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Cook up some heart-healthy delicacies

Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure and cholesterol related problems, and are you already feeling that it’s the end of your life? Who says healthy food means bland and tasteless? Chefs are busy whipping up a tasteful and visually appealing fare using the healthiest of...

health and fitness Updated: Aug 16, 2011 21:56 IST
Debasmita Ghosh

Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure and cholesterol related problems, and are you already feeling that it’s the end of your life? After all, what’s the point living if you can’t eat good food! Well, healthy eating is no more all about boring salads and bland curries. It’s also about kebabs, fries and a lot more, or so say some chefs and dietician, who have a host of innovative ideas when it comes to heart healthy cooking.

From oil-free treats that retain the grandeur and taste, to yummy dishes cooked in heart healthy cooking mediums such as canola oil and olive oil, there’s no dearth of options for a health conscious foodie. “It’s all about how you make it. You just have to use the right medium and ingredients, and you can make the most exotic dish which might look sinful but is not in reality,” says chef Kunal Kapur of Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon.

Here’s what you must know about heart friendly fare:

What’s heart-healthy

Lean meat, fish, dairy products, and carbohydrate-rich food such as whole wheat bread and pasta, green vegetables and fruits are all good for the heart. “Fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna and sardine contain Omega 3, which is highly recommend for people suffering from heart diseases,” says chef Prem Nath of Lodi - The Garden Restaurant, who’s whipping up heart healthy dishes like Seared salmon with home grown herbs crust and home grown arugula, organic pears and walnut salad. Dieticians suggest switching over to healthy cooking oil such as olive oil or canola oil to keep youself safe from heart ailments. Dr Kanika Narang, dietician, Apollo Hospital, says, “Olive oil and canola oil are low in saturated fat compared to desi ghee or vanaspati, so it’s easier to digest them. Besides, they also have Omega 3 fatty acids that lower blood pressure and the risk of heart diseases.”
Chef Kunal Kapoor uses canola oil to make dishes ranging from chicken tikkas, moong dal halwa to even crisp murukkus. “They taste and look as pleasing as their fat drenched versions,” says the chef who advocates using healthy oil in everyday cooking as well.

Switch over to healthy cooking oils
Both canola oil and olive oil are healthy cooking mediums. While canola oil is made from canola seeds that belong to the Brassica family, olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is - freshly pressed from the fruit. Canola oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that reduce blood cholesterol levels. It is also rich in vitamin E. Olive oil too, is rich in MUFA and that’s why a prime component of the Mediterranean diet, which is considered to be the healthiest of diets.

Herb crusted Seared salmon
Ingredients

180 gm fresh salmon steak
½ lemon
5 gm garlic paste
Salt to taste
5 gm finely chopped mixed herbs (Sage and Dill)
Crumbs of one dried slice of bread
Lots of crispy lettuce
A lemon wedge

Method
Wash the salmon steak, dry and keep aside on a large deep plate, squeeze half a lemon on top of the fish. Rub the garlic paste, salt and pepper over it. Sprinkle chopped mixed herbs. Set aside to absorb the marinade in 7-10 degree chilling for one hour. Pick the marinated fish and place it on a heated pan. Sear the sides of the fish for two minutes, turning with spatula to avoid breaking. Make the crust by mixing the herbs with the bread crumb, salt and pepper. Now, make a crust on the salmon by placing the fish on the baking tray and covering it with the herb crust mixture. Place the fish in a pre-heated oven and bake until a light golden crust is formed. Serve with lettuce and lemon wedge.

Recipe by Chef Prem Nath, Lodi,The Garden Restaurant