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How to keep cooking healthy this festive season

fruit and nut ladoo

Diwali season is around the corner and we all know how binge eating can get with the plethora of assorted Indian sweets and fried kachoris and puris can make for a month of fair unhealthy eating.

Luckily, with the right ingredients and recipes, we can turn the same meals into healthier ones, while keeping the delicious quotient intact. For this piece, I’ll share some of my favourite recipes during the festive season to keep things kosher on the calorie front and scrumptious at the same time.

One of my go-to favourites, and a recipe I inherited from my Nani, is a fruit and nut ladoo. This particular sweet treat is particularly rich in iron and healthy fats and satisfies the craving of a sweet tooth seamlessly. 

Ingredients

  • Pistachio – 15
  • Almonds – 10
  • Cashews – 10
  • Dates – 25
  • Raisins – 2 Tbsp
  • Ghee – 2 Tbsp
  • Cardamom Powder – 1 large pinch

Steps

  1. First chop the pistachio, almonds, cashews finely and keep aside. It measured a little more than 1/4 cup for me. Also, deseed and roughly chop up the dates.
  2. Add the roughly chopped dates and raisins to a blender (I used the Wonderchef Platinum Mixer-Grinder and was very happy with results) and pulse 2 to 3 times until it is finely chopped.
  3. Heat a pan with 1/2 tsp of the ghee and roast the chopped nuts until a nice aroma arises and the cashews turn golden. Transfer it to a plate and keep it aside.
  4. To the same pan, add the remaining 1 1/2 tsp ghee and the dates, raisin mixture. Saute for about 2-3 mins until the dates soften.
  5. Now, add the chopped and roasted nuts, cardamom powder to the pan and mix well until combined. Turn off the flame and let the mixture cool down.
  6. Once the mixture cools down, slightly grease your palms and make small balls out of the mixture.
  7. Store in an airtight container at room temperature and enjoy at Diwali parties!

Another go-to favourite is a new, healthier twist on an old favourite- the hara bhara kebab except made with chickpeas instead of potatoes. A perfect crowd-pleasing appetizer perfect as a snack option for an evening party. All the good greens like spinach, broccoli, edamame, peas, bell peppers make this healthy and the chickpeas make this tasty and takes it to a whole different level. Golden crunchy on the outside, these are almost bites that would melt in your mouth. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1 cup Broccoli
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup Peas
  • 1/2 cup Edamame
  • 1 /2 cup Onion
  • 3 cups or 2 8oz can Organic Garbanzo Beans.( You could even soak the garbanzo beans overnight and pressure cook it )
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt to taste

Steps

  1. Boil the greens for a few mins. Drain the water and shock it with cold water so it retains the bright green color.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a food processor, except oil and pulse until coarse. I used the Wonderchef Vietri Mixer Grinder and was super pleased with the results.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings as required.
  4. Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture and make round balls.
  5. Pour a few drops of oil in each cavity of the appe pan and heat it. If you don’t have an appe pan, you can use the pan frying technique to make them healthy.
  6. Add the uncooked balls and cook them on each side for about 3-4 minutes on medium gas. Make sure you consistently turn the balls.

You can use an oven or an air-fryer to make the same kebabs. Be ready to wow your family and guests! 

Author : Alina Gufran, writer and film-maker, who loves the outdoors and reading.

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