June 2011 eRecipes

Blog: Cooking with Madhu

June 2011 eRecipes

 

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

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