We all enjoy the cool Winter days after hot and sweaty summer. Do you know our body needs also change with the season? When the temperature falls, your metabolism tends to slow down in order to preserve energy and keep your body warm. This is why you feel less energetic during winter days. Some foods help in regulating your metabolism and keeping you active and energized through the day by warming your belly and providing comfort. Pepper, turmeric powder, egg etc some of the food that helps with increasing metabolic rate during winter. Egg pepper fry is a favourite food of children and it is an excellent item for winter as well.
Here are five ‘must include’ food during winter that will help to warm you up throughout winter days
Winter is such a relief after the blazing summers. Everyone could do with a little bit of cool breeze after the scorching summer sun. But, when it gets too cold, your body begins to slow down its metabolism in an attempt to keep you warm from within.
Slow metabolism means that fat is not burned as fast. So, you will see yourself gaining inch after inch if you are not following a strict workout regime and diet.
However, there is some good news. There are some foods that keep the body’s internal temperature high naturally by boosting metabolism. They are perfect for you to stay in shape and stay cozy when winters get too cold.
Here are the top 5 desi foods that you should make sure you have in your kitchen this winter:
Grains such as bajra and Amarnath are known for keeping the body nice and warm. The best way to enjoy Amarnath is to make a pudding with milk and topping it with some winter berries and a dash of honey. You can even cook it like rice and eat it as a replacement. These grains have an added benefit. They keep you from feeling lazy and sluggish during the winters. They give you a constant source of energy as they are digested slowly to release energy in the process.
2. Desi Ghee
The body needs to burn fat to produce heat within the body. The best and most easily digestible of all fats is desi ghee. This is one of the best options to keep the body’s heat in balance during the winters. It is used in most of our cooking and can even be added over rice and dal to improve flavor.
What is best about ghee is that it keeps you immune from the common issues that you face during winters, namely flu and cold. Ghee prevents the chances of any constipation and also works wonders when it comes to getting rid of all the body’s toxins. If you have a sore throat, just fry some onions in desi ghee and consume it. It is extremely soothing and also prevents the chances of any infections in the future.
Ginger is easily the most popular thermogenic foods that is used in India. It is used to make tea that makes you feel toasty when the temperatures drop too low. It is a common remedy for any winter ailment such as cold or cough.
The reason why ginger is so popular is that it has a slight pungent taste to begin with. So, the moment you sip some tea with ginger or bite into a raw root, you feel the heat surging down your throat. It is also one of the easiest and most commonly available ingredients in an Indian kitchen.
Ginger has several medicinal properties. You need to consume it more often during winters because it boosts metabolism quite a bit. It is also very useful in improving the flow of blood through the body. While the former is useful in maintaining the internal body temperature, the latter makes sure that you do not end up feeling lazy and sluggish all day.
Just add a few pieces of chopped ginger to regular cooking. Or, you can brew a nice hot tea that is ideal for the winter months.
Turnip, which is known as Shalgam boosts your body with the energy that it needs to stay warm during winters. You can even choose other root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, radish or yams as they are just as useful in elevating the internal temperature of the body. These roots are loaded with carbohydrates that digest very slowly.
This slow digestion is the reason why they are able to keep the body warm. As the body is continuously at work, it keeps burning up calories to produce heat and energy.
The best way to consume turnip is to make a nice hot stew that goes perfectly with rice or roti. They are also perfect for salads. You can chop them up and mix them with a few leafy greens to make a cozy winter salad. Throw in some dry fruits to enhance the taste and to get that dose of energy that is much needed on the gloomy winter days.
5. Sesame seeds
You must have often been warned by the elders in your home that sesame Seeds can lead to acne when consumed in large quantities. This is because, they have the inherent property of increasing the body temperature almost immediately after they are consumed. However, when you need to keep the body temperature up during the cold months, there is no better option than sesame seeds. They are used in halwas and chikkis that are made especially for the winter months. You can also eat a few seeds raw when you want to get the internal temperature up. These seeds have several other benefits as well. They are loaded with calcium and iron. The best thing to do would be to soak a few seeds overnight and eat them in the morning. Another popular choice is to eat a few sesame seeds with some jaggery every morning when the winters get too harsh and cold. They also are a rich source of healthy fats that keep the skin from getting too dry.
