not only flavors but so many other health benefits too. For example, turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that fight many viruses that freely invade our bodies. It is one of the most powerful spices that has multiple health benefits. And is a staple in Indian cooking, making Indian food extremely health-friendly. Cardamom, another important Indian spice, is one of the best digestive healers that also gives beautiful aroma to anything you add it to. Likewise, Garam Masala (a mix of many spices in varying proportions) is another great spice that makes food tasty and healing. I can probably go on and on with my never-ending love for Indian spices, but for now, let’s end the note by stating the fact that India got colonizers coming in for their love of spices too.
India’s 30% population is vegetarian, and that is why there are so many meatless options out there. The major part of Indian meals comprises of plant-based foods such as beans, lentils, wholesome grains, fruits, and vegetables. Since dairy is a big part of Indian food, it’s difficult to turn it into a vegan diet completely. But there are efforts to make dairy products more sustainable in production. Like in Canada, it is illegal to give antibiotics to cows, and the government regulates strict laws to maintain quality over quantity. But this law needs more awareness in other countries too. Plus, we must remember that we should be borrowing from cows and not taking over their calves right. Imagine human mommies stressing over more milk production just so that other species can enjoy a dessert or snack out of it. Absolutely no!!
What’s in a Thali?
A typical Indian Thali has two or three vegetables cooked in various spices and styles. For example, in the above image, yellow split dal is pressure cooked and then tempered with asafoetida, cumin, and mustard seeds. Palak Paneer Bhurji cooked using crumbled cottage cheese and spinach leaves in spices again. Cucumber and grape raita is a yogurt-based preparation. I top almost everything with freshly chopped coriander leaves. I love making Rotis out of wholewheat flour, black chickpeas flour, and ragi flour. So instead of using just one kind of flour, try going multi-grain to add more nutrition to your food.
Also, rice makes for a great accompaniment, and one can see it as a part of many Indian Dishes. I like to serve flavored rice instead of plain rice. Often, I add turmeric, cumin seeds, bay leaves, or star anise while boiling the rice. Salad is a must and adds much-needed freshness to your meal. Furthermore, you can serve chutneys, papads, and pickles on the side, since condiments make meals even yummier. Also, they add probiotic elements and enhance digestive abilities.
The variety and satiety in Indian meals
An Indian Thali or platter is a complete balanced diet, in my opinion. And that is why so many eating joints offer thali on the menu. Because if there is any confusion about what to order, get a taste of little bit everything. If you are into Navratri fasting or any other kind of Hindu religious fasting, then you will like my Navratri Thali. It’s simple, delicious and very healthy.
If we talk about flavors, you have sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, tartness, and sourness, everything so well balanced in any given Indian meal. Also nutritionally, you got protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals well combined in required quantities. That is why I find my homemade Indian meals so healthy and satisfying. However, know when to stop!! Because mindful and conscious eating plays a significant role in Indian food culture too.
What else you would need when you got such a nice spread of supper. Maybe a delightful dessert or digestive drink!! Check out some of these healthy recipes that make for perfect ending to your meals: