Most of us can’t do without good food and during this lockdown if you’ve learned how to cook or simply love cooking, it’s time to prepare your favorite recipes the healthy way! Let’s take a look at some recipes made healthy!
1. Biryani Recipe Made Healthy
Starting with the finest, let’s start with identifying what’s healthy and what’s not in the recipe. I personally consider Biryani a healthy dish to start with. An excellent combination of proteins (paneer/chicken/mutton) with rice. Hence, balancing out your only rice dish. Seasoned with the best spices in your pantry, each with its unique benefits helping in the digestion of your meal apart from adding flavour. It is usually combined with a good quantity of curd based salad, so you do not have to worry about your fiber and veggie intake either.
So what’s wrong? Except for the oil content, I cannot think of much. Next question – where is the oil? Answer- In the fried onions! Every Biryani recipe has fried onions amounting to the same quantity as the chicken/mutton. So, if you are making Biryani with 1 kg chicken, you have to add 1kg of fried onions.
How then do you make this healthy?
- Take 1 kg onions, slice and fry 3 onions from this and grind the rest to a pulp.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil and cook your onion paste – this requires patience and can be done a day ahead.
- Keep cooking and stirring your onion paste till the water is dry and it starts turning brown.
- Keep a handful of your fried onions aside for garnishing and grind the rest to a paste.
- Add the fried onion paste to the rest of your browned onion paste.
- Voila! You have 1 kg of fried onion paste to add to your chicken, cooked in less than the oil you would otherwise require.
This tip can be used for gravies requiring fried onion paste too such as Kormas.
2. Chicken Nuggets Made Healthy
Who doesn’t like nuggets? Especially kids! Serve them a plate of nuggets and you are their best friend forever! So, what’s wrong? My answer nothing and everything. Buy a pack of frozen nuggets and you are feeding your kids questionable meat fried in questionable oil and seasoned with a variety of chemicals and preservatives. Instead, prepare a plate of chicken nuggets from scratch, with fresh meat and love and you are offering your kids a healthy, high protein snack!
- Chicken breasts, cut into slices
- Seasoning of your choice
- Corn flour
- Flatten your chicken breast a bit with a meat hammer. Cut into nugget sized pieces.
- Season with salt and whatever other spices you like, I like to season mine with herbs and garlic.
- Add 2 tbsp. of Corn flour to the chicken, coat each nugget with bread crumbs.
- These can then be stored in your freezer or fried right away.
- They just need to be shallow fried in a skillet and don’t need any deep frying.
3. Butter Chicken
Another hot favourite in my kitchen. The yummy North Indian gravies are usually made with cashew/almond paste and a lot of cream. Butter chicken has an added generous dollop of butter on top.
How do we make this healthy?
My recipe calls for 2 tbsp of oil initially for sautéing the onions, plus a generous dollop of butter in the end. Instead, I add 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil for sautéing the onions, and minus the butter in the end. My recipe called for frying marinated chicken and then shredding it. I just grill/broil the chicken in the oven instead.
While making the cashew paste, I add a tbsp of melon seeds while reducing the cashew quantity a bit. And grind it with milk instead of water to make a thick and creamy paste (thereby avoiding the cream in the end).
I substitute the fresh cream with either milk or thick buttermilk. If I’m in a festive mood, I add 1 tbsp of fresh cream to 150 ml of milk (Small indulgences are always allowed). Make sure to remove your gravy from the flame after 30 seconds of adding the milk/buttermilk as this will otherwise curdle in the gravy.
4. Pizza Made Healthy
Pizzas are bad unless you try this whole wheat pizza base!
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup ground oats
- 1 tbsp yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 Tsp pepper powder
- 1 tsp oregano (optional)
- 1 tsp dried basil (optional)
- Dissolve the sugar in the lukewarm water. Mix the yeast in it and keep for 15 – 20 minutes in a warm place.
- Mix all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients, including the yeast mixture, mix with a spoon, and bring together with your hands, you may have to wet your hands a bit.
- Keep it for proving in a warm and dry place, for 2 hours. The dough will have expanded to double or more volume at this time. Punch it down once and shape into balls. Roll each ball and flatten to make a thin pizza base.
- If you want to pre-bake the base, bake at 200°C for 8 minutes in a preheated oven. If you are making the pizza directly, then add the desired toppings and bake at 200°C for 10 – 15 minute.
- The same recipe for bread can also be used for other recipes like rolls and buns.