If you cannot eat the seeds raw, you also have the option of switching to sesame oil for a few months when winter sets in. The food tastes just as great and you also reap the benefits of its thermogenic properties.
These foods are easy to use and are quite common in Indian cooking. So you will be able to find several recipes that incorporate them to make yummy winter dishes that go perfectly with the weather.
Here are Two delicious dishes to help us stay warm and cozy throughout the long, cold winter months.
Curate: Elephant Journal
Tomato Lentil Soup.
We grew up eating this lentil soup almost every day each week, as it was my mom’s favorite soup to make. This dish is simple yet flavorful—just like everything else she creates. Split pigeon peas are my mom’s go-to for this recipe, but they are usually not available in your regular grocery stores. I did not get a chance to make a special trip to the Indian grocery store when making this, so I used French split lentils (orange lentils), and it was just as perfect for that warm afternoon.
1 cup French split lentils (orange lentils)
3 Tablespoons ghee or mustard oil
1/8th teaspoon hing (asafetida), optional
2 dried red chilies, stems removed, seeds discarded, and each chili torn in two pieces
1 jalapeno, stem removed, seeds discarded, and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 curry leaves, each torn in two pieces
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt or as desired
2 Tablespoons jaggery or white granulated sugar
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- In a 3-quart sauce pot over medium heat, bring 3 cups water to a boil.
- Once the water has come to a boil, add lentils and stir once.
- Bring to a boil. Remove any scum that has formed with a skimmer or slotted spoon.
- Reduce heat to low and partially place the cover on the pot. Cook for 25 minutes.
- Using a whisk, mix the cooked lentils until smooth, about 30 seconds. Remove lentils from heat and set aside.
- In a small frying pan over medium heat, melt ghee and add hing (if using).
- Add black mustard seeds and allow crackling of the seeds.
- Once the crackling has somewhat stopped, add cumin seeds, red chilies, curry leaves, and jalapeno. Saute for one minute.
- Add turmeric and tomato, then mix. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir once every two minutes.
- Add sea salt and jaggery. Stir to combine.
- Add the sea salt and jaggery mixture to the lentils and bring the lentils back to a boil. Adjust salt to taste, if necessary.
- Add cilantro and mix. Lentils are ready to be served and enjoyed!
Note: Curry leaves are optional, but they do impart a fresh lemony flavor. If you cannot find curry leaves, leave it out altogether, as there is no substitute. If the lentils are runnier than what you like, boil them for 15 minutes uncovered. If the lentils are thicker than what you like, add half a cup of water to adjust consistency.
Pulao is the Hindi name for pilaf—which is rice cooked with spices, or sometimes in stock. My mom always made this rice dish when guests were over, as adding nuts and exotic spices was one way to impress them with her culinary talents. Based on your Ayurveda dosha, it is advised to consume nuts during winter. Warm spices and nuts help our immune systems with fighting colds and other illnesses. This recipe can be enjoyed by itself, or with lentils or curry.
1.5 cups white basmati rice
4 Tablespoons ghee
2 cups red onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves, whole
1 cinnamon stick, broken into two
3 green cardamom pods, partially crushed
1 dried bay leaf
6 almonds, thinly sliced
6 cashew nuts, each broken into two, lengthwise
12 golden raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground Garam masala
Salt, to taste
2 Tablespoons cilantro, for garnish
- In a pasta pot, boil 10 cups of water. Add 2 teaspoons salt.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add basmati rice, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Strain, using a colander, and set aside.
- In a 4-quart, wide-bottom sauté pan, melt ghee over medium heat.
- Add onions, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and bay leaves. Mix. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring every minute.
- Add nuts and raisins, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring every minute.
- Add cooked rice to the pan, along with the ground Garam masala. Gently toss.
- Reduce heat to simmer, and cook covered for a couple of minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro and this pulao is ready to be served.