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Unani Cuisine: Health And Tradition

Unani Cuisine: Health And Tradition

Unani Cuisine: Health And Tradition

By Shivani Bajwa

In today’s fast-paced world, where health trends come and go, it’s easy to overlook the profound connection between our diets and our overall well-being. Yet, nestled within the depths of culinary history lies Unani cuisine—a traditional culinary style that originated from the Greek – a holistic approach to food deeply rooted in ancient wisdom and tradition.

Unani cuisine, drawing inspiration from Greco-Arabic medicine, is more than just a collection of recipes; it’s a holistic philosophy that recognizes the intimate link between food and health. At its core lies the concept of Mizaj, which categorizes foods based on their inherent qualities—hot, cold, moist, or dry. By understanding the Mizaj of ingredients, Unani cuisines craft meals that not only satiate hunger but also restore balance and harmony within the body.

Inspired by Greek, Persian, Indian, and Arab culinary traditions, Unani cuisine’s emphasis on fresh, whole foods resonates deeply with the principles of gut health and holistic wellness.

By prioritizing nutrient-dense ingredients and minimizing processed foods, Unani cuisines harness the healing power of nature to promote optimal digestion and vitality. From vibrant salads bursting with seasonal vegetables to fragrant kebabs infused with anti-inflammatory herbs, every dish is crafted to nurture both body and spirit. But perhaps the most profound aspect of Unani cuisine is its ability to foster a deeper connection to our ancestral roots. In a world inundated with convenience foods and fad diets, embracing traditional cuisines like Unani offers a powerful means of reclaiming our heritage and honoring the wisdom of our ancestors. By savoring dishes that have been passed down through generations, we not only nourish our bodies but also nourish our souls with a sense of belonging and cultural identity.

Nargisi Kofta

Ingredients:

4 boiled eggs

2 large potatoes, boiled and mashed

100g paneer (Indian cottage cheese), grated

1 onion, finely chopped

2 green chilies, finely chopped

2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

1 tsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp red chili powder

Salt to taste

Oil for frying

For the gravy:

2 tomatoes, pureed

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/4 cup cream

Salt to taste

Instructions:

Cut the boiled eggs in half lengthwise and carefully remove the yolks. Keep the egg whites aside.

In a bowl, mix mashed potatoes, grated paneer, chopped onion, green chilies, coriander leaves, ginger-garlic paste, garam masala, red chili powder, and salt.

Stuff each egg white with the potato-paneer mixture and reshape them into egg shapes.

Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the stuffed eggs until golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

In another pan, heat some oil and add cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add chopped onions and sauté until golden brown.

Add ginger-garlic paste, tomato puree, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and salt. Cook until the oil separates.

Add cream and mix well. Simmer for a few minutes until the gravy thickens.

Place the fried stuffed eggs in the gravy and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or roti.

Benefits:

Eggs: Rich in protein and essential vitamins and minerals, eggs are considered a valuable source of nutrition in Unani medicine. They are believed to strengthen the body and provide energy.

Potatoes and Paneer: Both potatoes and paneer are considered nourishing and easily digestible in Unani cuisine. They provide essential nutrients and help in maintaining overall health and vitality.

Spices: The spices used in this dish, such as garam masala, red chili powder, and turmeric, not only add flavor but also offer various health benefits. They are known for their anti-inflammatory, digestive, and antioxidant properties.

Shahi Tukda

Ingredients:

4 slices of bread

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

A few strands of saffron

Ghee or oil for frying

Chopped nuts for garnishing

Instructions:

Trim the edges of the bread slices and cut them into triangles or squares.

Heat ghee or oil in a pan and fry the bread slices until golden brown on both sides. Drain excess oil and set aside.

In another pan, heat milk and sugar together. Add saffron strands and cardamom powder. Let it simmer until the milk reduces and thickens slightly.

Dip the fried bread slices into the thickened milk mixture, ensuring they are well coated.

Place the soaked bread slices on a serving plate and pour any remaining milk mixture over them.

Garnish with chopped nuts and serve warm or chilled.

Benefits:

Bread: In Unani medicine, bread made from whole grains is considered a valuable source of carbohydrates and energy. It provides sustained energy and helps in maintaining vitality.

Milk: Milk is highly regarded in Unani cuisine for its nourishing properties. It is rich in protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients, making it beneficial for overall health and well-being.

Saffron and Cardamom: Both saffron and cardamom are prized for their medicinal properties in Unani medicine. They are believed to aid digestion, improve circulation, and promote overall wellness. (IANS)

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