Tag Archives: healthy

A Superlative Menu

Salads are not all that you need to eat when following healthy dietary habits. I am all for eating healthy food, yet, food packed with nutrients and flavours. Yes, taste is key. Insipid and bland food does not meet approval with my palate.

Thus, the new Super Foods Menu introduced by TGI Fridays, the global casual dining leader,  caught my attention and immediately I set out to explore this at the Palladium, Lower Parel, Mumbai outpost.

The menu, for 3 months, though limited offers enough variety. I noticed, that the offerings had super foods like beans, broccoli, blueberries, salmon, spinach, tomatoes, walnuts and yogurt in abundance. Being natural ingredients, these are loaded with excellent nutritional benefits.

Wasabi Miso Glazed Chicken, Salmon with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce, Cranberry & blueberry couscous and Kale were some of the unique dishes. What was interesting was that, appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts, had all incorporated super foods in some form or the other, thus making the entire menu healthy.

The Fruits & Nuts Super Salad made with crisp lettuce, spinach, broccoli topped with walnuts, apples, dried apricots, cranberries, and blueberries, was a delightful medley of flavours that wowed my palate. No where was there any monotony at all.

Wasabi Miso Glazed Chicken

Next, I tried the Wasabi Miso Glazed Chicken. Bursting with simple and subtle flavours, this, lemon and olive oil-marinated grilled chicken breasts were drizzled with a spicy wasabi miso sauce. Served with toasted almond, cranberry and blueberry couscous and ginger garlic kale, this was a power-packed meal in terms of taste and nutrients. I only felt that the portion of the kale was a bit too much for the meal. One can only enjoy a certain amount of kale.

Pomegranate Honey Mustard Salmon cam next. A hearty portion, I thought to myself. Again, a lemon and olive oil basted grilled salmon filet topped pomegranate honey mustard vinaigrette. The tangy flavour were unmistakable, yet, teased my palate sufficiently.  The salmon was of exceptional quality and grilled to perfection. Unfortunately, the novelty factor of the toasted almond, cranberry & blueberry couscous and ginger garlic kale had worn off by now. Yet, I savoured the couscous.

Pomegranate Honey Mustard Salmon

Vegetarians need not despair. They can relish the Vegetarian Tex Mex Chili made with chipotle peppers, sun-ripened tomatoes, red onions and beans topped with yogurt, fresh pico de galloand jalapeno served up hot and spicy on a brown rice pilaf.

The quality of the ingredients, struck me as the best and the presentation was enough to make a person satiated already, feel hungry again. The food may seem a tad overpriced, but given the quality and portion sizes, one cannot complain.

Although we decided to skip dessert, as the meal had been too filling, the Fruit Crumble seemed inviting.  Jam-packed with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and juicy peaches, served piping hot and topped with an ice-cold scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt,  haunted me and I  have resolved to go back another day to indulge my sweet cravings.

Rating : 4.5/5

 

 

Soulful Soups

Ah! there is something about soups in this weather that is so comforting. If made with the right ingredients and spices, these can be nourishing as well as healthy too. Nothing like a steaming bowl or mug of soup especially for dinner. In fact, on most days I prefer just that.

Goan, Bokdiacho caldo (mutton soup) made from mutton bones, onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander leaves and dices of potato, salt and pepper, is my all-time favourite. It is filling and boosts my immunity too. Caldo Verde with potatoes as the base is also a light and flavourful vegetarian soup of Portuguese origin.

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Being from Kolkata, I am used to relishing a spicy Thukpa, a Tibetan soup made with mixed vegetables, mixed meats and noodles  when the mercury dips. There is something for every palate in global cuisines too. Mulligatawny, Tom Kha, Tom Yum, Miso soup, Lobster bisque. My mouth is watering now.

Be imaginative and play around with flavours and textures. Be experimental. And global soups are not your only options. A plethora of soups from our very own Indian cuisine are a delight in this weather. Soups made from dals or lentils, paya soup, tamatar ka shorba or even a murg shorba. The options are endless.

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Don’t forget to add seasonal veggies in your soups wherever possible for that extra health quotient. Pumpkin, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, work wonders. And yes, the right spices to for additional warmth and immunity.

