Be it a simple dal, spicy rasam, tandoori naan or soft bread, a dash of garlic definitely uplifts the aroma and flavour of the meal. A plant that belongs to the allium family encompassing onions, scallions/spring onions, leeks, chives, shallots – garlic is a ubiquitous bounty that grows widely in many countries, having a modified stem known as a bulb that houses 10 – 20 pale white to yellow cloves which are edible. And not only is garlic a staple in kitchens worldwide, being indispensable in a variety of cuisines, it is also a nutrient-dense bounty packed with medicinal properties – the perfect ingredient to boost immunity and enhance overall health amidst the lashing rains and chilly winds in the monsoon.
Also Read: All You Need Is A Bowl Of Piping Hot Rasam To Enhance Immunity And Promote Digestion
Nutrition Values And Health Benefits Of Garlic:
Although garlic is rich in umpteen essential nutrients, its therapeutic properties are largely owing to the sulphur compound known as allicin. While cutting, grinding or chewing garlic cloves, this potent component is released and upon being eaten, enters the internal organs of the body and displays beneficial protective traits, such as averting the risk of cancer and oxidative damage of healthy cells and tissues in the system. Moreover, garlic offers ample vitamin C for disease resistance, vitamin B6 for elevated nervous system functioning and is a time-tested remedy for curing cough, cold and fever in monsoon.
In addition, garlic is imbued with calcium, phosphorous for strong bones and joints, potassium and antioxidants for heart wellness, manganese for healthy metabolism and brain functions, besides being low in calories, stimulating appetite and promoting digestion to aid in weight loss. The treasure trove of vitamins, minerals, sulphur compounds and antioxidants in garlic make the pungent-smelling root a panacea for myriad conditions including high blood pressure, viral and bacterial infections, common cold and flu, arthritis and gout and vastly augments respiratory, digestive and heart health.
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Wholesome Indian Recipes With Garlic To Keep Illness At Bay:
Surely you don’t need any more reasons to whip up some tantalizing fare with garlic right? And the good news is that Indian cuisine comprises a plethora of regional delicacies with this piquant spice. So go ahead, rustle up these classic desi dishes of Lasooni Methi from Punjab – garlic immersed in a gravy of fenugreek leaves and Poondu Kuzhambu from Tamil Nadu – a tangy tamarind-based curry with garlic, to stay healthy and disease-free in the rainy weather.
Also Read: Monsoon Mania: Time-Tested Recipes From Grandma's Kitchen To Keep The Flu At Bay
2 cups fenugreek/methi leaves, washed and chopped
9 – 11 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 big onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, cut into pieces
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp dhania/coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
Salt, as per taste
2 red chillies, cut into lengthy bits
2 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
2 tbsp mustard oil
Blanch the fenugreek/methi leaves in water adding a bit of salt, let it sit for about 5 minutes, then pour out the excess water.
Heat 2 tsp mustard oil in a pan, sauté the onions until the raw smell fades and they turn light brown, let it cool down and then blend to a fine paste.
Pulse the chopped tomato slices in a mixer to obtain a smooth puree.
Heat 1 tbsp mustard oil in a vessel, add the cumin seeds and once they begin to crackle, transfer the onion paste and fry for 7 minutes.
Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, dhania and garam masala, cook for 2 minutes, then pour the tomato puree.
Stir well and cook for 3 minutes, add the blanched methi leaves, required amount of salt and cook for 5 more minutes to obtain a thick gravy.
In a wok, heat the rest of the mustard oil, add the chopped garlic and red chillies, fry till they become golden brown.
Top off the methi gravy with the fried garlic and red chillies and serve the lip-smacking Lasooni Methi hot as a side dish for naan, roti or rice.
Garlic, called lasoon, lasun or lehsun in Hindi, is an outstanding spice for bolstering the immune system and staving off illness and infections. Methi is a storehouse of dietary fibres for facilitating smooth digestion, bowel movements, thereby resolving constipation and safeguarding gut health. Bestowed with healthy unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, mustard oil remarkably improves cardiac functions, muscle strength and skin texture.
2 small balls of tamarind, soaked in warm water
7 – 9 garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup pearl onions/small onions, peeled
1 tsp jaggery powder
Salt, as needed
2 tsp pepper powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sambar podi
A bunch of curry leaves
1 tbsp sesame/gingelly oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp urad dal
Extract the juice from the tamarind steeped in warm water after 30 minutes.
Heat sesame oil in a pan, temper the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, urad dal, then add the curry leaves, pearl onions and garlic cloves.
Fry until the onions and garlic turn golden-brown and emanate a strong aroma sans the rawness.
Pour in the tamarind extract, add the jaggery powder, salt, turmeric powder, sambar podi and stir well.
Allow the mixture to boil, then simmer for a few minutes until a thick consistency is obtained and add the pepper powder.
Cook for 2 – 3 minutes so that all the flavours merge well, turn off the stovetop and savour the piquant Poondu Kuzhambu along with warm rice and ghee for lunch or dinner.
Abounding in allicin and antioxidants, garlic effectively lowers high blood pressure, regulates blood cholesterol levels to foster optimal cardiac muscle strength and operations and prevent heart disease. Tamarind houses vast reserves of phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory properties to treat digestive disorders, liver problems and respiratory complaints. Curry leaves are blessed with iron, which augments healthy red blood cell synthesis and circulation and rectifies anaemia and fatigue.