It is that time of the year when life is about garam masala chais and pakodas. And also, the season for sarson ka saag, gajar ka halwa and the rewadis and chikkis.
While it is fun to indulge in them to get the winter feels and soak in the sunshine, it is also important to eat right.
Including healthy and warming foods that will boost your immunity and help you tide through the changing season.
You don’t need to rely on fancy food, in fact most of the ingredients are readily available in your kitchen, so it won’t take much time to get these recipes ready.
Let’s get started with these quick and easy to make foods that can help not just keep your body warm in winters, but also boost the immunity.
Oats and Dry Fruits Laddoos
This sweet has almost replaced other sweets at my home. I like to make fresh batches of these sweets and they are also a perfect protein option when you are either heading to the gym for a workout.
One ladoo with a mug of black coffee is all that I need to kickstart my day sometimes.
2 cups rolled oats
Organic jaggery powder as per taste
A pinch of cinnamon powder (optional)
3-4 tablespoons of finely chopped dates
A tablespoon each of pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds
Less than one cup mixed dry fruits – I took a mix of walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios
Ghee or Peanut Butter to bind these together
How to make the ladoos
- Dry roast the oats till it turns fragrant. Keep aside to cool and grind to a fine powder.
- Dry roast the dry fruit till it lets out a nutty aroma. Remove from flame and add all the seeds. Give it a mix and keep aside to cool down. Grind to a fine powder. Keep about 2 tablespoons of this powder aside.
- In a large bowl, add the ground oats, powdered dry fruits and dates. Mix well.
- Add jaggery powder according to the sweetness you need. If you are using sweetened peanut butter, you may want to skip adding jaggery.
- Add warm ghee or room temperature peanut butter to these powders gradually till they bind without crumbling.
- Shape these into balls and sprinkle the dry fruit powder on it and store in an airtight container. Store these in a cool place.
Not only is this a warm sweet for the winters, but it is also loaded with dry fruits that keep the immunity strong in winters.
Besan Ka Kheer
Pretty much a staple in my home when I was growing up and I still love to indulge in this.
This kheer takes less than 5 - 7 minutes to get ready and helps clear phlegm and nasal passages when one has a bout of cough and cold, which is pretty common in winters.
One cup of milk
A pinch of nutmeg
2 teaspoons of besan
3 tablespoons of ghee
Two pinches of turmeric
1.5 teaspoon of jaggery powder
How to make besan ka kheer
- Take a heavy bottomed pan and add 1tablespoon of ghee to it. Add the besan to it and saute on the lowest flame till it turns fragrant.
- Add the jaggery powder and the milk and to the besan with turmeric powder.
- Turn the flame high till the milk gets hot. Lower the flame and start whisking this mix till it turns smooth and starts to change in consistency. It will have the consistency of a thick soup.
- Keep stirring constantly so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. It will take about 4-5 minutes to get this kheer ready on the lowest flame.
- Pour this into a bowl and add the remaining ghee and the pinch of nutmeg and mix well.
Eat this while it is still hot. Besan is known to be a powerhouse of antioxidants that helps to clear the nasal tract and promote normal breathing when one has a congestion.
Also, a rich source of Vitamin B1, besan can reduce the fatigue and weakness often caused by a cough and cold to provide instant energy.
Immunity Boosting Powder
This age-old recipe has many variations and it is based on Ayurveda. The powder has multiple uses.
It can be added to mug of hot water and brewed as a soothing tea and it can also be added to food when you are cooking it to enhance the taste.
4 tbsp. organic turmeric powder
3 tbsp. fennel seeds
2 tbsp. cumin seeds
2 tbsp. coriander seeds
1 tbsp. whole black pepper
1 tbsp. dry ginger root powder
1 tbsp. green cardamom seeds
1/2 tbsp. cinnamon powder
How to make the immunity boosting powder
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan on low heat and add all the dry ingredients except the powders of turmeric and dry ginger.
- On the lowest flame possible, dry roast all ingredients by constantly stirring them. It will turn aromatic in a few minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Transfer all the ingredients on a dry plate and let it cool completely. Grind to a fine powder.
- Add the other powders of turmeric, ginger and cinnamon. Mix well and sieve this powder if needed to remove the bigger particles that may be there.
- Transfer the powder into an air-tight glass bottle and store it away from direct sunlight.
Try these foods that will help you keep warmer this winter. Easy to make with readily available ingredients at your home, these immunity boosting foods can help you stay healthy as the season changes.
(Pratibha Pal spent her childhood in idyllic places only fauji kids would have heard of. She grew up reading a variety of books that let her imagination wander and still hopes to come across the Magic Faraway Tree.You can view her blog at www.pratsmusings.com or reach to her on Twitter at @myepica.)