Healthy Foods that keep you warm during the Winter

As the end of the year air keeps on bringing chillier temperatures to a large part of the country, people can do more to keep warm besides wearing a coat, hat or gloves. A variety of foods for instance, can help the body stay warm during these winter months. This week, we list our five such culinary examples- ingredients and otherwise, that serve the purpose:

1. Ginger

Ginger not only helps the body stay warm, it also helps boost the immune and digestive systems. Ginger can be used in salad dressings, soups such as ginger carrot soup as well as into baked goods such as bread – which tastes great with a taste of garlic! You can even drink ginger with hot water right before bedtime to keep you snug and comfortable through the night.

2. Coconut 

Fats in general, such as coconut keep the body warm through their constant metabolization processes. Although it is not consumed directly, coconut oil can be used as a moisturizer, which will prevent the body from losing heat through dry skin. A majority of South Indian foods – particularly from Kerala – make abundant use of coconut in their cuisines.

3. Cinnamon

Although you don’t want things to be too spice as spices such as cayenne can make you sweat and in fact, cause you to lose heat; certain other spices like cinnamon, cumin, paprika and nutmeg when consumed in the right quantities help increase the body’s metabolism and generate enough heat to keep you sufficiently warm.

4. Hot Soups

Hot soups are savoury and an obvious choice of meal for the winter months, but the timing of them through the day is important too. A salad for instance, can be eaten during the afternoon – when the body is at its warmest. But a soup in the evening works best as it can then keep the body warm through the night.

Warm tomato soup works best, but feel free to experiment with other vegetables as well!

5. Millets

Eaten hot, millet along with other whole grains provide immediate warmth and also provide needed complex carbohydrates to fuel the body’s engine. They are moreover, a great source of Vitamin B and Magnesium, which help the thyroid and adrenal glands better regulate the body’s temperature during a time when they typically slow down due to the colder weather, making them an ideal winter food!

This blog is powered by Soulfull. Soulfull now lets you have the wholesome goodness of Ragi, every morning through its deliciously Healthy Breakfast Cereals, Idlis and Dosas! The easiest way to stock up on Soulfull’s array of healthy breakfast products is by visiting the e-portal at http://www.soulfull.in

 

The Geographical Diversity of Ragi

Ragi or Finger Millet first saw cultivation over 4000 years ago. Scientifically known as Eleusine Coracana, it is an annual plant widely grown as a cereal in the arid areas of Africa and Asia. Though originally native exclusively to the Ethiopian highlands, it is very adaptable to higher elevations and Ragi fields upto 2,300 metres in elevation up in the Himalayas are not an uncommon sight.

To increase yield, Ragi is often intercropped with legumes such as peanuts, cowpeas and pigeon peas, or even other plants such as Niger seeds. Statistics on individual millet species are therefore vastly divergent, but it is estimated that around 38,000 square kilometres of the world’s arable land sees its growth and harvesting in any given calendar year.

India is a major cultivator of finger millet with a total cultivated area of 15870 of those square kilometres. The state of Karnataka is the leading producer of finger millet, known as Ragi in the region, accounting for 58% of India’s Ragi production itself, and some of it is also exported. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and a few other states also count as major and minor Ragi producers.

Nutrition of Ragi across the globe is just as diverse as it’s cultivation. It can not only be ground and cooked into cakes, puddings or porridge, but the grain is also used to mak a fermented drink (or beer) in Nepal and in many parts of Africa. Moreover, the straw from finger millet is used as animal fodder in several temperate climates.

In a niche location in North Vietnam, finger millet is also used as a medicine for women at childbirth. As a beverage too, Ragi has consistently been popular. Ragi malt porridge is made from finger millet which is soaked and shadow dried, then roasted and ground. This preparation is boiled in water and given to children, patients, and adults alike. This is a good substitute for milk powder-based beverages.

In essence – being very high in calcium, and rich in iron and fibre, and having a better energy content than other cereals, its characteristics make it ideal for feeding Ragi to infants and the elderly. In this pursuit, certain developing geographies partner with farmers and the government to help grow nutritious crops in general. For instance, the HOPE project in Africa is increasing yields of finger millet in Tanzania by encouraging farmers to grow improved varieties. This helps the community have more balanced diets and become more resilient to pests and drought and progresses the society at large.

