Featured Food

Top Winter Food – You Must Try being a Rajasthani

What comes in your mind when you think of winters? Chapped lips and cracked heels? Cold and dry weather and heavy woollen wears? Sure winter is all about these, but do you also know that winter is the best season to improve immunity? During this time, people feel hungrier. Incredibly, the body engine works better in the winter and food is better digested. This aids in providing more nourishment to the body.

Fresh seasonal vegetables, dry fruits, dairy products, whole grains and rich fresh ghee! In winters, our body craves for rich food which provides warmth along with nourishment. Apart from the naturally available food, Indian (and specially Rajasthan) cuisine allow us discover the depth of richness of cooked food that is made especially in winters.

High energy and protein foods provide the required fuel to combat the cold. That’s why many Indian households make ‘sheera’ made up of rava, whole-wheat flour, moong-dal, vermicelli, daliaa, badam). ‘Halwa’ (gajar, doodhi, pumpkin etc.), ‘paak’ and ‘ladoos’ are best for this season. Fresh green fresh whole grains, available in Rajasthan and Gujarat, called ‘ponkh’ are considered a winter delicacy.

One cannot imagine the season without Garama-Garam Gajar ka Halwa with lots of kaju badam. Not just the deliciousness but due to its healthiness, one must not hesitate eating it due to calorie reasons. The beta-carotene in carrots is an excellent source of vitamin A and a powerful anti-oxidant. As far as the calorie factor is concerned, one must remember that anything confined within a limit is always beneficial.

Try delicious bajra, makai or jowar ki roti and serve hot with ghee and jaggery or with baingan bharta and udad ki dal. Jowar and bajra also make great meals during winter. They are rich in calcium and as winter is the time we strengthen our body, these millets help in absorption of calcium and build muscle tissue.

Raab is another specialty of Rajasthan that relishes in winters and can be made of makki, bajra or gur. Makki ki raab is the most popular. It is best suited for winters as it gives enough warmth to the body and thus combats cold.

Lapsi is a special sweet dish of Rajasthan which is meant to eat during winters. This fabulously tasty sweet dish features the goodness of broken wheat and the tantalizing aroma of cardamom.

Try eating garam pyaaz muli parathas with garlic chutney. White radish, onion and garlic (dry and spring varieties): Rich in isothiocyanates and indoles, phytochemicals that help prevent cancer. Their strong flavour helps to pep up the taste of food. Try eating onions and radish fresh as salad in large quantities.

When it comes to green, one cannot forget methi, palak and sarso in this season. We all know it better as methi, loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytonutrients. It can lower cholesterol, help keep your diabetes under check and more. Make those methi parathas, today!

Palak is counted among the world’s healthiest veggies, thanks to its nutrient richness. Vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and a host of flavonoids that offer antioxidant protection – this leafy vegetable – have them all. Whether you choose to make some palak paneer, or just stir fry it, make sure you’re eating this one!

Eat the very special makki ki roti and sarso ki saag. The young tender leaves of the plant are flavorful. Fresh mustard greens are an excellent source of several vital antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and carotenes. Include the goodness of these leaves in your diet this winter season.

Hara Chana/Fresh Green Garbanzos is an absolute delight with the pods hanging from long leafy stems.   Boil them, add some tomatoes, onions, salt, lemon juice and red chili powder and serve as a snack. The traditional way is to roast it on a sigdi and then eat them. Delicious!

Roast or boil some peanuts and have them with your tea this chilly evening or make some peanut burfi or chikki with jaggery because they freshly arrive in the winter. Peanuts are rich in antioxidants and also provide warmth to our system. Peanuts are a good source of vitamin E and B3. Do you know, it is in fact a good source of monounsaturated fats, it is a heart-friendly food too.

Sesame seeds will keep you warm too. Give a try eating til ke laddoos and til chikkis this winter. Sesame seeds are best eaten during winter season as they produce heat in our body and also serve as a good source of calcium. It is best taken after a meal as it improves digestion. It is a good source of minerals like iron, magnesium, manganese and copper. These seeds help your skin to retain moisture too!

I’m sure no one dislikes eating peas. Add them in your pulav or make some yummy muttar panner. Peas, with their sweet taste and starchy texture come loaded with phytonutrients that provide us with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Further, recent research shows that these legumes can help prevent stomach cancer.

In winters another Rajasthan specialty is Gond ke laddoos. Enjoy discovering the special sweetness of this dessert.

Among fruits, Pomegranates are a good source of polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant. It is also a good source of minerals like calcium and phosphorus. This combination works well in boosting our immunity”. Winter is the season for fresh citrus fruits and oranges are our top pick here. This tart-sweet fruit packs in a load of the very essential vitamin-C that helps your body in its fight against germs; in addition to potassium, folate, minerals and fibre. It’s low in calories too! Have you started eating them yet? Well, we have all heard it – “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. Bite into one for your mid-day snack, and reap its benefits! Papaya and pineapple are believed to provide warmth. Amla is loaded with Vitamin C, and is very good to step up your immunity. That’s the reason why ‘amla juice’ and ‘amla murabba‘ are available in plenty during winter.

Dates, along with the other dry fruits, are warm in nature and are highly recommended in the winter months. Not only are they a good source of fibre, iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamins (C and B3), they are also a good source of energy. Consume them as they are or as a barfi, pulp or added to milkshakes and smoothies.

The cold weather can interrupt your workout routine and can even send you on a mood roller coaster that can lead to overeating due to stress and boredom. Include proteins as well as carbohydrates in your diet. So this year, spend the cold season staying warm and healthy.

Happy winters Udaipurites!  🙂

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