Indian food Healthy or Not?
A big question for people living in the UK is whether Indian food is healthy. Indian food is usually seen as a guilty pleasure and something your order as a takeaway or when you want something indulgent. The Indian restaurants in the UK have given a very poor image about Indian food with the standard Indian curry being laden with grease and spices. Low carb Indian meal options is not something that comes to a person’s mind easily!
Indian food however can be healthy. A lot of Indian recipes have their basis in Ayurvedic cooking balancing spices not only for flavour but for well being. This is why many Indian recipes start with cumin seeds, turmeric, asafotedia to mention a few. South Indian food especially tends to be quite healthy with a focus on lentils, vegetable and coconut recipes. One big factor of Indian food however is the high presence of carbs in every meal. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a carb hater, but off late I have been enjoying meals which have been grain free and more plant or protein based and enjoying the results!
White rice, potatoes and wheat flour are one of the carbohydrates ever present in an Indian meal and almost impossible to avoid. I have written a little about this in my Indian kale curry recipe and there I made the meal grain free by serving it with cooked whole bukwheat. You can find the recipe here. Since I was successful in making a low carb nutritious South Indian meal, I decided to create and share with you another one of my low carb Indian recipes, only this one is a North Indian recipe.
Healthy Aloo Tikki??
An aloo tikki is a popular Indian snack and is actually eaten all over Indian. It is a delicious potato cutlet which has few spices and is fried till crisp. It is usually served with the popular Chole or chickpea curry or with a simple coriander and mint chutney. Initially I wanted to make a healthy aloo tikki recipe as a good friend of mine had mentioned how she would enjoy a healthy version of this. At the same time I came across a lovely Celeriac mash recipe by the Hemsley sisters and this gave me the idea to use celeriac as an alternative vegetable to the potato.
In the UK you can find celeriac and swede in your supermarket but it is not very popular, mainly because people do not know what to do with it. Nowadays chefs are promoting swede and carrot mash or swede and potato mash or celeriac and sweet potato mash as alternatives to the regular potato mash. This is done to provide healthier alternatives or provide a different flavour. I felt both the swede and celeriac would make a fantastic alternative to potatoes and would make a fantastic recipe for low-carb Indian cooking.
What are Celeriac and Swede?
Celeriac is a root veg which mildly smells like celery when eaten raw. It is quite hard and takes a little time to cook. It is low in calories and starch and is a great substitute for potatoes especially when cooked. Celeriac is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, calcium and Magnesium. Due to the presence of dietary fibre it is great for your bowel moment as well as your metabolism.
Swede is like a bigger and milder version of the Turnip. It has a sweeter taste and is purple on the outside and a pale yellow inside which becomes orange on cooking. It is known as Rutabaga in the US. Swede has a high source of Vitamin C making a great component in wound healing as well as as antioxidant in protecting the body’s cell from free radicles. It is also a good source of dietary fibre which helps reduce cholesterol levels as well as helps in bowel moment and preventing constipation.
These two vegetables are thus a power house of health and nutrition. They are also a great dietary inclusion for those suffering from type 2 Diabetes.
About these Delicious Low Carb Indian Tikkis…
I wanted this to be also another one of my grain free paleo Indian food recipes and hence I have used coconut flour and chickpea flour to bring the batter together. I chose coconut flour because it has the ability to absorb moisture as the swede mash can tend to get very moist and sticky. I have also chosen chickpea flour or besan to add an Indian based source of protein to the recipe. You can however substitute this with almond flour and arrowroot starch as well or any flour of your choice.
I have chosen to stuff each of these tikkis or cutlets with a pea and coriander mix. This is something my aunt does with her aloo tikkis and I quite love the flavours that come through when you stuff a tikki. This step is completely optional and can be skipped especially when you have a busy work day. I have also shallow fried these tikkis in coconut butter as this is one of my Indian vegan recipes. If you are not on a vegan diet you can use ghee to fry the tikkis.
I have served the tikkis with a zingy kale and mint chutney. You can serve with a simple mint and coriander chutney or with the ultimate Chickpea curry or Chole.
I really love the taste and flavour of these tikkis. Not only are they packed with flavour they also make a great low- carb Indian vegetarian food option. They are a nutrition powerhouse and good boost to your health, I also enjoy the fact that I could a non-Indian British vegetables to create a unique and delicious healthy Indian meal!
Do let me know if you give this recipe a try and how it comes out. If you do share them on Instagram then don’t forget to tag them with #meghnas or #meghnaskitchen so that I can see your lovely creations!