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Spicy route to fight weight

india Updated: Jul 20, 2012 02:10 IST
Debasmita Ghosh

Indian food is famous for its spices, and now there is more reason to gorge on it, without feeling guilty.

A new study claims that spicy food, laden with hot red chillies actually helps burn fat, suppress hunger pangs, and boost overall calorie-burning rates. So, if you have been on a bland diet in your effort to lose weight, it’s probably time to rethink.

Food scientist Stephen Whiting of Manchester Metropolitan University, who conducted the study, concluded that capsaicin, the key chemical component in red chillies, provides the required heat to trigger an adrenaline rush which in turn orders the brain specifically to burn fat cells. Chilli-spiked food also speeds up the overall metabolism, and the rate at which a person burns calories.

“Consumption of 5gm or 1 teaspoon red chilli can lead to 50kcal energy expenditure in the body that in turn may burn your fat cells,” says Kiran Dalal, chief dietician, Fortis, Faridabad.

The British Journal of Nutrition had also earlier reported that, if you have a spicy appetiser, chances are that you will eat less of the main course, as red chillies tend to suppress appetite. So, wear the chef’s hat and get set for a spice attack to fight that stubborn belly fat with these high-on-chilli recipes.

Masaledar laal pan

Ingredients
1kg paneer, 500gm tomato puree, 250ml oil, 1gm asafoetida (hing), 6 cardamoms (both large and small), 6 cloves, 6 cinnamon stick, 4 bay leaves, 40gm fennel powder, 20gm ginger powder, salt to taste, 60gm Kashmiri red chilli powder, 4 Kashmiri red chilli (whole)

Method
Cut paneer into square pieces, and fry till golden brown. Soak in water so that it becomes soft. Heat oil, add hing, large cardamom, small cardamom, cloves, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Add tomato puree, saunf powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, ginger powder and salt. Fry the gravy for 20 minutes till it becomes thick. Put the fried paneer into the gravy. Cook again for 8 to 10 minutes. Garnish it with Kashmiri red chillies (whole).

By chef Rajiv Kumar Malhotra, Chor Bizarre

Spicy dry fish

Ingredients
8 dry fish fillets, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 crushed cardamom, 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, 4 cloves, 1 star anise, 1 sliced onion, 4 dry red chillies, 1 small piece ginger, 4 garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 10gm red chilli powder, 2 tsp fish masala powder, a little tamarind, 3 tbsp tomato sauce, 2 tbsp oil, salt to taste, 1tbsp lemon Juice

Method
Clean the fish and soak in water with 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and 1 tbsp lemon juice for 5 minutes. Wash and drain the fillets. Grind onions, ginger, garlic, red chillies and green chillies to a coarse paste. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan, add cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise, cardamom and fennel seeds and saute for 2 minutes. Add onion paste and saute till it begins to brown.

Add the ginger, garlic and chilli paste and sauté more. Reduce heat and add fish masala powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Saute for a minute. Soak tamarind in half cup of warm water, extract the juice, and add along with tomato sauce, and salt. Add 1 more cup of water and boil. Then reduce heat to medium, add fish fillets, cover it with gravy, and cook for around 15-18 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for a few more minutes so the gravy thickens.

By chef Salil Chowdhury, Halfway House

Hyderabadi biryani

Ingredients
1 kg chicken, 2 onions sliced, 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, 1 tsp saffron, 1/2 cup warm milk, salt to taste, 2 tbsp ghee + 5 tbsp oil

For marination: 3/4 cup thick curd, 8-10 green chillies (make a small slit in them), 1 and 1/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste, 2 tbsp red chilli powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 3/4 tbsp coriander powder, 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves, 3/4 cup mint leaves, juice of a lemon, 1 and 3/4 tbsp salt

For dry masala: 8 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 4 cardamom pieces, 3/4 tsp Cumin, 12 pepper corns

For rice: 4 cups Basmati rice, 6 cloves, 3 cardamoms, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 3 bay leaves, 1 marathi mogga, 1 star anise, 10 mint leaves, 1 tbsp oil, 1 and 1/2 tbsp salt

Method
Marinate chicken with the dry masala powder. Keep aside for four hours. Cook rice with bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, marathi mogga, oil and salt till half cooked. Strain water and spread rice on a wide plate. Allow to cool. Heat oil and ghee in a vessel, add onions and saute for 8-10 minutes till caramelised. Keep aside.

Add saffron to milk, mix well and keep aside. In a wide deep vessel, add 3 tbsp oil, marinated chicken and spread it out over the vessel. Cook on high flame for 2 minutes. Add a tbsp of oil over the chicken pieces. Reduce flame. Spread half of the rice over it and spread 1/2 tbsp ghee and half of the caramelised onions over the rice.

Next, add a tbsp of coriander leaves and about one fourth cup of saffron milk over the rice. Repeat the procedure with the remaining rice. Place a lid, and a heavy weight over it. Seal edges with wheat dough. Cook on high flame for 2 minutes and keep aside. Heat an iron tawa, reduce to low flame, place vessel on it and cook for 20-25 minutes. Turn off heat, and remove lid after 8- 10 minutes.

By Shibu TP, consulting chef, Spice Water Trail

Laal maas

Ingredients
150ml desi ghee, 3gm cloves, 20gm Mathania chillies, 3-4 bay leaves, 20gm ginger-garlic paste, 1kg lamb, 200gm chopped onions, 150ml curd, 2ltr lamb stock, salt to taste, 20gm degi mirch powder, 3gm clove powder, 5gm chopped garlic

Method
Heat desi ghee, add cloves and bay leaf. Add chopped onions and cook till they are brown. Now add lamb and cook for 5 minutes. Then add ginger-garlic paste and cook till done. Add salt, degi mirch powder and make a fine paste of Mathania chillies and add this paste along with the powdered spices to the lamb. Cook till the time oil comes to the surface.

Now add beaten curd to the lamb and let it simmer till the time oil comes to the surface again. Now add stock and let it cook slowly for about two hours. Once the lamb is cooked, heat desi ghee, add chopped garlic and whole red chillies. Cook till the time garlic browns, put this tempering on meat and place a live charcoal and smoke the lamb covering the lid of the utensil for five minutes, and serve.

By chef Sandeep Kalra, Trident, Gurgaon

(With inputs from PTI)