Sharmi on the Trot

Travelling, Exploring, Eating…

Archive for the tag “Healthy Food”

Review: Bagrry’s — Nutritious, Healthy and Tasty

Healthy products from Bagrry's

Healthy products from Bagrry’s

I had never been fond of oats growing up. My grandfather would take porridge every morning for breakfast and tried to inculcate the habit in me. My mother would use oats creatively to get me to eat it. I refused every single time and eventually everyone gave up. I don’t know why I disliked it so much really because I can’t pin point a reason. But then, something miraculous happened. I grew up!
As we grow older, our tastes and habits change. Often we find ourselves enjoying things we had never dreamed we could during our childhood. There was a time when my dress code used to be jeans and a tee with sneakers. Never in my wildest imagination could I even think of dressing up in skirts and dresses. 15 years down the line, I can imagine my younger self having a good laugh to the point when tears roll down her cheeks!
Similarly my eating habits have undergone changes and believe it or not, my day starts with a bowl of oats and sometimes, even ends with it when I feel lazy to cook dinner. If the laziness reaches extreme levels then it’s about pouring muesli into a bowl, adding milk or flavoured yoghurt and maybe some additional berries to give it an extra kick! As you can make out, I don’t tend to follow the breakfast rules!

Cornflakes with almond and honey

Cornflakes with almond and honey

Oats, the old fashioned kind

Oats, the old fashioned kind

Masala Oats, very very delicious

Masala Oats, very very delicious

Crunchy Muesli with nuts and cranberries

Crunchy Muesli with nuts and cranberries

Last but not the least, White Oats

Last but not the least, White Oats

Bagrry’s have been around in the Indian market for over two decades. I recently had the honour to review some of their products and everything I tasted put a genuine smile on my face. While their Muesli (my absolute favourite) is filled with dried cranberries and nuts which you can taste with every bite, the Masala Oats are delicious and have the perfect balance of spice and mild. Don’t even get me started on the Cornflakes. They make one with almond and honey and the taste is heavenly when doused with milk. It’s sweet, yet not the sickening kind, and there is no scrimping on the almond flakes. The Old Fashioned Steel Cut Oats make one of the best breakfast bowls. Cook with milk or hot water, load up with fruits and nuts, even maybe a bit of jam or jelly for guilty pleasure and voila, a healthy well-balanced breakfast awaits you to power start a day. Oats are so versatile that one doesn’t need to have it the way it’s advertised usually. Use it to make cutlets or even chops, they are beneficial and so much healthier than loading up on empty carbs.

Cornflakes go so well with milk!

Cornflakes go so well with milk!

Another view of the cornflakes

Another view of the cornflakes

Muesli served with milk and flowers. It makes any breakfast special!

Muesli served with milk and flowers. It makes any breakfast special!

For muesli on the go, mason jars are perfect.

For muesli on the go, mason jars are perfect.

My favourite way to eat masala oats -in bed with coffee!

My favourite way to eat Masala oats – in bed with coffee!

Bagrry’s tagline reads ‘Let’s put health first’. I couldn’t agree more. The pace at which one consumes junk food on a regular basis is scary. Bad eating habits not only affect one’s health but make one lazy and unproductive. Bagrry’s offers consumers all-natural, innovative and extremely healthy products with no compromise in quality. One can choose from 12 different varieties of Muesli ranging from chocolate to dried fruits and nuts. There’s also a wide range of oats on offer. If you don’t like masala, pick up the usual old-fashioned kind. From high-fibre bran to three kinds of cornflakes to the ‘Oats for India’ range that offers oats for atta, suji and poha; Bagrry’s even offers green tea for the health conscious.
Personally, I would definitely choose Bagrry’s during my grocery shopping trips. I’ve enjoyed each and every product I’ve used and would recommend it to every health-conscious eater out there.

For more information check out Bagrry’s. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram

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Slowcooked Coriander Chicken

I will be called incorrect for the usage of the term slow cooking but I’m purely talking from a personal perspective. No I don’t use a slow cooker not do I cook for hours end which old Royal recipes call for. I’ve always favoured easy and jiffy cooking but when I get the luxury to relax, I make myself a cup of fragrant Darjeeling, bring out a book I’ve been trying to finish. I sip and read while I slow cook whatever I’ve put on the gas.
There’s nothing to beat the smell of fresh coriander and I love using the herb as a flavour base in cooking rather than just relegating it to garnishing. The combination of chicken and coriander is simply a way to greet winter. It sums up beautifully what a winter afternoon should be like.
This slow cooked chicken dish has the perfect combination of spice and fragrance. It’s not too hot neither too bland and is best served on the centre of the table with rice and raita as accompaniments!

