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March 2012 Indian eRecipes Newsletter

Posted on 03/05/2012 at 10:31 PM

March 2012
National Nutrition Month

Dear Madhu,

March is one of my favorite months as it is the beginning of a better weather and longer days. Sunny days and blooming flowers have an amazing uplifting effect on my mood. I had an early preview of this effect last month when I went for a sister’s weekend in the sunny Bahamas. My sisters and I have been getting together for a weekend every other year for the last 15 years. It is one of the best things we ever started since we live in four different states. As our get-togethers have increased from 3 to 5 days, my niece recently complained with a smile, “your sister’s weekends are getting out of control; you need to hone it in.” I hope you too get away with your siblings or friends for some invaluable one-on-one time. Well, back to reality, along with upcoming warmer days, March is also National Nutrition Month and the focus is on building a healthy plate. Have a great spring!

Build a Healthy Plate:

National Nutrition Month is an annual education and information campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). The 2012 theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape,” which follows the new USDA food guide recommendations. Balancing your calories is the key to managing weight. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate, or in your cup or bowl. The new food guide icon, MyPlate— a quick and simple visual of how to fill your plate for good health. Here are simple steps to control portion size and maximize your nutrition:

1.     Choose a smaller size plate

2.     Fill half the plate with fruits and vegetables

3.     Add some whole grains

4.     Add some lean protein

5.     Add fat free or low fat milk or milk products

6.     Drink water instead of sugary beverages

7.     Take time to eat and stop when you’re full



Salt to Taste:

Cooks know that salt brings out the flavor of food. We also know that the medical community tells us that too much sodium is bad for our health (salt is sodium chloride). It’s a cooks’ dilemma, but it shouldn’t be. A little bit of salt will do the trick and make your dish healthy without compromising flavor. Salt is an acquired taste and as you gradually decrease the amount of salt in your diet, your taste buds will adjust. It is similar to when you first started drinking lower fat milk (most people drank whole milk in the 70s). Most people did it gradually, going from whole to 2%, and then to skim milk. And now most people can’t imagine drinking whole milk.


Studies indicate that majority of our sodium intake comes from the processed foods. The recent study by CDC identified the top 10 sources of salt in the American diet and guess what bread and rolls are the no. 1 source of salt and potato chips and pretzels are no. 10. See top 10 sources of salt in the American diet


March Recipes:
It’s easy to fill half your plate with vegetables when they taste good. A typical lettuce salad is nice but it gets old (same old, same old), plus all the good dressings are high in fat and sodium. Cooked vegetables are more versatile and satisfying. There are so many ways to cook and season vegetables making it easier to devour them. The books, The Indian Vegan Kitchen and New Indian Home Cooking have over 75 vegetable recipes. I am sure you’ll easily find at least a dozen you’ll want to make again and again. I have picked two simple ones Cauliflower and Pepper, Cabbage and Peas, and recipes, that cook in about 20 minutes. And I am also adding an Oven Roti (whole wheat flatbread) that you make in the oven for convenience. It’s made with whole grains and has no added salt and fat and taste absolutely divine with the vegetables. I know it takes time to make roti, but trust me this one is fast.    

Cauliflower and Peppers (Ghobhi-Mirch Subji)

Eggplant with Tomatoes and Onions (Bengun)

Oven Roti (Tandoori Roti)

Happy and Healthy Cooking!
Madhu Gadia


February 2012 Indian eRecipes Newsletter

Posted on 02/12/2012 at 9:05 PM

February 2012
American Hearth Month

Dear Madhu,

February is all about the heart. Of course there is Valentine’s Day with all its commercial glamour of heart shaped everything from balloons to chocolate; it’s hard not to get caught in the excitement – and why not, it’s heart warming and fun. I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Valentine’s Day. And February is also the American Heart Month – in recognition of an important program to urge Americans to join the battle against cardiovascular diseases.

Love Your Heart
In the United States, coronary heart disease (CHD) is the #1 cause of death for both men and women. There are many known CHD risk factors, some you can control others you cannot. In simple therapeutic terms, you can lower your risk of CHD if you take care of yourself by eating healthfully, exercising regularly, and not smoking. For more information on a heart-healthy diet, go to the American Heart Association website.

Go Red
Cardiovascular disease is not just an “older man’s disease” as once believed. The Heart Truth®: one in four women in the United States dies of heart disease, while one in 30 dies of breast cancer, and yet women are not paying attention. Learn more about women and heart disease on Go Red for Women website.

Eat Potassium: Go Beyond Banana
Potassium helps to prevent and control high blood pressure. Be sure to get enough potassium daily. Several fruits, vegetables and dairy foods are good sources of potassium, not just bananas:
Banana: 1 medium: 595 mg; Orange: 1 medium: 237 mg
Orange juice: 1 cup: 496 mg; Cantaloupe: 1 cup: 494 mg
Beans: 1 cup cooked: 460 mg; Potato, baked, 6oz: 1081 mg
Milk, fat free: 1 cup: 407 mg: Peanuts: 1 oz: 187 mg
For more potassium sources:

Happy Valentine’s Day
Chocolate lovers rejoice. Dark chocolate and its primary ingredient cocoa, are naturally rich in free radical fighting antioxidants known as flavonoids.  The recommended serving for dark chocolate is 1 ounce per day. Look for dark chocolate with 40 – 70% cocoa bean or “cacao” content.

