Iron-rich indulgence

Iron-rich indulgence

Food fix

Iron-rich indulgence

Dates are dry fruits known to have been served as snacks to Middle-eastern royals. They are not only cherished for their taste, but are also considered high-energy foods and a rich source of dietary fibres that are deemed essential for proper colon health.

Dates contain high levels of beta-carotene, anti-oxidants, electrolytes, vitamin B-complex and essential minerals like iron and magnesium. They help minimise the risk of coronary heart diseases and increase the production of red blood cells during periods of anaemia. Here are some delectable preparations featuring ingredients that step up the goodness of dates..

Middle-eastern dates salad

Ingredients: 1½ cups of dates (de-seeded and sliced); 1 cup of cooked chickpeas; 2 medium carrots (peeled and sliced into wedges); 1 tbsp of olive oil; 1½ tbsp of honey; 1 tsp of paprika, 1½ tsp of roasted cumin seeds (powdered); 2 cinnamon sticks (powdered); a small bunch of fresh mint leaves (coarsely chopped); salt to taste.

Method: First, blanch the carrot wedges, drain and keep aside. Next, make the salad dressing by whisking the ground cinnamon and cumin powders along with honey, olive oil, paprika and a dash of salt. In a bowl, add the sliced dates, blanched carrot wedges and chickpeas. Stir in the salad dressing, garnish with the chopped mint leaves and serve.

Bengali dates & tomato chutney

Ingredients: 10 dates (de-seeded and chopped); 200 grams of tomatoes (diced); 1 tsp of mustard seeds; 1 tsp of roasted cumin seeds (powdered); 1½ tsp of grated ginger; 1 tbsp of raisins; 1½ cups of sugar, salt to taste; 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil and 1 cup of water.

Method: In a deep sauté pan, heat the oil on a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds and once they start crackling, add the diced tomatoes. Cook for at least five to 10 minutes or until the tomatoes turn soft. Now add the roasted cumin powder, grated ginger, chopped dates, raisins, sugar, salt and water. Mix the ingredients and then, cook for at least 10 minutes or until the mixture is of a thick consistency. Remove from heat, pour this chutney into a bowl and then, serve, preferably chilled.

Dates, walnut & coconut energy balls

2 cups of dates (de-seeded and coarsely chopped); 1½ cups of walnuts; ½ cup of grated coconut; 1 tbsp of vegetable oil (preferably coconut oil) and a dash of salt.

Method: Put the chopped dates, walnuts, grated coconut, coconut oil and salt in a blender. Blend all the ingredients until a mixture of a sticky and uniform consistency is attained. Scoop out this mixture and form balls. Next, place these energy balls in a bowl, refrigerate for at least one hour to set and then, serve.

Dates & apple smoothie

Ingredients: 10-12 dates (de-seeded and chopped coarsely); 1 cup of apple (peeled and roughly chopped); 2 tbsp of sugar; 1 cup of chilled milk.

Method: Add the chopped dates and apples in the blender. Add the cold milk as well as the sugar. Stir and then, blend all these ingredients to a smooth, frothy consistency. Pour this delightful smoothie into a glass and enjoy.