The past few months have been a challenge to most of us, mentally, physically, emotionally. And for some, food brings a sense of comfort during times like this, but are you consuming the right type of food?
Based on an article by E Times, ingredients such as eggs, walnuts, tomatoes and coconut, to name a few, help ease early signs of depression – they’re working hard to produce the hormones that your body lacks. The mentioned ingredients are common in Indian cuisine, not to discredit the heavy amounts of garlic and ginger (of course), which work well for strengthening your immune systems.
Time to say “Namaskāra!” or hello, to these delicious and easy-to-do Indian dishes to help chase your blues away!
Before we move on, most of these dishes specifically require the crucial spices, which we thought would be a little tricky to get ahold of if you’re still avoiding the grocery store. So we found some substitutes:
In order to make a garam masala substitute, just mix 1 part cumin with ¼ part allspice. This balance will create a nice flavor for whatever dish you’re whipping up.
Combine equal parts ground cinnamon and nutmeg to replace the cardamom called for in your recipe. Out of nutmeg, too? Then mix together equal parts cinnamon and ginger or equal parts cinnamon and ground cloves instead.
BREAKFAST: Sali Par Edu
Sali Par Edu when translated, literally means eggs on (Par edu) fried potato sticks (Sali). Think of it much like when a hash brown meets an egg and some indian spices!
- 2 Eggs
- Olive Oil
- 1 Tomato, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Coriander (Dhania) Leaves , chopped
- 3 cups Sali (This may be available in the market or you can make these at home by deep frying partially boiled grated potatoes)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Boil potatoes.
- Grate the potatoes into straws.
- Deep fry grated potatoes until crispy and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat oil in a pan and add chopped tomatoes and the potato straws. Spread to make a thick bed. Press gently with a spatula to get a thick even layer.
- Sprinkle chopped coriander and break two eggs over the potatoes. Add salt and pepper on the eggs and cover.
- Cook on low flame until the egg whites are fully cooked or depending on your preference.
LUNCH: Indian Spiced Shrimp
No need for further explanations, it’s your favorite seafood with an Indian-inspired twist!
- 1 medium onion, halved then thinly sliced lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
- 1 lb tomatoes (3 medium), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb), peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped if desired
- Cook onion in oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden.
- Add jalapeño, garlic, and ginger. Stir until jalapeño is softened and garlic is golden
- Add cumin, coriander, salt, and turmeric (optional)
- Add tomatoes stir occasionally until tomatoes break down and sauce is thickened
- Add shrimp, turn occasionally until just cooked through
- Remove from heat and stir in half of cilantro. Serve sprinkled with remaining cilantro.
DINNER: Beef Masala Curry
This Indian-inspired dish is a sweet-spicy-savory dish that will surely hit all the good spots, generally bringing good vibes to any one who takes a bite. Keep calm and curry on!
- 2 lb stewing beef, cut in 2 inch cubes
- 1 big onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 cup beef stock
We suggest using an electric pressure cooker, but stove-top cooking will equally make the cut.
- Saute chopped onions, garlic, spices, salt and pepper. Cook until onions become translucent
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes and brown sugar then bring to a boil.
- Pour the mixture into the food processor and blend into a paste.
- Turn the meat brown on all sides, mix in the blended spice paste, stock and add lemon zest. Cover the lid and cook for 30 minutes on high pressure.
- Serve with steamed rice and chopped cilantro.
DRINKS: Sweet Lassis
If you’re looking for a refreshing non-alcoholic Indian beverage to serve on the side for dinner, then this Sweet Lassis is definitely interesting to try. It’s also a delicious drink to refresh your palette of the various spices.
- Low fat yogurt
- Toasted cumin
- Chopped fresh coriander
For Sweet Lassi
- Sugar, to taste
- A few drops of rosewater, to taste
For Spiced Lassi
- Combine equal amounts of low-fat yogurt with water then create a frothy foam with a balloon whisk
- Sprinkle with a few toasted cumin seeds and a little chopped fresh coriander then serve
For Sweet Lassi
- Whisk the yogurt and water with a little sugar to taste and a few drops of rose water.
DESSERT: Fudgy Coconut Ladoo
Fudgy Coconut Ladoo, a humble and simple dessert dish to cap off your Indian-inspired dinner, is just what we need.
- 2 cups (186 ml) unsweetened shredded dried coconut
- seeds from 4 to 5 cardamom pods (or our substitute spices mentioned above!)
- 1/3 cup (75.33 ml) full fat coconut milk
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 2/3 cup (157.73 g) sugar (to taste)
- a pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- Blend two cups of coconut flakes in a blender or food processor to make powdery consistency. Be sure to move the coconut around and pulse more, to avoid creating coconut butter
- Crush the caramdom seeds to break into a coarse mixture, then add to the coconut.
- Heat the coconut milk under medium heat, then mix in the oil, sugar, and salt. Bring to boil for around 4 minutes, then wait another 4 minutes until the mixture turns into a half thread form. Take off the heat
- Add 1.5 cups of the shredded coconut + cardamom mixture immediately. Add the coconut flour and mix in (if the mixture looks too wet, just let it cool for a bit). Then add more shredded coconut 2 tbsp at a time (do not add 4 tbsp or more at time, or else your Ladoos will be dryer)
- Let the mixture cool for a few minutes then shape into small balls. Roll the ball into the remaining shredded coconut or sprinkle them on top and serve.
Whew! Well, that was quite a handful (of spices).
While these trying times are really testing our patience (and cooking skills), it’s safe to say we’re learning a thing or two about certain food and ingredients — contributing specific flavors is a side thing, what they’re really for, is improving our wellness!
Namaste, for now. We’re off to the kitchen to cook up that Beef Masala!