EAT, SLEEP, RIDE Series. Part 1: EAT a traditional Indian menu and spice up your Thanksgiving dinner!


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Thanksgiving is our favorite time of the year. It is when we take time out of our busy schedules to express our gratitude for many blessings. It is also a time for some togetherness. A disease called loneliness is fast spreading like wildfire all across the world. Yet, this is the only time when we make the effort to come together with friends and families to have fun under one roof.

We all know how important an element is food, of this fun and frolic festival. As athletes, ultra-endurance cyclists, and fitness enthusiasts we are infamous for missing the simple pleasures of life derived from junky, greasy and fattening delicacies. We are not going to hold you for that. Food does not have to be unhealthy to be tasty and celebrations do not have to be incomplete with boring diet food.

This thanksgiving, we have compiled a list of popular, nutritious and yummy-licious dishes from a traditional Indian kitchen that you could add to your own Thanksgiving menu. Many of our cyclist guests have relished these staple Indian dishes during their visit to India.

Not only is Indian food diverse and colorful but also according to ancient Indian science, Ayurveda it is wholesome for our body.  

Here is an Indian inspired menu and recipes from India’s top chefs to spice up your Thanksgiving dinner this year:

  • 1. Kidney beans curry (Rajma Masala)
  • Total Time: 8-10 hrs | Prep Time: 45 | Calories per serving: ~125 | Serves: 4

    Red Kidney Beans curry or Rajma Masala as it is popularly known in India, is a delicious Indian main course. It contains essential quantities of carbohydrates and protein to can suit your dietary requirements and taste buds. Foreigners and Indians alike love this popular North Indian cuisine. Rajma Masala with cumin rice (recipe below) is an easy preparation and perfect for a get-together with family and friends.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup kidney beans soaked overnight
    • 2 large onions finely chopped
    • 2 large tomatoes as a puree
    • 2 tablespoons of ginger garlic paste
    • 2. tablespoon coriander powder
    • 1 tablespoon red chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
    • 1 tablespoon Indian spices (garam masala) powder
    • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves chopped
    • 1 tablespoon clarified butter (ghee)
    • salt as per taste

    Method:

    1. Drain kidney beans, wash in fresh water, and put into a pressure cooker. Add 5 cups of water and salt and cook under pressure until 4-5 whistles.
    2. Drain and reserve the cooking liquor. Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add onions and sauté until light brown.
    3. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 2 minutes. Add coriander powder, cumin powder and red chili powder and mix well.
    4. Add tomato puree and mix again. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
    5. Add kidney beans and mix well. Add 1-cup cooking liquor and salt and stir to mix.
    6. Mash the beans a bit and stir again. Add garam masala (spices mix) powder and mix and cook for 5-7 minutes.
    7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.
    2. Cumin Rice (Jeera Rice)

    Total time: 30 mins | Prep time: 15 minutes | Calories per serving: ~300 | Serves: 4

     

    Rice is a global staple ad the most familiar grain form in the United States, typically served as a side dish. However, elsewhere in the world and India as well, rice forms the basis for most meals. You just have to open to new styles of making it and it is so easy and simple that one need not be stressed about its preparation.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cups rice
    • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
    • 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
    • 3 cloves (laung)
    • 2 green cardamoms (choti elaichi)
    • 1 strand of mace (javitri)
    • ~1 inch stick of cinnamon (dalchini)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 4 cups water
    • 2 teaspoons oil
    • 1/2 cup coriander leaves

    Method:

    1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds (jeera) and fry them for a few seconds until they start to splutter.
    2. Add bay leaf (tej patta), green cardamoms (choti elaichi), mace strand (javitri), cloves (laung) and a small stick of cinnamon (dalchini).
    3. Wash 2 cups rice thoroughly and add them to the pan.
    4. Also, add 4 cups of water and salt to taste.
    5. Pressure-cook the rice for 10 minutes. The rice should be cooked but it should not become mushy.
    6. Finally add a few chopped coriander leaves and mix well.
    7. Jeera Rice is ready. You can garnish the rice with caramelized or deep fried onion slices and serve it with any Indian Gravy or Dal.

    3. Yogurt with mixed vegetables (Indian Raita)
    Total time: 15 minutes | Calories per serving: ~111

     Indian raita goes very well as a side dish to every Indian main dish. It is easily adaptable and one of the most loved by foreign tourists visiting India. Another interesting thing to note about this yogurt preparation is that it is a part of almost every culture. Therefore, although the Indian cuisine changes after every 50 km the yogurt could remain consistent. A raita can have anything in it: pineapple, apples, or bananas. In the winter, you can even make it with (cooked) pumpkin.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
    • 1/2 cup chopped seeded English hothouse cucumber
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    • 2 teaspoons chopped green onions
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

    Method:

    1. Mix all ingredients in medium bowl.
    2. Season to taste with salt.
    3. Chill raita, covered, until ready to serve.

    Fox-nut pudding (Makhane ki Kheer)
    Total time: 20 minutes | Calories per serving: ~75

    There is always room for desserts. Thanksgiving becomes sweeter when a good dessert is shared with your best people. Makhana or fox-nut also called lotus seeds are rich in protein and calcium and combine beautifully with low-fat milk to make a creamy and delicious kheer or pudding. Fox-nuts are a great choice for weight-watchers as they are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and a good source of thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. A lacing of nutmeg powder and saffron lends an aesthetic touch to the Makhane ki Kheer, making this a memorable dessert that lingers on your taste buds.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup lotus seeds or fox-nut (Makhanas)
    • 1 teaspoon 'clarified butter (ghee)
    • 4 1/2 cups low-fat milk , 99.7% fat-free
    • 1 tablespoon sugar substitute
    • a few saffron (kesar) strands
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (jaiphal) powder
    • 1 teaspoon pistachio slivers for garnishing

    Method:

    1. Heat the ghee in a deep non-stick pan, add the lotus seeds and sauté on a slow flame for 2 to 3 minutes or until they turn crisp.
    2. Remove from the flame and blend the fox-nuts in a mixer to a coarse mixture. Keep aside.
    3. Boil the milk in a deep non-stick pan, add the sugar substitute, add coarsely crushed lotus seeds mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 minutes while stirring occasionally.
    4. Add the saffron and nutmeg powder, mix well and cook on a medium flame for another 3 to 4 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
    5. Serve immediately garnished with pistachios slivers.

     

    Indian culture is a composite mixture of varying styles and influences. It has 29 states with different cultures and civilizations that can boast of an endless variety of cuisines. We are always ready to try out new flavors, new combinations and new recipes in our kitchens.  

    Curd, beans, lentils not only provide essential amino acids, but are also good sources of healthy fats and is low in calories. Thanksgiving only comes once a year, and now you have a wholesome menu that does not force you to abstain from the festivities. In any case, we thought this Calories Burned Cycling Calculator by Bicycling magazine will be useful post the celebrations.

    We hope you will try these nutritious and authentic Indian recipes this year to express your gratitude for your near and dear ones and be motivated to stay lean during the holidays so you can get back on the bike healthier, easier and faster.

    Once again, we are truly grateful for all your love and support and this is just a small gesture to put our feelings in words. Let us be thankful and giving today, and every day.   

    Moreover, stay tuned for Part 2 of our EAT, SLEEP, BIKE series!


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