Eating Vegetarian in India

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The country of India has more than 700 million people who are practicing vegetarians, at least part of the time if not all of the time. This popular style of eating makes perfect sense whether you are doing it for religious, social or health reasons. The Indian population of over one billion people consume more than their fair share of vegetables. Eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, green beans, peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach are some of the most heavily featured vegetables in Indian cooking, all of which are alkaline-forming in the body. Tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, green beans and zucchini are among the most highly alkalizing. Generally, most vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices are alkaline-forming, while processed foods, meat, poultry, eggs, fish, seafood and most nuts, legumes and grains are acid-forming. A diet of 60 to 80 percent alkaline-forming food supports a balanced body pH and consequently, proper cell, tissue and organ function.

Herbs and spices contribute the complex flavors, aromas, textures, colors and heat that form the foundation of Indian cuisine. Coriander is used on a daily basis to flavor soups, drinks, chutneys and curries. Cinnamon is very popular and is used in many rice dishes, curries, meats and desserts. Saffron is used extensively and turmeric is added to almost all lentil, vegetable and meat dishes. Many people find Saffron expensive and do not use it except on special occasions. Garlic, mustard, black and white pepper, cumin, Ginger fennel, cardamom, fenugreek, nutmeg, clove, allspice, lemongrass, dill and celery seed are popular seasonings in Indian cooking. There are a variety of Indian spice mixtures like Masala that can be found at many international food markets. Most herbs and spices are alkaline-forming. Many natural food practitioners believe sea salt is highly alkaline-forming while the standard used here in America: “iodized table salt” is highly acid-forming.

Enjoy Indian Cooking at Home 
You can’t be a country that based their diet on vegetarianism without consuming a good load of fresh fruit daily. There are many fruits grown in India because of the variety of different terrain and the people eat the produce abundantly. Some of the most commonly used fruits in India are raisins, dates, mangos, guavas, peaches, coconuts, lemons and limes, all of which are alkaline-forming. Mangos, peaches and lemons are also highly alkaline-forming. Mango is the national fruit of India and is the most popular fruit for export. There are over 100 varieties of Mangoes available in India. Another fruit popular in Indian cooking is coconut. Coconuts are moderately alkalizing and used in variety of Indian recipes.

SPICY INDIAN MILLET PILAF

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup instant minced onion 1 teaspoon instant minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups millet
  • 6 cups chicken broth,
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 3/4 cup seedless raisins
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews

 

 Instructions

  1. In a cup, combine onion, garlic and 1/4 cup water; let stand for 10 minutes to soften.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat oil until hot; add onion and garlic mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in millet; cook, stirring constantly, until millet is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add chicken broth and saffron; bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until millet is almost tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Stir in peas and raisins; cook until millet is tender, about 5 minutes longer.
  7. Place in a serving bowl.

 

Eating a diet high in alkaline foods can hardly ever be a problem in Indian eating. Meat is an option that many ignore as the aromatic fragrance of traditional spices make eating veggies, grains and fruits a popular choice. Since meat is more of a side dish than an entrée, eating a little meat still means that you ate a pretty healthy meal. A diet of 60-80% alkaline foods can fight off the diseases that are ravaging the modern world. Heart disease, diabetes and obesity are putting a strain on healthcare systems around the world and any society that advocates a diet high in vegetables and fruit is doing their country and its people a genuine service.

Potatoes with Cumin seeds

I discovered this dish while dining in the Atlanta area. I love potatoes and this was immediately a favorite of mine. This goes great as part of a vegetarian meal. I made a point of searching the recipe as soon as I got home so I could share with friends and successfully make my own.
Ingredients

  • 5 medium size potatoes boiled peeled and cut into bite size cubes, this will make about 4 cups of cubes potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ginger thinly sliced
  • 2 green chilies seeded and sliced length wise
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon crushed coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mango powder (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro to garnish

 

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Oil is the right temperature when cumin seeds crack immediately after being put in the pan.
  2. Add cumin seeds.
  3. After seeds crack, add ginger and green chilies and stir for few seconds.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Add all the remaining spices, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, mango powder, and salt. Stir for few seconds.
  5. Add potatoes and mix well. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes. All the potatoes should be coated with spices.
  6. Turn off the heat and add cilantro. Sir and serve hot.

The ability of Indian cooks to infuse so many flavors to their vegetarian fare makes eating Indian cuisine quite a delight to millions around the world. Even if you NEVER make it to India, there is a high probability that there is a quality Indian café or eatery in your town. There are MANY Indian places to eat here in Atlanta and i assume its like that in most metro areas. Even though I don’t remember all the Hindu names that belong to the dishes, I do know enough to order what I like and don’t mind trying something new.

To Your Good Health,

Randy Powell, Eating-Veggies.com