-By Chef Kunal Kapur

I have always been in love with food. Food has a special role in our lives, providing us with both nutrition and love. Throughout my childhood, my mother used to express her love through food, making my favourite recipes to uplift my mood or to celebrate special occasions.

But over the years I have seen that people's relationship with food has changed. From nourishment and celebration, it has also became a way to emotions. Emotional eating or stress eating is triggered by stress and and emotions, and not due to hunger. Challenges, uncertainty, and turmoil through the pandemic has made it more commonplace, over the last two years. But many people don't realise, stress impacts your heart. And while we may not always be able to avoid stress, it is important to make healthier choices as an alternative to stress eating.

Choose snacks that are protein-rich and fibre-filled to keep you going through the day. This does not mean that you need to choose salads and soups or adopt a fad diet. You can try simple, but tasty recipes that can be both filling and exciting when you are looking to cope with feelings of stress. Choosing ingredients that are good for the heart like carrots, mushrooms, capsicum, berries, oats, walnuts and flax seed can boost your energy and elevate your moods. These simple changes can go a long way in helping care for your heart. The important thing to remember is that when you eat right, you feel right. So here are my simple and tasty recipes that will not only provide you with comfort but are also healthy for you and your heart.

Spicy Bread Upma

Ingredients:

  • Saffola Gold oil
  • Wholegrain bread, 2-3 slices
  • Nuts of your choice - cashew nuts, flax seeds, 2-3 tbsp
  • Carrots - 2-3 tsp
  • Mustard seeds, ½ tsp
  • Split urad dal, ½ tsp
  • Green chilli, 1
  • Curry leaves, 1 spring
  • Onion, 1
  • Tomato, ½ cup
  • Ginger, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric, as per taste
  • Salt, as per taste
  • Red chilli powder, as per taste
  • Water, 4 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves, as per taste

Method:

  • Toast 2-3 slices of whole grain bread, until crisp
  • Cool and cut into cubes
  • Heat 1 tbsp of Saffola Gold oil in a pan
  • Add 2 tbsp of nuts to this as per your liking, such as flax seeds, and cashew nuts; roast and then set these aside
  • Add ½ tsp mustard seeds and ½ tsp split urad dal to the same pan, and saute until the dal turns lightly golden
  • Add 1 chopped green chilli and 1 spring curry leaves, saute until curry leaves turn crisp and then add hing
  • Add ¼ cup finely chopped onions
  • Saute until it turns golden
  • Add 1 tsp of grated ginger and 2-3 tsp of chopped carrots
  • Add ½ cup of ripe tomatoes, salt and a pinch of turmeric
  • Add ½ tsp sugar and ½ tsp of red chilli powder
  • Saute for a few mins and then add 4 tbsp of water
  • Once the masala thickens, add the bread cubes and the nuts, coat this with the mixture but avoid over-stirring so it remains crisp
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve

Avocado & Paneer Bread Roll

Ingredients:

  • Saffola Gold oil, 3 tsp
  • Whole grain bread, 6 slices
  • Onion, 1
  • Ginger garlic paste, 1 tsp
  • Green chilli, 1
  • Peas, 3 tsp
  • Sweet corn, 3 tbsp
  • Bell peppers (red and yellow), 3 tbsp
  • Mashed Avocado, 2
  • Paneer, 3 tsp
  • Turmeric, as per taste
  • Red chilli powder, as per taste
  • Salt, as per taste
  • Water, 1 bowl

Method:

  • In a large pan, heat 3 tsp Saffola Gold oil and saute 1 onion until it changes colour
  • Add 1 tsp ginger garlic paste and 1 tsp green chilli, and saute the mixture
  • Add 3 tbsp peas and 3 tbsp sweet corn, and cook till it softens
  • Add turmeric, red chilli powder and salt, and mix well
  • Add 3 tbsp cottage cheese and avocados, mix well
  • Let this stuffing cool down (the stuffing can also be prepared in advance and refrigerated for quick use)
  • Roll into cylindrical shapes
  • Take the bread slices and cut the edges
  • Dip each slice into the water for about a second and then squeeze out the excess liquid completely
  • Wrap the bread around the stuffing and pinch the edges to secure it tightly
  • Roll with hands further to ensure it remains cylindrical
  • Pan toast with hot oil, so that it becomes crisp, keep a medium flame till it turns golden brown
  • Serve hot with dips of your choice

Poha veggie Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup poha
  • 2 grated boiled potatoes
  • 1 grated carrot
  • ½ grated beetroot
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1 tsp chopped coriander
  • ½ inch chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Saffola gold oil

Method:

  • Wash 1 cup poha and soak in water for 2-3 minutes. Drain out the water completely.
  • Take 2 grated boiled potatoes, add the poha and smash it with your hands.
  • Add chopped green chillies, chopped coriander, chopped ginger, chaat masala, turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt, sugar, lime juice, and roasted cumin powder. Mix well.
  • Make small balls. Allow them to rest for 4-5 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Lightly brush oil on the balls and bake for 10-20 minutes or till crisp.

Veg Poha Cutlet

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups beaten rice poha
  • 3 Pieces potatoes medium sized boiled
  • ¼ cup Paneer
  • ¼ cup carrot Grated
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp Black pepper powder
  • ½ tsp Garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp Chat masala powder
  • ½ tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1 inch ginger Chopped
  • Coriander leaves
  • 2 piece Green chili Chopped
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 2 tsp All-purpose flour
  • Bread crumbs
  • Saffola gold Oil for shallow frying

Method:

  • Place the beaten rice in a sieve and wash it thoroughly with water for a few seconds. Keep aside for 10 minutes to make it soft.
  • Grate the boiled potatoes or you can mash it also
  • Put grated potatoes in a bowl and add soaked poha, grated carrot, grated paneer or chena, Salt to taste, Black pepper powder, Garam masala powder, Chat masala powder, Red chilli powder, Chopped ginger, chopped Green chily, Coriander leaves and lastly add lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients until well combined.
  • Take a generous portion of dough and shape each into a cutlet or give desired shape of your choice. Prepare rest of the cutlets in the same way.
  • Put all-purpose flour/maida in a bowl and make thin paste with water. Add salt and black pepper, mix it well till no lumps.
  • Dip each cutlet one by one with flour paste and then coat with bread crumbs all around the cutlet. Prepare rest of the cutlets in the same way.
  • Take a pan and add oil for shallow frying. Once it gets hot, add prepared cutlets and shallow fry until golden brown from both the sides and crisp.
  • Take out in a plate and serve these cutlets with favourite sauce/chutney along with tea.

Sprouts Moong Cheela

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Besan
  • 2 Green Chillies (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons Curd
  • 3 Tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 cup Sprouted Moong
  • ¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 4 tbsp Saffola Gold cooking oil
  • 1 Onion (finely chopped)
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander
  • Salt as per taste

Method:

  • Mix all the ingredients, add water to make a smooth and thick batter
  • Heat a non-stick pan and grease it lightly with oil
  • When pan is hot, pour some batter and evenly spread it
  • When bubbles start to appear, flip the cheela to the other side till it is brown and crisp
  • Serve it hot with a tomato ketchup