How to make rice meals healthier and low on Glycemic Index? This is a frequent question I keep getting from the readers of this blog. This recipe of sesame fenugreek rice is a demonstration of how one can easily enjoy a rice meal and still keep the Glycemic index low, and even the macro and micro nutrients balanced in this one pot meal.
Rice has become such a soft spot with nutrition seekers and dieters in our country. More than anywhere else. No other place celebrates rice as much as we Indians do, especially in the coastal regions.
I know I know, the Chinese and the Japanese, Koreans and all the coastal countries probably consume rice as a staple grain, but I feel the proportion of rice on an average Indian's plate is much more than needed.
Daal bhaat (lentil n rice) is a common name for a meal in some parts of India, daal roti and just 'roti' is a common slang for a meal. A Punjabi would say chalo rotti kha layiye (for let's have our meal) and a bong would say bhaat kheye naao for have your meal. In the central parts of India too it is like daal roti or daal bhaat. We certainly heap our plates with rice (or other grains, mostly refined now a days) and that is not healthy especially in modern context where we sit on chairs all day long. The grain heavy diet is fit for a farmer but not a desk bound worker. We Indians take very small servings of lentils and vegetables on the side in a vegetarian meal as a habit, even though there are several vegetable and lentil side dishes. With a meat or fish meal the proportion is healthier though, but still not perfect.
So the moral of the story is, load you plate with more vegetables and protein and enjoy your white rice once in a while or even everyday. A practical solution for all of us who have grown up eating the tastier (polished) rice and now crave for it even when we know it is stripped off it's goodness.
Add more goodness to it. See how.
(for two servings)
sesame seeds 3 tbsp
black peppercorns 2 tsp
cumin seeds 2 tsp
coriander seeds 1 tsp
dry red chilies broken 2 nos.
a pinch of asafoetida
2 cups of chopped fenugreek leaves
1 cup of cooked white rice
salt to taste
a squirt of lime juice or a pinch or amchoor powder (optional)
mustard or sesame oil 1 tsp
Make a coarse powder of sesame, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black peppercorns together. Keep aside. This mixture can be made in large quantity and kept in a airtight container, preferably in fridge for a month or so.
Heat oil in a pan and throw in the asafoetida powder first.Now add the broken red chilies and let them get roasted, keep the flame low and take care not to burn them or else be ready for a bout of sneezing.
Then add the powdered mix into the oil and stir fry for a few seconds till it gets aromatic, taking care not to burn the mixture.
Keep the heat level low all this while...
Add salt to taste and mix well.
Add in the cooked rice, mix well and adjust seasoning.
Add lemon juice or amchoor powder if required. Adding a bit of tamarind juice could be favorable for you too.
Mix well and serve hot.
Another variation will be to use any greens instead of fenugreek and add some crushed peanuts instead of sesame spice mix. You will have to adjust seasoning accordingly.
In the above picture I used Agasti (Sesbania) leaves along with a lot of chopped onions. The amount of chopped onions and chopped leaves is one cup while the cooked rice is 1/2 cup for one serving, 1 tbsp crushed peanuts are good enough.
The white rice is fortified well with proteins and leafy greens in these one pot meal recipes, all cooked together for a convenient quick meal. Having a salad or vegetable based raita would be great with it. Or just a tall glass of buttermilk if you want it really quick.
For summers I would have a bowl of plain yogurt or a glass of plain buttermilk with it for sure.
Another way to make such a fried rice is using some curry leaves, chopped onions and roasted peanuts with it.
Do you see how easy healthy cooking can be if you use your ingredients cleverly. Taste is not compromised and you get all the nutrition alright.
No compromises on everyday nutrition.