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A healthy lunch

PEOPLE are now conscious of healthy eating — but our taste buds do not want bland and nutritive food. Here are some lunchtime recipes, which are not only a delight to the taste buds — but are also rich sources of nutrients.

Moong Dal with spinach

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

Chopped spinach 2 cups
Chopped and peeled tomatoes
2 cups
Split moong dal (without skin)
1 cup
Oil 1
Chopped onion 1
Chopped green chilli 1
Chopped fresh ginger 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Salt 2 tsps
Chilli powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Lime 1/2

Method:

Pressure-cook the dal with two cups of water for five minutes. Cover the dal, so that it does not scatter. Grind to a smooth paste. Heat oil in a saucepan and add the cumin.

When it splutters, add the onion, green chilli and ginger, and sauté till the onion turns light gold. Add the tomatoes, spinach, chilli and turmeric powders and fry till the spinach wilts a bit and the tomatoes are well cooled.

Mix in the dal, two cups of water and salt and simmer till the gravy is thick. Squeeze limejuice on it and serve hot with rice or rotis.

Spinach is rich in amino acids, iron, Vitamin A and folic acid. It is a cheap vegetable and supplies the same amount of protein as one gets from fish, chicken or meat. Cooked green gram is easily digested, and its nutritive value is high.

* * *

Nutritious parathas (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

Finely chopped fenugreek leaves
1 cup
Finely chopped spinach 1 cup
Grated carrot 1 cup
Wheat flour 3 cups
Oil 2 tabs
Salt 1 1/4 tsps
Sugar 1 tsp
Chilli powder 1 tsp
Garam masala powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp

Method:

Heat oil in a kadai; fry the spinach, fenugreek and carrot. Cool. Mix the wheat flour with the other ingredients, and knead into firm dough, using a little water to bind it.

Divide into medium-sized balls, and roll out into parathas. Shallow fry, with a little oil, on a tawa, till golden brown on both sides. Serve hot with curds and pickle. Fenugreek leaves have medicinal value, and its mineral and vitamin content is high.

* * *

Mixed steamed rice (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

Boiled peas 3/4 cup
Boiled corn kernels 3/4 cup
Peeled and diced tomatoes 3/4 cup
Rice 1/2 cup
Chopped capsicum 1/2 cup
Chopped onion 1/2 cup
Oil 2 tbsps
Chopped garlic 1 tsp
Chopped green chilli 1
Water 1 3/4 cups
Salt 1 tsp
Garam masala powder 1/4 tsp

Method:

Heat oil in a pan, add onion and garlic, and fry till the onion becomes light gold. Add rice, fry well, add salt and water, cover and cook on a slow flame, till the water is absorbed.

Remove from heat, add the other ingredients and mix well. Grease a ring mould or any other mould, put the rice mixture into it, and level properly.

Steam this mould, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover on to a decorative plate and serve with a curry or a raitha.

This dish is a wholesome meal by itself.

* * *

Herbal raitha (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

Beaten thick curds 1 1/4 cups
Chopped coriander leaves 1 cup
Coconut 1/2 cup
Ghee or oil 1/2 tsp
Green chilli 1/2 tsp
Pepper pods 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/2 to 3/4 tsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp

Method:

Heat half a tablespoon of ghee or oil, in a pan, and fry the coriander leaves along with the chilli, pepper and cumin seeds, till you get an aroma.

Add the coconut, salt and curds, and grind into a smooth mixture. Keep aside in a bowl.

Heat the remaining ghee or oil and the mustard seeds. When the seeds splutter, pour it into the raitha — serve this herbal raitha with steaming rice.

A similar raitha can be made with tender curry leaves, or any other tender edible leaves, like mango, lime, guava and pomegranate. In that case, use only two or three tablespoons of the leaves.

Coriander leaves are food for digestion, especially for cases of anorexia and biliousness.

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