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Mediterranean food files

There’s a lot more to Mediterranean food than the exotic taste and the feast of colours on the platter — it is also considered as one of the most healthy cuisines on the global menu.

india Updated: Aug 12, 2011 02:01 IST
Roma Arora
Roma Arora
Hindustan Times

There’s a lot more to Mediterranean food than the exotic taste and the feast of colours on the platter — it is also considered as one of the most healthy cuisines on the global menu. A recent study by the University of Maastricht in Netherlands says that a Mediterranean diet can increase a woman’s lifespan by as much as 15 years, and a man’s by eight years. Reason: The diet is rich in vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, fruits and nuts.

Manika Setia Sinha, dietician says, “Mediterranean is a diet rich in MUFA (mono unsaturated fatty acids), and roughage. MUFA helps lowering of cholesterol levels in the body and also improve the Insulin sensitivity, keeping us active all day long. Roughage also helps to lower the cholesterol level.”

Live longer, follow a Mediterranean diet.

Breakfast: Eggs are a perfectly healthy breakfast option. Vegetables such as sun-dried tomatoes, onions, peppers and olives really wake-up scrambled eggs. You can even add a little Greek flavour with some nice crumbled feta cheese.

Lunch: A healthy salad is a nice lunch option. Choose fresh greens and load them up with goodies grilled chicken or fish, nuts, crumbled cheese, chopped egg, etc.

Dinner: Grilling is an essential part of the this diet. Be it vegetables, Salmon, chicken or pork, just grill them in olive oil, salt and pepper. What’s more, you can also toss up stringy spaghetti and treat yourself to hearty penne or fusilli pasta.

Mediterranean Greek Salad
2 cups of shredded lettuce (Romaine)
2 small cucumber (diced)
20 gm cherry tomatoes (sliced into half)
1 onion (diced)
1 capsicum (diced)
10 gm black olives (sliced)
5gm feta cheese (crumbled)
For dressing
1 lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 to 4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
A pinch of pepper
A pinch of oregano
In a small bowl mix all the
salad ingredients. Now, add 1/2 to 1 cup of dressing to it, mix well and serve immediately.

(Recipe by chef Ranjeet Kumar, 1 Cafe lounge)

What makes it so healthy?
Mediterranean cuisine gets its identity from the use of these four primary basic ingredients — tomato, olive, olive oil and garlic.
Tomato: It’s a rich source of Lycopene, an antioxidant which is essential in fighting against all kinds of cancer and heart diseases.
Olive and olive oil: They have Omega 3 fatty acids which counters cholesterol and helps in keeping the heart healthy.
Garlic: It’s a wonder drug. Apart from its amazing taste, it has blood-thinning properties and is a great natural antibiotic as well.

(Recipe by chef Shamsul Wahid, Smoke House Deli)

Roasted garlic plum tomato fettucini
120gm fettucini
50gm garlic
30gm onion
30gm olives
20gm parmesan
10gm caper
30ml olive oil
100gm plum tomato polpa
30gm yellow zucchini
30gm green zucchini
30gm broccoli

Blanche the fettuccini in salted water. Now, chop the onion and garlic, slice the zucchini and set aside. Chop plum tomatoes and retain the juice. Slice the olives and set aside. In a heavy-bottom pan, add olive oil. Saute onion and garlic. Add olives, chopped plum, tomatoes and cook for a while.
Add fettucini and toss well. Add chopped basil. Finish with butter and Parmesan. Serve hot.

(Recipe by chef Shamsul Wahid, Smoke House Deli)

Chicken and farfalle with creamy walnut sauce
1/3 cup walnuts
1 small clove garlic (peeled)
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp walnut oil or extra-virgin
olive oil
250gm boneless, skinless chicken breast trimmed of fat (cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
100gm whole-wheat farfalle pasta
1 cup small broccoli florets
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
Salt to taste

Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Combine walnuts, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne in a blender; pulse until finely chopped. Blend in broth, parsley and lemon juice until smooth and creamy.
Heat oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Cook pasta for five minutes. Add broccoli and bell pepper, cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta and vegetables are just tender. Return to the pot. Add the walnut sauce and chicken; toss to coat.

(Recipe by chef Anil Mohan, United Group)

First Published: Aug 11, 2011 19:27 IST