Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wanna Great Legs!!

Eat Spinach!! Along with my five year old son, I just love to watch Popeye turn into a muscle-bound superman when he eats a can of spinach and saves his girl friend Olive Oyl. Popeye’s creator, Elzie Crisler Segar, believed that spinach was an incredible source of strength-giving iron. While it is a good source of iron, recent studies have shown spinach may be more valuable for its varicose vein-fighting vitamin K.

Thirty percent of women suffer from varicose veins. Varicose veins are blood vessels that enlarge and rise above the surface of the skin. According to a study published in the Journal of Vascular Research, the protein responsible for the maintenance of strong vessel walls is activated only when the right levels of vitamin K are present in your body. Just one cup of spinach contains about 380 micrograms of vitamin K—enough to activate the protein that keeps veins strong.

The vitamin K in your body depletes rapidly without regular dietary intake. It can be found in dark leafy vegetables, like spinach, and it is also produced naturally by your intestinal bacteria. In addition to activating vein-strengthening proteins, vitamin K is also responsible for normal blood clotting, which can also help your legs look good by limiting the bruising that happens in day to day bumps and accidents.


For women, the USDA recommends only 64 mcg of vitamin K each day. Recent studies at Oregon State University concur, recommending that everyone eat at least 1 cup of dark leafy greens daily. Replacing saturated fats, like butter and cheese, with monounsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil, will also increase you daily intake of vitamin K.

More Reasons to Eat Spinach

While spinach cannot rightfully take credit for Popeye’s huge forearms, but it can help your health a lot more than your legs:
  • Spinach contains other anti-inflammatory nutrients, like folate, for the production and maintenance of new cells.
  • Spinach is great source of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous.
  • Spinach is high in antioxidants that subdue cancer-causing free radicals.
  • Spinach is high in phyto-sterols, which are natural plant compounds responsible for blocking cholesterol absorption and reducing blood cholesterol levels.
  • Spinach is a great source of dietary fiber.
Getting Your K

Here, are a few recipes that my family enjoys. My cooking tends to be on the spicy side, so I have put an extra effort to cut down on green chilies for the recipes below.

Paalak Raita

Ingredients
  • Curd 3/4 spoons
  • Paalak few leaves
  • Onions - 1/2 (if it is a big one)
  • Green chillies - 2
  • Coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • Ginger, grated
  • Mustard seeds - seasoning
  • Jeera - seasoning
  • Oil - 1 spoonSalt to taste

Method
  1. Wash Paalak with lukewarm water and chop them.
  2. Cut onions and green chillies into fine pieces.
  3. Heat 1 spoon of cooking oil in a shallow pan. When it is sufficiently hot add ginger past, green chillies. When these are completely fried add jeera & mustard seeds.
  4. Add onions to this seasoning and let it fry for few minutes till it turns light brown. Then add cut paalak and salt and allow it to fry. (It is advised not to close the lid as soon as u add salt as it will lose its green color and looks like a steamed leaves) after few minutes close it with a lid and let it leave some water.
  5. Then remove the lid and let the excess water evaporate.
  6. Once it is cooked remove it from the stove and let it cool.
  7. After it has cooled down add curd and garnish it with coriander leaves. You can serve paalak raitha with roti or puri.
Spinach Rice

Ingredients
  • 2 cups spinach,chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup long grained rice
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 2 green chillies chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
Method:
  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and season with cumin seeds and chopped green chillies.
  2. Add onion and fry till it turns brown.
  3. Add tomatoes and fry well.
  4. Turn in the spinach and saute for two minutes
  5. Cover cook for five minutes low heat.
  6. Wash the rice and add to spinach mixture.
  7. Add salt,stir.
  8. Add coriander powder and garam masala powder,stir well.
  9. Add water, bring to boil.
  10. Cook for ten minutes on medium heat.
  11. Cook till done on low heat.

