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November 2011 Indian eRecipes Newsletter

Posted on 11/01/2011 at 9:32 PM

November 2011
Happy Thanksgiving


Dear Madhu,


The fall season—with its cool and warm weather, falling leaves and vibrant colors—is a beautiful time for long walks and curling up with a good book. It is also a season of festivals. I just finished celebrating Diwali (the Hindu Festival of Lights) with all its hoopla, and I have to say although exhausted, I loved it all. And now the fall colors, pumpkins, festive foods, and family gatherings remind me of Thanksgiving. If you haven’t figured it out, I love holidays. I get equally excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas as I do about Diwali. When the kids were little, it was important to me that they took part in local holidays, as well as understood their own heritage and celebrations.


Holiday celebrations are a lot of work, and sometimes I wonder why I do it. And I am sure you do too. But then I remind myself of a phrase I read by an Indian poet Kalidas, “by their very nature men are fond of festivals.” Without holidays and celebrations, life would be mundane, all work and no play. As always, take care of your health—see information on diabetes and vitamins below—and get organized for the holiday season.


November is Diabetes Month: Take Diabetes Seriously
Do you or someone you know has diabetes or prediabetes? Diabetes affects approximately 1 in 10 people in America. The majority of adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. There are three major reasons you can develop type 2 diabetes; heredity, age, and weight. Although you can not do anything about your age or heredity, you can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by eating regular meals, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight. Studies show that if you lose just 5-7% of your body weight and exercise for 150 minutes per week, you can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. A healthy lifestyle with diabetes includes:


•    Eating 3 meals, plus 1 to 3 snacks per day as needed.
•    Exercising 30 minutes or more most days of the week.
•    Maintaining a healthy weight.
•    Visiting your doctor and dentist regularly.
•    Getting an eye and foot exam every year.


Diabetes is a serious disease and if not controlled, can cause long term health complications such as heart disease, stroke, and blindness. You have the power to control your diabetes; take charge and get the help and support you need.

Chew Not Pop Your Vitamins
A daily intake of multivitamins and supplements has little or no benefits to your health and they may even be harmful. During a 19-year study the researchers found that older women who took a daily vitamin supplement—even just a multivitamin—had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer than nonusers. Supplements may deliver too much of a good thing and nutrients can be toxic at high doses, for detailed information see Reader's Digest. Choose vitamin rich foods such as carrots and squash for vitamin A, oranges for vitamin C, and whole grains for B vitamins.

November Recipes
For your Holiday meals, traditional dishes prevail, and rightly so. For my holiday table, along with traditional dishes, I often will sneak in some new dishes for friends and family to try. As a rule of thumb—and I am sure you do this too—when I want to make a new recipe for a party, I always test it to make sure that the recipe works and  that I like it. Complement your Thanksgiving dinner with these vegan dishes that everyone will enjoy. For an appetizer, how about a platter of Mixed Vegetable Fritters (Subji Pakora); they have a tendency to just disappear, one by one. And for side dishes that double as main dishes for your vegan guests, make Peas and Tofu Curry (Matar-Tofu) and Dried Fruit Rice (Meva Chawal). Have a great time cooking and sharing meals with your loved ones and remember to enjoy and savor food.
 
Mixed Vegetable Fritters (Subji Pakora)
Peas and Tofu Curry (Matar-Tofu)
Dried Fruit Rice (Meva Chawal)

Happy and Healthy Cooking!
Sincerely,
Madhu Gadia

P.S.: Gift Time: Add The Indian Vegan Kitchen and New Indian Home Cooking for the cooks on your list.
 

Copyright © 2011 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved

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October 2011 eRecipes Newsletter

Posted on 10/01/2011 at 9:30 PM


October 2011
Happy Diwali (Festival of Lights)!

Dear Madhu,
I had the pleasure of meeting Bobby Flay, the Food Network Star, last month. He signed a copy of his book Bobby’s Flays Bar American Cookbook and I gave him my books, The Indian Vegan Kitchen: More than 150 Quick and Healthy Homestyle Recipes and New Indian Home Cooking.  He told me he loves Indian food. I had heard that but now it was official. After all he loves flavors. Looking at The Indian Vegan Kitchen, he said, “Really, the whole book is vegan? What about yogurt and milk?” Yup, he knows Indian food. I hope he reads my books and calls me.  

Diwali, a Festival of LIghts
An Indian festival Diwali is celebrated with similar reverence as Christmas or Hanukkah. Symbolically, Diwali is a celebration of “victory of good over evil” and signifies the uplifting of spiritual darkness. The celebrations start almost a month before with various religious and social events. The main components of the festival includes; cleaning the house, visiting family and friends, lighting oil lamps, lots and lots of food, praying to the goddess Lakshmi for wealth, and to top it off—fireworks. Diwali Day is based by the lunar calendar and this year it’s on October 26th.

