Traditional Cuisine Indian’s Secret Of Energy
An average couple, especially in the urban areas, has been spending a significant portion of their hard-earned money in buying nutritionally poor and potentially hazardous diet for their family. The same money spent on fresh fruits and vegetables that Indian cooking comprises would have instead ensured a healthy family at a nutritional advantage in society
It is a wake-up call for all the mothers who delighted in the comfort of Maggi’s two minute formula that freed them from cooking elaborate traditional food. The ban on Maggi, allegedly for serving poison on kids platter, has come as a jolt to millions of families where children have been eating junk food as their staple diet. It is an eye opener for women on how unhealthy cooking has become in urban Indian kitchens and how badly this is impacting children’s health, jeopardising their very existence.
Traditional Indian cooking has become a casualty of the modern age and the first thing that suffers in this age of nuclear families and both parents stepping out to work. Left behind at home, mostly to fend for themselves when they return from school, children have for the past three decades mindlessly been encouraged to boil the deceptive Maggi.
The country wide ban on Nestle’s Maggi Noodles, after higher levels of lead and MSG were found across all batches, has raised serious questions on the health status of a generation of children weaned away by busy mothers from traditional Indian food.
An amalgamation of recipes that churned in the country’s heartland for thousands of years, making use of healthiest of ingredients, authentic Indian food is a powerhouse of nutrition and healing energy. A product of ancient wisdom, Indian dishes, pamper not just taste buds but also ensure enriching nourishment.
One can imagine the unhealthy obsession for Maggi from its eye popping sales in India. Nestle, a Swiss giant, sees sales of the popular noodle brand of Rs 1800 crore to Rs 2000 crore in a year in the country. The current row has hurt Nestle to the tune of over Rs 10,000 crore, as per market estimates with fear of losses spilling over to other countries as well.
In real time it means that an average couple, especially in the urban areas, has been spending a significant portion of their hard-earned money in buying nutritionally poor and potentially hazardous diet for their family. The same money spent on fresh fruits and vegetables that Indian cooking comprises would have instead ensured a healthy family at a nutritional advantage in society. Awareness of ill effects on health of children has been conspicuous by its absence across India even as the country has seen a major shift in diet especially in the proliferating urban population. However, a series of surveys done over a period of time on the new food trend by concerned scientific community in the country and across the globe have thrown up alarming findings.
Constant munching on junk food has made children prone to obesity, suffering from nutritional defects which in turn adversely affect their very growth—of both body and mind. They are prone to chronic illness, low self esteem and even depression besides malnourishment or ill balanced diet affecting their performance in studies and extra curricular activities.
Health surveys indicate
It is only because urban mothers abandoned traditional cooking, to find time tending both office and home chores, that this health crisis has raised its head. Traditional Indian food, with a range of cuisine for every occasion, be it special moments like wedding or simple recipes for daily routine, is a perfect solution to the crisis at hand. There are several myths about Indian cooking, like, it is tedious, that scares busy office going mothers from the kitchen, even at the cost of their family’s health. The best thing about junk food is perhaps that it is just a call away. Spend a few hundred rupees of your hard earned money and the family’s dinner of junk food would be at your doorstep in no time.
Uday India strives to restore the pride in Indian cooking, that has stood the test of time, by bringing for its readers few authentic Indian recipes that are being made in rural kitchens even today. It is the taste of India, that is fading in the memory of an urbanite, vanishing from kitchens in the tall high rise flat societies of chaotic metros and busy cities. A taste that delivered a punch of rich nutrition, and energy, with every bite.
The food bowl of the country, Punjab, boasts of richest of diets that is credited with the strength of people of this land. Its food is inspired by the cereals that makes its fields verdant and resplendent and keep’s the nation’s food basket full. It is perfect and famous for its simplicity, high dose of nutrition, along with taste that takes you virtually in the midst of the yellow mustard flowered countryside.
Ask a Punjabi what best memories he nourishes from his childhood and he will surely get nostalgic about grandma’s “sarson saag” with “makki roti” served lovingly with a dollop of butter. This is one traditional recipe that will never go outdated and will be savoured by generations to come with as much gusto as that relished by generations before. Pick up menu card at any road side eatery, dhaba, restaurant or a five star hotel and you will find ‘sarson saag’ under its ‘special’ category.
Sarson Ka Saag
1 kg fresh mustard leaves (sarson saag)
2 onions, 2 tomatoes, 10 garlic cloves, ginger, 4 green chillies, gram flour, salt to taste, turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander seeds, mustard seeds
- Cut mustard leaves, wash with generous water, steam for 30 minutes in a pressure cooker after adding a cup of water.
- Open the cooker and add two big spoons of gram flour, mix thoroughly, lightly crushing the softened leaves and keep it simmering for another 30 minutes, stirring it in between.
- In a pan heat mustard oil and add a spoonful of mustard seeds along with garlic.
- Add chopped green chillies, crushed coriander seeds and onions and fry till light brown. Add finally chopped tomatoes and garlic
- Then add a spoonful of chilli powder and turmeric powder
- Empty contents of the cooker in the pan and mix thoroughly. Garnish with fresh coriander
- Serve with a dollop of home made white butter and makki ki roti.
Mustard leaves are rich in nutrients, iron, vitamins including Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Folate. They contain minerals, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1 and B3, besides being rich in copper, phosphorous, protein and dietary fibres.
1 kg of fresh spinach leaves, 3 onions, 4 tomatoes,
12 cloves of garlic, ginger, green chillies, red chilli powder, coriander seeds, jeera, ajwain, turmeric, black cardamom, 3 cloves, kashmiri mirch for color and 400 gm fresh Paneer.
- Cut and generously wash fresh spinach leaves, boil for 10 minutes, strain and keep aside.
- In a pan heat generous amount of mustard oil, add a small pinch of ajwain and finally chopped garlic.
- Add chopped green chillies and finally chopped onions, fry till golden brown.
- Add finally chopped tomatoes, salt to taste and fry till tomatoes too turn golden brown.
- Add spices—coriander seeds, jeera, red chilli powder, black cardamom, cloves and a tablespoon of Kashmiri mirch.
- Add two spoons of fresh cream to the pan and fry for five minutes.
- Grind the boiled spinach leaves in a grinder and add to the pan.
- Mix thoroughly with prepared fried onions and tomatoes and cook till the water in spinach evaporates.
- In another pan, heat oil, cut paneer into square cubes and shallow fry till very light brown.
- Add the paneer to the prepared spinach, garnish with a spoonful of butter and fresh coriander.
Spinach is the richest source of iron, vitamins and essential nutrients. Paneer is rich in energy and calcium. It contains vitamins including Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, minerals, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B1 and B3, besides being rich in protein and dietary fibres.
Where best to get it Paalak panneer is one of the most favourite dishes of Punjabis and is served in every eatery, be it a roadside dhaba or a five star hotel.
By Priya Yadav