This blog is powered by Soulfull. Soulfull now lets you have the wholesome goodness of Ragi, every morning through its deliciously Healthy Breakfast Cereals, Idlis and Dosas! The easiest way to stock up on Soulfull’s array of healthy breakfast products is by visiting the e-portal at http://www.soulfull.in

Quick and Easy Breakfast Recipes this Diwali

Diwali or Deepavali is the most celebrated festival of India, and it carries a message which is applicable to everyone irrespective of their background, culture, religion or belief. It is also a festival that signifies the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and truth over falsities.

This week, the Soulfull blog puts forth several fun recipes you can shoot at to have a smashing Breakfast amidst the crackers, lights and all the fun!

1. Rava Idli

South Indian cuisines are known for their healthy recipes, and the Rava Idli is a classic examples of the trend. You will need 1 cup Rava, half teaspoons of mustard and cumin seeds, curry leaves and a cup of water alongside oil or ghee. To begin with, heat the ghee and one tablespoon of oil in a heavy based pan or kadai. Add the mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle, add cumin seeds, chana and urad dal. Then add the rava and mix well to prepare the batter over a medium flame. Pour it out into greased molds and steam cook to get deliciously soft idlis.

2. Ragi Dosa

To conjure Ragi Dosas, all you will need are 2 cups Ragi, one cup of grated coconut, curd, water and salt to taste. Take and mix both the Ragi flour and grated coconut in a bowl or pan. After mixing well, add the curd and salt, followed by the cup of water.This is the batter and it should be slightly thinner than the regular dosa batter – keep it covered for a good half-hour, sprinkle some oil/butter/ghee up top and cook on a flat pan. You may have the Ragi Dosas with your choice of vegetable dish, dal or any sambhar or chutney.

3. Adai Dosa

Adai Dosas are one of the heavier Dosas of their kind, and are a popular Breakfast as well as evening snack. Ingredients include one cup of raw rice, and a quarter cup each of chana dal, toor dal, masoor dal, urad dal and moong dal, along with oil and salt. Take all the ingredients mentioned to grind the batter in a large bowl and soak in water for 3-4 hours. Drain the excess water and grind out the ingredients until it reaches a fine consistency. Pour out this batter along with oil or ghee on a dosa pan and cook up some great Adai dosas!

4. Rava Dosa

Rava stands for semolina, and such a dosa – known as the Rava Dosa is healthy and delicious to the taste. You will need half a cup of unroasted rava, rice flour, maida, some curry leaves, coriander and 2 cups of water. Mix all the ingredients bar the oil and keep aside for 30-40 minutes. Heat a tava or non-stick pan and spread some oil. With a ladle, pour out the batter from the edges towards the center and cook until the base becomes golden or crisp. Then flip and allow the other side to cook. A popular side dish for the Rava Dosa is the coconut chutney. Do note that Rava Dosas are best when they are served hot!

This blog is powered by Soulfull. Soulfull now lets you have the wholesome goodness of Ragi, every morning through its deliciously Healthy Breakfast Cereals, Idlis and Dosas! The easiest way to stock up on Soulfull’s array of healthy breakfast products is by visiting the e-portal at http://www.soulfull.in

Fun ways to enjoy your Ragi Fills

Ragi Fills present a wide bonanza of Breakfast options, and are an excellent treat for food-lovers of all ages in their zeal to have a healthy and nutritious Breakfast with just enough punch to power up otherwise stretched mornings during any given workweek.

Ragi Fills can be had with hot or cold milk, or with yogurt and a choice of fruit and nuts to complete a filling meal all by themselves. This week, we present further options to include your Ragi Fills with certain other foods to make your Breakfast or evening snack all the more special and enjoyable!

1. Pack it in with a bowl of Ice Cream

Vanilla or Butterscotch ice creams are a great delicacy by themselves, but how awesome a treat they would be if you sprinkled some Chocolate Fills over your bowl to relish a cup of goodness!

If you are the type of eater who enjoys pouring out cups of ice cream as a post-dinner dessert, we’re sure everybody will soon be in on adding in their choice of Fills to crunch some late night Ragi amidst all the ice cream fun!

2. A Tangy Addition to your Fruit Salad

Fruit salads are delicious and healthy meals all by themselves, but you can make them yet healthier by pouring out some Vanilla fills to present a surprisingly nutritious accompaniment interspersed amongst the slices of orange, watermelons and other fruits of your choice.

To top it off, you may also pour in some hot or cold milk to make it an entire meal by itself – Breakfast, ideally.

3. A Crunchy Aura to a Sweetmeat

We all know kesaris and halwas are tongue-tangling sweets, but they also contain a blast of sugar and could do with some healthy ingredients in them. Enter your Monster Fills; pour them out into your jelly-like sweet preparations to your heart’s content to separate yours from all the rest this Diwali!

