Just the mere mention of Diwali brings forward all the mouth watering treats to mind. And the second thought that usually accompanies it in our minds is, “how will I be able to maintain (if not to lose) my weight this festive season?”
A very important point that I often preach to my clients is that life is filled with feasts and fasts; they should not be the excuse for stumbling off the health route. Instead, one should be able to practice healthy living with these festivals. It’s like being able to sail in a stormy as well as a silent sea. That’s how a good sailor is able to reach his destination.
Festivities can maintain their vigor and joy with healthy food as well.
The sweetmeats and savories prepared for Diwali are usually deep fried or rich in sugar and khoa. The excess sugar/khoa provides too many empty calories and the excess used for frying contributes to ‘bad cholesterol’. A combination of empty calories and excess oil is unhealthy for the digestive tract, for weight watchers, for diabetics and heart patients.
Here I would like to share with you some of the healthier versions of much favoured, savory as well sweet dishes.
So cheers to healthy, guilt-free, Diwali indulgences!
Baked Khasta Kachori
For the filling
Split Moong Dal (yellow) – 1/2 cup
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Hing / Asafoetida – a pinch
Curry Leaves – 2 tsp chopped fine (opt)
Green Chilli – Ginger paste – 1 tsp
Sauf / Fennel seeds powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Mango powder / Amchur – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
For the crust
All purpose Flour – 1 1/2 Cups
Semolina – 1/2 Cup
Sugar – 4 Tbsp
Baking Powder – 2 Tsp
Ghee – 1 Tbsp (please do not omit)
Oil – 1/4 Cup
Salt – A pinch
Water – As needed
For the dough:
1. Mix flour, semolina, salt, sugar and baking powder together evenly.
2. Make a well in the centre and add the oil and ghee.
3. Mix in the surrounding flour and combine.
4. Add a little water and knead into non sticky dough.
5. Rest the dough until the filling is done.
For the filling:
1. Wash and soak the dal in water for at least 1 hour. You can go up to 4 hours, but not more.
2. Drain the water well and grind the dal coarsely.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Add the hing and cumin seeds.
4. Once the seeds splutter, add the curry leaves, add the dal and lower the heat and keep stirring till the dal stops sticking to the pan.
5. Cook for another 10 minutes on low till the dal turns slightly brown. Add all the masala and cook for a few minutes till the aroma of the spices hit you. Add some salt.
6. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.
Making the Kachori:
- Divide the dough into balls. Take a ball (keeping the others covered) and flatten into a small disc with your hand
- Place a tsp of the stuffing in the center. Fold the dough around the stuffing. And flatten with your palms. Do not roll the balls with rolling pin. Arrange on a greased baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºc (360ºf) for 15 to 20 minutes till golden brown.
- Serve hot with green chutney.
Fruit Bread slices – 6, large (cut into triangles)
Sugar – 2 tbsps
Dates – 6 – 7
Milk – 1 1/2 liter
Water – 1 cup
Cashew nuts – fistful, break into small pieces
Raisins (Kishmish) – fistful
Pistachios – fistful, lightly crushed
Almonds – fistful, finely sliced
Saffron – 4-5 strands (kesar), soaked in 2 tbsps of milk
Ghee – 2 tbsps
- Place milk and dates in a thick bottomed stainless steel vessel and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and allow it to reduce to half its original quantity. Add saffron milk and mix. Turn off heat and bring to room temperature. Add 2 tbsps of the prepared sugar syrup (process to prepare sugar syrup in Step 2) and mix. Chill till serving time.
- In another bowl, place sugar and water. On low to medium flame, let the sugar dissolve completely. Once it dissolves completely, allow to cook for 4 minutes. Turn off heat. Keep aside.
- Heat a non-stick pan and drizzle a tsp of ghee over it. Add dried fruits and nuts and toast for a minute till brown. Remove onto a bowl.
- Drizzle 2-3 tsps of ghee in the same pan and place 3-4 triangles. Toast the bread to a golden shade on both sides. Remove and place on a plate.
- Drizzle the remaining ghee, and toast the remaining bread triangles to a golden brown shade.
- Dip each toasted triangle in the sugar syrup to coat both the sides and remove onto a serving dish.
At the time of serving, pour the chilled saffron and dates flavored thickened milk over the bread slices, garnish with toasted nuts and kishmish and serve.
ICED Fruit Punch
Freeze fruit juices in ice-tray molds in festive shapes. As the juice cubes melt, their flavors mingle to form a refreshing drink. Choose juices in a range of colors and flavors. Our favorites include orange, pineapple, grape, cranberry, and lemon.
6 cups assorted fruit juices
3 cups ginger ale
3 cups soda water
1: Make the ice:
Freeze juice in ice trays. When solid, release from moulds and store by flavor in sealable freezer bags for up to 1 month.
2: Make the punch:
Fill a 250 ml glass to the top with about 1/2 cup assorted flavored ice cubes, add 1/4 cup ginger ale and 1/4 cup soda water, and serve immediately.
Ujjwala has given our readers green rules to live by through The Green Casserole Recipe, Healthy Holidays and Guilt-Free Diwali Snacks. Living in Singapore, Ujjwala is a registered dietitian as well as a diabetes educator. She has 7 years of work experiencing spanning a variety of health-and-nutrition-based endeavours, including children’s nutrition workshops, weight consultations and cookery lessons. Ujjwala likes to write for FUCHSIA because of the welcoming attitude of the team, who she feels connects well with its readers, making her feel good about writing for them. She is married and mother to a 4-year-old boy. Her hobbies include art, dancing, craft ideas, home décor, fashion and make up. She believes her calling is to contribute to the world by sharing her knowledge and making it a healthier place to live in.