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Natural Foods in Indian Cuisine

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Indian cuisine is known for its rich flavors and use of natural ingredients, particularly spices and herbs. These ingredients not only enhance the taste of dishes but also have numerous health benefits.

image of indian paneer curry with raita and chutney on the side

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best examples of using natural foods in Indian cuisine that make these dishes delicious and healthy.

Dal

One of the most popular natural and healthy dishes in Indian cuisine is “Dal.” This lentil-based dish is high in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. It’s made by cooking lentils with a variety of spices, such as turmeric, ginger, cumin, and coriander. Dal is a staple dish in many Indian households and is often served with rice or roti. It’s also a fantastic source of plant-based protein, essential for maintaining healthy muscles and bones. The lentils used in dal are also a good source of iron, which is vital for the production of red blood cells. Additionally, the spices and herbs used in dal, like turmeric and ginger, have anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Image of dal in metal bowl with rice and salad on the side

Sambhar

Another healthy and natural dish is “Sambhar.” This lentil-based dish is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It’s made by cooking lentils with a variety of vegetables, such as eggplant, okra, and tomatoes. Sambhar is typically served with rice or idli (a type of fermented rice cake).

The lentils used in sambhar are a good source of protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. The vegetables used in sambhar, such as eggplant and okra, are a good source of vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin C and potassium. The spices and herbs used in sambhar, like turmeric and cumin, also have anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer” is another popular natural and healthy dish in Indian cuisine. This spinach-based dish is high in protein, iron, and calcium. It’s made by cooking spinach with a selection of fragrant spices, such as ginger, garlic, and cumin. Paneer, a type of Indian cottage cheese, is added to the dish for protein.

Palak Paneer is often served with rice or roti. Spinach, being the main ingredient in this dish, is a nutrient-dense leafy green vegetable, which is high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium.

The addition of paneer provides a good source of protein, while the spices and herbs used in the dish, such as ginger and garlic, have anti-inflammatory properties and can help with digestion. It’s especially beneficial for people suffering from gastrointestinal health conditions.

palak paneer curry in a blue ceramic bowl

Bhakri

One more natural and healthy dish is “Bhakri.” This whole wheat-based dish is rich in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates. It’s typically made by mixing whole wheat flour with water and cooking it on a griddle. Bhakri is often served with a variety of side dishes, such as dal or vegetable curry.

Whole wheat is a great source of fiber and complex carbohydrates that can help to regulate blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full for longer. Additionally, the side dishes provide a balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

Raita

“Raita” is a popular natural and healthy side dish in Indian cuisine. It’s made by mixing yogurt with a variety of ingredients, such as cucumber, tomatoes, and cilantro. Raita is often served with rice or roti and is a great way to add some probiotics to your meal. Yogurt is a treasure trove of probiotics, which can help with digestion and boost the immune system.

The addition of cucumber, tomatoes, and cilantro provides a balance of hydration, vitamins, and antioxidants. It also adds some freshness to the dish. Apart from being healthy, this dish is also very tasty and loved in many households. 

overhead shot of raita

Kadhi

Another natural and healthy dish that is worth mentioning is “Kadhi.” This dish is made by cooking yogurt and besan (gram flour) together with various spices such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander. Vegetables like okra and onions are often added to the dish to provide extra nutrition. Kadhi is typically served with rice and is a great source of probiotics and protein.

The gram flour used in the dish is also a rich source of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Additionally, the spices and herbs used in the dish, such as turmeric and cumin, have anti-inflammatory properties and can help with digestion. It’s a perfect dish for those who are lactose intolerant as the yogurt is cooked in the dish, and it’s easy to digest.

Methi Thepla

“Methi Thepla” is another delicious Indian dish that is based on natural food. It’s made by using fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves, whole wheat flour, and a variety of spices. Thepla is a type of Indian flatbread and is often served with pickles or curd.

Fenugreek leaves are an excellent source of vitamin K, iron, and antioxidants. The whole wheat flour used in the dish is full of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. Additionally, the spices and herbs used in the dish, such as ginger and cumin, have anti-inflammatory properties.

Wrap-up

In conclusion, Indian cuisine is known for its use of natural ingredients, particularly spices and herbs, which add flavor to dishes and have numerous health benefits. They give every dish a vibrant outlook and mouth-watering aroma. 

By using fresh spices and herbs, whole grains, and unprocessed ingredients, we can boost the nutritional value of our meals and improve our gut health. Indian cuisine offers a wide variety of dishes that cater to different dietary needs, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and low-carb.

Dishes such as dal, sambhar, palak paneer, bhakri, and raita are some of the best examples of using natural food in Indian cuisine. These dishes taste delicious and provide a range of health benefits.

Additionally, growing your own herbs and spices or supporting organic farming practices can positively impact the environment and your mental well-being.

Consider exploring options such as online natural food stores and discount programs that can help make these necessary items more affordable and accessible for everyone.


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