Healthy food can be tasty too

Nafisathul Misriya

It’s been nine years since I moved to the city. I have lived in Coimbatore all my life and it was only after marriage that I really took cooking seriously.

I began experimenting a lot with the food I made and my family enjoyed that a lot. I joined cooking groups on Facebook and drew inspiration from there as well. Slowly, my passion for cooking turned into something bigger where I wanted to make sure that I was only making healthy food. I started to avoid refined ingredients and use as many natural ones as possible.

It was definitely a big change for my family since it was a lifestyle change. All our lives, we grew up having white-coloured food but when I switched to the healthier ingredients like ragi, everything I made obviously had a different colour. The flavour wasn’t too difficult to tackle though; we could taste it in its natural form which took the dish to a whole another level.

The family wasn’t too happy with it at first. It took some time for them to get used to it.

One of the main reason why we decided to make the shift was for my son; he is allergic to certain ingredients and outside food does not suit him. We try our best to not consume anything store bought, like cakes and cookies.

In fact, this lifestyle shift has helped us a lot too. I lost weight and my husband’s health issues have reduced too.

My in-laws are from the Chettinad side. They mostly make non-vegetarian items. When I became a part of their family, I started to explore the cuisine and learnt how to make Chettinad dishes. Thankfully, my experiments have turned out successful and everyone who tasted my food gave a positive response.

A couple of years ago, I started a Facebook page called ‘Pure and Precious’ where I share my recipes. I feel that it’s not too hard to make the shift. You may have to figure out the alternate ingredients but once you know that, cooking what you want is like making anything else.

I know that the older generation (including mine) grew up having only refined items, but if we introduce our children to the healthier versions of it, they will grow up learning that. It wouldn’t have to feel like a switch to them. They will grow up healthier and stronger too.

That’s why I decided to make ‘Ragi Ladoos’ for my kids’ after-school snacks. They usually come back home hungry and it may not be possible to make something hot for them every time. I wanted to make energy bites for them but the ladoos seemed more appealing so I decided to experiment with that. The ladoos are soft, moist and tasty, just the way the children would like it.

Recipe: Ragi Ladoos


Ragi Ladoos

Ingredients

- Popped ragi flour, 120 g

- Peanut, 120 g

- Desiccated coconut, 60 g

- Palm jaggery, 120 g

- Water, 120 ml

Method

- Dry roast the ragi flour and desiccated coconut on medium heat in a heavy bottom tawa stirring continuously. Keep it aside and let them cool.

- Grind the roasted peanuts until smooth and creamy or into a coarse mixture. It works both the ways.

- Add the palm jaggery to water and heat it on the stove until the jaggery is completely dissolved in the water.

- Pass it through the strainer to remove all the debris and keep it aside. 
In a wide vessel, mix the flour, desiccated coconut and peanut butter.

- Add the jaggery syrup little by little and mix it into the flour until the right consistency to make ball and taste is achieved. Now scoop out and mould them into balls.

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Healthy food can be tasty too

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