Paalak Paneer


Ingredients:

  • Spinach - 1/2 kg
  • Paneer - 100 grams
  • Onion - 1
  • Butter - 3 tbsp.
  • Bay leaves - 2-3
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp.
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper powder - 1/4 tsp.
  • Ginger-garlic paste - 3/4 tsp.
  • Green chili paste 1/2 tsp.
  • Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp.
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
Method:
  1. Mix ginger-garlic paste, green chili paste and some water with spinach. Pressure cook it for about 7-8 minutes (just before the first whistle).
  2. Cut paneer into small cubes. Keep 3 cubes separately for decoration.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Fry the paneer pieces on 'medium' heat till they turn slightly brown. Set the paneer pieces aside.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp. of butter. Fry bay leaves and cumin seeds. Add chopped onion. Fry until the onions become pink.
  5. Add salt, black pepper powder, garam masala. Stir well.
  6. Add paneer and cooked spinach (grinded). Mix well.
  7. Put paalak paneer in a baking tray .
  8. Add rest of the butter. Bake for 1/2 hour at 180 deg C.
  9. Grate the paneer kept aside for decoration. Decorate. Paalak paneer is ready to serve

Paalak Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Chicken - 1/2 kg
  • Spinach (Paalak) - 1 bunch
  • Onions (medium size) - 3
  • Garlic - 12 pods
  • Green Chillies - 6-8
  • Coriander Leaves (finely chopped) - Handful
  • Cloves - 4
  • Cinnamon - 1 stick
  • Bay Leaf - 1
  • Curd / Plain Yogurt - 1/2 cup
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt to taste
Method:
  1. Finely chop the onions, garlic and green chillies.
  2. Boil the spinach on low heat in a vessel till it is soft. Switch off and set aside
  3. Heat oil in a pan/kadai.
  4. Add cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf. Fry for a minute.
  5. Add onions till they turn pink.
  6. Add finely chopped garlic, green chillies and coriander.
  7. Add spinach to this mixture.
  8. Fry this mixture for a couple of minutes
  9. Take the mixture off the heat.
  10. Use the blender to grind the spinach mixture to paste.
  11. Heat some more oil in pan. Add the paste from blender.
  12. Add curd / plain yogurt.
  13. Once the oil starts leaving the sides of the pan, add chicken and salt.
  14. Cook on low heat till the chicken is done.
  15. Serve with hot rotis or rice.
Paalak Mushrooms
( Serves 3 - 4 )

Ingredients:
  • 100 gm mushrooms – small in size
  • 2 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp salt
  • PRESSURE COOK: ½ kg paalak (spinach), ¾ cup water, 1” piece ginger – chopped, 3-4 flakes garlic- chopped, 1 green chili – chopped.
  • TOMATO PASTE: 2 tomatoes, ½” piece ginger, 1 green chili, 3-4 flakes garlic
Other Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil, 3 onions – ground to a paste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, salt to taste, ½ tsp garam masala.
  • Seeds of 1 moti illaichi (brown cardamom) – crushed roughly
  • Seeds of 1 chhoti ilaichi (green cardamom ) – crushed roughly.
Method:
  • Chop paalak leaves. Wash in plenty of water. Pressure cook paalak with all the ingredients to give one whistle. Keep on low flame for 5-7 minutes. Cool and blend in a mixer.
  • Slice tip of the mushroom stalk and wash to remove dirt. Boil 2 cups water with 1 tsp salt & lemon juice. Soak mushrooms in it for 5 minutes.
  • Heat 1 tbsp Olive Oil. Add the drained mushrooms and stir fry for 4-5 minutes till the mushrooms loose their raw look and turn soft. Keep aside.
  • Grind tomatoes, ginger, green chili and garlic to a paste.
  • Grind onions separately to a paste.
  • Heat 2 tbsp Olive Oil. Add onion paste & cook till golden brown.
  • Add tomato paste. Cook till dry and oil separates.
  • Add black pepper, moti illaichi (brown cardamom), chhoti illaichi (green cardamom), salt to taste and ½ tbsp garam masala. Saute for ½ minute.
  • Add spinach and cook for 4-5 minutes on low flame.
  • Add mushrooms. Cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish.
  • Heat 1 tsp of Olive Oil. Remove the pan from heat. Add ¼ tsp red chili powder and pour the hot oil on the hot paalak. Server hot.
Try to work more spinach into your diet. Your body will thank you for it.

1 comment:

Dinamani said...

I prepared Palak Chicken. It was very tasty. But I added little ginger(which is not mentioned the recipe).