February Recipes
The secrets to eating healthfully are planning and grocery shopping. It is easier to cook and eat healthfully when you have a menu plan and the ingredients on hand. And it always helps to have some easy, simple, delicious recipes. Check out these quick recipes that you can make in fewer than 30 minutes; they are heart healthy and flavorful to boot.  Salmon, kale, soy (tofu), and cracked wheat are all ingredients packed with antioxidants. 
Enjoy these easy, delicious, and heart-healthy recipes:

Kale-Tofu Pilaf (Saag-Tofu Pulao)
Spicy Grilled Salmon
Cracked Wheat Pilaf (Uppama)

Happy and Healthy Cooking!
Madhu Gadia

P.S. Curry Bar Update: I have been totally involved in the “curry bar” project, writing the menus and adjusting recipes for volume cooking. It has been six weeks since the “curry bar” opened at Aetna café and it’s doing great. The food is well received and we have repeat customers. We serve approximately 170 customers for lunch everyday. I was worried that if we had Indian food everyday, 5 days a week, the novelty would wear off and our customer base would decline—but not so. Indians and non-Indians alike love the food and tell us so repeatedly. The chef and the cooks are doing a great job of following the recipes and are eager to learn the basics of Indian cooking. I am so glad that I stuck to what I do best – healthy home-style food.

Copyright © 2012 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved


January 2012 Indian eRecipes Newsletter

Posted on 01/02/2012 at 9:36 PM

January 2012
Happy New Year

Dear Madhu,

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? The most common New Year’s resolutions include losing weight, exercising more, and eating healthier. Although studies show that we are not very good at sticking to the resolutions, I still believe that it is important to have a vision, some goals, and resolutions, as they set the preamble for change. If weight loss and eating healthier are your goals this year, see the meals plans below.

But before we get to the meal plans and recipes I want to share my “curry bar” story. At one time I wanted to open my own restaurant, a vision that never materialized; instead my dreams took their own turn and what I got is so much better.

Grand Opening
For the past year I have been working as a Wellness Director with FLIK International. FLIK runs the cafeteria for Aetna in Hartford, Connecticut. The cafeteria has several stations—salad bar, deli, grill, stir-fry, etc. We also have a station called Nibbles Bar, where we feature variety of ethnic cuisines. At that station we have also featured a “curry bar” once a week. Back in August, the chef decided to feature my recipes at the “curry bar,” and he also asked me to help cook in the kitchen. I was thrilled to see the line at the “curry bar” was so long that it went out the door. Since then I cooked about once a month with similar exhilarating results. Although cooking is beyond my job and call of duty, I did not care; I love working with the chefs and watching my food disappear. In November, the company made plans to open a daily “curry station.” The week before its unveiling I was taken by surprise to see a poster in the cafeteria announcing—Indian Curry Bar, Grand Opening; come join us on December 19th, featuring recipes by Madhu Gadia MS, RD, CDE, FLIK Wellness Director and cookbook author, the realization of my dream in another dimension. So now I plan the menu, provide the recipes and teach the chefs how to make and serve authentic Indian food. See pictures on

At the moment, I am just basking in the glow and not projecting the next step. Again, I have learned it is important to have a vision, to set a goal, and be open to the ways in which it will unfold. Now let’s let get back to the task at hand—recipes and menus.

“Diet” is a 4-letter word
No one likes to go on a “diet.” Yet each New Year, people flock to the latest and greatest diet that promises the quickest weight loss with the least effort. There is no doubt that losing excess body weight is important for your physical and emotional health. The question is, what works? Although there are hundreds of diets on the market, do you know that they all fall into these categories—low carb, high protein, low fat, or low calorie. The bottom line; all diets are lower in total calories. The good news is that most diets will work as long as you follow them. So find the “diet” that works for you, but make sure it’s safe, effective and healthful in the long run. Choose a diet that is balanced in nutrients and consists of all food groups—vegetables, fruits, grains, meat (protein foods), and dairy. After all, you want to lose weight for good. Choose foods that are lower in fat and calories and monitor your portion size.

Meal Plans
Planning meals is one of the most important and yet difficult jobs of maintaining healthful eating. For your convenience I have planned 2 weeks of 500-calorie meal plans. The recipes are from my two books, The Indian Vegan Kitchen and New Indian Home Cooking. These plans will help you get started and guide you as you create your own variety of menus.

January Recipes

Although, the most important thing when trying to lose weight is to reduce calories, it is also important that the food is filling and satisfying. Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of Volumetrics Weight Control and professor at Pennsylvania State University, has done many studies on the concept of energy density. Rolls suggests that eating low-energy-dense foods, like soup or salad, before a meal is an effective strategy for weight control. Although, many Indian dishes have a sauce (curry liquid), but they are not soups per se. Personally, I love soups and thus have modified these Indian favorites to more soup like. Enjoy them in a cup as an appetizer or with a whole grain, hard, crusty bread or a roti (Indian flatbread) as a meal. They are low in calories, flavorful, filling, and are sure to leave you satisfied.

Lentil-Vegetable Soup (Masoor Subji Soup)

Lemon-Pepper Soup (Neembu Rasam)
Curried Potato Soup (Aloo-Tamatar Soup)

Happy and Healthy Cooking!
Madhu Gadia


Copyright © 2012 Madhu Gadia. All Rights Reserved

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