Festivals and ‘healthy’ – two words that possibly can’t go together! Well, not necessarily. You see, all these notions that are deeply ingrained in our minds do not necessarily have to become our reality. In India, we have a strong emotional bond with festivals and we have attuned ourselves to believe that during “festival time” it is inevitable and alright to put on weight. So we start prepping for it – we work out more, eat less and start adhering to a strict regimen a couple of months in advance just in order to become ready for the those festive days. I have done it, too. For all these years I have been yo-yoing with my body and making it go through a different hoop depending on the requirement of the season!
However, one day, not long ago, I woke up and decided to take control of the health aspect of my life. I wanted to be healthy, fit and strong. Apart from the fact that I started working out consistently, I adopted “Moderation” as a way of life. And that worked like magic. Let’s work towards making a conscious effort to get some semblance of balance in our lives by introducing a few basic principles. I follow them and it has helped me to keep my weight down and my fitness and confidence up. Eat everything but don’t reach out for that second helping. Rest enough – which means if you have a late night, sleep in late the next morning or at least sleep for a while in the afternoon.
Drink enough water, at least 2½ litres, if not more, through the day. Try and find at least 20 minutes to exercise, it could be just a simple walk or some yoga stretches but do get that body moving; after all remember you will be sitting for long hours while playing cards. Here are a few fun, quick and healthy recipes that you can make for your Diwali parties. Have a super and safe Diwali!
Pineapple and Pistachio Katli
Pineapple: 1 cup, chopped fine, Pistachio: 1 cup, peeled and finely powdered (ensure the nuts don’t leave oil), Jaggery: 1/2 cup, Elaichi powder: 1/4 tsp, Khoya: 1/2 cup
Take a deep pan and cook the chopped pineapple till all the moisture evaporates. Then add the khoya, jaggery, pistachios till the jaggery melts and blends with the entire mixture. Once the mixture thickens and starts leaving the sides of the pan, add the elaichi powder. Transfer the mixture onto a glass plate, flatten it and let it cool. Once it’s cool, wrap with cling film and put it in the refrigerator for 30-35 minutes or till it completely sets. Then, take it out and cut into desired shapes. Garnish with silver or gold leaf and serve.
Sriracha spiced fish served on lettuce
Whole big lettuce: 1, Fillets of fish of your choice: 2-3, Salt & pepper to taste, Sriracha sauce, as per taste, Sesame seeds to garnish
For the relish:
Chopped cucumber: 1, Mint leaves: 7-8 (tear them with your fingers), Sugar: One pinch, Salt to taste, Juice of half a lemon
Wash the lettuce well, chop the stem off and break the leaves from the centre gently with your hands so as to retain their shape. Then soak them in chilled water so they become nice and crisp. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the fillets of fish and then sear them in a pan with a little oil. Cook each side for about 2-3 minutes and take it off on an absorbent paper. Now, take a bowl and mix all the ingredients of the relish and toss it well. For the final presentation, place the lettuce leaves on a platter, spoon in some relish, then gently break the fish fillet into small pieces and add them on top of the relish. Pour some Sriracha sauce and finally sprinkle some sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Broccoli and Mozzarella bites
Broccoli: 1/2 cup, finely grated, Sweet potato: 1 medium, boiled, Mozzarella cheese: 1/4 cup, grated, Mint leaves: 8-10, chopped, Green chillies: 2-3, chopped finely, Cornflour: 1 tbsp, Salt to taste, Roasted cumin powder: 1 generous pinch, Juice of half a lemon
Mix everything together, create small flat “tikkis” and pan fry. Serve hot with mint chutney or mustard sauce.
– Amrita Raichand, Chef