Have you ever struggled to come up with one recipe when there are rows of spices, a variety of vegetables and endless cooking options lined up? Today’s #BlogchatterA2Z post has my mind in a knot. S is a fascinating letter food-wise and the countless choices are making me repent leaving out some of them even before I begin writing.
Salads, salsa, spring rolls and spaghetti or samosas, sev puri, sheera and salan, S encompasses and offers a delectable food experience! It is one of the few alphabets that warm the hearts of both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Not only food, S presents drinks like Sake and soups. Thanks to #BlogchatterA2Z, unlike the usual me, I’m salivating at the mere mention of food!
Soy belongs to the pea (legume) family and has been a staple in Asian cuisine for a very long time. Soy and soy products are now widely popular due to their high-quality protein content. Phytoestreogens in soy are beneficial for pre and post-menopausal women and can reduce their severity. It is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids and is cholesterol and lactose-free. It is high in fiber too and contains a good amount of antioxidants. It’s a boon for vegans and vegetarians for its multiple health benefits.
Soy products include soy milk, tofu, sprouts, soy nuts, etc. You can replace regular cow or buffalo milk with soy milk to lower the risk of heart diseases. Tofu has traces of calcium and iron which help improve bone health. You can consume soy daily by adding it to wheat before grinding (I add seed mix too). Tofu tastes great in rice or stir-fried vegetables. Pan-fried tofu with a drop of oil, salt and pepper is a yummy snack too.
Saffron/kesar instantly takes us to the snow-peaked mountains and lush greenery of Kashmir! It has lovely thread-like structures and is one of the most expensive spices in the world. Safranal gives it its beautiful aroma and taste and is believed to be a mood and learning ability enhancer. Interestingly, saffron can help reduce depression and PMS discomfort to some extent. It can help reduce the risk of cancer due to the high amount of antioxidants. Traditionally, it has been used as an aphrodisiac both in men and women.
Saffron softens and releases its colour when added to warm milk or water. Kesar jalebi, kesar falooda, kesar pulao or kesar doodh need no introduction and are just some of its illustrated recipes. Saffron strands act as a colourful garnish for biryanis and desserts too.
Spinach was a super-food even before Popeye’s bulged-out muscles publicised it. This humble green leafy vegetable contains calcium, iron and magnesium in good amounts making it perfect for all ages. Its potassium content keeps blood sugar in check while Vitamin K leads to better bone health. Spinach boosts immunity and prevents the risk of cancer. It has anti-inflammatory properties too and calms your body and mind.
Spinach is extremely versatile and fun to cook and eat! Make a paste and add it to your parathas, cutlets or dosa batter. Palak paneer is one of my all-time favourites. Spinach soup and Italian dishes with chopped spinach, garlic and cheese are soul food.
Star anise has cute little star-shaped pods and has a distinct flavour. Its rich bioactive compounds give it anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-microbial properties. Shikimic acid found in star anise is important for pharmacological development and is particularly used to treat influenza. Star anise can be used to treat urinary tract infections due to its antifungal properties too.
Star anise is spotted and promptly discarded from gravies and biryanis on the plate, isn’t it? To utilise its health benefits you can add it to teas, kadhas, soups or garam masala and other spice powders. It gives a lovely flavour to breads, muffins and pies as well.
All things aside, how can I leave out the tastemaker; salt. I’ve jotted down many, now it’s your turn to share your S favourites. #BlogchatterA2Z has been a revelation for me in finding out the health quotient of everyday foods. What about you?
This post is part of the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge by Blogchatter
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