The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including Gluten Free dishes.

November 21, 2020

Tip Six - Boost Nutrition with Food Pairings: Dal Chawal (Rice and Lentils)

 

Dosakaya pappu with rice and crispies

Dal Chawal is considered to be basic food for Indians who consume a good amount of both rice and lentils. However, did our ancestors know the importance of this food pairing?

All over India, it is a commonly practiced combination among rich and poor eaten with love or times when vegetables are not available or too expensive to buy them. Little did we know the nutrition pack and health benefits of this pack. Even though we make it and eat it routinely, these facts might make us give this poor man's food a little more appreciation next time we eat it.

Lentils fall into the category of legumes and have a row of seeds enclosed by a fibrous shell. Whole grain rice is rice that has the germ, endosperm, and bran intact, and as a result, is considered a whole grain. Let us consider their health benefits in various ways.

1. Digestive Health

Legumes such as lentils are high in dietary fiber at 16 grams per cup; whole-grain brown rice contains just 2 grams in a cup. Fiber is either soluble or insoluble. Lentils contain a higher amount of insoluble than soluble fiber, and whole grain rice contains more soluble than insoluble. Eating the two together gives you a good balance of each. Soluble fiber forms a gel in the stomach, helps reduce cholesterol, and promotes stable blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber creates bulk in the stool, which helps it pass easily and prevents constipation and other intestinal disturbances.

2. Stable Blood Sugar Levels

The glycemic index, or GI, is a chart that ranks how fast a carb-containing food elevates blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods cause a slow increase in blood sugar, which, in turn, gives you stable energy levels. High-GI foods cause a fast spike in blood sugar, which leads to a fast rise in energy, usually followed by a sudden "crash," or dip in energy. High-fiber complex carbs, such as lentils rank low on the glycemic index GI = 21 - 32 (<55). Whole-grain brown rice is in the middle-level (56-69) with a value of 68 whereas white rice falls in High Index at GI of 73. Low-GI foods have been shown to help keep type 2 diabetes under control and they also aid weight loss, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. A ranking of 55 or less out of 100 is considered low. Together consumed, rice and lentils fall in the low GI category even with white rice (lacks other nutrients removed during polishing).

3. Stronger Integumentary System

The integumentary system consists of the skin, hair, and nails. Protein is a key macronutrient needed for integumentary strength, and it also helps with immune function and muscle growth. Amino acids are known as the building blocks of protein. Foods that have all the essential amino acids present are called complete proteins. Foods that lack one or more essential amino acids are called incomplete. Pairing two incomplete protein foods together, such as lentils and whole grain rice, will form a complete protein. This is important if you happen to be a vegan or strict vegetarian.

4. Energy Production & Disease Risk

Lentils and Brown rice have B-vitamins useful for digestion and minerals like manganese which are important antioxidants that help absorb free radicals that are responsible for inflammation, heart disease, and aging.

So feel proud of eating rice and lentil combined Indian dishes, like Khichdi, Pongali, Pabiyyam, and Sambhar rice (Bisibelabath). As well as rice with dal (prepared lentil dishes) with tomato, spinach, spinach and green mango, gongura or long gourd, etc. 

Pongali

 

South Indian Khichdi


Gongura pappu


Spinach and Green Mango pappu


Dosakaya pappu

You can check out the recipes of these dishes by clicking the name or by visiting our Recipes page. Be well and healthy everyone. 


*Reference: https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-lentils-whole-grain-rice-2159.html

November 12, 2020

Gluten Free Diwali Sweets - Badam Burfi (Almond Treats)



Are you excited about Diwali as much as I am??

🪔 Diwali, the festival of lights, is just days away. Every year, we celebrate this holiday with family and friends, yummy dishes, and desserts. 🪔

🪔 This year, it will be a bit different because of COVID-19. We are only celebrating within our family and keeping the group small. However, I'm still planning to make yummy dishes to enjoy the festivities. 🪔

My sister and I 💓 classic Indian sweets like Kaju Katli or Kaju burfi which is made with cashews. I never thought 🤔 about making the nutty burfis at home. 