Ingredients
For Marination
500g chicken
3 tbs yoghurt
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
Pinch of salt

For Curry
Handful curry leaves
1 tbs black mustard seeds
Handful (or more) coriander (Chop the stalks and keep the leaves aside)
1 red chilly (deseeded, finely chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 tomato (chopped)
2 tbs tomato puree
Salt to taste
1 tbs vegetable oil

– Wash and clean the chicken pieces and add the ginger-garlic paste. Mix the spice powders with the yoghurt. Add to the chicken with a pinch of salt and let it marinade overnight.
– In a hot wok add the oil.
– Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the seeds start to sputter add the chopped onion, garlic and red chilly. If you like it very hot, keep the chilly seeds in.
– Once this is well sauteed, add the coriander stalks.
– You’ll start to smell the frangrance of coriander in a bit. Add the tomato now and slowly let it become slightly mushy.
– Add the overnight marinaded chicken to this. Add the tomato puree and salt.
– Put the gas on low. Clamp on a lid and let it cook for about an hour.
– Halfway through, add some coriander leaves to the chicken and continue cooking.
– Garnish with more coriander leaves and eat hot with rotis/rice/bread.

A bowl of deliciousness!

A bowl of deliciousness! Top view!

Greens and chicken!

Greens and chicken!

Fish in Lemongrass and Coconut Curry

I love flicking through anything recipe related. Magazines, websites, books, you
name it and I do it when I’m not planning my next travel adventures. To be fair, I
do think of what local speciality I can try when I decide on where to go next. So,
travel is combined with food and vice versa.
But I digress. I’m currently taking a break from travel and staying in Delhi.
Winter is slowly setting in and all one wants is soul food. Something warm that
leaves you fuzzy but at the same time not hasslesome. Cleaning up can be such a
bother.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m on this South East Asian flavours spree. I’ve been
reading a lot on flavour combinations and what better to try out new things than
experiment, right?
I came up with this recipe on a whim and though it requires a longish list of
ingredients, believe you me, it’s simple and makes for a wholesome supper.
PS: I recently came across Jamie Oliver‘s Cauliflower Rice recipe and it’s
marvelous. It’s healthy, tasty and serves as a no-carb alternative to rice. It can
be consumed with curries and kebabs or just as it is with a smattering of herbs
and some butter!

Ingredients
Fish Curry
For Marinade
500g Rohu (type of Carp, cut into pieces)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
Salt

For Curry
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 inch ginger (chopped)
1 tomato (quartered)
1 can coconut milk
1 lemongrass (stalk bruised)
2 tbs lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 tbs vegetable oil

Cauliflower Rice
1 head cauliflower (blitzed in food processor)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
Pinch of red chilly flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp oil

– Marinate the fish with all the powders. Set aside for 15-20 minutes.
– Heat a wok and add the oil.
– Add the onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Saute till fragrant.
– Add the lemon juice and wait for the hot wok to sizzle.
– Empty a can of coconut milk into the wok with a pinch of salt and add the quartered tomato
– Bring the liquid to a boil and put on gentle simmer.
– Add the fish to the coconut curry and clamp a lid on the wok for 15 minutes.
– Discard the lemongrass when curry made.
– For rice, heat the oil in a pan.
– Add the garlic and chilly flakes
– When fragrant, add the cauliflower and cook through. Add seasoning
– Serve a helping of the rice with a side of fish and some curry!

Delicious and healthy supper!

Delicious and healthy supper!

Hot And Sour Chicken Soup with Brown Rice

I love soups. They are comforting and healthy (usually). I love those days when you want to stay in bed with a book and making soup to feed yourself hardly takes time. I love those snug winter evenings when only hot soups can warm you. This one time in Kathmandu, while winter was receeding and it wasn’t yet summer, only a homemade bowl of hot soup could uplift me! And those soups taste the best!
In the winters I prefer the thick continental ones which need to be pureed. In the summers I prefer more broth-based ones which are simple to make and easy on the stomach.
Most South East Asian broths call for handmade egg noodles in them. I prefer to add brown rice in mine because it’s healthier and makes a wholesome balanced meal. Devour a bowl and you’re left satisfied.
PS: Since I’ve been on this South-East Asian flavours swing for a couple of weeks now, making this over and over again is my excuse!
Ingredients
250g boiled chicken (shredded)
1 small carrot (chopped finely)
1 onion (chopped finely)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped finely)
2 tsp Tom Yum paste
1 cup button mushrooms (roughly chopped)
1 cup oyster mushrooms (shredded with hands)
1 litre chicken stock
1 lime (juiced)
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 cup brown rice
Salt to season
Handful bean sprouts
chives to decorate
1 tsp vegetable oil
– Heat the oil in a deep container which can hold a lot of liquid
– Sweat the carrots, onion and garlic till fragnant (about two minutes)
– Add the Tom Yum paste and saute till everything is a nice reddish colour
– Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil
– Then bring the stock to a gentle simmer. Add the mushrooms, salt, boiled chicken and brown rice.
– Clamp on a lid and let the soup be till the rice is cooked through. (about 10 minutes)
– Pour the lemon juice, fish sauce and give everything a good stir. Check for seasoning.
– Ladle a serving in a bowl, garnish with chives and bean sprouts!
A bowl of warmth in winter!

