It is not very often that recipe desserts feature on Healthy Indian. There are several reasons for this. For one, desserts are not something one should be eating daily. They are an occasional treat, to be eaten in moderate quantities, on special occasions. For another, desserts that are prepared at home with minimal ingredients are waaay better than the desserts purchased from outside sources. You can control the amount of sugar (or sugar substitute) you use. I’ve found that by eating fresh fruits regularly and restricting desserts, one doesn’t need too many desserts to satisfy one’s sugar craving. Even a juicy piece of fruit or a small piece of dark chocolate sends satiety messages to the brain.
Sugar – the Villain?
Cited for such evils as distracting youngsters from more nutritious foodstuffs, enhancing obesity, ruining teeth and causing diabetes and heart disease, sugar has become the most maligned of the main components of the American diet.
Sugar, like starch, is a carbohydrate. The many type of sugars includes sucrose (table sugar refined from sugarcane or beets), lactose (milk sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), glucose (blood sugar), dextrose, maltose and galactose.
Seventy percent of the sugar in today’s American diet is “hidden” in processed foods. Check the labels of the packaged soups, cereals, salad dressings, soft drinks, ketchup, sauces, peanut butter, dessert mixes and what-have‐you in your pantry and see how many list sugar (or corn syrup) as one of the ingredients.
According to an article in the New York Times, “At the turn of the century, the average American consumed about 77 pounds of sugar a year (65 of them as sucrose) and starches formed two-thirds of American dietary carbohydrates; today, sugar consumption hovers around 126 pounds per capita (95 of them as sucrose) and sugar represents more than half the carbohydrate calories and about 20 percent of the total calories eaten by Americans – 600 calories of sugar each day. Even the widespread use of artificial sweeteners has done little to curb America’s appetite for sugar.”
But there’s good news – just because we are eating healthily doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to desserts. You can still satisfy your sweet tooth using healthy ingredients like nuts/seeds (oh, do check out the Chia Seed Pudding!), dried fruit (try our yummy Almond-Date Boats recipe!), avocado, fresh fruit, whole grains, nut butters and even lentils. I Promise.
We, at Healthy Indian, do not believe in denying the body of desserts – especially desserts that have very few (hopefully organic) ingredients, and are (preferably) homemade. More importantly, we feature desserts that do not yell SUGAR!! I normally use the 85:15 Rule. Eat whole, real foods 85% of the time and cheat 15% of the time. Keep Life in balance.
Did I just promise that lentils can satisfy one’s sweet truth? Here goes the how’s and the why’s…
Mung beans are slowly becoming a household name in most health-conscious homes. And with good reason. Mung beans are high in protein, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients. They have many health benefits, including helping lowering inflammation. Mung beans are one of the healthiest sources of plant protein there is when you consider how many other nutrients they contain in addition to amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). As the Journal of Chemistry Central puts it, “mung beans have biological activities including antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, lipid metabolism accommodation, anti-hypertensive and anti-tumor effects.” Enough said, right?
If you love sugar free desserts, be sure to check out our party-pleaser – Date-Almond Boats.
Made with real and whole foods like mung beans, coconut milk, jaggery (unprocessed sugar), cashews, raisins and aromatic saffron, this easy homemade dessert is high in protein and good fats. If you have a sweet craving, this recipe will satisfy it, without adversely affecting your health. As always, eat desserts in moderation.
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Hesarubele (Split Mung) Payasa - A Lip-smacking Dessert!
- 1 Cup Split Mung Dal
- 2 Cups Coconut Milk Full Fat. More, if you want a watery consistency
- 6 Tablespoons Jaggery Grated. More, if you want it sweeter
- 1 Tablespoon Cashew nuts Raw
- 1/4 Teaspoon Saffron Strands
- 1 Tablespoon Raisins
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cardamom Freshly powdered
- 1 Teaspoon Ghee
- On a medium flame, dry roast the mung until the raw smells goes away, but before it starts to brown. Don't skip the roasting of mung dal. Roasting makes it very aromatic.
- Wash mung dal, place in container in the Instant Pot (IP) with just enough water to cover the dal. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. Wait for pressure to release. If you are doing this on a cook-top, cover the dal with enough water and cook on medium flame, stirring frequently, until it is fully cooked. The dal should be holding its shape.
- Switch IP to Sauté mode. To the cooked dal, add coconut milk, jaggery (see notes on jaggery), cardamom powder, saffron strands (save a few strands for garnish) and cook until the contents come to a gentle boil. Keep stirring gently, so the bottom doesn't burn. Follow the same procedure for cooktop on medium-low flame. Vary the jaggery based on how sweet you want it; vary the coconut milk depending on your preference for consistency.
- Meanwhile on a low flame, roast cashew nuts and raisins in ghee until the cashews are browned and the raisins become plump.
- Add cashew nuts and raisins to the payasa and mix well. Decorate with the remaining saffron strands. Serve hot, warm or cold.