During COVID-19 pandemic, access to food and virtuous nutrition is important in safeguarding your wellbeing! And, on World Health Day 2020 we bring to you some healthy recipes from India’s top chefs that will ensure your immunity game is on point. By Rupali Dean
1. Chef Joan Roca
He is the chef of the two times acclaimed ‘Best Restaurant in the World’ by The World’s 50 Best – El Cellar De Con Roca. His cuisine is inspired by the traditional Mediterranean drifts and reinterpreted in a modern style.
“Our heroes are working at hospitals. Now is the moment to give importance to fresh and local produce. And, with social distancing and confinement measures being deployed in order to minimise the spread of the virus, what comes from the nearby farms and orchards is healthfully supplying what comes from a far distance, causing traceability to simplify,” says Chef Roca.
“Cooking barley grain provides us with energy, minerals and fibre – elements which, when combined with the cauliflower’s high folic acid and vitamin C content, combine to create a complete, healthy dish, which is also suitable for lactose-intolerant individuals. We are taking a walk on the healthier side of life, without losing the joy that comes with the tastiest flavours. With this barley béchamel, you will learn how to cook grains easily and comfortably, and how to combine them with other healthy foods such as vegetables,” he adds.
Cauliflower with Barley Bechamel
- White cauliflower: 200 gms
- Broccoli: 200 gms
- Purple cauliflower: 200 gms
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Hazelnuts: 20 gms
- Rolled oats: 10 gms
For the béchamel
- Barley: 200 gms
- Cold (or frozen) water: 400 ml
- Salt and pepper
For the béchamel
- Soak the barley for at least five hours in lukewarm water at room temperature, or for 12 hours in the fridge.
- Place it in a container with twice as much water and boil for 30 minutes.
- Blend and add water as needed until a texture similar to that of béchamel sauce is achieved.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and flavour with nutmeg.
For the cauliflower
- Cut the cauliflower and broccoli in medium-sized florets.
- Boil in water for 30 minutes.
To finish and serve
- Spread the barley béchamel base over a plate and then add the hot cauliflower and broccoli.
- Add sesame seeds on top, chopped hazelnuts and rolled oats.
NOTE: If purple cauliflower cannot be found, using just one kind of cauliflower is enough, because the most important thing about this dish is the combination of flavours with the barley béchamel.
2. Chef Ranveer Brar
Ranveer Brar is one of the most celebrated chefs in India. He pioneered the first-ever Twitter video show called Ranveer on the Road, covering new destinations each season and exploring their cuisines and cultures.
“We should continue with healthy and balanced meals while being mindful of the available resources at the moment. Having a combination of cereal-pulse-millets will ensure a good supply of macro and micronutrients to the body. Vitamin C intake is important as much for the season as the current situation. It’s a good idea to add lemon and amla to your daily routine. It’s also advisable to avoid any inflammatory foods at this time, such as sugar, oily and heavy foods which can clog up the immune system and leave us feeling lethargic too,” shares Ranveer.
Cucumber and Ginger Cooler
- Cucumbers: 2
- Lemon juice: ¼ cup
- Ginger syrup: 2 tsp
- Mint leaves: 5-6
- Sugar syrup (optional): 2 tsp
- Ice cubes 8-10 nos
- Club soda bottle (chilled): 250 ml
- Few mint sprigs (to garnish)
- In a juicer put cucumber and collect the cucumber juice.
- Combine cucumber juice, lemon juice, ginger syrup, mint leaves, sugar syrup and ice in a shaker and shake everything well.
- Now pour this into a glass and top it up with soda and garnish with mint sprigs and serve immediately.
3. Chef Kunal Kapur
Kunal Kapur is known for his food-focused television shows, cookbook and hosting high dignitary’ events in the country. He is well known by the Ministry of India and was given an opportunity to present Satvik cuisine to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Ms Merkel, in Bangalore.
“Immunity boosting is not rocket science, in fact, most immunity-boosting ingredients are commonly found in almost every home kitchen. It’s the way those ingredients are consumed that makes a lot of difference. I love tea and it is an excellent way to boost immunity. Here is an easy way to prepare it,” says Kunal Kapur.
- Basil leaves: few sprigs
- Mint leaves: few sprigs
- Ginger crushed: a small piece
- Orange rind: a small piece
- Lemon juice: 2 tbsp
- Turmeric: ½ tsp
- Honey: 1 tbsp
- Green tea bag: 2 nos
- Hot water: 2 cups
- In a teapot add all the ingredients and top up with hot boiling water. Allow the ingredients to brew for three minutes.
- Strain into a cup and serve.
4. Chef Apoorva Kunte
An innovative and hands-on chef, Apoorva Kunte, has been handling award-winning culinary establishments of luxury hotel chains for over 15 years across countries.
“I incorporate these immunity-boosting ingredients in my everyday food menus in the form of smoothies, raw salads, sauces, coulis, and curries. Turmeric, acai berry, basil and lime remain my all-time favourites due to the versatility of their uses, antiseptic and high anti-oxidant properties,” says Apoorva Kunte.
Nutri Blast (acai berry, basil and coconut smoothie)
- Frozen Acai berry: 50 gms (can be replaced by fresh or frozen blueberries, Java plum or jamun syrup)
- Zest of half a lime
- Lime juice: 10 ml
- Lime leaf: 1/2 pc
- Basil: 10 gms
- Coconut water: 200 ml
- Ice cubes: 4 nos
- Toasted sunflower seeds: 10 gms
- Bring all the ingredients together in a blender jar and blitz on high setting for 45 seconds to a minute.
- Pour into a tall glass and garnish with fresh mint or basil leaves.
5. Chef Neha Deepak Shah
Restaurateur, MasterChef finalist and food technologist, Neha Deepak Shah believes that food has a story to tell. Her restaurants Meraaki Kitchen and Café White Sage are inspired from her travel and love for food.
“There is a simple rule for immunity boosting – Eat the RAINBOW! The more colourful your plate is, the more nutrients you get. Immunity is built over time and it’s important we incorporate different coloured vegetables and fruits on a daily basis,” shares Neha.
Roasted Pumpkin, Turmeric and Coconut Soup
- Olive oil: divided x 4 tbsp
- Yellow/red pumpkin: 500 gms
- Yellow onion (chopped): 1 large
- Garlic cloves (pressed or minced): 4 large or 6 medium
- Turmeric: 1 tsp
- Sea salt: ½ tsp
- Ground cinnamon: ½ tsp
- Ground nutmeg: ½ tsp
- Cloves: ⅛ tsp
- A tiny dash of cayenne pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the vegetable broth:
- Full fat coconut milk or heavy cream: ½ cup
- Maple syrup or honey: 2 tbsp
- Green pumpkin seeds: ¼ cup
- Preheat oven to 200-degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Carefully halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds.
- Slice each pumpkin halve further to make quarters. Brush one tablespoon olive oil over the flesh of the pumpkin and place the quarters, cut sides down, onto the baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes or longer, until the orange flesh is easily pierced through with a fork. Set it aside to cool.
- Heat the remaining three tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add onion, garlic, and salt to the skillet. Stir to combine. Cook until onion is translucent. In the meantime, peel the pumpkin skin off.
- Add the pumpkin flesh, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Use your stirring spoon to break up the pumpkin a bit. Pour in the broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- While the soup is cooking, toast the pumpkin seeds in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, golden and making little popping noises. Keep them aside.
- Once the pumpkin mixture is done cooking, stir in the coconut milk and maple syrup. Remove the soup from heat and let it cool slightly. You can use an emulsion blender to blend this soup in the pot and serve hot with bread croutons.