Indian Food is Healthier Than You Think

by - December 09, 2015

Last Thursday I was invited to a food bloggers cook along event with Hari Ghotra, the renowned Indian food expert. She taught us how to make fish cakes, pakoras, samosas and turkey kebabs - and then we scoffed the lot, afterwards. Yum. Sound good? I made some more at home a week later to see if it was as easy without all the props, help and ingredients...

Have you made Indian food at home? Specifically, have you ever made Indian snacks? 

I have made curries before. Well, not proper ones from scratch, more like buying pre-made paste, adding some already-ground spices and all the rest and going from there. I'm not going to lie - the ingredients lists scare me with Indian food! 
It can be quite overwhelming to see a huge list of ingredients, especially if you haven't come across certain ingredients before and/or don't know where to get them. It just adds extra stress and length. At this point let me remind you of the following mantra:

Mantra nothing worth having comes easily

The above is SO true with Indian cooking! Yes it takes a while to get your head around the process but I think after a few times, I will be confidently able to whip up a pakora for any unexpected guests as Hari's mum does, no problem! 

Things I learnt from this lesson:

1. Indian food is healthier than you think - Spices have so many nutritional properties to them which aren't as frequently cited as other super foods. For example, Turmeric is badass! It's been classed under the World's healthiest foods for its an anti-inflammatory abilities to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and more. India has been dubbed as the diabetes capital of the world. Why is that? In my opinion it's due to the high starch content of the sides - the rice, naan bread, poppadoms, potatoes, samosas and rotis. These are all delicious but don't forget that starch = sugar. Just limit the amount of all the beige you eat and ensure you're including enough vegetables in the other parts of your meal. Especially if you plan on washing it down with beer (what else?!)

2. Home Made Indian snacks blow anything shop-bought out of the water - the spice level is up to you and the quality will be infinitely better. Also freshly fried samosas and pakoras are so much better than anything you have to reheat plus you can also choose what goes inside! Making it at home is as close as you''ll get to going to an Indian restaurant and it makes a great activity! 

3. Home made Indian snacks are way easier than you think - The first time may seem daunting but now I've done it once I'll definitely do it again because I now know the order of things: whereas before, making dough was intimidating because I just never make it!

I gave Hari's Pakora's a go the following week, to see if I had learnt anything and also because I thought me and The Boy could make a night of it, which we did! Here's how it went:

The Samosas

The samosas we decided to do exactly to the recipe. They are triangular pockets made from pastry, which you make yourself and then fill with a spicy mix of vegetables, in this case it was cooked potatoes and peas seasoned with cumin seeds, coriander, garam masala, chilli, fenugreek and ginger, before sealing and frying (I used olive oil - but you could use rapeseed to be healthier as it has a higher frying point)

samosa mix potatoes peas spices

dough for samosas rolling pin flour
It was SO nice to eat these as a treat as I  never eat white flour! 

Here's the finished product, apologies for the poor quality camera. My housemates absolutely loved them. They are crunchy and crispy on the outside which gives way to a spiced potato with sweet peas and fiery flavours. Great dipped in the mint and coriander raita too, which was another of Hari's recipes. 

Next we made PAKORAS

Based mostly on the same recipe from the event but we switched out the white potato (don't want potato overkill) for sweet potato. That's the beauty of the pakora, it's so versatile; it works well with a whole host of vegetables, so feel free to experiment with what you like/have. 

It's good getting your hands extremely sticky and properly getting stuck in (note, you'll have to get someone else to take your photos!) Sophie ended up washing her hands about 100 times during the event because she thought it was ready but alas, it needed more flour! This is essentially grated sweet potato, chopped onion, lots of the same spices as the samosas so: cumin, fenugrreek, chilli & garam masala but this one uses gram flour instead of plain flour. 

pakora mix

Pakoras sweet potato

The result was beautifully crisp yet juicy pakoras bursting with flavours. Gone in an instant. Get the full recipe here

What's the difference between plain flour and gram flour? 

Gram flour is made from chickpeas, sometimes lentils, instead of wheat and is gluten free. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! 

Which moves us nicely onto...

Curry Making: Chicken Tikka Masala

Now, in my little take home kit from the bloggers event there was a spice mix for tikka masala alongside the amazing cardamom beer, apron, recipe cards and cute mini spoon. 
Hari Ghotra Free Kit

This spice mix looked a little intimidating but it was numbered for dummies so it was fine to use. Each bag of spices looked so pretty and smelled fantastic. Be warned - when you make a curry properly your clothes, bag, everything will smell like curry for a while. It's not a bad thing! :)

Hari Ghotra Tikka Massala spices

Crushing them in the pestle and mortar releases their flavours and intensifies their colours, it's a real joy and I wish I had unlimited amounts of fresh spices and unbridled knowledge on how to cook Indian food! 

The one thing which was really surprising was that Hari instructs you to cook the meat separately, in the oven, whilst you make the curry before mixing it at the end and adding the double cream. I marinated the chicken in plain yogurt, lime juice, the spices and laid on a baking tray on a low heat for around 20 minutes. The smell was fantastic and the meat was tender and delicious.

We cooked some brown rice to go with the curry and unfortunately we had run out of coriander to finish it with but nevertheless (love that word) it was lipsmackingly good.  You may argue that double cream, rice, meat, flour - whatever your vices - aren't healthy but the finished result is SO worth it and you're not eating it that often. As I said before, ensure you have adequate vegetables knocking around to balance it. 
If Hari eats this way all the time and looks like she does, I'm game! 


The entire bloggers event was filmed and streamed live on YouTube during the night (All 2.5 hours of it!) but if you didn't catch that you can have a little look at us here in this video:

Have you ever made Indian food from scratch? What did you think of the event? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on social media!

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  1. Thanks for sharing awesome indian food recipe. But the process take longer time to cook.