National Nutrition Week (September 1 to September 7) was launched by Food and Nutrition Board of the Ministry of Women and Child Development with the aim of raising awareness about the importance of nutrition. According to the Global Nutrition Report (2020) released by the World Health Organization (WHO), malnutrition continues to be a major issue in India.
The significance of overall nutrition through a balanced diet has come to the forefront under the current scenario. With growing awareness, there has been a shift in how people consume food. We speak to award-winning culinary professional, Chef Saby about the changing trends, “People are now tired of pretentious food cooked in butter and flour. Their likes and dislikes have changed dramatically in the last few years. They have become extremely health conscious and prefer to eat healthy, light, and in some cases organic. They have also become adventurous and experimental and don’t want to stick to one style of cuisine.”
Incorporating green leafy vegetables in our diet is an easy way to increase our nutritional intake. Salads are not the only way to do so! Chef Saby shares two of his favourite recipes so you can have fun while hitting your quota of greens.
Chingri diye Kalmi Shak (Stir Fried Water Spinach with Prawns)
‘Kalmi saag’ or Water Spinach is very low in calories and fats. It is often recommended by dieticians as a part of their cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs owing to their overall antioxidant, low-calorific and low-fat properties. “The saag, combined with the prawns, is a great combination of proteins as well as leafy vegetables. Although it’s a stir fry, the nutrition of the ‘saag’ remains intact and combined with beautiful spices creates a wonderful dish to be had with steamed rice”, said Chef Saby.
1 bunch young tender kalmi shak/water Spinach
100 gms of fresh prawns [small], deveined
6-7 chopped garlic cloves
1 broken dry red chilli
1/2 teaspoon panch phodan/kalonji
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon mustard oil
Salt to taste
- Wash kalmi shak properly in running water and drain excess water and finely chopped the water spinach.
- Take the kalmi shak in a pan/kadhai. Add salt. Then cook uncovered on medium flame till the extra moisture evaporates. Or it becomes dry. Stir in between.
- Heat mustard oil in another pan. Add panch phodan and broken dry red chilli to the hot oil. let the panch phodan splutter.
- Add the chopped garlic. Followed by poppy seeds. Stir till garlic turns golden brown.
- Add the prawns and stir fry till they are half cooked.
- Add cooked shak to this. Stir for some seconds and remove from flame.
- It’s ready to serve. Serve hot with steamed rice.
Given its incredibly low-calorie content, kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods. Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet. Talking about this delicious recipe, Chef Saby said, “One of the easiest ways to add kale to your diet is by making a pesto out of it. It goes terrifically well with pasta, potatoes, sandwiches, and with any and everything which calls for pesto. The best part– unlike basil pesto, kale pesto doesn’t turn dark right away either. It stays vibrant green for days in the fridge.”
2 to 3 cloves garlic
3 cups kale (about 1 small bunch)
¾ cup toasted walnuts or pecans
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
Red pepper flakes, optional
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (more if desired)
Entirely optional: 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a food processor, add the peeled garlic cloves and process until the garlic is minced.
- Add the kale, walnuts, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the oil.
- Process until the pesto reaches your desired consistency, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary.
- Taste and add more lemon, salt, or pepper if necessary. (You can thin out the pesto with more oil, but if you’re serving with pasta, keep in mind that you can also thin it out with reserved pasta cooking water.)
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