Eat Better, Eat Together Month
“Dinner is served.” A call that brings adults and children to the table is good for the body and the soul. Research indicates that when adults eat meals together with children and teenagers, the youngsters do better in school, have fewer behavior problems, and the teenagers are less likely to use alcohol or drugs. So, next time when it feels like too much effort to bring the family together to eat because the kids whine, complain, and fuss, and you are running in a million directions, remember that in the long run children will benefit from sitting down to family meals. Although nutritious food is important, children report that what they like about family meals is the conversation. They like having time to share, find out what others are doing, and to laugh. Take the time to enjoy family meals, find out what your kids are up to, and create your own family traditions. Eat Better, Eat Together.

World Vegetarian Day
A whole month is dedicated to increasing the awareness of vegetarianism and October 1 is World Vegetarian Day. What we eat impacts the well being of ourselves, animals and the planet. The health benefits of a plant based diet are numerous; enjoy delicious and nutritious Indian vegetarian meals for the whole month and beyond.

October Recipes
This month, I am picking recipes that are absolutely my favorite. These dishes are a must for our Diwali meal and everything else centers around it. A Diwali meal is almost always vegetarian. A house full of family and friends reminds me of a Christmas dinner with tables lined with trays of desserts, snacks, and variety of special dishes. Puri (Fried Bread), and Lipte Aloo (potato stew) turns any meal into a celebration. They can be served for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. I’m also including Kaddu (Sweet and Sour Winter Squash) which is our family favorite. At my Diwali party, all my friends have come to expect Kaddu as must at the dinner (see our family Diwali photos). Diwali or not, enjoy a meal of Puri, Aloo, and Kaddu and have your own party.

Fried Bread (Puri)

Potato Stew (Lipte Aloo)
Sweet and Sour Winter Squash (Kaddu)

I wish you and yours A Very Happy and Prosperous Diwali. May all your wishes come true!

Happy and Healthy Cooking!
Sincerely,
Madhu Gadia

P.S. For your convenience, I have archived all the past newsletters on the website. Remember, each months featured recipes are available for that month.

 
Copyright © 2011 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved
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September 2011 eRecipes

Posted on 09/25/2011 at 6:24 PM

September 2011
Savor Food
 

Dear Madhu,
Last week, weather dominated the East Coast. First there was the earthquake (August 23rd) and then Hurricane Irene (August 26-28th). As much as I told myself—don’t worry; it’s just hoopla, I worried and watched TV with despair. Finally, I packed my bag and headed to my daughter’s place; if anything happens we would be together. Many people did the same with a feeling that as long as they were with family or friends, they could cope with anything. Overall we were pretty lucky, for the damage could’ve been so much worse. Some people I know, lost power for several days, which means no food, no water, no shower, and guess what—no computer and TV. The lives were at a stand still. The following Monday, our office was jammed with people who often work from home because the office had power, water, and a cafeteria with hot, fresh food. By Thursday things were back to normal. I hope that you and yours fared well through these natural disasters.

Eat What You Want, But in Moderation
Anytime there is bad weather and we are stuck at home, we reach for comfort foods. We seek these foods because they give us, as the name implies, comfort. But unfortunately for many of us, these soul-soothing foods are also laden with guilt. We worry about the calories, fat, carbohydrate, or sodium. The interesting thing is that we eat the food, but not with joy and pleasure. What a shame!  

In my experience as a nutrition counselor, I have seen that more and more people today are focused on the nutritional components of the meal rather than the flavor, taste, and enjoyment. You would think that as people become more nutrition conscious they would become healthier, but the fact is obesity is increasing and so is disordered eating. When I tell clients to “eat anything you want,” they freak out. They fear that if they don’t monitor themselves their weight will go up uncontrollably. With years of dieting, people have lost the body and mind connection with food. They don’t trust that they can stop when they are full or eat in moderation. They want clear and precise instructions: Eat this, don’t eat that.

Dietitians and other nutrition experts recognize this food fear and compulsion, and therefore have included this advice in the new food recommendations from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). See MyPlate, www.choosemyplate.gov. The new food guide icon, MyPlate, makes it easy for people to know what to eat and how to fill their plates. And among the details of the new USDA guidelines, the recommendations highlight, enjoy food but eat less and avoid oversized portions. To me, that translates into eat anything you want, but in moderation. Remember, we eat food, not calories or fat!

Street Foods of India
Once looked down upon, street foods have become quite a rave these days. Around the world, in India, China, and South America, street foods are part of the food culture. New York has had the famous Hot Dog stands forever. In the past, people have worried about the safety of these food stands and thus looked down upon them, but not anymore. Over the last few years, these delicious food kiosks are turning up in most major cities across the United States. In New York, you now find vendors selling world cuisines right on the foot path. On my last trip to New York, I saw several Curry Kiosks and even a Dosa (thin rice crêpes ) stand. That is great, but these stands are just a tip of the iceberg compared to the street vendors in India.

