Introduction to Accompaniments

This section showcases a number of unique and exotic condiments, such as Spicy Strawberry Chutney and Date and Brown Sugar Chutney. Many of us add flavor to our food by pairing it up with condiments including pickles (achaar) and chutneys. For example, a simple meal of daal chawal (lentils and rice) can be taken to the next level if accompanied with mango achaar. However, store-bought condiments can be harmful as they contain high amounts of salt, sugar and oil, as well as chemical preservatives. In addition to contributing to hypertension, diabetes and obesity; regular consumption of pickled condiments has been linked to an increased risk of gastrointestinal cancers. Homemade chutneys and achaars can be made fresh and in small quantities. They do not require preservatives if stored for short periods of time (a few days to a couple of weeks) in the refrigerator. Also, if they are made with fruits and vegetables they can actually be nutritious, as long as the amount of oil, salt and sugar is controlled.

This section also contains recipes for Brown Rice and Whole-Wheat Chappati. These high-fiber foods can help reduce cholesterol levels, maintain healthy blood glucose levels, help with appetite suppression and weight loss, and help prevent constipation. Together, this can reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer. While we are all aware of these health benefits, we often shy away from preparing them at home. This may be because we resist change or we are just not sure how to prepare these healthier versions while maintaining taste and appearance. No doubt, it is difficult adjusting from white basmati rice to brown rice. However, the adjustment period is short and once you have converted to brown rice, you will actually not miss white rice and you will begin to enjoy the nutty flavor of brown rice. Brown rice can also be used in khichdi and there will be almost no difference in taste or appearance. It is ironic that while most of us do not consume sliced white bread, we continue to eat chappatis, which are made of refined flour. Chappatis can be made with 100% whole-wheat flour, which is readily available in the market. 

Once you have switched to whole-wheat flour you can try it in other foods including parathas, puris, and also cakes and pastries. Remember, choose whole grain pastas, bagels, crackers, and cereals and consume 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily to provide adequate fiber intake.

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