We’re sure the friends, family and neighbours will be back for more come next year too. 🙂

This blog is powered by Soulfull. Soulfull now lets you have the wholesome goodness of Ragi, every morning through its deliciously Healthy Breakfast Cereals, Idlis and Dosas! The easiest way to stock up on Soulfull’s array of healthy breakfast products is by visiting the e-portal at http://www.soulfull.in

Five Breakfast Mistakes to Avoid

Breakfast counts as the most important meal of the day, but few realize that skipping this important meal would lead to an adverse effect on their weight and overall health. Moreover, partaking in Breakfast shouldn’t be replete with the following casual errors, which might serve to defeat the purpose of the meal altogether:

#1 Juicing your Fruit

Healthy Weight: Top 9 Breakfast Mistakes to Avoid

The next time you approach a blender to juice an orange or lemon, remember that this process causes the fruit to shed most of its vitamins and nutrients, minerals and fibre. Instead, consider replacing your juice with a glass of water and a whole fruit alongside – this will also save you some extra calories!

#2 Having a baby-sized Breakfast

Healthy Weight: Top 9 Breakfast Mistakes to Avoid

Eating a meal for the sake of it – especially Breakfast, cannot help you escape from those extra calories. It is a common myth that consuming food of your choice after a long fast will not make one gain weight. Oily parathas, waffles and leftover dinner can in fact, lead to a greater calorie consumption through the rest of the day as well, putting your right back in square one.

#3 Monitor your Caffeine Intake

Healthy Weight: Top 9 Breakfast Mistakes to Avoid

A cup of coffee or tea does help boost your mood and metabolism, but avoid drinking multiple cups of the beverage through your morning. This can cause sleep deprivation, and coffee add-ons can reflect on your body in a bad way.

#4 Avoid Breakfast Buffets

Healthy Weight: Top 9 Breakfast Mistakes to Avoid

Buffets and large Breakfast spreads may sound fancy on paper, but they could make you eat more than you need. Do not stuff yourself by opting for sugar coated cereals, doughnuts and fruit cocktails. Instead, choose mild wheat preparations, leaner cereals, oats, flakes and milk to keep the meal on a balanced standing.

#5 Choosing the Wrong Foods

Healthy Weight: Top 9 Breakfast Mistakes to Avoid

Eat a fist full of nuts, a bowl of cereal and a whole fruit instead of chocolate pancakes, muffins and mayo sandwiches. Higher caloried and high-fat items can cause a sugar spike and recurring spikes could cause health issues in your middle years.

This blog is powered by Soulfull. Soulfull now lets you have the wholesome goodness of Ragi, every morning through its deliciously Healthy Breakfast Cereals, Idlis and Dosas! The easiest way to stock up on Soulfull’s array of healthy breakfast products is by visiting the e-portal at http://www.soulfull.in

The Diversity of the Indian Breakfast

The Indian Breakfast cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional cuisines native to the first meal for many in the country. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate and history, these Breakfast meals vary significantly from one another and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. The Breakfast fare is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices and traditions.

This week, we list out the most popular Breakfast items as consumed in the four different corners of the country.

North India

The North Indian region of the country overall  has the highest capita usage of dairy products in the sub-continent, leading to them being in widespread use come Breakfast in the form of rich milk and lassis. Ghee and Kheer may also be consumed, but most staple Breakfast diets include Chole, Parathas, Kulchas and a glass of tea. Certain other Breakfast foods such as the signature Halwa Poori of Punjab are eaten on weekends only, or on occasion of important festivals.

East India

People in East India are primarily rice eaters, and the rainfall and soil in West Bengal and other such regions leads itself to bountiful rice and pulse production. Breakfast fare in East India is consequently rice-based, with rice being eaten in various forms – puffed, beaten, boiled and friend depending on the meal served. The first two are usually snacked upon, as they are for an evening snack as well, while Luchi with a dash of lentils still represents East India’s signature Breakfast dish on most mornings.

South India

South India possesses a rich Breakfast cuisine involving several traditional vegetarian dishes. South Indian Breakfast food is characterized by its uniform use of rice, legumes, millets, coconut and lentils, along with distinct aromas and flavours achieved by the blending of spices such as curry leaves, tamarind, coriander, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, cinnanom, clove, cardamom and even rose water. Idli, Dosa, Ragi Mudde, Appams and Pongal constitute the most popular dishes in the region, and these are in turn consumed with Chutney and Sambhar.

