Spices and unique ingredient swaps make these dishes healthy and delicious.
With abundant vegetables, beans, protein, and wholesome carbs, Indian cuisine can be a staple in the diet of the fit body—if done right. And, of course, there are the spices. “From the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric to the digestive goodness of cumin and the antioxidant-rich red chili, spices add layers of flavor and color to any dish,” says Mira Manek, a London-based chef whose family is from Gujarat, which is primarily a vegetarian state.
After a stint of eschewing the food of her motherland and instead packing in tons of low-fat snacks she thought were better for her, Manek started eating—and cooking—vegetarian Indian food again. Then, she started experimenting with making it even more nourishing. “I swapped in coconut oil in place of vegetable oil and made rotis with a mixture of spelt, quinoa, and millet flours,” she says. She also started to use Indian ingredients in western dishes. She constructed veggie burgers with mung beans, made yogurt cheesecakes with saffron and cardamom, and whipped up a fudgy dessert with chickpea flour, dates, and coconut oil. “Once you start testing, the possibilities are endless,” she says. Proof: her new cookbook Saffron Soul.
Try these recipes, curated from the cookbook by Manek, one at a time or invite a group of friends over for an all-inclusive brunch.