Friday, January 11, 2008

Hanging out at the Indian buffet...



Earlier this week, I went to an Indian restaurant and was thrilled to discover they had a buffet. You know what that means? It means all the naan, samosas, daal and rasgulla that I could get my grubby little hands on. It was a great day. If you couldn't tell, I love me some Indian food. But that brings me to my point. I've heard from a lot of friends - those unfamiliar with Indian food, of course - that they stay away from Indian dishes because they are all spicy and filled with curry and exceedingly high in fat. Apparently these are fairly popular misconceptions.
Here's the deal...as with so many other meals, you can cut down on the fat grams in Indian food by reducing the amount of oil or modifying the way you prepare it. There are a number of low-calorie Indian dish recipes cluttering the Internet that can be found through a quick google search.
Just the other day, I decided to putter around in my kitchen a little bit and try my hand making Kheer, a traditional Indian rice pudding. I based mine off several other recipes but switched one or two ingredients and replaced sugar with Splenda. It came out pretty well, if I don't say so myself. By the way, before I start handing out recipes, here are a few more benefits to Indian food consumption. Popular spices like turmeric, ginger, cardamom and green chillies have various health benefits and medicinal qualities. For those who don't like meat, there are also a number of vegetarian-friendly meals to choose from. Either way, give Indian food a shot before dismissing it altogether.

Audrey's Kheer Recipe

2 cups coconut milk
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons Splenda
1/2 cup Basmati rice
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts
1/2 teaspoon cinammon

DIRECTIONS
1. In a large saucepan, stir together the milk and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
2. Add the rice and Splenda and bring to a simmer over medium to low heat about 20 minutes, whisking to keep from sticking. Wait until the mixture thickens and the rice is tender.
3. Stir in the raisins, cardamom and cinammon and cook for a few more minutes. Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with almonds, cinammon and pistachios. Can be served warm or cold.

And because it's Friday and I'm feeling generous, here are two more recipes to get you through the weekend. Don't say I don't love you!

Palak Paneer

Tandoori Chicken

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