Cinnamon works wonders, as do ginger and garlic. I love to add these in my soups where ever possible.

If the soup alone is insufficient, pair it with garlic bread, toast or add macaroni to your soups or even red rice, to make it more sumptuous.

There is nothing like a well-made soup, it is soulful and comforting in winter, keeping winter blues at bay.

 

 

Guilty Pleasures in Winter

Winter foods can be such a delight for the palate and one does not mind giving into one’s guilty pleasures in this season. After all, one needs more calories to keep oneself warm. So indulgence is allowed this cold season. Warmth is  a must of course, but comforting foods are what the body and soul need.

Spices and nuts should be a part of one’s meal, as should be meats, including lamb. Ghee, ginger, seasonal vegetables like turnips, brussel sprouts, raddish, peas, broad beans, carrots are a must-have to help the body fight infections and remain warm.

As the temperatures drop, one also likes to indulge in hot and delicious grilled foods. There is nothing more enticing than the aroma of slowly grilled meat, fish and vegetables.

Makki ki roti and sarson ka saag tops every foodie’s list. Not many know that sarson ka saag being rich in beta carotene and vitamin C, that are important antioxidants and a significant amount of iron, is ideal for winter.

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Beetroot is rich in minerals and helps in increased blood flow in the body, essential to keep one warm. Jaggery or gur is a great winter food too. It aids in digestion, purifies blood and keeps the skin free from acne. The best way to enjoy Gur is to eat it with make ki roti and white butter.

Interestingly, every region in India celebrates this season with typical dishes. If North India relishes their sarson ka saag and Kaali Gajar ki Kaanji, Gujaratis cannot do without their oondhiyo. It is eaten in winter because the main ingredients like papadi, tuar Dana, Lilua, for Oondiyo are available in this season.

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Nalli Ghosht and Paya shorba are popular winter dishes in most households in Hyderabad. Bengalis enjoy their Kosha mangsho a mutton preparation and also several leafy vegetables and sweets made from nolen gur or new jaggery.

So make sure you gorge on all the right foods this season and relish seasonal favourites, which are healthy for the body and equally comforting too as you beat the chill.

Dealing With Diabetes

With the alarming proportions, diabetes is assuming across the world and especially India, it is indeed heartening to see the husband wife duo, Seema and Manoj Pinto, proactively share their experience to inspire people to cope with diabetes through healthy eating and the Diabetic Food Trail is a positive step in that direction.

The Diabetic Food Trail 2016 is all set,  to begin on November 12. The aim is to offer Diabetics, Pre-Diabetics and Health conscious individuals, a wonderful culinary experience at over 200 restaurants across Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore & Pune, where Celebrated chefs from acclaimed restaurants across the country will get a chance to showcase their culinary talents to an all new set of target audience that did not have many options for healthy and diabetic food earlier.

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I was fortunate to have experienced this in Mumbai at Meluha-The Fern Hotel in Powai, where, Executive Chef Parimal Sawant, along with his team demonstrated several recipes including a salad, soup, main course and dessert which are healthy and suitable for diabetics. The demos were fun and interactive, with Seema constantly asking chef pertinent questions and the chef sharing helpful tips.

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Apart from being simple recipes, what appealed to me was that the ingredients were ones which could be easily procured as opposed to exotic ones usually suggested. The chefs at Meluha-The Fern exhibited a great deal of innovation in crafting those recipes.

Furthermore, I was glad to know that the Diabetic Food Trail will also introduce a special Healthy Dessert Trail which will allow diabetic patrons to sinfully indulge in  their guilty pleasures-desserts as these desserts,  do not contain any processed sugars.

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Seema Pinto – Director, Semora Entertainment Works and the brain behind this initiative says, “The focus of the second edition is on Diet and Fitness in effective Diabetes management. For a person with diabetes, eating nutritious and well-balanced meals with a regular fitness routine is vital in managing diabetes. This applies to pre-diabetics and the health conscious too”

The aim of this masterclass is to help individuals understand the ingredients, nutritional values, read packaging labels, learn exciting recipes which will help elevate the eating habits of diabetics without compromising on taste. These masterclasses will be held by renowned nutritionists and chefs across the 5 cities.

