If it doesn’t kill me, it will make me stronger. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite work that way with food. Bad eating habits WILL kill you in the long run.
I am just amazed at the crap we eat nowadays. It used to be that junk food was the exception rather than the rule. And not just in the US but in other parts of the world as well. With the increasing availability of cheap fast food, we seem to have taken leave of our senses. We, in the US spend about 12% of our income on food compared to about 23% in 1950. During this time our healthcare costs have skyrocketed. There is of course, a case to be made for general food costs having come down. However, we as a society, also eat out a lot more. I believe there are multiple reasons for this
- Lack of time – Everyone is struggling to do too much in too little time and of course, there is no time to cook.
- Lack of skills – It may be that over the past few generations we have lost basic cooking skills. So, even if we have the time, we don’t know what to do in the kitchen. The popularity of cooking shows as entertainment leads me to believe that there may be some truth to this. NOTE: If you are based in Dallas and suffer from this problem, please reach out and I will teach you basic cooking skills for free.
- Convenience and availability of affordable(but unhealthy) options – Fast food is cheap and widely available. It is mostly not good for you to consume on a regular basis. Even if you are fortunate enough to afford to eat at better quality restaurants on a regular basis, it is not food that should be consumed everyday. It is usually high in fat, sodium and should be eaten as a treat rather than as a staple.
With some planning and basic skills, I think almost anybody can eat healthier. It really is not very hard to put together a Soup/Sandwich/Salad meal or a healthy Pasta meal. If you like Ethnic foods, the possibilities are endless. It is time people get serious about their bodies and what they are putting in it. You wouldn’t put cheap gas in a Ferrari, why are you messing with your body?
For many of us, just the mention of an Indian restaurant conjures up the image of Butter Chicken or if you are vegetarian, Paneer Makhani. (Just writing this, is making me drool). While droolworthy, these dishes are best consumed on a monthly, if not quarterly, basis to ensure your ticker keeps ticking.
Anyway, I came across this Paneer Makhani recipe by Nita Mehta that was relatively healthy and as it turned out, quite tasty. Not in the restaurant, heavy-on-the-cream sort of way but in a light and flavorful way. Here is my take on the recipe. It has been kid tested and they love it.
INGREDIENTS (enough for 4 people)
1 Tbsp Cooking Oil – use your favorite kind
1/4 mongo US onion (or a medium sized onion any other place in the world)
3 Medium Tomatoes
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
1/4 cup plain yogurt, whisked
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/8 tsp red chilli powder
salt to taste
8 oz Paneer cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 Tbsp Cashews soaked in water. TIP: Buy crushed/broken cashew pieces at your grocer. They are a lot cheaper than whole cashews and taste the same.
1 tsp Tomato ketchup (everything is better with ketchup)
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp sugar
1. Heat the oil in a skillet.
2. Reduce heat to medium and fry the onions till translucent.
3. Add tomatoes. Cook till pulpy.
4. Add ginger.
5. Add yogurt and keep stirring while cooking. If you don’t do this, some curdling might occur.
6. Cook till the mixture is a little dry.
7. Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool.
8. Use a blender and puree the mixture along with cashews. Add some water if necessary.
9. Put the puree back in a saucepan on low heat.
10. Add 2% milk to get a slighly thick consistency. Add as much as you want to get the gravy to the consistency you like.
11. Add the ketchup and stir.
12. Add the Garam Masala and stir.
13. Add Paneer.
14. Add the sugar.
15. Adjust salt to taste.
16. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
17. Serve with rice or naan.
18. Enjoy and repeat from step 1.