In India, in the good old days people had an exceptionally healthy food. The most popular grains in those days were wheat, corn, rye, barley, jowar, millet, unpolished brown rice, straight from the mill were available in those days. They had healthy long life consuming these delicious grains. Each variety of the grain offers different taste, texture and nutrients covering the entire dietary requirements. This naturally vitamin/ protein/ mineral/ fibre enriched grains are most forgotten in this new generation fast food days.
Recipes of our earlier generation
The most popular recipes using the ancient grains in those days were Jonna rotte from Telangana( flat bread made with sorghum flour)
Ragi mudde from karnataka/ Rayalaseema ( steamed dough balls made with rye flour) Ambali ( nutritious drink made with ragi flour)
makki- di - roti from Punjab( flat bread made with corn flour)
Thepla from Gujrat ( flat bread made with whole wheat flour).
We can notice that they never used lard or hydrogenated oils in their preparations. Our unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits are the main risk factors for the Type 2 diabetes, cadio vascular diseases, obesity etc.
A friend of mine is suffering from Arthritis . Her doctor suggested her to take Kamut bread, kamut flour as an alternate to the wheat based diet. I never heard this word " kamut "- pronounced "ka- moot". After she started using it, she was much relieved of the pain. When I did research about this ancient grain, I figured it out as the "magic grain". Looks something similar to wheat . Originated from Egypt. KAMUT grain is one of the oldest known to man and has a great number of advantages over normal wheat for many people with wheat intolerance. It is extremely gentle to the digestive system. It is a good alternative for the wheat.
Bulgur, Couscous and Quinoa
I got this recipe from a Pakistani friend, who is an expert in middle eastern cooking. I discuss lot of cooking related topics with her and get great tips and suggestions.
In this recipe, traditionally bulgur wheat ( Bulgar wheat is the result of boiling, drying, and cracking wheat kernels) or couscous is used ( couscous is a form of wheat with flour coating) But, I wanted to try to use some ancient grains ( Quinoa) into this recipe and see how it tastes. It turned out to be delicious.
"Quinoa" pronounced - keen wah. Quinoa a versatile and delicious grain, it is the "mother grain". It is a complete package of nutrients, meaning it has all nine essential amino acids, which boosts the immunity, improve muscle quality, and regulate hormone production. It's also a great source of high-quality protein, fiber, riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin, which helps to metabolize energy. Quinoa is called as "Sajjalu" in Telugu. Most of the ancient grains can be obtained from the whole foods, Health food stores in Canada. Sometimes it is also available in bulk barn.
Parsley is the main ingredient in this recipe. By the way, Parsley I used is from my own herb garden.
- Parsley is rich in many vitamins, including Vitamin C, B 12, K and A. Parsley keeps the immune system strong, helps bones and heals the nervous system, too.
- It helps flush out excess fluid from the body, thus supporting kidney function.
- The folic acid in this special herb can help control blood pressure.
Ingredients :Quinoa - 1 cup cooked and cooled to room temp
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Curly or flat Parsley - 2 cups, washed , stems removed and finely chopped
Fresh mint - 1 tbsp finely chopped
Tomatoes - 1 big size washed, deseeded and chopped
Cucumber - 1/2 , peeled, cored, and cut into small pieces
Red onion - 1 small peeled and finely chopped.
Fresh lemon juice - 3 tbsp
Orange rind - 1/4 tsp
Salt and black pepper
Cook quinoa like rice. Measurement: for 1 cup quinoa, take 2 cups of water.
Boil the water, add Quinoa and cook. Lower heat and cook covered for 15 mins. Switch off the flame and let is stand covered for another 5 mins. Remove the lid, fluff it gently with a fork. You should see tiny spirals ,curling around the quinoa seeds. Let it cool down to room temp.
Dressing: Prepare dressing by mixing lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and mint.
In a big bowl add chopped parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, onion and cooked quinoa. Pour the dressing over the salad, and mix well. Refrigerate about 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve it with pita bread, crackers, on a wrap or just as a salad by itself!