Almond Burfi


My mom decided to give it a try. Instead of making Kaju burfi, she made Almond burfi. She also wanted to make a sweet that is easy and requires few ingredients and calories 😀. 



Costco to the rescue 👍! She found Almond flour at Costco and made the sweet without making the flour herself. Read below to see how easy it is to make this yummy dessert. 😋

Ingredients
  • 1-1/4 cups Almond flour (we used Kirkland brand)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup room temperature water
  • 1/4 cup Mavva/Kova (milk powder) optional if not use 1&1/2 cups of almond flour
  • 6 to 7 cardamom, seeded and powdered
  • 1 tsp of ghee (clarified butter)
  • 4 to 5 pistachios, finely chopped 


Procedure

1) Heat water and sugar and cardamom powder in a medium non-stick saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. 


2) Slowly add the almond flour, mavva, and ghee and stir continuously until the water is absorbed and the mixture is not sticking to the fingers when tested. It took about 9 minutes until the mixture came together. 





3) Remove from heat and immediately press the burfi dough onto wax paper evenly that is rubbed with ghee to help make it non-stick. Make sure there aren't any bumps. Use a rolling pin gently to press down and adjust to even sides to a rectangle shape.



4) Then, sprinkle the pistachios all over pressed burfi dough and press them down gently with the rolling pin. We evened out the edges so we could cut burfi dough into diamond shapes (as shown below). 


5) Cover the cut burfis with wax paper and put it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to set. Then place the burfi pieces onto your favorite plate or serving dish and enjoy! 



🪔 From my family to yours...Diwali Mubarak 🪔

November 10, 2020

Tip Five - Boost Nutrition with Food Pairings: Carrots or Sweet Potatoes with Plant fats





Carrots are orange because they are rich in beta-carotene which gives them their trademark orange color. But I was surprised to learn that sweet potatoes are also rich in Carotene. Both of these vegetables contain many healthy nutrients in addition to fiber. 

Let us consider their health benefits:

Carrots are crunchy, tasty and in addition to beta-carotene, they are a good source of fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and antioxidants. In addition to these nutrients, carrots are weight-loss friendly due to low calories, reduce risk of cancer, and improve eye health with Vitamin A formed from beta carotene in our body. Carrots also contain a 241% DV, a daily value of Vitamin A.

Carrots contain pectin which is a soluble fiber that can lower blood sugar levels by slowing down our digestion of sugar and starch. It can also feed the friendly bacteria in our gut leading to improved health. It can also impair the absorption of cholesterol from the digestive tract, lowering blood cholesterol. The insoluble fibers in carrots are cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin which reduces the risk of constipation and promotes regular bowel movement.

Sweet Potato:

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes may be one of nature's unsurpassed sources of beta-carotene which raises the blood levels of vitamin A particularly true in children. Betacarotene is an antioxidant that protects our body from free radicals (which damage DNA and trigger inflammation) that are linked to causing cancer, heart disease, and aging. Therefore eating antioxidant-rich foods is good for your health. A 100g serving of sweet potato consists of 769% DV, a daily value of Vitamin A.

Like carrots, sweet potatoes also contain a soluble fiber called viscous fiber that absorbs water in our gut and softens the stool. The insoluble fibers add bulk and also get fermented by the bacteria in the colon release short-chain fatty acids that feed the cells of the intestinal lining and keep them strong and healthy.

As we have seen here both carrots and sweet potatoes are rich in betacarotene that forms into Vitamin A to boost our eye health. But beta-carotene absorption is boosted in our body when these vegetables were eaten along with some plant fat as it is a fat-soluble nutrient.

We propose to pair carrots with hummus (or some type of fat like peanut butter) as an excellent snack, the oil content in hummus from the sesame paste will help absorb more beta-carotene.

For sweet potatoes, it is a better option to saute or steam them and cut into pieces and pair them with nuts like sunflower or pumpkin seeds to enhance the carotene absorption. Cooking reduces the beta-carotene but it can retain 70% of this nutrient and still considered an excellent source.

So next time you are at a supermarket, remember to grab a few carrots or sweet potatoes or both to help boost your health in many good ways.