Protein is one of the Famous three, the other two being carbohydrates and fats which the body needs in large quantities. Protein is elemental, needed for tissue repair, growth and muscle building. Over time, this macronutrient has been crowned with the ability to allow fat-loss in humans with judicious use, stumping it’s carbohydrate counterpart far behind in the race.
In India, a majority of people are non-vegetarian but a large segment of our population is also vegetarian for whom the option of proteins has been dimmed. Being a huge believer in the prudent use of carbohydrates and grains, I have always campaigned for the right combinations of proteins, carbs and fats to deliver aesthetic and health benefits to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
Let’s explore some combinations of foods that preserve the Indian palette and deliver high- protein with the backing of other elemental nutrients.
Fun Recipes With Dal
Dals and pulses are an excellent source of vegetarian proteins containing 21-23% protein. While the remaining element is carb, the sugar-spiking capacity of dals and pulses is really low and can be included as part of any healthy meal combination.
- Dal Chilla/Pessarattu: Ground dal/pulse batter (only dals like moong or chana dal) spiced with shredded onions, chillies and rounded off into dosas topped with either a tsp of ghee/coconut oil/til oil.
- Dahi Wada: Surprised? Dahi wada is truly a high protein option. The wada is fried but it is also dropped into cold water and the majority of oil is squeezed off before it is soaked in the decorated curds! Here we have a combination of protein in curds and dal served with an exotic flavour and a smile. Dahi wada is a traditional favourite which most health enthusiasts struggle to keep their hand off! But fear no more!
- Legume chaat: Another one on the hot list! Chaats! Legumes can be easily be presented in the garb of chaats flaunting both taste and high-protein.
- Chole tikki: Here instead of using just potato combine the tikki using paneer and potato. The tikkis can be either grilled or roasted and then topped with chickpeas (chole) to round off an especially high-protein dish.
- Sprouts: The health of sprouts lies in its nucleus! When the grains sprouts germinate, their nutrient content including protein becomes denser. So sprout whole dals and use it in chaats and salads. It can even be ground and used as a dosa batter.
- Whole Wheat dosas: Whole wheat sprouted flour combined with moong flour, an egg, a little coconut/almond flour, shreds of cheese and mixed with water can make yummy dosas for a scrumptious breakfast.
Other dishes in this category that are relatively high on protein are dhokla, muthiya, and khandvi (besan).
Milk To The Rescue
Milk products like paneer, dahi and cheese can easily be used in different recipes to whip up fantastic - dishes that are high in not just protein but micronutrients like calcium, B12 and potassium.
- Paneer Patties: Combine paneer and almond flour (25%) with a little besan to form tikkis that can be roasted/shallow fried or even grilled to sport a high protein dish.
- Hung curd dip with cheese: Hung curds (hung to eliminate water overnight in a muslin cloth) mixed with shredded cheese, onions and chillies can make for a high-protein dip for salads
For The Non-Vegetarians...
Non-Vegetarian foods are the highest in bioavailable complete proteins and are great for any meal in the day be it eggs, the high omega fish or lean meat chicken!
- Egg, cheese and sprout stuffed omelettes: An omelette using 2 whole eggs that are stuffed with a combination of shredded cheese, sprouts, mushrooms and palak can be an excellent high protein option for breakfast. Easy to whip up too!
- Bengali/Kerala fish curries: These curries need very little oil and lots of spices (spices are healing) and tantalizing flavors!
- Chicken Dal dosas: The traditional dal dosas with chicken filling tastes amazing and is so healthy as well.
About The Author: With a Bachelors in Food Science & Nutrition and a PG in Food technology & Nutrition, Anupama successfully runs ‘Right Living’ (established in 2012), a nutritional counseling and education entity that offers some of the most ingenious food & lifestyle plans.