Celebrate Diwali With A Healthy Twist: Chef Ananya Banerjee
Diwali is synonymous with sweets. And are you worried about the extra calories? Try these delicious Diwali recipes that come with a healthy twist. Prepare them with love, together as a family!
By Team ParentCircle • 11 min read
The festival of lights is here! Diwali or Deepavali is a joyous festive time when houses become illuminated with countless diyas, crackers are burst, families and friends get together and the spirit of love, laughter and cheer abound.
The festive season is truly special. It is that time of the year when we take a backseat and simply celebrate this lively festival of togetherness and happiness. And food is always an integral part of any festivity and celebration. Diwali is no exception!
Scrumptious Diwali sweets and savouries are a must-have no matter what. And what’s more important is to keep to the tradition of all family members coming together to prepare these sweets and snacks together. A tradition that children should be a part of so that they may carry them forward for generations to come.
This Diwali, Chef Ananya Banerjee has come up with the right combination of tradition and health, which she has incorporated in a number of delicious recipes. She started by cooking omelette at the age of 13! Her favourite food quote is Virginia Woolf's "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”. For the health conscious out there who want to indulge in delicacies without compromising on taste, Chef Ananya has shared the following traditional Diwali recipes with a modern and healthy twist. Happy eating!
Here are 5 easy and healthy Diwali special recipes
1) No-bake five-ingredient granola bars (chikki energy bites)
There is always so much to do during the festive season and so less time for preparations to get it done. So, an energy booster is a must! Made with nuts of your choice, with plenty of nutrition from seeds, dates and coconut oil, this healthy chikki bites will help you look fit and fab! Go on, munch away to better health.
- 2/3 cup of unsalted almond or peanut butter, or your favorite nut/seed butter.
- 1/2 cup of honey. It can be substituted with coconut nectar, 2/3 cup of date paste or brown rice syrup.
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil , optional but recommended since it helps the bars hold better together.
- 2 cups of oats (I used gluten free- half rolled and half quick) but use what you have on hand.
- 2/3 cup of chopped almonds.
- 2 tbsp of whole almonds.
- 1/3 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut that can substituted with crispy rice cereal.
- A pinch of salt and ground cinnamon.
- 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract.
- Chocolate chips.
- Dry fruit.
- Flax seeds.
- Chia seeds.
- Sesame seeds.
- Pumpkin seeds.
- Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large pot, melt almond butter, honey and coconut oil (if using) over medium-heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove the pot. (At this point, you can add vanilla, cinnamon and salt, if using).
- Fold in oats, shredded coconut, and chopped almonds. Reserving the whole almonds for topping.
- Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan while pressing down very firmly and flattening with a spatula until tight and compressed. Press the reserved whole almonds down into the bars, space them apart evenly. Press in some chocolate chips or any other add-ins of your choice.
- Press down with spatula one more time so everything is nicely packed and compact. Place the pan in the freezer (or fridge) until hardened, about 1 hour. When the bars are set, use the parchment paper to lift them from the pan. Slice into even bars.
- Bars are softer when left out at room temperature. For best results, store bars in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to enjoy.
2) Masala Makhana
Craving some lip-smacking savoury to go with the sweet stuff? Don’t touch those oily Farsans! With a variety of ways to prepare it, masala makhanas are a great festive snack. With good amounts of magnesium and potassium, this savoury is also a good option for people who are conscious about their weight and for hypertension patients.
- 1 tsp ghee / clarified butter.
- 2 cup phool makhana / foxnuts / lotus seeds.
- ½ tsp kashmiri red chilli powder.
- ¼ tsp pepper powder.
- ¼ tsp cumin powder.
- ½ tsp chaat masala.
- ¼ tsp salt.
- Heat 1 tsp of ghee in a large kadai and roast 2 cup phool makhana.
- Roast on low flame for 7-10 minutes or until the makhana turns crunchy.
- Turn off the flame and add ½ tsp chilli powder, ¼ tsp pepper powder, ¼ tsp cumin powder, ½ tsp chaat masala and ¼ tsp salt.
