Winter is not only synonymous with freezing temperatures, icy winds and drizzles of hail and snow, but also sipping on hot beverages such as tea, coffee, cocoa in the evening which provide warmth to the body. And if you crave some crispy, spicy snacks alongside these to satiate those cravings for munchies after an early sunset this time of year, well, we don’t blame you, for we feel the same way too! However, it is vital to consume ample essential nutrients of fibres, healthy fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and most importantly – proteins – to ensure an energetic body in the cold weather.
Health Benefits Of Following A High-Protein Diet In Winter:
Generally, in chill climates, metabolism and digestion processes in the body inherently slow down and the system utilises calories from ingested meals to absorb nutrients and break down food particles – a mechanism known as the thermic effect of food. Proteins confer a significantly higher thermic value of 20 – 35 per cent, compared to carbs and fats which provide only 5 – 15 per cent and hence proteins are crucial for enhancing metabolic activities and digestive functions during winters.
Moreover, composed of amino acids which form the building blocks of the system, proteins are central for strong muscles, bones, joints, besides healthy hair and nails. They even support the optimal growth and development of all cells, tissues and organs in the body, thereby being a key component of a healthy balanced diet in winters.
Scrumptious Desi Snacks To Savour On A Cold Winter Evening:
And the best part is, many staple snacks from Indian cuisine like pakoras, cutlets, samosas, vadas, chaat can be enriched with proteins by incorporating lentils and beans such as sprouted moong beans, toor dal, chana/chickpeas, urad dal, among others. So go ahead and rustle up these high-protein tea-time snacks of Moong Sprouts Cutlet and Kala Chana Chaat, to uplift metabolism and digestion and stay healthy in the cold winters.
Moong Sprouts Cutlet
1 cup green moong sprouts, parboiled
2 – 3 spring onion greens, finely cut
1 small piece of ginger, chopped into bits
1 green chilli, chopped into bits
1 tsp coriander powder i.e. dhania
½ tsp garam masala
Salt, as per taste
1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
Pressure cook the green moong sprouts with ½ cup water and a dash of salt for 2 – 3 whistles and allow all the steam to release so as to let it cool down considerably.
Take the cooked moong sprouts and blend them to a smooth paste in a mixer along with ginger and green chillies.
Then add the spring onion greens, coriander powder, garam masala, required amount of salt to the moong paste and mix well.
Mould the seasoned paste into round flattened patties of uniform thickness.
Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan or wok on high, then fry the patties until they turn golden-brown on both sides and place them on a tissue afterwards to drain out excess oil.
Serve the yummy moong sprouts cutlet along with tangy tamarind and mint chutneys as a wholesome evening snack with masala chai.
Sprouted and boiled green moong dal is an excellent source of proteins, supplying all the essential amino acids for optimal growth, development and immunity. Spring onion greens contain profuse amounts of vitamin C to sustain strong immune functions, while ginger is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients that uplift lung power and remedy respiratory conditions of cough, cold, fever in winters.
Kala Chana Chaat
2 cups kala chana, soaked overnight
½ tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp cumin/jeera powder
½ tsp chaat masala
1 tbsp mint chutney
2 tbsp tamarind chutney
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomatoes, finely chopped
3 tbsp potatoes, boiled and cut into cubes
2 tbsp crispy sev/namkeen
A bunch of coriander leaves
Pour out the excess water from the soaked kala chana and pressure cook for 4 whistles so it becomes soft.
Transfer it to a large bowl and add red chilli powder, cumin powder, chaat masala, mint chutney, tamarind chutney, salt and mix well.
Now add the onions, tomatoes, potatoes to the kala chana mixture and combine thoroughly to ensure all the flavours are absorbed.
Divide this mixture evenly into 4 – 5 small bowls, garnish with sev and coriander leaves and serve this mouth-watering kala chana chaat along with a piping hot cup of tea or coffee during chilly winter evenings.
Bestowed with proteins, kala chana fortifies connective tissues of muscles, bones, joints, apart from supplying iron for healthy red blood cell synthesis, circulation and preventing anaemia. Onions comprise significant quantities of quercetin – a potent antioxidant that averts cancer, while tomatoes provide lycopene – a powerful phytonutrient for smooth skin and lustrous hair.