ENJOY: Make this year’s ‘Lohri Loot’ a gift of good health with almonds

Author(s): 

Ludhiana, January 9, 2013: Come January, and it is time for North India’s most awaited bonfire festival! Lohri is a fun time to exchange greetings and gifts with your loved ones, going from house to house asking for ‘Lohri loot’ and dancing the winter night away around a warm bonfire while gorging on delicious winter savories. While Lohri is incomplete without gajak, rewri, popcorn and Makki-ki-roti, you can combine the best of tradition with good health this Lohri by including heart-healthy almonds in your celebrations in easy and simple ways.

Gift your loved ones a box of crunchy almonds to complete their special Lohri, add a personal touch to your “Lohri loot” by giving away a home-made delicacy such as jaggery-coated almonds (recipe below), or simply serve home-made til-coated almonds around the bonfire! Almonds are a simple and tasty nut that contain many nutrients that contribute to heart-health, such as mono-saturated (good) fat, vitamin E, dietary fibre, calcium and phyto-chemicals.They are also rich in antioxidants, manganese, riboflavin, and copper and do not include ‘trans’ fats. Research has shown that regular consumption of these nutrient-rich nuts not only helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, but may also protect against obesity, cancer and diabetes by promoting satiety, contributing to healthy cholesterol levels and helping regulate blood sugar throughout the day to give you sustained energy levels. This makes almonds the best gift to give this Lohri!

Ishi Khosla, Clinical Nutritionist and Director, Centre for Dietary Counseling, says “It is difficult to avoid rich food during a festival like Lohri. However, one can avoid overindulging around the bonfire by serving healthy snacks to munch on such as almonds. Research has shown that almonds are rich in a special amino acid which is known to release hormones that can help control appetite, keep energy levels up and hunger pangs at rest. This makes almonds an excellent snack to serve around the Lohri bonfire and give you that “full” feeling. An ounce or 23 almonds are also an excellent source of vital nutrients like vitamin E, calcium, good fat, dietary fibers and plant protein, has 13 grams of unsaturated fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, are 100% cholesterol free and have 129 calories.”

Nuts like almonds are also traditionally considered festive and hence can be used in various recipes that you can serve during the feast.  Below are some quick recipes to help you add some good health and cheer to your traditional Lohri celebrations this year!

  

Jaggery Coated Almonds:

This easy recipe brings together almonds and jaggery to give you the best of health and tradition this Lohri, making it a perfect option for serving or gifting this Lohri season!

Ingredients:

·         2 cups Almonds

·         3/4 cup jaggery, grated (adjust as per taste)

·         1 tsp oil

·         1 tbsp water

Method:

·         Dry roast the almonds in a non-stick kadhai or microwave oven and let them cool.

·         Melt the jaggery in a non-stick pan on a low flame with water and oil. Let it come to a boil, and let it simmer till it starts to pull away from the edges.

·         Add the almonds and mix well till the almonds are completely coated in the jaggery

·         Separate and pick up the almonds with a spoon, and place on a tray lined with foil.

·         If the mixture in the pan becomes hard in the meanwhile, reheat again at a low flame.

·         Let the almonds cool and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Nutritional analysis:

 

Per 100 gms

Per serving (15 gms)

Energy (kcals)

548

82

Protein (grams)

21

3

Fat (grams)

34

5

CHO (grams)

39

6

 Badam Ka Halwa

Badam ka halwa tastes great during winters, whether it is had hot or cold. This easy to make dessert is the perfect end to your festive meals. The benefits of almonds are many – they are high in fiber, protein, vitamin E, and calcium and just 1 ounce or 23 almonds contains 13 grams of unsaturated fat, only 1 gram of saturated fat and absolutely no cholesterol.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almonds, soaked overnight
1/3 cup milk
4 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom (elaichi) powder
3 tbsp ghee

For the garnish 
2 to 3 almonds, peeled and sliced

Method:

  1. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the almonds. Leave aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Drain and remove the skins of the almonds.
  3. Purée the almonds with 4 tablespoons of milk to a smooth paste in a blender.
  4. Heat the ghee in a non-stick kadhai and add the almond purée. Cook over a slow flame while stirring continuously till the mixture turns golden brown (approx. 15 minutes).
  5. Boil together the remaining milk with 4 tablespoons of water, add to the almond mixture and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add the sugar and cardamom powder and cook till the sugar has dissolved, while stirring continuously.
  7. Serve hot, garnished with the almonds.

Nutritional analysis for the dish (serves 4)/ per serving

Energy (kcals)

550 / 137

Protein (grams)

18 / 137

Carbohydrates (grams)

35/ 4.5

Fat (grams)

52 / 13

Fiber

9 / 2.2

Calcium

300/ 75

 

 

 

About the Almond Board of California:

Consumers all over the world enjoy California Almonds as a natural, wholesome and quality food product, making almonds California’s leading agricultural export in terms of value. The Almond Board of California promotes almonds through its research-based approach to all aspects of marketing, farming and production on behalf of the more than 6,000 California Almond growers and processors, many of whom are multi-generational family operations. Established in 1950 and based in Modesto, California, the Almond Board of California is a non-profit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit www.AlmondBoard.com.

Date: 
Wednesday, January 9, 2013