West India

West Indian cuisine is an extensive balance of many different tastes. It includes a range of dishes from mild to very spicy tastes, and these are used as Breakfast items in Maharashtra, Gujarat and even states further north such as Rajasthan and Haryana. Daal Bafia pictured above is the most popular Breakfast dish, and these are perfect weekly accompaniments to faster snacks such as the Bombay Vada Pav, Batata Vada and the sweet Shrikhand.

This blog is powered by Soulfull, the makers of deliciously healthy Breakfast options that the whole country can enjoy.

Five Traditional Ragi Recipes

Ragi, or Finger Millet has long been a staple diet for many Indians since time immemorial, and is primarly grown and consumed in the states of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Maharashtra and Goa today. Ragi flour is made into flatbreads, and in turn conjured into meals for all times of the day.

Such Ragi recipes are hundreds in number, and we present to you five traditional samples that constitute a wholesome breakfast to millions of Indians everyday.

1. Ragi Mudde

Ragi mudde is a top-of-the-class vegetarian food, and has many health benefits, being said to prevent and control diabetes over time. Moreover, it is a perfect Breakfast dish as it prevents hunger pangs through the day, aids in weight loss and works as a great body coolant. Farmers use this food often for breakfast and lunch, as it gives them enough strength and stamina to work in the fields for long hours.

It is typically prepared by boiling a cup of water, adding salt in it to taste, after which Ragi is mixed in a similar cup of cold water. The dissolved solution is slowly added into the boiling water, stirring with a strong ladle. This mixture is in turn whisked until the dough becomes smooth and soft without lumps. The resultant consistency upon reduction of the flame is semi solid, like wheat dough and is usually morphed into its spherical shape by hand and put into the middle of a plate, with Sambhar or Chutney as a suitable accompaniment. It’s a healthy, filling snack that will keep hunger pangs at bay for several hours at a time.

2. Ragi Porridge

Ragi porridge, often referred to as Ragi kanji is a wholesome beverage that takes just a few minutes to make. You will need a quarter cup of Ragi, a cup of milk, one tablespoon of jaggery and other accompaniments such as dates, walnuts or almonds to taste. Almonds are first soaked in hot water for ten minutes, the skin removed and chopped. The dates and walnuts follow, being turned into bite sized pieces.

Ragi is cooked on a medium flame with water, being stirred continuously. When the mixture starts to thicken, milk and jaggery are added, bringing it to a boil whilst stirring continuously. The prepared dates, walnuts and almonds are added to it, and the Ragi Porridge is ready!

3. Ragi Idli

To make five Ragi Idlis for Breakfast, you will need half a cup of Urad Dal having been soaked in water for 2 to 3 hours, 1 cup of Cream of Rice, a cup of Ragi flour, and salt to taste. The cream of rice is soaked for an hour before mixing with the Urad dal batter. After a couple hours, drain out the water and grind to a smooth paste, adding a cup of water. At this stage, the Ragi flour is added and mixed well until they are well combined. This mixture is placed in a warm place for 8-10 hours to let the Idli mixture ferment, and the resulting paste can be used to concoct delicious Idlis using Idli plates and a pressure cooker.

4. Ragi Dosa

Ragi Dosas are one of South India’s most popular breakfast offerings. To make a handful, ragi flour is first sprouted in a bowl or pan, and dessicated coconut, curd and salt is then added to it. This is followed by water, and everything is mixed well. The batter should be slightly thinner than the regular dosa batter and should be kept covered for a good half hour.

On a medium hot tawa, this batter is then poured out and with the help of a ladle, is spread out slowly. Oil, butter and ghee is sprinkled over its top, and in a few minutes, the Ragi Dosa is ready!

5. Ragi Roti

Ragi Roti requires half a cup of Ragi, one and a half tablespoons of finely chopped spring onion whites and greens each, some grated carrot, curd and green chilli paste, with salt to taste. All these ingredients are combined in a bowl and kneaded into soft-smooth dough, using enough water. This is then divided into four equal portions, and rolled out again into a circle using whole wheat flour. The Roti is then placed on a non-stick pan and turned over in a few seconds. The other side is then cooked for a few more seconds, and this is repeated to make as many Rotis as needed.

This blog is powered by Soulfull. Soulfull now lets you have the wholesome goodness of Ragi, every morning through its deliciously Healthy Breakfast Cereals, Idlis and Dosas! The easiest way to stock up on Soulfull’s array of healthy breakfast products is by visiting the e-portal at www.soulfull.in