Health

How to make Indian food lower in fat and calories

Some of what makes Indian cuisine so delicious — rich and creamy sauces, ghee — also makes it heavy on calories. But Indian food also has a lot to offer for good health: fibre-rich lentils and beans, spices full of antioxidants, lots of fresh veggies. Bal Arneson, star of the Food Network show Spice Goddess, balances these two factors in her Indian cooking, and you can do that yourself with her new book, Bal's Quick and Healthy Indian.

Whitecap.ca

Some of what makes Indian cuisine so delicious — rich and creamy sauces, ghee — also makes it heavy on calories. But Indian food also has a lot to offer for good health: fibre-rich lentils and beans, spices full of antioxidants, lots of fresh veggies. Bal Arneson, star of the Food Network show Spice Goddess, balances these two factors in her Indian cooking, and you can do that yourself with her new book, Bal’s Quick and Healthy Indian.

The book starts out with a primer to ingredients common to Indian cooking, and then provides a wide variety of recipes. She uses healthier oils like flax seed and grapeseed, and healthy ingredients like edamame, avocado and spinach. There’s a great selection of salads and a variety of dishes that use fish or are vegetarian, and the techniques and ingredient lists aren’t overwhelming. The book makes it easy to mix these recipes into your healthy meal rotation.

Coriander tuna with broccolini
I love the look of freshly seared tuna. And the only spice I use is coriander seed, a delicious flavor that will linger with each bite. This is a feast for your eyes as well as your palate.

Ingredients:
¼ cup (60 mL) coriander seeds, crushed
½ lb (250 g) fresh tuna fillet
3 Tbsp (45 mL) grapeseed oil (divided)
1 lb (500 g) broccolini
1 tsp (5 mL) mustard seeds

Directions:
1. Sprinkle the coriander seeds on a plate. Gently dip the top side and the bottom side of the tuna in the coriander.

2. Heat 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, turn the heat down to medium. Place the tuna in the pan and sear on one side for about 10 to 15 seconds, until it is crisp and golden brown, then flip and sear the other side. The tuna should be rare in the middle. Set aside.

3. Place the broccolini in a vegetable steamer, or in a large saucepan filled with boiling water. Steam until the stems are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse with cold water to stop it from overcooking. Drain again.

4. Heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, steamed broccolini, and salt to taste and sauté for 1 minute.

5. Serve the seared tuna with the broccolini on the side. Enjoy!
Serves four

Suggested wine
2007 Portfolio by Laughing Stock Vineyards: I love Bordeaux varietals, and this one has all of my favorite grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. The wine’s candied cherry, blackberry, and dark chocolate tones combined with the toasty coriander in this recipe is magic to my palate.

Recipe used with permission from Bal’s Quick and Healthy Indian by Bal Arneson, published by Whitecap.