As we turn more health conscious in pandemic times, we are once again embracing age-old food choices approved by our ancestors. Replacing unhealthy ingredients with healthier ones is the first step towards achieving holistic wellness. In recent times overconsumption of refined sugar in form of high-calorie desserts has been increasing our risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. While craving for sugary treats is extremely natural, going for unrefined natural sweeteners instead of refined can to a great extent minimize the risk of several diseases.
Jaggery no wonder is gaining popularity as it not only satiates sweet cravings but also has loads of health benefits. It purifies the blood and contains moderate amounts of iron and has many anti-bacterial properties which can help us in avoiding infections. Jaggery also promotes bone health as it is loaded with magnesium.
“Adding jaggery to the diet can also immensely help pregnant women as it aids in reducing water retention, a common problem during pregnancy. The presence of moderate amounts of potassium and sodium in jaggery helps to maintain the electrolyte balance,” says Rupali Mathur, Executive Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group Hospitals, New Delhi, Punjabi Bagh (Delhi).
Jaggery is also helpful in fixing your digestion woes. “Jaggery is the natural form of sugar that causes the secretion of digestive enzymes and this triggers proper digestion. It also helps in relieving constipation,” says Mathur.
The nutritionist also suggests three delicious healthy jaggery recipes you can try:
1. Til Gur Ke Laddoo
* Take the sesame seeds (til) and heat them in a thick bottomed pan. Keeping the flame low or sim, stir and roast the sesame seeds.
* The sesame seeds should become crunchy. So do roast well. You will also hear their crackling and popping sound when being roasted.
* Remove them in a plate or tray. Add 1/2 cup heaped jaggery powder and 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder.
* Run grinder or mixer for a few seconds and then stop. Scrape the sides and add in the jar. Continue in the same way, till you get a consistency in the mixture, where a bit of oil releases from the sesame.
* Take a small portion of the til laddoo mixture in your palms and begin to shape it into ladoos.
* Make ladoos with the rest of the mixture. This recipe yields 14 to 15 til ladoos.
* Store the sesame jaggery ladoos in an air tight jar. If living in a warm or humid place, then keep the jar in the fridge. If living in a cool or cold climate, then you can keep at room temperature. Serve til gud ke ladoo as a sweet snack.
2. Brown Rice Kheer
* Cook brown rice separately.
* Add this cooked rice to milk added with jaggery.
* Boil the same for 5 minutes and add a spoon of ghee before turning off the flame.
* Add pan-fried dry fruits for a crunchy taste when you serve.
* Add jaggery based on the sweetness you wish to enjoy.
3. Besan Sheera with Jaggery
* Roast Besan till golden brown in frying pan (kadhai)
* Add ghee to it and bring it to boiling point.
* Then add jaggery in small amount according to your taste
* Add milk and keep stirring to avoid lumps.