There is a difference between food that satisfies you, food that you have grown up eating, and food you should be eating right now. There has been too much categorization that has left people confused. In reality, you just have to understand what works best for your gut.
If you have been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, lactose intolerance and other similar auto-immune responses, know that it is quite common and you must follow what your doctor or nutritionist suggests.
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Also, know that you can heal with food that you have grown up eating. Following an elimination diet with no gluten and dairy can be boring. Looking at random recipes may not work. And if you have been advised to bring in certain millets into your diet, please do that with foods that you have grown up eating. The key here is substitution and moderation.
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On World Environment Day today, let’s embrace diversity and move over wheat and rice cycles to look beyond the meals that no longer serve us. At the same time, let’s not forget the foods that have comforted us in our growing up years.
You can enjoy your elimination diets, millet protocols and everything advised to you with little changes in your comfort meals. I am sharing my favorite summer thaali, because it has got everything that can make me nostalgic, and is also comforting.
I substituted wheat chapati (Indian flatbread) with millet chapati in this recipe of bhindi dass—traditional Sindhi dish made with stuffed okra.
Ingredients (serves 4)
250 gm washed and dried okra
2-3 medium onion juliennes
1-2 finely chopped green chillies
1-inch grated ginger
2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
Rock salt to taste
Any cold-pressed oil to shallow fry
1. This dish is super quick. You just need to rinse okra well and wipe dry with a kitchen towel. Cut the ends of okra and make a slit all through its length. Keep them aside once done.
2. For the stuffing, mix all the spices (coriander powder, red chilli powder and turmeric) and salt. Make sure you fill them adequately.
3. In a deep pan, heat some oil. Once it is hot enough, add onions and saute till they are pink. You don’t have to wait for them to turn brown; this is the whole idea behind the word ‘dass’ in Sindhi cuisine. One can make dass bhindi, round gourd, eggplant, etc.
4. Once onions are sautéed, add ginger, garlic and green chillies followed by tomatoes.
5. As the mixture gets mushy and starts to release oil from the sides, add stuffed okra. Mix it all well and cover it for 10 minutes on low flame. Keep checking and flipping. Make sure the vegetables are not stuck at the bottom, flip them carefully with a spatula without breaking them.
6. They are usually well-cooked on low flame in 10-15 minutes. You can pair up with anything. I enjoy them with millet roti, a slice of mango and leeman (lacto-fermented lemon pickle).
7. Enjoy this meal on a hot summer day. If you are a vegan or lactose intolerant, sattu drink (roasted chickpeas drink) can complete this meal beautifully for you. Enjoy.
Okra is low in calories but full of nutrients. The vitamin C in okra helps support healthy immune function. Okra is also rich in vitamin K, which helps your body clot blood. Antioxidants are natural compounds that help your body fight off molecules called free radicals. Okra is rich in antioxidants, too.
Pairing it up with millet chapati or millet rice can help you follow your millet protocol with ease.
(Shalini Rajani is a millet coach and the founder of Crazy Kadchi. She holds innovative Millets Cooking Workshops and Gluten-free Sourdough Baking Workshops for all age groups.)
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