Street foods in India, most often consist of chaat. A chaat is a food class in itself, unique to India. Chaat literally means “to lick”! It’s a concoction of various foods smothered with sweet and sour chutneys and spice blends. It can be made with little crispy breads (pani-puri) or with potato patties (aloo-tikki). What makes a food chaat is not what it starts with, but what goes on the top. Chaat never fails to rev up one’s taste buds. Young or old, everyone loves chaat. Traditionally, it was primarily sold by street vendors in kiosks. Today it is available, as an appetizer, in all types of Indian restaurants, from fast food joints to fancy dining rooms. There is no substitute for chaat, and once you taste it, you’ll be hooked. 

September Recipes
After all this talk about chaat, I have picked three mouth watering dishes for you: Aloo-Tikki (Potato Patties), Chole (Blackened Spicy Chickpeas), and Pav-Bhaji (Veggie Sloppy Joe Sandwiches). Make them for yourself or invite your friends, turn your dining table into a street cart, and have a fun chaat party. When I make these dishes for my family, I either make aloo-tikki with chole or pav-bhaji. But for a party, I would probably make all three. Making chaat is labor intensive but well worth the effort. Most of the time is taken in making chutneys, cilantro chutney and tamarind chutney. These days you can find these chutneys in most Indian grocery stores, and they are pretty good, though I, of course make my own, because they are the best. Make the chutneys a few days in advance to help pace yourself, and hide them so you have them for your chaat extravaganza. Remember to enjoy, savor and taste your food.

Potato-Patty Snack (Aloo-Tikki Chaat)
Blackened Spicy Chickpeas (Chole)
Veggie Sloppy Joe Sandwiches (Pav-Bhaji)
Cilantro Chutney (Dhania Chutney)
Tamarind Chutney (Imli Chutney)

Happy and Healthy Cooking!
Sincerely,
Madhu Gadia

Copyright © 2011 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved

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July 2011 eRecipes

Posted on 09/25/2011 at 6:22 PM

July 2011

Dear Madhu,

A long-time Indian friend replied with a smile to my comment TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) that in this country we live Friday to Friday. There is certainly some truth to that and more than that I would say we live holiday to holiday. We just got back from a family get-together on July 4th weekend, and immediately I wanted to make sure I had something planned for the Labor Day weekend. Hopefully you are a step ahead of me and have the rest of this year’s vacation planned. Make sure, however you take sometime off just for you. I am a firm believer that time-off from the daily routine of work and life is important physically and mentally and in the long run it makes you healthier and more productive.


No More Guessing: Food Guidelines Now Served on “MyPlate”

The new food recommendations from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) are now on a plate. The new icon called MyPlate (www.choosemyplate.gov) has replaced the familiar Food Guide Pyramid. The plate is a quick and simple visual of how to fill our plate for good health. The guidelines further clarify the recommendations; see below. I am so glad that the first recommendation highlighted is to enjoy food. Choose steps that work for you and start today;

Balance Calories:
•    Enjoy food but eat less
•    Avoid oversized portions
Foods to Increase:
•    Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
•    Make at least half your grains whole grains
•    Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk
Foods to Reduce:
•    Drink water instead of sugary drinks
•    Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals and choose items with lower numbers


Summer Picnics and BBQ

Summer conjures up memories of picnics, barbecues, and ball games. As you pack your food for outdoor eating remember some basic food safety rules. The most important food safety rule is to keep cold food at 40 F or below and hot food at 140 F or higher. Don’t take food safety lightly, for more information go to fda.gov.

July Recipes:

I hope you are taking full advantage of long summer days and spending as much time as you can outdoors, sitting on the patio, taking long walks in the park, and barbecuing. July and August are the perfect time for delicious, fresh out-of-the-garden (or Farmer’s Market) vegetables. Corn is at its peak for flavor and taste. The last 3 to 5 years I have noticed food magazines and food shows highlighting grilled corn as a wonderful new discovery. In India, corn on the cob has always been grilled directly on the flame. You can buy fresh grilled corn, spiced to your taste, at the local street vendor. For best grilled-corn, choose big ears with mature kernels, remove husk and put the corn directly on the grill. Rotate and roast corn until grill marks appear on all sides, and then brush with spiced lime for an unbelievably delicious treat.

Also fresh picked grilled vegetables like zucchini, onions, peppers, and carrots taste incredible—they are sweet and tender and melt in your mouth. I grill a big batch and serve them with toothpicks.

