Indian cuisine is becoming popular all over the world due to its exotic flavours and healthful preparations. The repertoire of Indian cuisine is vast. Everyday Vegetarian Cooking is an attempt to bring together all information about everyday cooking along with the nutritional aspects of the ingredients used. The traditional Indian food is cooked with tastes rather than with recipes. The recipes have traditionally been passed on from generation to generation orally. This trend has seen a downslide due to changed family setups. This is the vacuum that this book aims to fill up.
Indian cuisine has wholesome taste designed to satisfy not only the taste buds but also the human physiology. The traditional Indian preparations use vast variety of ingredients available in nature, hence making use of various essential elements required by an individual for one's wellbeing. This book discusses the nutritive value of various ingredients, the cooking medium, grains, pulses, fruits & vegetables, spices and sugar etc. The recipes have been given in easy step-by-step method, which even a first timer in the kitchen can follow. The information about the ingredients satisfies those health conscious people who are always on the lookout for ways to use food to take care of one's health. This book is a must for everyone interested in cooking, especially Indian cooking.
About the Author
Meenakshi Kumar is a Bachelor of Business Studies (BBS) from Delhi University. She has worked in various capacities in the finance departments of multi national companies. At present she is working as a scriptwriter. Her interests are as varied as creative writing, reading and cooking. She is based in Delhi.
A word from the Author
The heart of every home is the 'kitchen'. Everybody knows that kitchen is used to cook food, but, little know about the sacrosanct status given to kitchen in our traditional Indian homes. This was because food is the basis of our lives. Our health and well being depends greatly on the type of food we eat.
Our rich culinary tradition has also developed due to the close association between people and nature, which gave them an understanding of the benefits inherent in our everyday food. People utilized this knowledge to keep good health. They also used food as a remedy for their simple health problems.
The modernization witnessed in the present era has undoubtedly enhanced our material status but, it has cost us our personal time spent for our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Traditionally there used to be a clear division of labour between men and women, this made cooking exclusively the domain of ladies. Accordingly the design of the family system used to be such that the knowledge of cooking and managing the house used to disseminate from mothers and mother-in-law to young girls as daughters and daughters-in-laws, who got automatically trained to hold responsibilities both inside and outside the house. In the present scenario most women pursue a career. This social change has brought about lifestyle changes and preparation of food in our homes has been affected. We, in general, are gradually forgetting about the nutrition available in our everyday food and the requisite know-how to prepare such food. Lack of time leads people to restaurants or eating joints.
The mushrooming fast food outlets and eating joints make food easily available on demand. These have proved to be a convenient alternative to home cooked food. The food offered by these outlets replaces the vast variety of traditional healthy diets with a simpler died consisting mainly of refined carbohydrates and fats. This poses a double burden on health in form of obesity and malnutrition. The red alert is sounded with the onset of health related problems at an early age. All those people who can afford, have recourse to costly health packages, where information about food and being healthy by right choice of food is made known to people. In the age of specialization, the knowledge about basics of food has also become specialized. Thereby, only those people who are technically/academically related to this field are aware of the essential information about it.
During my recent visit to New York I observed that developed economies have already taken note of health issues as their priority concerns. In all their stores most of the aisles had health foods, which were all highly priced. People blindly pick things marked health food without having any understanding as to what attributes in the food qualifies it as health food.
The general awareness about food is a must for all individuals so that one can make intelligent choice of food and inculcate healthy eating habits. I as an author have made an effort to unfold the treasure of health stored in the food ingredients, which Mother Nature has provided us.
Many of us might think that the food without carbohydrate and fat provides best nutrition. No. The food consumed by an individual should provide the right amount of fuel to execute normal physical activity. Good nutrition requires a satisfactory diet (consisting of right proportion of food from all types i.e. carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins & minerals), which is capable of supporting the individual consuming it, in a state of good health by providing the desired nutrients in required amounts. If the total amount of nutrients provided in the diet is insufficient, a state of under nutrition will develop. It is a poor diet coupled with a sedentary lifestyle that is known to be risk factors for life-threatening chronic diseases and death.
An individual should follow a diet which is balanced with respect to one's age, sex, and nature of physical activity. The book discusses a large number of recipes using most of the ingredients, from all categories of food which together form a balance diet (carbohydrates, proteins, fat/oil & vitamins & minerals), in an easy, logical and interesting manner.
In the present day lifestyle the knowledge of cooking is a necessity for both a man and a woman. Each recipe has been discussed keeping an individual in mind, who is absolutely new to the kitchen environment. The recipes discussed are exclusive and numerous, so as to serve a wide range of purpose and occasions, and to give enough leverage to the cook to make use of nutrition available in all food ingredients commonly available. The recipes also help proper understanding of the subject, such that even a novice can master the cooking techniques and improvise upon the given recipes to create their own novel recipes.
Cook for yourself or lay out a tempting array of delicacies for others, you can do whatever you desire with the help of this book. As the name suggests Everyday Vegetarian Cooking has been written keeping every individual in mind who is new to the kitchen surroundings, even expert cooks who cook without knowing the nutritional benefits of the ingredients they are using, will benefit from this book. The various aspects of the process of cooking has also been discussed in detail. With this book one can learn to plan the menu, the healthy way.
The taste makers i.e. the spices and herbs have been adequately discussed with their role in imparting taste to food and of the health benefits we can derive from them.
Many a times we unknowingly lose nutrients in food while cooking. This aspect has been mentioned in the book and readers will learn about nutrients in a particular ingredient and to minimize its loss during cooking. The idea of including recipes like tikkis, chops etc is to provide an occasional treat
to the taste buds.
The recipes which are basic to the preparation of many recipes have also been adequately covered. The 'no fat' recipe section is to serve the need of people who require food with very little or almost no fat, due to health reasons. At the end those recipes have been covered, which guide you to manage your leftovers.
Though all the recipes include the amount of seasonings to be added to food but, it would be advisable to adjust the seasonings as per the specific needs of an individual e.g. children prefer less chillies in food, some people may prefer less salty food (intake of less salt and sugar is always advisable) or vice versa. So taste a teaspoonful before serving and make suitable adjustments.
To live we must eat. But, we not only eat to live, what we eat also affects our ability to keep healthy, to work, to be happy and to live well. This has taken me years to understand, evaluate and then appreciate the treasure of health stored in the food basket, and put it all to effective use. I sincerely wish that everybody would find this book very useful.
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