Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Go Nuts this Diwali!

Diwali is around the corner and there’s no better time to go nuts literally! Nuts continue to labour under the bad press of being high calorie but the fact is that moderate amounts of nuts are extremely good for you. This year instead of gifting the only traditional nuts and dry fruits try something new and innovative.

Nature’s Basket carries the largest selection of exotic nuts; Pecan, Macadamia, Hazel and Pine nuts, are all available on our shelves in addition to a variety of nut based products, including Pistachio and other nut oils, a wide range of Olives stuffed with nuts, amazing selections spice mixes and sauces such as Middle Eastern Dukkah (spice mixes made using nuts) Almond Tagine Pastes and Italian Pestos in addition to the usual Almonds, Walnuts and Pistachios.

Nuts are an important source of nutrients. Several studies have shown that people who consume nuts regularly are less likely to suffer from coronary heart disease. In addition to possessing cardio-protective effects, they contain omega-3 fatty acids that lower triglyceride levels and so are often prescribed for patients with insulin resistance problems. Reach for nuts instead of a cookie or other unhealthy snacks. They are healthy and filling, raw or roasted nuts without added ingredients such as large amounts of fat, salt or sugar are good for you.

Add nuts to your festive dishes this season and watch your dishes transform; from ordinary to extra ordinary. There are so many choices. Toss a few toasted Macadamia nuts in a salad for added crunch. Macadamias are a high energy, cholesterol free food that contain natural oils with 78 per cent monounsaturated fats, the highest of any oil including olive oil!

Toast pine nuts or walnuts and scatter over that bowl of pasta or stir fry for added crunch, fibre and essential protein. High in vitamins, minerals and good fiber, that slows down the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.

Sprinkle sliced Pecans over morning cereal or oatmeal. Crush a few different types of toasted nuts and keep in an airtight jar to sprinkle over a bowl of yogurt and fruit in the morning.

Try mixing assorted nuts with dried fruits and nuts in a trail mix and portion into little ziplock snack packs for high-energy, convenient tiffin stuffers


Do remember that nuts are not a miracle food, but should be enjoyed in conjunction with a balanced diet that includes vegetables, whole grains, fish, and legumes. As always, beware of nut allergies when using them in dishes that many people will share.
Here is a lovely colorful nut enriched recipe for Diwali from Nature's Basket Food Consultant Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal.

Rushina's Pine nut, Pistachio, Pineapple Jewel pulao

A colourful festive recipe without Garlic and onion for Diwali.

Ingredients

2 cups of rice, cooked

3 1/3 cups water or broth

1/2 cup sweet corn (fresh or canned)

1 bunch spinach, washed cleaned and torn

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup Pistachios

1/2 cup red raisins or cranberries

1/2 cup chopped pineapple (fresh or canned)

1 tsp Garam masala

Oil

Salt

Place the rice to cook. Meanwhile heat oil in a frying pan add the pine nuts and pistachios and stirfry for a few seconds. Transpre to a bowl. In the same pan, heat a little more oil, add the garam masala and give it a good stir. Add the spinach to the pan. Cover and cook for a few minutes until the spinach is soft and bright green. Add the pineapple, corn and a salt to taste. Add the red raisins or cranberries and cook just enough to heat everything through. Take of the heat. By now your rice should be close to ready, gently stir nuts and spinach mixture into the rice and serve. Check our wide variety of canned vegetables that can help you get ready with the ingredients for this lip-smacking Pulao recipe.

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