And a summer must in my home is Indian ice cream called Kulfi. It has a different taste and texture than the creamy western ice cream and is totally worth a try. Every time I eat Kulfi, it takes me back to the childhood summers we spent with our grandparents. Every afternoon (after a nap) my uncle would buy all us kids Kulfi-On-A-Stick from a street vendor. I love plain Kulfi, but I also added a Mango Kulfi option for you to try. Have a wonderful summer. 

Grilled Corn (Bhutta)
Grilled Vegetables (Bhuni Subji)
Indian Ice Cream (Kulfi)

Happy and Healthy Cooking!
Sincerely,
Madhu Gadia


 

Copyright © 2011 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved

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June 2011 eRecipes

Posted on 09/25/2011 at 6:21 PM

June 2011
Happy Father’s Day

Dear Madhu,

As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, because wishes just may come true. Last year, when I was looking for a job, I kept saying, “I would love to have a job that combines my nutrition background and culinary passion, and if the job required travel I would be fine with it.” Well, it all came true. I got a job with FLIK International/Compass Group USA as a Regional Wellness Director and I am working in a cafeteria at Aetna insurance group. My job is to ensure that the customers have a good selection of healthful foods and provide nutrition information and education in the employee cafeteria. I am working with chefs, clients, and customers—nutrition and culinary passions rolled up in one job. And, I travel at least once a month to other locations for wellness education and audits. So, the other day, when I was talking to my sister and complaining that I am swamped with work and travel the next few weeks, she had no sympathy. She just laughed and reminded me that is exactly what I wished for. So, I had an aha moment as I packed for my next trip.

June is Men’s Health Month

Celebrate Father’s Day and take care of the men in your life by encouraging them to have a check up with their physicians. Men sometimes take better care of their car then their health. Anchored by a Congressional health education program, the goal of Men's Health Month is to increase awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Encourage men to pay attention to warning signs such as: changes in bowel or bladder habits, persistent backaches, recurrent chest pains, and extreme fatigue. Here are some health checkup tips for men:

• Eat less, move more: Check your weight
• Eat your vegetables and fruits
• Know your cholesterol levels
• Check your blood pressure
• Get screened for colorectal and prostate cancer

Men’s health issues significantly impact everyone around them. Women and men should educate themselves about potential male health problems. Check out www.menshealthnetwork.org for resources and health facts.

June Recipes

This month I am sharing some new recipes that I demonstrated at a culinary meet for the FLIK chefs. Doing a demo for your own company chefs is always challenging; I was excited and yet nervous, but it all went. I prepared tandoori roti and naan and served it with dips.
The demo goal was to show chefs how to make Indian breads. Most people are familiar with Indian breads they eat in the restaurants. Naan (bread) is everyone’s favorite. It is prepared fresh in Indian restaurants, typically showcased by chefs as they make it to order in a tandoor oven. Tandoor, is an underground clay oven that has direct fire and heats up to 800 F, is usually found in restaurants and in few homes in Punjab, India. The chef, hand stretches the bread and sticks it on the oven wall, task that requires skill and practice, and the bread cooks quickly on both sides. The taste and texture of the naan made in a tandoor is unique and absolutely divine.

But naan is just one type of bread. At home, Indians eat roti (a whole wheat flatbread) that is unleavened, salt free, and fat free. Also tandoor oven is a special oven that is only found in restaurants and in few homes in Punjab, India. Everyday bread is made on the stovetop. With all the rage about eating whole grains I wanted to share with chefs how to make roti. To be more specific, I wanted to show them how to make roti and naan in a pizza oven.

Testing Recipes: At the Aetna café in Hartford, I have access to an ideal brick pizza oven. The first time I made roti in the pizza oven, I realized, based on the comments I got from my testers that the oven roti (compared to stovetop) was a little dry if eaten without any curry. Since roti was going to be the main star of the demo, I wanted to make sure the rotis were soft and delicious by themselves. So back in the kitchen, I reworked the recipes for the oven.

Dips for the Rotis: Indians always eat roti with some type of a curry. Since this was a fusion demo, cooking Indian breads in an oven, I decided to serve it with three different types of dips—dips are versatile and popular. My culinary juices were flowing so I tested a Pulled Chicken Curry Dip. I also served Black Eyed Pea Dip and Cucumber Raita Dip.

Everything was a great hit at the demo. And last week, I made the tandoori roti in an oven at a party I had at home and got rave reviews from my Indian friends. I hope you enjoy the recipes too.

Tandoori Roti
Naan
Pulled Chicken Curry Dip
Black Eyed Pea Dip
Cucumber Raita Dip

Happy and Healthy Cooking!
Sincerely,
Madhu Gadia

P.S.: Please forward this newsletter to at least five of your friends and family. Have any suggestions for future newsletters, I would love to hear from you.
 

Copyright © 2011 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved

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