- Mix well making sure the spices is well coated.
- Enjoy masala makhana or store in an airtight container once cooled completely.
3) Apple Basundi
Looking to beat the October heat? Here’s a twist on an old favorite! Rich in important antioxidants and dietary fiber, apples may help in weight management. Try to make apple basundi that is delicious and healthy. Reason enough to try this healthy dish, right?
- 500ml toned milk.
- Saffron (kesar) strands soaked in 2 tbsp of warm milk: 7-8 strands.
- ¼ tsp cardamom (elaichi) powder.
- 1 cup freshly grated apple.
- Chia seeds (soaked in 2 tablespoons of milk).
- 1 tsp of sugar substitute: 4 sachets of 1 gm each.
- ½ tsp lime juice.
- 2 sliver almonds and 2 pistachio.
- Boil the milk in a broad-bottomed non-stick pan.
- Reduce the flame and cook for approximately 1 hour (till the volume is reduced to half ), while stirring occasionally.
- Add 3 sachets of sugar substitute and cook on a slow flame for approximately 25 minutes (or till the milk thickens like rabdi), continue stirring.
- Add the cardamom powder and cook on a low flame for another 20 minutes. Once its cooked, switch off the flame and let it cool.
- Heat a small non-stick pan. Add the grated apple, 1 sachet of sugar substitute and 1 tablespoon of water. Mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from the flame and when its cool, add it to the milk mixture with soaked chia seeds.
- Serve chilled, garnished with slivers of almonds and pistachio.
4) Quinoa Phirnee
Why isn’t this delightful little twist to the quinoa more common knowledge? Do you remember how many servings of quinoa that we have been forced to bitterly turn away in the past? However, quinoa can be prepared in a number of ways that can give you a delicious taste with the goodness of nutrients.
- 1 cup quinoa.
- 1 cup of sugar substitute/ stevia.
- ¾ cup cardamom powder.
- 1 tsp of skimmed milk.
- 2 cup of condensed milk or mawa/khoya.
- ½ tablespoon of ghee
- ½ tablespoon of saffron strands.
- ¼ teaspoon of sliver almonds and pistachio.
- 5-6 pieces of blueberries.
- Heat ghee in a sauce pan.
- Once the ghee becomes warm, add quinoa to it. Roast the quinoa till it becomes light brown. Add 1 cup hot water and bring it to boil.
- Once the water is reduced to half, add 2 cups of hot milk to it and then add saffron strands to it.
- Let the quinoa and milk mixture come to boil. Reduce the flame and let it simmer for 7-8 minutes till perfectly cooked.
- Add sugar substitute and cardamom powder. Stir well and cook.
- Add condensed milk. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Then turn off the flame.
- You can serve hot or cold. Garnish it with nuts and blueberries.
5) Jowar Dates Ladoo
Bursting with flavor, easy to make, the only downside to these delicious ladoos is that you cannot stop at just one! Of course with all the nutritional benefits it packs there's no need to feel too guilty about it!
- ½ cup jowar flour.
- Dates: seeds removed and chopped.
- 10-12 chopped nuts (almonds and walnuts).
- ½ cup of ghee.
- 2 teaspoon of flax seeds.
- Dry roast jowar flour in a pan or kadhaifor 5-8 minutes or till golden brown. Make sure it does not burn. Remove from the flame and keep aside.
- Add chopped dates and water in a pan. Stir well on low-medium flame. Once the water is absorbed and dates becomes mushy, add roasted jowar flour and chopped nuts.
- Stir well for 2 minutes on low flame. Remove from the heat and keep it aside. Don’t let it come at room temperature otherwise you will not be able to make ladoos.
- Grease your palm with ghee and start making round shaped balls (ladoos).
- Store in air-tight container.
One cannot avoid eating sweets and savouries during the festive season. With the above recipes, you do not have to worry about your waistline any longer. Join in the fun and celebrations and have a great time.
About the author:
Written by Chef Ananya Banerjee on 27 September 2019.
The writer is owner of The LAB (Lifestyles by Ananya Banerjee)
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