As much as I love spending hours in the kitchen trying recipes from all over the world, there are a couple of things that I’m rather strict about. No, don’t worry…I am not talking about sticking to the last 1/2 gm of measurements or worrying about an extra drop of vanilla in your cake. I’m talking about the rules I follow, quite naturally, for ensuring that the food I prepare is not just tasty but also incredibly nutritious, healthy and light on the digestive system.
I’m extremely scared of lifestyle induced modern disorders, the risk of which increases manifold if you have a sedentary job and are generally a couch potato like me. Which is why it is all the more important for me to watch what goes in my recipes. Plus, I love reading about diet, nutrition, food disorders and health relates articles in general. And another plus, my mum is very nutrition conscious and used to read up on healthy meals since a time when talking/ worrying about nutrition wasn’t so common even among urban Indians. Not that it is now, but most people reaching the age of 30 have received at least one wake up call due to extremely rash eating habits and haphazard lifestyle which makes them think about nutrition a little bit, although reluctantly. I will try my best to not fall prey to lifestyle induced disorders as this is something totally under my control. What might happen to me due to my genes, I obviously won’t be able to do much about it.
So, here are my rules. If I ever forget to give quantities of basic ingredients in my recipes, you can see this page. In any case, I cook on instinct and hardly ever measure anything except perhaps when I am baking. And that’s because I’ve had several baking disasters where I am found on the kitchen floor weeping and my husband needs to rescue me from there and clean up the entire mess I created.
Anyway, here go the rules: (I’ll keep adding as and when I remember more or observe something else I follow)
- 95% of times, I use no more than 1 tsp oil per person in my cooking, especially curries. The daily fat requirement for adults in about 6 tsp of fat. Out of which 3 tsp we get from the naturals oils from most grains and seeds. 1-2 teaspoons more wouldn’t hurt but 6 tsp in ideal.
- I can manage with less oil thanks to my non-stick cookware and because curries are liquid anyway and I don’t see much difference in taste just because there is more oil.
- If I’m concerned about veggies burning when I’m sauteing them in less oil, I simply sprinkle a bit of salt, which releases moisture from veggies, especially onions and stops from burning. Plus I use low flame.
- I pressure cook wherever possible. I don’t like over cooking stuff for hours and feel like the good nutrients are evaporating away by the minute.
- I NEVER bake with just maida. ALWAYS substitute 1/2 – 1/2 of the original content with whole wheat flour.
- I don’t make deep-fried stuff at home and in general avoid eating it (except for the frequent cravings for potato crisps which are a weakness) except when I visit home and absolutely have to have my mother’s home-made potato papad.
- I use all veggies very generously and generally add more than any recipe calls for. I must have my vitamins, minerals, protein everything.
- I’m very stingy when it comes to using oil, but very liberal with curd, milk and buttermilk. But I only use skimmed or toned milk.
- When I crave for something sinfully rich but want it made with less than half the calories, I bake instead of frying.
- I NEVER add tadka to my food after it’s cooked.
- I don’t use oil where it’s really not needed. Like soups that require no sauteing whatsoever. I never understood how the Indian-Chinese soups we get have an inch layer of oil on top, and why? These soups taste equally good minus a ridiculous amount of oil and don’t even give a gross feeling of oil slowly trickling down your food pipe.
- As a rule I’m slightly more liberal with oil when I am working out regularly. Still you’ll hardly find oil to spare in my pan after veggies are added. I try to stick to this as when you eat out, you have no control over oil and other fatty substances anyway.
- I try to include nuts and seeds in my recipes. Generally toasted sesame seeds or flax seeds/ peanuts in form of dry chutneys.
- I avoid using mayonnaise in my recipes.
- If it’s too good (rich, creamy, smooth, silky, sweet), it’s probably not all that good for your body.
- I believe in healthy nutritious eating, not malnutrition and starving your body of fresh, healthy, wholesome food.
- I do not have ANY eating disorder, I wouldn’t have a blog about food otherwise, now would I? I just happen to be passionate about feeding my body with food that is as fresh, healthy and minimally harmful as possible.
- I am not skinny at all. I am a healthy 50 kilo and I’m only 5 feet tall. I know, it’s sad. But what can you do? It’s genes. Slow metabolism, clearly slowed down even more by the unwillingness to move the ass from the couch.