Some foods help in regulating your metabolism and keeping you active and energised through the day by warming your belly and providing comfort. Food that generally contains fat, protein and carbs takes time to digest and so produces heat in the body, which can keep you warm in winter.
Here are a few food ideas that not only keep you warm but will also make you feel good and healthy.
Don't worry, ghee is not your enemy. Studies show that ghee is a healthy fat that cuts the bad fat in your body to stay in shape. This, however, does not mean that you end up hogging on it. Having 1 tablespoon (15 gm) everyday can help you achieve its many benefits like good skin, lean body and warmth during winter.
Deshi ghee is one of the most easily digestible fats used for cooking and provided the much-needed warmth. Ghee is a natural remedy for balancing the heat element of the body. It aids in digestion and helps in the excretion of toxins. It not only keeps you warm but also increases your immunity and protects against cold and flu.
1 litre malai (cream from milk) chilled
Make sure the cream is cold when you start to make ghee.
Place the cream in a large bowl and churn it with a hand blender. After a few minutes, you will see the cream start to separate into butter and liquid. At this stage, keep churning for 2-3 minutes more till all the cream has separated.
Place a sieve over another bowl and cover the sieve with a cheesecloth. Drain the butter in the cheesecloth and collect the remaining liquid or buttermilk in the bowl.
Butter milk can be drunk as is, or can be used for baking and cooking later.
Collect the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze out any extra liquid from the butter. At this stage, you can either store the butter in the fridge or use it to make ghee.
To make ghee, place the butter in a saucepan over the stove and warm it up. Once the butter melts completely, let it simmer. As the butter simmers, it will start foaming and splutter. Continue cooking the ghee on low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the milk solids don't burn at the bottom. As it cooks, it will start to change colour from bright yellow to a light golden brown.
Once the ghee becomes clear, stops foaming and the milk solids at the bottom turn brawn, your ghee is ready! Let it cool for a few minutes before straining it on a cheesecloth. Store it in an airtight jar.
Storing ghee —
Ghee is very shelf stable and can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 months, or in the fridge for up to a year. Ghee will automatically solidify slightly at room temperature or can solidify completely if you stay in a cool climate.
Using ghee —
Use ghee like any other cooking fat for stir-frying, sautéing and even deep frying. It also tastes great if spread on toast or drizzled on soups, stews, dals, sweet dish, rice etc.
DRY FRUITS AND NUTS BALL
Dry fruits and nuts like almonds, cashews and raisins generate heat in the body, and they can also help if you have an iron deficiency. Just don't eat too many — all things in moderation. You can sprinkle these over oatmeal or porridge as well, or just snack on them throughout the day so you can avoid hose unhealthy chocolate bars. Dry fruits are known to be a powerhouse of various nutrients, with a great shelf life.
1 cup finely chopped figs
1 cup finely chopped dates
¼ cup crushed walnuts
¼ cup chopped pistachios
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup chopped raisins
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp powdered palm sugar
1 cup powdered coconut
For making this easy dessert recipe, combine all the dry fruits and nuts in a bowl. Add honey and palm sugar, mix well and make small balls of the mixture. Spread the coconut powder on a plate. Roll the balls on the coconut powder and allow them to dry. Healthy and delicious ball is ready to serve.
TIL GUR ER RUTI
Jaggery commonly known as 'gur' in our country contains iron. It helps in improving your digestion and also keeps you warm during the cold winters. It can be consumed in a small amount after having food.
Whole wheat flour and sesame seeds are also great for keeping your body warm in winter. They are also consumed in different forms like halwa, ladoos.
Sometimes the contrast between the simplicity of a dish and its complex flavour is striking! Til gur er ruti is a perfect example of this. With minimal ingredients and an extremely simple procedure, you get a delectable roti that can surprise you with it's exciting crispness and lingering flavour. Cook this ruti over a slow flame to ensure that the insides are well cooked too.
1½ cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp ghee
6 tbsp grated jaggery
1 tbsp sesame seeds
A pinch of salt
Whole wheat flour for rolling
Ghee for cooking
Combine the jaggery and 3 tablespoons of water in a broad non-stick pan, mix well and cook on a slow flame for 2-3 minutes or till the jaggery melts completely. Keep aside and allow it to cool completely.
Combine all the ingredients including the melted jaggery in a deep bowl and knead into a firm dough using enough water. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and roll each portion into a 5-inch diameter circle using a little whole wheat flour for rolling. Heat a non-stick griddle and cook each ruti on a slow flame, using little ghee till golden brown spots appear both the sides. Serve immediately.
Tom Yum Soup
A bowl of hot soup is delicious for your taste buds as well as soothing for your body. You can prepare a tasty bowl of hot soup on a chilli winter evening by taking a vegetable of your choice. It will provide you with quick relaxation and warmth on a cold day.
250g shrimp (raw, deveined and peeled)
2 stalks of lemongrass
2 lemon leaves
2 red chillies (dry or fresh; sliced)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 large tomato, diced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp red chilli paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup coconut milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
Trim off the top third and very bottom of the lemongrass stalks. Using the side of a knife, press down across the stalks to bruise the lemongrass and release the oils. Chop each stalk into 4 pieces and set aside.
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Once the butter begins to shimmer, add the lemongrass, garlic-ginger minced and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the red chilli paste and cook for another 1 minute.
Add shrimps into the pan and fry for few seconds. Add water, lemon leaves, soy sauce, sugar, tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Cover, then reduce the heat. Cook until broth has reduced slightly. Add the coconut milk and red chilli slices. Add the lemon juice and season with salt to taste. Remove from heat and enjoy!
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup almond milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tbsp honey
1 tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of cardamom powder
In a small pan, add coconut, almond milk, vanilla, honey, ground turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Whisk together and bring ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3-5 minutes to reduce mixture a bit, stirring occasionally. Pour into 2 small mugs, then sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon on top, or add a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!
SPICY FISH STEW
250g fish fillet, white
1 large onion, chopped
2 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
3 cups fish broth
1 tsp green chilli peppers, chopped
½ tsp ground cumin
1 cup peeled and diced tomatoes
8-10 basil leaves
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic sauté for few minutes. Add chilli powder and mix well. Then add the fish broth, green chilli peppers and cumin, stirring well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Next add the tomatoes, shrimp, and fish. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt if needed. Add basil leaves and remove from heat. Serve hot.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Food and Styling: RBR