How to be He-Man, She-Woman
In times of a health crisis, we better keep our hopes and immunity high. Experts share simple recipes to toughen you up from the inside
Amla, beetroot and methi ki sabzi
While amla is always best to consume when juiced or in salads, Dr Siddhant Bhargava, nutritionist and co-founder of Food Darzee, suggests its quick sabzi variant.
Directions: Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add a teaspoon of cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon crushed fenugreek seeds and two chillies. Sauté on medium flame for some time. Add a cup of par boiled chopped and deseeded amla, 1/2 cup beetroot and 1/2 cup methi leaves. Sauté. Then add a teaspoon of coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, turmeric, salt, asafoetida, and add jaggery and half cup water and cover it with the lid and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Garnish with coriander and serve hot.
"This citrusy fruit is full of vitamin C and other anti-oxidants, also has anti-inflammatory agents vitamin A, potassium and calcium, which muscles up immunity. This marmalade can be preserved and enjoyed for months," says Chef Raji Gupta.
Directions: Wash the oranges and bring them to a boil under medium heat (high heat may cause them to burst), and gently simmer uncovered for an hour or until orange skin turns soft. Remove from flame and leave to cool. Slice off four sides of each orange plus the top and bottom, leaving a cube of orange flesh. Discard all the seeds and chop it. Cut the orange rind into very fine thin strips. Put all the chopped pieces back into the saucepan, add lemon juice and bring to boil under medium heat for 30 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add sugar, reduce heat and stir to dissolve. Then bring to boil again under medium heat and continue to stir for 30 minutes or until the contents jell into marmalade. Add in the Brandy or Cointreau (optional), and stir to mix. When cool, transfer to airtight jars.
Beetroot or Carrot kanji
"Made with a few ingredients, it remains fresh for up to two weeks and is a great way to stock up on goodness. It is best enjoyed before a meal to kick in digestion," says Shonali Sabherwal, a macrobiotic nutritionist and chef.
Directions: Boil eight cups of water; let it cool. In a pitcher, add this water, 1 ¼ tablespoon mustard powder, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, pinch of asafoetida, 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder and half a kilo of beetroots. Keep the pitcher in the sun for four days, and stir twice daily. Once it turns sour, keep it in the refrigerator.
"A pressed salad packed in a jar for one hour (not more) is called a lactofermented dish," says Sabherwal.
Direction: Mix half cup sliced cabbage (can use carrots, green peppers or radish) with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, and gently press and massage with fingers until they wilt. Place a plate on top of vegetables and press down with a heavy weight. Allow to stand with pressure for an hour and let the water release from the vegetables. Discard the water; rinse with fresh water and eat as a side dish.
Fresh turmeric and cabbage kraut
Chef Gupta is known for making jars of fermented foods for her family and friends. This one is a double dose of immunity. "Turmeric has vitamin A, which boosts immunity, provides energy, has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Fermented foods are known to help with immunity, so this dish offers double the goodness," she adds.
Directions: Rinse and thinly slice cabbage, 1/2 onion and 1 carrot. Add 1 tbsp salt and massage in with hands. Let it weep for 20 minutes, add 3 tbsp finely grated fresh turmeric root, 1 garlic clove and 1 tsp ground black pepper. Check for seasoning. Transfer the mixture to a jar, pressing down with your fist till the brine comes up. Top it with a leaf or two of cabbage leaves; then press down with weight (a zip lock bag filled with water). Keep this at room temperature, out of direct sunlight for 15-20 days. Ensure the kraut is completely submerged. Start tasting from the seventh day. When the flavour is pleasingly sour and the cabbage turns translucent—it's ready. Store it in the fridge.
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