For a happy, Healthy Diwali

Published: 04 November, 2012 10:13 IST | Anjana Vaswani |

Festivities make you want to hide that weighing scale under the bed, as you are bound to do justice to all the goodies delivered to your doorstep. Anjana Vaswani finds a way to keep you from cracking the scales this Diwali by cooking healthy food at home. Here are some recipes that amalgamate health and happiness

Kebab Korner at the Intercontinental, Marine Drive is where you can have some of the best North Indian food in the city. Though the restaurant prides itself on using traditional cooking techniques to prepare its lip-smacking recipes, Executive Chef Paul Kinny, devised a special healthy halwa. Beetroot is a great source of iron, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, B6 and C, while dates are a rich source of fibre. The jaggery reduces levels of LDL cholesterol.

2 cups grated beetroot
1 cup fresh coconut milk 2 tbsp jaggery 4 green cardamoms
½ cup dates (mashed) 10 roasted almonds

Ø Wash, peel and grate the beetroot
Ø Place the coconut milk in a wide pan and bring to a simmer
Ø Add the beetroot, cardamoms and simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes
Ø Add crumbled jaggery and dates and cook until the jaggery completely melts
Ø Stir in the powdered almonds and set in a tray. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until cool
Ø Cut into desired shapes. Garnish with roasted almonds

Though sweet rice is a Diwali speciality, UK-based food writer Zainab Jagot Ahmed, author of Indian SuperMeals: Baby & Toddler Cookbook (www.Zainab offers us a healthy variant — Apple and Pear Jardo. Ahmed offers, “The sweet taste comes from the fruit and the dish is made even healthier by substituting brown rice for the white basmati. Besides, the recipe includes super spices like cinnamon and cardamom, which have numerous health benefits.”

Apple and Pear Jardo by Zainad Jagot

1 tbsp ghee/ unsalted butter 
1 tbsp vegetable oil 
1 small cinnamon stick 
1 whole cardamom pod — green 
450ml water 
100ml pure unsweetened apple juice 
100 gms brown basmati rice 
½ a fruit apple (peeled, cored, chopped) 
1 small firm pear (peeled, cored, chopped) 

Ø Wash the rice and soak it in water for at least 10 minutes. Drain
ØHeat ghee and oil in a pot on low heat. Add cinnamon and cardamom and stir for a minute
ØAdd the water and apple juice
ØStir in the rice. Bring to a boil and simmer (covered) for 35 to 40 minutes, until the liquid gets absorbed and the rice is tender
ØWhile the rice is cooking, steam the fruit in a steamer or in the microwave until tender. Drain excess water and stir the fruit chunks into the cooked rice
ØRemove the cardamom and cinnamon. Serve warm

Passionate about food and photography, Mumbai-based food blogger Reshmy Kurian offers a nutritious yet delicious recipe of Herb and Honey Roasted Almonds to help you give sinful treats a miss. While almonds reduce LDL cholesterol and diminish the levels of blood sugar, the high fibre content also helps in weight management.

2 ½ cups almonds
¼ cup honey
1/8 cup raw sugar
¾ tsp salt
1/3 cup thyme leaves
¼ cup oregano leaves
2 ½ tbsp grated lemon rind
1 ½ tsp chilli powder

Herb and Honey Roasted Almonds by blogger Reshmi Kurian. Pic/Neha Parekh

Ø Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with foil; oil it lightly
ØMix all ingredients except the almonds and honey to make the spice mix for the nuts
ØHeat honey in a pan. Stir in almonds and 1/3 of the spice mix
ØTransfer the nuts to the prepared baking pan and roast for 12-15 minutes
ØRemove from oven and turn the nuts into a mixing bowl. Mix in the rest of the spice mix
ØCool the nuts on a baking tray. Store in airtight containers

Homemaker Hooma Billimoria runs a catering company called Sweet Impressions which specialises in chocolate desserts. This Diwali, she creates a dish sans
the sugar.

Honey and Almond Barfi by homemaker Hooma Billimoria. Pic/Neha Parekh

100g Almonds (blanched)
1 ½ cup Milk
2 tbsp ghee
5 tbsp honey
1 pinch (dissolved in 1 tbsp
rosewater) saffron
1 pinch cardamom
1 pinch nutmeg powder
A few almond slivers to garnish

ØBlanch and peel the almonds. Grind to a coarse paste with milk
ØHeat ghee in a non-stick pan. Add the paste. Stir continuously on a low flame till the mixture thickens
ØAdd honey and stir again till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Be careful not to let the mixture stick at the bottom
ØAdd the saffron-rosewater
ØStir in the cardamom and nutmeg powder
ØSpread the mixture onto a ghee-greased plate. Cut into diamond shaped pieces
ØCool. Adorn with almond slivers. Serve

“Divine” seems a fitting description for Master-chef Mukhtar Qureshi’s special new Diwali menu at Neel, the Awadhi cuisine restaurant at Tote on the Turf. The chef tells us, “Sarson Dahi Aloo is an extremely healthy preparation as it uses mustard seeds which are a rich source of essential oils, Vitamin B and anti-oxidants, and yoghurt, whose probiotic content helps with digestion and boosts the body’s immune system.”

Sarson Dahi Aloo by Mukhtar Qureshi from Neel. pic/Sameer Markande

1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ghee
1 pinch shahi jeera (caraway seeds)
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
2 tbsp garlic (finely chopped)
2 green chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tsp mustard seed paste
Pinch of coriander powder
Pinch of white pepper powder
Pinch of javetri-elaichi powder (mace-nutmeg)
1 tbsp cashewnut paste
½ cup curd
1 tsp roasted coconut paste
30 ml cream
Garam masala powder
Salt to taste

Ø Boil baby potatoes with a pinch of salt and keep aside
ØHeat oil and ghee in a pan, add shahi jeera. When it starts to crackle, add chopped garlic and cook till golden brown. Next, add onions and cook till light brown. Then add the ginger-garlic paste
ØAdd chopped green chillies and mustard paste and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Next, add beaten curd and coriander powder to this mixture and cook for a further 4 to 5 minutes
ØAdd cashewnut and coconut paste and cook for another minute
ØAdd jeera powder, garam masala, javitri-elaichi powder, salt and pepper and cook for two
ØAdd boiled potato and cream. Temper the mixture with mustard seeds cooked in ghee, and serve 

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