Bri­tish-In­dian food writer and TV chef An­jum Anand shares her se­crets to easy, healthy In­dian food the whole fam­ily will love.

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - CONTENTS - by TV chef An­jum Anand

TV chef An­jum Anand ex­plains just how healthy In­dian food can be

Raised in Switzer­land, we mostly ate fresh, home­made food, of­ten In­dian but local Euro­pean favourites too. The food there is par­tic­u­larly good qual­ity, which is the best way to eat — so I feel re­ally lucky. Even to­day, I like my kids to eat the same way — healthy, home­made fresh food. My ear­li­est food mem­ory is mak­ing meat­balls with my mum. I re­mem­ber drop­ping them into the sim­mer­ing hot curry, and be­ing ner­vous I’d be splashed by the sauce. I learned the tech­nique re­ally quickly! My break­fast is al­ways very sim­ple. I’ll have a cup of warming and stim­u­lat­ing home­made masala tea, and whole­meal plain toast. Lunch is my big­gest meal of the day, and in my ideal world it’s a pot of lentils, some veg­eta­bles and freshly made roti, and a crunchy but flavour­ful raita on the side.

Nuts or a piece of fruit is my go-to snack. And if I’m re­ally tired, it’ll prob­a­bly be some­thing a lit­tle less healthy! I try to be healthy most of the time, so when I’m in­dulging it can be any­thing from pizza to a piece of choco­late cake. I do the cook­ing at home — my hus­band doesn’t know how to put the oven on! Din­ner varies each day — any­thing from In­dian to Ital­ian to Greek — but some­thing hot the whole fam­ily can eat to­gether. In­dian food is not just but­ter chicken and cheesy naan. In­dian food is re­ally re­gional, and changes de­pend­ing on what grows there. We also have great tan­doori food — the best street food in the world. Whether you’re a meat-eater, veg­e­tar­ian or ve­gan, the food of In­dia is so vast and var­ied you can eat some­thing new each day. Un­for­tu­nately there’s a com­mon be­lief that In­dian food is re­ally un­healthy, but we have plenty of steamed, grilled and stir-fried food. To be hon­est, a lot of home-style In­dian food doesn’t need a ‘healthy’ makeover. It’s full of healthy in­gre­di­ents any­way! Heavy cream and nut pastes are gen­er­ally only used in the restau­rants, but if you’re wor­ried about your fat in­take, you can use a lit­tle less oil when cook­ing, or bake things like samosas in the oven, in­stead. Most of us need to eat more ve­g­ies, and In­dian cook­ing has the best veg­e­tar­ian food in the world! It’s so easy to add a lot of flavour­ing with just a few spices! An­other great tip is to make a quick tan­doori mari­nade for your veg­eta­bles, then throw them onto the bar­be­cue for a su­per-quick and de­li­cious side that’s not just steamed or roasted. I of­ten feed re­luc­tant veg­etable eaters a spinach and dill raita to eat along­side their meat. When I cook for friends, I like to make dif­fer­ent street food dishes. One of my favourite meals is the pa­neer kathi roll, a hot In­dian wrap in­spired by street food. It’s re­ally very easy be­cause you can make the fill­ing and bread in ad­vance, then heat them up and com­bine them in a wrap within min­utes when your guests are ready to eat. My favourite short­cut is to make chut­neys (proper In­dian chut­neys, not sweet and sticky!) to keep in the fridge for when I need them. They’re a great way to add flavour to ev­ery­day meals, and they save a lot of labour in the kitchen. It’s easy to make healthy food in a hurry. I of­ten make a quick curry us­ing my chilli, gar­lic and tomato chut­ney (which sim­mers for 30 min­utes, de­vel­op­ing depth of flavour). All I have to do is fry up some onions and gin­ger, add in my spices, the main in­gre­di­ents and the chut­ney, then sim­mer it un­til it’s all cooked through — which is of­ten no more than 15 min­utes!

In­dia has the best veg­e­tar­ian food in the world!

Dis­cover real In­dian flavours and easy, de­li­cious recipes in An­jum Anand’s lat­est book,I Love In­dia (Hardie Grant Books; $39.99). Avail­able now in Aus­tralian book­stores.

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