 

Some of the participating restaurants include Sassy Spoon,  Zaffran, Copper Chimney, Lemon Leaf, Boveda, Fern Hotels, Renaissance-Powai,  Woodside Inn, Mirchi & Mime, Smoke House Deli, Faasos, to name a few.

That’s not all, Seema has put together some well-researched  recipes in a small book which can benefit diabetics a great deal, which you can enjoy cooking too.

So eat healthy and stay fit and yes, diabetes can be controlled with eating right, apart from exercise.

 

The Long & Short Of The New Menu

The Dome may be the most sought after place at InterContinental Marine Drive, but for me Long & Short, the casual dining and lounge is equally a star. The reason being the eclectic menu, fun cocktails, affordable menu and of course great service. It is a place where one can unwind, relish good food and prompt service.
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Executive Chef Arzooman Irani, being the creative genius and restless person that he is has introduced some new exciting dishes in the already exhaustive menu, thus revamping parts of it.
Wanting to keep it global, Chef Irani was keen on ensuring that comfort food was the focus. “Guests should be able to dine in a fun and relaxed atmosphere with the food being light and enjoyable. Of course, apart from comfort food, there is a section for those seeking healthy food too and that need not be boring. Low cal, low carbs or no carbs, gluten free and so on. There are plenty of options. And of course those wanting to indulge can do so as well,” Chef Arzooman elaborated.
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We started with the crisp lavash dome, almost customary here. Crunchy and laced with herbs, it set our taste-buds tingling. The platter with starters was a treat for the eyes, as it was for the palate. The springs rolls with varied fillings were crisp and luscious, the wasabi prawns fresh and delectable and the chicken boasted of distinct Pan Asian flavours. The presentation was appealing yet, devoid of unnecessary gimmicks.
The crisp pea shoot salad  from the healthy food section, was a delight. It was as fresh as it could get. With a subtle flavoured dressing, the medley of textures of the lettuce, seasonal fruits, micro greens and cherry tomatoes, came out trumps and it was a veritable feast for the taste buds. Healthy food can certainly be delicious.
Mushroom feta cheese waffle from the petit toasties section caught my eye and struck me as innovative. But then, Chef Arzooman is legendary for his innovative streak. Equally unique were the slider offerings, I thought. Butter milk fried chicken, sriracha mayo was certainly out-of-the-ordinary. I made a mental note of it for my next visit.
The brie & potato gnocchi surpassed everything that I have ever tasted before. The garlicky creamy sauce, wrapped over the potato gnocchi made me slip into a food coma. But what got my vote instantly was the zucchini spaghetti. No, not spaghetti with zucchini but spaghetti made out of zucchini strips and tossed in aglio olio. It was outstanding and  yet another testimony to the chef’s creativity.
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Comforting curries, Mumbai street food, pizza, salads, care has been taken to ensure that the menu caters to every palate. Vegetarian options abound too.
Surprisingly the dessert did not wow my palate as expected. The salted caramel oreo tart was not the hero of the evening as the chocolate drizzle overpowered all other flavours, relegating them to the background.
With alert staff, warm hospitality and first-rate food, the  experience at Long & Short was memorable and the new menu is clearly a winner.
Rating: 4.5/5

Snack your way to good health

 
Nibble, munch, crunch… are routine, where snacks are concerned. But there are rules to the snacking game. The quantity and the quality of food that you snack on, is the cause of your woes or joys of a healthy living.
 
We are all obsessed with snacks and snacking too often,  or at the wrong time and place can make you obese.  Not snacking at all, too has its flaws. This sounds contradictory, but it is true.
 
So what are the best snacks to consume? Simple, something that you can nibble, munch, crunch which is salted, sweet or spiced and at the same time makes you feel satisfied. Satiety value is important.
almonds
 
So the best way is; kill old eating habits, pick the right snacks, eat at the right time and the right amount.  Choose nutrient-dense snacks and what better way than snacking on fruits and nuts?
 
