17 November 2016

The Diabetic Food Trail - 2nd Edition

           The word diet in itself has to be one of the most miscontrued terms in the culinary dictionary. It's broadly defined as a particular selection of food by people based on their eating and health preferences. But the explanation I liked best was in Wikipedia - "use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons..." the key word being nutrition here, not deprivation.
             When invited to be a part of the Britannia Nutri Choice Essentials Diabetic Food Trail on the 13th and 14th Nov in Bengaluru, I instantly made up my mind to attend. It was more the inquisitiveness to learn healthier recipes and food habits than to find out what not to eat. The brain child of Manoj and Seema Pinto, the DFT has tied up with 200+ restaurants in 5 cities and also partnered with Fitternity, Health & Nutrition and Burrp.
             It was the Masterclass at Anjappar's on 14th Nov that I attended, an extra special attraction being Chef Irfan Pabaney of The Sassy Spoon (Bandra) fame!
            There were presentations by representatives from the event sponsors, Britannia and Biocon. It was interesting to learn about the Britannia Nutri Choice Diabetic Friendly biscuits having been launched on World Diabetes Day and how they were designed to be on-the-go snacks for diabetics. 
            There was also a brief session by the well-known nutritionist Geetha, which I especially found interesting. A no-fuss eater like me could easily identify with her nutrition theories. As per Geetha, it is more important to eat a combination of different foods that give us the best of everything. It's a misconception to completely avoid certain types of foods. Carbohydrates for eg, provide the body with energy and we all need that!! So keeping the source of starch healthy is as important as the cooking method too.

              This was followed by the much-awaited master class by Chef Irfan, who with his simple and down-to-earth attitude had us all floored! He prepared 2 dishes - A warm Curried Quinoa salad with vegetables and Roasted Pumpkin and Brown rice risotto with Cherry Tomato seasoning (recipes given below)

           Being pressed for time I unfortunately had to give the subsequent Masterclass sessions a miss. But there was much I took away with me this day. It's all really in the mind isn't it. Being just a little extra mindful of what we eat, how we eat and how often we eat can go a long way in shaping our food-style and eventually our life-style. Way better than over-complicating Dos and Donts and getting into minute never-ending nutrition details.
And most importantly, be on the move, exercise where and when you can and give food a chance to burn out and serve us better!!
And here are the recipes (courtesy Diabetic Food Trail)......

Olive oil                 2 tsp
Cumin, toasted & crushed ½ tsp
Ginger, finely chopped        ½ tsp
Spring onion whites, chopped 2 tbsp
Boiled Quinoa         50 gms
Madras curry powder 1-2 tsps
Salt                 to taste 
Pepper         to taste
Celery, chopped        1 tsp
Chili flakes         a pinch
Zucchini, grilled & cubed         50 gms
Mint, roughly chopped 1 tbsp
Prawns, peeled and deveined 150 gm (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. 
2. Add the ginger, onions, zucchini, chili flakes and sauté. 
3. Add the celery, pawns, curry powder and cumin. Sauté. 
4. Add the cooked quinoa, salt n pepper and toss really well. 
5. Garnish with the mint.

Brown rice, boiled          70 gms
Yellow pepper         60 gms
Pumpkin                 200 gms
Sage - fresh         6-8 leaves
Olive oil                 2 tsps + 2 tsps
Garlic         1 tsp
Cherry tomatoes          6-8 pcs
Curry leaf                 6-8 leaves
Red cabbage - chiffonade 50 gms
Parmesan          10 gms
Salt                 to taste
Pepper          to taste
Vegetable stock

1. Peel the pumpkin, cube and roast with the yellow pepper after drizzling with a little olive oil and sage. Set aside half the roasted pumpkin for use later. Puree the other half with the roasted peppers and set aside. 
2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and sauté. Add the red cabbage and stir well. Add the rice and toss well. 
3. Add salt and pepper followed by a little vegetable stock. Continue cooking. Add the pureed pumpkin and peppers. Mix well, and finally add the parmesan cheese. Mix well and transfer to a serving dish.

4. In a separate pan, heat some olive oil, add the curry leaves and the cherry tomatoes. Make sure the tomatoes blister. Season well and serve on top of the risotto along with the roasted pumpkin chunks we kept aside.


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