A bowl of warmth in winter!

Melt-in-your-mouth Asian Stir Fried Pork

My introduction to pork began at an early age via homemade spiced sausages, salamis, those gorgeous frankfurters that crackled over heat. I remember going to Goa when I was about 12 and polishing off a plate of spicy pork vindaloo with steaming white rice in a small shack on the beach. The sound of waves crashing, the feeling of cold sand touching my feet, the just-right weather – I can still visualise that day.
I was recently shopping at INA for fresh fruits and salad leaves when I crossed the meat section. On a whim I picked up this delicious lean cut of pork. With plenty of flavour combinations playing in my head, this basic South-East Asian style stir fry had to be the first.

Ingredients
250g lean pork (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 tsp oil
1 small onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 lime (juiced)
Handful of rocket leaves
Chives
For marinade:
3-4 Sichuan peppercorns (crushed)
1 star anise (crushed)
1 tsp demerara
2-3 tsp sesame oil
2-3 tsp oyster sauce
1-2 tsp dark soy
salt and black pepper to season
(I would suggest when making the marinade, start with the dry ingredients first and then add the wet ones)

Marinate the pork pieces overnight (half an hour minimum if you’re in a hurry)
Heat 1-2 tsp oil in a wok and add chopped onions and garlic. Once its sauteed, add the pork pieces. Cook till the pork has caramelised well on the outside and is tender on the inside. Add a bit of oyster sauce if need be.
Once cooked, take out the pieces to rest. Use lime juice to deglaze the pan and pour over the meat.
Serve with a side salad, steamed rice, stir fried veggies or a baguette!

Served on a bed of rocket leaves

Served on a bed of rocket leaves

How I Lost It… The Sedentary Lifestyle

“It’s high time you do something about yourself,” said my mother. “People will never believe that you were a sportswoman if you tell them that.” This was last December.

“What is wrong with this pair of jeans,” I said to myself. This was in the first week of January this year. It seemed my favourite pair of blues had a mind of it’s own and at that point of time, it didn’t want to fit me right.

Later that month, panting, I managed to get into the last metro. I had to run from the top of the stairs with a very good chance I could fall and slip thanks to the soles of the flimsy slippers. “Since when did I start to pant after a run?” was my question to myself as the metro made its way forward.

And that’s when it hit me. I was literally living in denial. And I had been living in denial for some years now. It was easier to tell myself wearing loose fitting clothes was the in-thing than to take care of myself.

The motivation was to get back my fitness level, to start with a morning routine which did not only include re-runs of Castle and Homeland.

I don’t believe in crash courses nor do I believe in taking the easy way out. I had to start from the very beginning. Since right eating consists about 90% of a good healthy system, it meant no more binge eating or late night pizza deliveries. I love cooking (as evident by my recipe posts) and thus began a healthier approach. Less oil, more of proteins and cutting out empty carbohydrates. Who said healthy eating is bland? I love that I can create new recipes just thinking outside the box. The biggest boon — eating a good healthy breakfast, which I used to skip on most days.

Who can say no this homemade shammi kebabs with stir fried veggies for a healthy supper?

Who can say no this homemade shammi kebabs with stir fried veggies for a healthy supper?

Then started morning jogs and runs. If you have been out of it for some years, it’s not fun in the beginning. Not by a long shot. Let’s just say the aches and pains gave me motivation to continue. A simple yoga and core work out (thankfully that is still strong because of millions of sit ups and push-ups behind me during my formative years) can work wonders. Just try it.

I began to feel healthier and stronger within a couple of weeks. Losing weight was never the goal but to get to a healthier, active lifestyle was. Of course that I was buying dresses two sizes smaller put a smile on my face. But the biggest smile came when my mother saw me after some months and said: “Now, you’re beginning to look like the athlete you were.”

There is still a long way to go before I can achieve the fitness level I used to have but hey, I’m getting there.

Entry for: How I Lost It blog contest on http://www.worldofmoms.com

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