Past 5 months have been quite a life changing experience for me. I find it incredible too but I can say without a doubt that I have never felt better-not only has the flab, the tires and even the indestructible orange peel aka cellulite melted away to reveal the real smooth taut underneath that my mum brought me in this world with but the energy, stamina and core strength are higher than when I was 19. Not only just physical, as if some biochemical changes happened internally- I am eager to overcome my fears and try new stuff. After 39 years of meekly and reluctantly waddling in the shallow, our swimming instructor yesterday adjudged my strokes as the best in my family of swimmers, My mile running times have been scoring personal bests, my serve and backhand in tennis has finally fallen in place and I can now read Arabic! – I wanted to and did stuff that I never did before and I would start by saying that the only thing I did was that I changed the way I ate in the past 39 years of my life. Before I say what I did let me warn the die hard fans of long quoted balanced diets and FDA studies, Food pyramids and nutritionists that this is my experience and not based on any study done on thousands of subjects so don’t badger me there. Make up your own mind, my life is mine and yours is yours… If you’d still read on- Here’s one of the things that I did (there are several others but we’ll address those another time)-
1. Knocked off ‘revered grains’- I have been for years falling prey to the wholegrain mantra prescribed by FDA, nutritionists, eager food marketers, every text book taught in my school and most researches that you can probably google. The wheat, the rice, the corn- whole, milled, refined, all types except one that I continue to eat once in a while (and this post will cover that too)
I’ll not deny that I did not eat the vegetable oil soaked pooris and samosas on Diwali and the staple phulkas on our holiday to India and the buckwheat noodles on some meals out of home but largely knocked the grains out of my diet. Grains become fillers in our diet, so to overcome that initial mental desire, i did eat Shirataki quite often – but I am not a great fan of these and have managed to stop these as well. Other than this for about first four of the 5 months I ate oat bran every morning- however personally I find them irritating to my gut so have stopped them now.
The only grain I continue to eat is rice-but only once it is soaked and fermented- studies say that soaking and fermentation improves the nutrient quality and drastically reduces the anti nutritional factors to safe levels however the reason I continued to eat them is I love fresh and hot appams we make at home-
Here’s how to make appams- crisp and brown on the outside and soft and yummy on the other…
For the batter
1 cup white kerala rice- soaked overnight
3/4 cup cooked white rice
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp yeast mixed in 1/4th cup warm water and a pinch of sugar
1/2 cup laban (buttermilk)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda bi carbonate
To make appams-
You need the appam pan or a small shallow wok/round bottom non stick pan with a lid
To make the batter
Mix cooked rice to the rice soaked overnight and blend in a blender till smooth adding the coconut milk.
Mix the yeast mixture in this blend and leave to ferment for 5-6 hours.
Once fermented, add the laban and salt and just before making add the soda bi carb. Mix with a wooden spoon and ensure a smooth batter
To make appams
Heat the pan and rub the whole pan with a few drops of ghee, wipe dry with a cloth- wiping dry is very important otherwise the batter will not hold onto the pan. Pour a ladle ful of batter in the center of the pan- lift up the pan using a gloves or a cloth and rotate in circles so the batter coats the sides of the pan- a little extra liquid settles at the base of the pan.
Reduce the flame to lowest and cover the pan, leave untouched for a full 4 minutes to the clock. Open the lid and slide out hot crunchy appams on the plate. Serve these with any curry made with coconut cream- boiled eggs, chicken, fish or prawns- all of them go amazingly well.