It is a known fact that dry fruits and nuts packed with abundant sources of proteins, vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and essential nutrients, keep diseases and stress away. And thus you need to include it in your diet.
 
While the Pistachos, Almonds, Cashews and other dry fruits contain the right blend of unsaturated fats, vitamin B and minerals, they are conducive for the proper functioning of the crucial organs of our body. They prevent cardiovascular problems, Anemia, Maintain Cholestrol, Improve Hemogoblin levels, and improve the functioning of the brain.
 
A tasty and convenient snack, dry fruits and nuts are the ideal substitute for high-calorie snacks. With natural sugars and fibre, zero cholesterol and fats, and a variety of delectable flavors, dry fruits and nuts are an easy source of all essential nutrients. The right and regular mix of almonds, cashews, pistachios, cranberries, strawberries and other dry fruits and nuts are all you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
 
Gourmia, from KBB Nuts Pvt Ltd. the latest entrant in the market, with an array of products like Roasted Pistachios, Almonds and Cashews in classic salted, salt-pepper, tangy masala and Jalapeno flavours are worth a try as the variety is tremendous.  The nuts they offer are crisp, crunchy and tasty.
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Their seasonal fruits range consists of Cranberries, Strawberries, Prunes, Mangoes, Kiwis and Pineapple. These are equally luscious and perfectly sweet to appease your taste-buds.   
 Hygienically packed and affordably priced, each variant is available in packages of 200 gms and 40 gms. The nuts and fruits are handpicked and their flavours unfurl flamboyantly at every bite.
Go for these this festive season and indulge in your guilty pleasures!

Fresh Flavours Galore

Salads are my weakness and Ministry of Salads sounded just like what I needed on this hot and humid Mumbai summer afternoon. So I trooped off to Bhulabhai Desai Road and lo behold, was pleasantly surprised to see this small, but cute and intimate café like eaterie. Salads galore, wraps, sandwiches, healthy juices. The display shelves were replete with the chicest of fresh ingredients and those looked so inviting. Behind the counters, the chefs were deftly tossing salads and preparing sandwiches. Looked like a lot of hard work.

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What’s more, just like make your own pizza or a wok these days, one could make one’s own salad. And there was a lot to choose from. Base, grains, exotic, comfort, pickles, muscle, being some of the several  interesting categories. Strictly vegetarian, the place has so much on offer, that even carnivores will not complain.

I settled for a watermelon and feta cheese salad. One of my all time favourites. Fresh and light,  but not extraordinary. The use of rock melon was clever and it complimented the water melon in more ways than one. The  Big Mix with green apple, rocket leaves, cherry tomatoes, broccoli et al,  boasted of a distinct roasted flavour and appeased my palate. The walnuts offered the right element of crunch and the tart green apple was palate pleasing. The lemon mirin dressing further enhanced the flavour quotient.

The unique feature of each salad was their freshness and superior quality ingredients. That’s what made it stand apart.

An Egg Caesar salad with its melange of flavours was delightful and filling. Black Eye, Shabdkosh, Lentil Mental, were other options which caught my eye. Next time perhaps.
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Apart from Signature Salads, there are sandwiches and wraps too, if you are still hungry. The Pesto  Wich sandwich in a multigrain bread was equally a treat for my taste buds. Laden with mozarella, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, there was something familiar and comforting about it. Very home style.

The Leb Mex wrap, was a pleasant surprise. Made of a spinach dough, the wrap felt healthy from word go with hummus, zucchini, spinach and jalapenos. It could have been a little more substantial I thought. Felt a little inadequate, given the price.
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My Pomegranate, ginger and celery cleanser was freshness and wellness personified. Loved it from the first sip. Green apple, carrot, lemon and honey was equally a healthy potion. There are a plethora of options to suit each one’s taste preferences. So no question of boredom setting in.

Apart from the table menu for a dining in experience, there is a takeaway menu. The salads are exceedingly well packed and not mercilessly stuffed in a box. I was happy to witness that.
Lucky people in that area who can order in every other day.

A global concept of a place dedicated to salads this place will be a haven for the health conscious.

Rating : 3.5/5