For long, I have been into 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 few more. But nothing beats my love for good old Indian Cuisine. 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 number of 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 scientific front much later but so thankful that it finally did.
Indian Spices are and in fact 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. Cardamom is one of the best digestive healers that also gives beautiful aroma to anything you add it to. Garam Masala (basically a mix of many spices in varying proportions) is becoming a new food fad in West too.
I can probably go on and on with my never ending love for Indian spices but for now let’s just 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. Major part of Indian meals is comprised of plant-based foods such as beans, lentils, wholesome grains, fruits and vegetables. Since dairy is a big part of Indian cuisine, it’s difficult to turn it into 100% vegan. But there are efforts to make dairy products more sustainable in production. Like in Canada, it is illegal to give antibiotics to cows for yielding more quantities of milk. 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 getting stressed for more milk production just so that other species can enjoy a dessert or snack out of it. Hell no!!
All that morally binding stuff apart, a typical Indian meal in our house 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 all the preparations with fresh chopped coriander leaves. Roti or flat breads can have many variations too. 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 can be seen 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.
Further more, chutneys, papads and pickles can be served on side, since condiments make meals yummier. Also, they add pro biotic elements and enhance digestive abilities.
Also, sharing some other depictions of Indian meals that might inspire you to cook your next Indian meal. An Indian Thali or platter is a complete balanced diet in my opinion.
If we talk about flavors, you have sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, tartness and sourness everything so well balanced in an Indian meal. And 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. Just know when to stop eating!! Because mindful and conscious eating plays a significant role in Indian food culture too.
What else you need when you got such a nice spread of supper. Maybe a nice dessert or digestive tea!!
Checkout some of these healthy recipes that make for a perfect ending to your meals: