Food & Nutrition Recipes

Healthy twist to classic favourites

Classic recipes have a dedicated crowd and palate. But what was healthy in yesteryears doesn’t stand the same in the modern era as most of us spend an inactive or mildly active lifestyle. So, as we enjoy our classic favourites, we can bring in a few changes in the ingredients or technique to continue pleasing our palates. This article brings in a few classic recipes with healthier options.

Ragi Idli

  • Cook time: 15 minutes + 10-12 hours of soaking and fermentation
  • Makes: 4
  • Type: Main course


  • Idli rice: ¾ cup
  • Poha: ½ cup
  • White whole urad dal (without skin): ½ cup
  • Fenugreek seeds: ¼ tsp
  • Ragi flour: ¾ cup
  • Salt to taste

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  1. Clean, wash and soak idli rice and poha for about 2 hours. If the climate is cold soak it for at least 4 hours.
  2. Clean, wash and soak white whole urad dal with fenugreek seeds for 2 hours.
  3. Grind the urad dal into a smooth batter in a wet grinder or a mixer. Add water little by little and only in intervals.
  4. Take this batter out in a vessel.
  5. Grind the rice and the poha, also, with very little water. Add water after checking the consistency.
  6. Pour this rice batter into the urad dal batter.
  7. Add the ragi flour to the batter. Mix vigorously. This enables the incorporation of air into the batter.
  8. Add salt and mix well. Leave the batter overnight to ferment.
  9. Pour the batter into greased idli mould and steam for 10-12 minutes. Let them rest for another couple of minutes before de-moulding them.
  10. Serve healthy, gluten-free and soft idlis with sambar and chutney.

Oats Tikki Chaat

  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Makes: 4
  • Type: Snack


  • Potato: 2
  • Spinach: 6-7 leaves
  • Green chilli: 1
  • Ginger: ½ inch
  • Carrot: 1
  • Green peas: ¼ cup
  • Masala oats: 1 ½ cup
  • Onion: 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chilli powder: ½ tsp.
  • Cumin powder: ½ tsp.
  • Coriander leaves: a bunch
  • Oil to shallow fry

For tamarind chutney:

  • Tamarind paste: 5-6 tbsps.
  • Dates: 2-3
  • Cumin powder roasted: 1 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder: ½ tsp.
  • Rock salt to taste

For green chutney:

  • Coriander leaves: a bunch
  • Mint leaves: 5-6
  • Green chillies: 2
  • Lemon: 1
  • Salt to taste

To serve:

  • Curd beaten with some rock salt
  • Chat masala

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  1. Boil potatoes and mash them well.
  2. Blanch spinach leaves and drain all water. Cool and grind them with green chilli and ginger into a smooth paste. Add this to the mashed potatoes.
  3. Finely grate the carrot and boil the green peas. Mix all the ingredients well.
  4. Add masala oats along with finely chopped onion and coriander. Throw in all the condiments and mix well.
  5. Shape them into small roundels or as tikkis and shallow fry them. One can choose a healthier option of baking them at 200 for about 10-15 minutes or air frying them for the same time at the same temperature.
  6. For the tamarind chutney: soak dates in hot water for about 10-15 minutes. Grind them into a thick paste along with other ingredients.
  7. For the green chutney: clean coriander and mint leaves and grind them with green chillies into a smooth paste. Squeeze in the juice of a lime and season with salt.
  8. To serve: Place 2 sizzling hot tikkis on a plate and generously pour both chutneys over the tikkis. Add in some curd. Top it with a sprinkle of chat masala. Serve this hot and healthy tikka chat.

Tip: If the tikki mixture is too watery add in some more masala oats. If it is too hard and tight add in some yoghurt.

Diet-Friendly Apple and Dates Crumble

  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Makes: 4
  • Type: Sweet


  • Green apple: 2
  • Lemon: 1
  • Seedless dates: 10-12
  • Raisins: ¼ cup
  • Oats: ½ cup
  • Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp.
  • Brown sugar: ½ cup
  • Whole wheat flour: ½ cup
  • Salt: a pinch
  • Almond: 1 cup
  • Butter: 4-5 tbsps. (Use cold butter)

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  1. Wash and chop apples into medium chunks. Squeeze in the juice of ¼ lemon and mix well. Chop the dates too.
  2. Take a bowl and combine chopped apples, chopped dates and raisins.
  3. Toast oats on low flame for about 2 minutes. Mix oats also with the fruits.
  4. Add in ½ tsp. of cinnamon powder and mix well.
  5. To this mixture add 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar and toss well. This is the filling of the crumble.
  6. In another bowl sift in whole wheat flour and a pinch of salt.
  7. Grind the almonds into fine flour. Add this flour also into the whole wheat flour.
  8. Add in the rest of the cinnamon powder and brown sugar.
  9. Add the 2-3 tablespoons of cold butter and rub till the flour resembles breadcrumbs. If needed add the rest of the cold butter. This forms the topping of the crumble.
  10. Take a shallow 9-inch pie dish and grease it with butter. Add the filling to the pie dish and spread it evenly.
  11. Cover the filling evenly with the topping.
  12. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Cook the apple and dates crumble uncovered for about 15 minutes or till the apples are well cooked and the topping is crispy. Cooking time might depend on the temperature outside the oven (i.e. whether it is summer or winter), the size of the pie dish, the types of apples or sometimes even the slight variation in the ingredients.
  13. Serve warm and enjoy.

Adding a healthy twist makes the recipes boring and unpalatable. It is now time to burst this myth. Adorn the creative hat and embark on the journey from classics to nutritious!!!

Lesser-known leafy greens to add to your diet

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