Indian Cooking; Nutrition Info

Categories: Articles, Asian, Cooking tips, Food Culture, Indian, Nutritional Information, Western Medicine

This is not how I normally like to look at food, through caloric and fat content counting, but it is useful info to look over to get an idea of what you are putting in your body. I eat mostly vegetarian (flexitarian really) and just a friend just moved to the Devon area. This is THE Indian and Pakistani area of Chicago and so I have been eating rich, delicious vegetarian Indian food just about every night. I hope to cook some tasty, nutritious meals in this style soon. Until there here are a few ideas and tips for those who want to explore this “other” Eastern Culture’s food. It is a deep well to explore. Good Indian is some of the most rich and delicious of meals, maybe because of Yin nourishing aspect and fat content. I don’t know about some of the claims below, but worth noting. Feel free to comment. ~ Enjoy

 

Mitch

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Nutrition data (calories, carbohydrates, protein) of homemade Indian food are given. Also the ways to preserve nutrition in Indian cooking are discussed.

Many Indian are vegetarians and they eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, milk and plant-based proteins. These foods contain essential micro-nutrients and vitamins that produce antioxidants which are good for heart, blood pressure and diabetes.

But Indians, in general, consume less amount of vegetables {says who?}. Also reheating of vegetarian dishes, a common practice among Indians, destroys the micro-nutrients. “Indians, therefore, face heart attacks five years earlier than people in the West,” according to Dr Deepak Natarajan of Apollo hospital, Delhi.

Diets rich in saturated fats and hypertension are the main reason for this.

Indian Cooking & Nutrition

http://www.fatfreekitchen.com/nutrition/indian-foods.html

By 2010, India will carry 60 percent of the world’s heart disease burden, nearly four times more than its share of the global population, according to a study released by Denis Xavier of St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences in Bangalore in April 2008.

  • Calories in Indian foods and their nutrition depend on the way the foods are cooked.
  • An Indian dish may be very high in calories/energy (mostly from fat) if it is cooked by deep frying, or it may be low in calories or fat if it is stir fried or baked.
  • The rich creamy dishes containing foods covered with lot of spice colored liquid are often very high in fat (mostly saturated fat and trans-fat), while the tandoori dishes are low in fat.

    The research (Feb 2010) conducted by “Which” magazine of Britain found that a single meal of Indian curry in Britain has more fat than the recommendation for the entire day, an average takeaway contained 23.2gm of saturated fat, 3.2gm more than a woman should eat in a day.  Indian takeaway meals are known for their liberal use of ghee and oil, not only in curries but also breads. The researchers found that a naan contained more calories than a chicken tikka masala.

  • Indian often reheat the food, the reheating destroys the nutrients of the food.
  • Indian food is often overcooked, destroying its nutrition.
  • The North Indian dishes are very rich in taste and presentation as compared to South Indian food. The North Indian foods, especially Punjabi foods, are generally higher in calories and fat and lower in nutritional value, than South Indian foods because Punjabi cooking involves tarka or vaghar (frying of spices, onions, etc.) in pure ghee (high in
    saturated fat), butter, oil or trans fats or trans-fatty acids (hydrogenated oils and fats, dalda) that gives unique Indian taste and texture. Read more on trans fats in Indian foods.
  • The tandoori foods of North India are rich in nutrition and natural flavours, but often these are loaded with fats. A new research reported at a conference on “Fats and trans-fatty acids in Indian diet” at the Seventh Health Writers Workshop organised by Health Essayists and Authors League (HEAL) in 2007 found that the trans-fatty acids in French fries is 4.2% – 6.1%, it is 9.5% in bhatura, 7.8% in paratha and 7.6% each in puri and tikkis.

How to Preserve Nutrition in Indian Cooking?

The health benefits of the Indian food depend on the method of cooking.

  1. If a recipe calls for too much cream, yogurt, ghee or oil and crushed cashews, then the dish will be very rich in taste and texture, but with out any nutritional value. The north Indian food, Punjabi food and the foods available in restaurants are cooked (rather over-cooked) like this and they are higher in fat and lower in nutritional value. These foods are generally prepared with deep frying onions, ginger, and spices in lot of oil or ghee. Read more on Indian
    food nutrition and calories
    .
  2. Instead of deep frying, you can stir-fry or saute them in very little vegetable oil. The over-cooked foods lose their nutrition because, in the process, the vitamins and minerals are leached out. You should leave the cooking of a vegetable when it is still crisp.
  3. Never use trans-fat or vanaspati like dalda, rath, etcfor cooking, these are not healthy. Many restaurants and shops use trans-fats for cooking tikkis, bhaturas, parathas, puri (poori) and even sweets and vegetable curries
  4. Do not chop the vegetbles into too small pieces. The vegetable will lose its nutrients if it has more exposed surfaces to the atmosphere.
  5. Always chop the vegetables only when you cook them, do not chop and leave them for a long time.
  6. Do not wash the vegetables like spinach, zucchini, lauki, etc. after chopping to preserve their nutrients.
  7. When you stir-fry, do not overheat the oil.
  8. If you make pakoras, keep the besan batter thick. Deep frying of thin batter pakoras absorb too much oil during frying.
  9. Do not add ghee or oil for making the dough of poori, otherwise the pooris will absorb too much oil during frying.

However, it is possible to have traditional Indian cooking recipes that produce tasty dishes with very less fat and keeping the natural nutrition values and low calories.