Even before the pandemic struck, the focus of diners was shifting to healthy food, and in this time of COVID-19 crisis, it has increased manifold.According to many restaurateurs and chefs in Kolkata, not only diners visiting the restaurants but those ordering from home are also asking about the ingredients to ensure they are eating healthy food.
Head Chef Pushpak of new restaurant, Royal China, says, “We do not use any additives in our dishes, but only use the recommended products and natural herbs which are natural immunity boosters, such as clove, honey, broccoli, red bell pepper, garlic, lemons, etc.”
Chef Pushpak shared a few easy to make, yet interesting, recipes.
Stir Fry Broccoli with Bell Peppers in White Garlic Sauce
Broccoli 250 Gms
Red, yellow and green peppers 10 Gms
Mushroom 10 Gms
Garlic 8 Gms
Dice cut the broccoli and blanch it. Sauté garlic in oil, add broccoli, salt and potato starch and prepare the white garlic sauce. Toss in the mixed bell peppers and black mushrooms.
Sautéed Spinach with Garlic
Spinach 300 Gms
Garlic 10 Gms
Ginger 5 Gm
Red chilli 5 Gm
Rinse and chop the spinach. In a wok add sesame oil, add whole garlic, chopped ginger and red chilli. Add spinach, salt, white pepper and toss well.
Fresh orange juice 120ml,
Fresh lemon juice 10ml,
Turmeric 5 Gms
Mint leaves 2 Gms
Mix all ingredients well.
Virgin Hot Toddy
Fresh lemon juice15ml
Black pepper 2 Gms
Clove 6 pieces
Star anise 2/3 pieces
Hot water to top up.
Mix all ingredients well.
Kolkata-based Kurry Patta, a popular brand dishing out largely south Indian cuisine, banks on its special rasam, According to Head Chef Mahadevan, “Rasam is a power-house of nutrition, consumed as a medicine in south India. It is rich in essential vitamins such as thiamine, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, niacin, and riboflavin and minerals like magnesium, potassium and iron. Some of these vitamins act as antioxidants as well, keeping the body healthy.”
According to chef, the benefits of rasam come from its major ingredients – tamarind, lentils and black pepper. Tamarind is rich in antioxidants, protecting the body against attack of free radicals. It contains dietary fibre, and regulates bowel movement, keeping digestive issues like constipation at bay; arhar dal is a source of protein; while pepper helps in metabolism, aiding weight loss, and is also ideal to detox the body.
Chef Mahadevan shared the recipe of their special Rasam:
Recipe (makes 10 cups)
Set 50gms of imli to boil in 1 litre of water. To this, add ½ tsp each of coriander (dhania), cumin (jeera) powder, and 1/3 tsp of turmeric (haldi) powder.
Simultaneously, in a pressure cooker, boil 100 gms of arhar dal in 2 litres of water. Add salt to taste. Wait for four whistles and make sure that the dal is completely mashed and the consistency is very watery. In a mixture grinder, grind 2 tomatoes (roughly cut),4 green chillies ,10 gms ginger, 4-5 cloves garlic,10 gms whole cumin (jeera) and 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder. Add these to dal and mix it well. Add salt to taste.
Heat oil in a pan, once the oil is hot, add some mustard seeds, and dry whole red chilli, curry leaves and some asafoetida (hing).
Add this to the earlier mix, switch off the stove and strain. Add a tsp of black pepper powder and cover for 10 minutes. Add chopped coriander leaves just before serving.
According to chef Mahadevan, another immunity boosting drink, which can be considered a complete food and yet can be prepared easily at home is buttermilk. Buttermilk is rich in vitamins A, E, K, calcium, and has a high content of proteins. It is also rich in potassium which aids in digestion, is a source of probiotics, and also aids in blood pressure management and reduces several stomach ailments.
Chef Mahadevan also shared an easy to make buttermilk recipe:
Recipe (makes 1 glass)
Sieve a cup of fresh curd.
Add water and whisk to a smooth, watery consistency.
Add salt to taste.
Add finely cut pieces of ginger, kurry patta and green chilli.
Add a pinch of asafoetida (optional).
Chill and serve.