Indian food myths: busted!

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Have you ever heard something and believed it instantly without looking up for the facts? We all have done that! But, the point is, there might be some things which have been etched in our memories and we are still not so sure whether they are correct or just some random false information. Well, talking about food myths, India has its share in abundance. In fact, not just in India, there are some rumours in the Western countries too, about our cuisine.

So, we thought, we’d let everyone know the reality. Let’s bust some Indian food myths for you today. Get ready for a constant thought ‘I was today years old when I got to know that!’

Tortilla is the same as roti

We all have heard that a lot, haven’t we? Tortilla is the Mexican bread which is similar looking to our regular Indianrotis. But they’re far apart from each other. Tortilla is made using maize flour and is an unleavened flatbread. It is used to wrap tacos, burritos, etc. On the other hand, the good ol’ Indian rotis are made using wheat flour. We tear rotis and enjoy it with sabzis as small bites to fill up our tummies.

 

Fish and milk should not be eaten together

You might remember your mum asking you to avoid drinking milk just after you had fish because it might result in acnes on your skin. Well, this is a very common myth in Indian households. Scientifically, there is no proof that these two are a toxic or unhealthy combination for your body or the skin. In fact, there are so many delicious recipes which have this combination and if you’re fish lover, we say go on and try ‘em!

 

Bananas will help you gain weight

All the under-weight or slim people might have heard this once in their lifetime. But, there is no research or evidence that proves this to be true. Bananas are extremely high in fibre and low in calories making them an ideal fruit for everyone. If your hunger pangs are drumming away, it is always good to grab a banana because it can fill your tummy for quite a while. Like, any other fruit, you should definitely gobble some bananas but as for the weight gain bit, we’re not so sure!

 

Desi ghee is harmful for health

The debate regarding ghee being a good or bad fat has been going on for a while now, but within Ayurveda, ghee has always been classified as a positive ingredient. While it is essentially a form of saturated fat, it contains conjugated linoleic acid or CLA, a type of fatty acid, butyric acid and other compounds that aid in the absorption of fat soluble minerals and vitamins. Infact, ghee is said to be a healthier alternative than butter and refined oil, both of them being highly processed.

 

Indian food = unhealthy food

This one is our favourite myth to bust! Research shows that Indian cuisine is one of the most healthy and nutritious in the world. Besides ghee, which we already know is a good ingredient, we use a variety of fresh vegetables, grains, pulses,fish, etc.as opposed to red meat in our food. Indian cuisine also boasts of a wide variety of vegan and gluten free recipes. Sure, we have our share of fried indulgences, but most recipes call for grilling, pan frying, poaching, boiling or steaming.  Even beyond ingredients and methods, the fact that we eat with our hands causes the food to be absorbed and digested better. Now, you know why half the list of superfoods is our desi ingredients and why people are switching to veganism!

 

Indian food is spicy

This couldn’t be far from the truth, after all a dish is only as spicy as the amount of chilli you put in it and when it comes to masalas – freestyle, instinctive or andaz as we call it in India, is the best way to go. Indian meals are a balanced mix of sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent with only one or two of these standing out in each recipe. Most westerners are accustomed to North Indian food which is in fact milder than food down South and in the East. Well, the bottom line is, we may use a lot of spices in our dishes to add flavour but that does not mean all our dishes are fiery!

 

Cooking Indian food is a complex, time consuming activity

Another common misconception about Indian food is that it is complex and time consuming to prepare. Some dishes do require ninja level skills to cook but everyday Indian food comprises of simple vegetable stir fries, dals, roti and rice, all of which get made in a matter of minutes. A range of accompaniments like pickles, chutneys, curd and papads add to the flavour profile and glam factor of Indian food. Having a spice box consisting of some common masalas comes in handy while cooking desi khana.

 

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.