Hello, my name is Shruti Kapoor and I was born and raised in a small city called Kanpur in Northern India. For most Indians, our way to someones heart is through their stomach. We live to eat and my family is no different. We are either eating a meal, or talking about the one we ate or planning for the next one. Our lives revolve around food and eating. It's no exaggeration when I say most of our social plans are guided by where we will dine.
India is a diverse and culturally rich country and each region has its own unique cuisine. While I enjoy food in general, nothing beats a home cooked Indian meal. Specially more so now because I live in the US and cooking a full Indian meal daily is time consuming. It's hard to eat healthy because Indian food is typically rich, heavy and lip smacking delicious. The sweets are a killer. However if cooked at home, most meals can be made healthy. In my house while most of us like eating non-vegetarian food, we only cook a vegetarian meal. Those were the rules set very early on by my maternal grandmother. In fact, growing up, I remember we used to buy chicken from the restaurant, get it home and eat in separate plates (not the every day plates). she was strict about this rule and there was no messing with her. My grandmother is now 91 years old but the rules at home haven't changed much. We still don't cook meat at home and while eating at home is ok, we still need to ensure the plates are separate.
So this is what a typical Indian meal cooked in my parents kitchen looks like:
It's a balanced diet with 1 bowl of lentils, today was yellow lentils (They are high in protein, low in fat and are a good source of fiber, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.). The lentil is usually garnished with a small teaspoon of clarified butter, chili powder, cumin seeds and asafoetida, all of which help in digestion. There are two different types of vegetables, today we have Okra made with onions and a variety of spices and there is mixed vegetables (carrots, green beans, cauliflower, potatoes and peas) sautéed in light spices. Fresh yogurt with salt, cumin and coriander powder helps cool down the stomach and the palette. A side of white rice (starch free), some salad in the form of freshly cut cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and chillies. The "Roti" (tortilla) is made of whole wheat and is wholesome and healthy. In addition there are condiments like freshly made coriander chutney and roasted papadum (this is usually made of either lentils or potatoes. Can be fried but in our house its usually roasted over the flame directly). It's a wholesome, balanced meal with 2 portions of vegetables, 1 portion of lentils (proteins), rice (carbs) and whole wheat. Pickles, fresh salad, yogurt and papadum compliment the scrumptious food. The meal is prepared fresh daily, the lentils and vegetables change but the rice and rotis is staple. This plate of deliciousness is undoubtedly my comfort food. I won't trade it for anything in the world.