Health Benefits of South Asian Food

Quanti Recipe from Nepal and Its Benefits
Guest Contributor
Jan 30, 2011

When most people in the US talk about healthy food, they think about raw vegetable salad, Mediterranean food or just some bland dish. If you visit most developing countries, you will find that most of their food are both nutritious and cheap. I think this is due to lack of awareness of food from other cultures. Several South Asian dishes from Nepal, India, and Bangladesh are actually very delicious and healthy. In this article, we are going to focus on a delicious healthy Nepalese dish called quanti.

Quanti is a traditional Nepalese dish which is a thick stew of several kinds of beans. The beans used in this dish are kidney beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, soyabean, mung bean, green bean, black bean and white beans. A serving size of quanti (about 110 grams) has 196 calories, 6 grams of protein and a good amount of fiber.

Cooked quanti dish
Cooked quanti dish without soup

Other ingredients used in the dish are each teaspoon of lovage, fennel seed, mustard seeds, cumin powder, coriander powder, garlic, ginger, and fresh ground pepper. You will also add a couple of red chillis, half teaspoon turmeric, 1 cup chopped tomato, 2 cups yogurt, 4 cups vegetable broth, 3 tablespoons mustard oil, little salt and 2 tablespoons green onions.

The first step is to soak the beans overnight in water. Next day you can drain the water and allow the beans to sprout.

Sprouting Beans

Sprouting Beans

When the beans are sprouted, you are ready to cook the ingredients. For step-by-step instruction, you can use one of the following recipes:

What are the benefits of this dish? First, the ingredients such as beans are cheap for anyone trying to stay healthy on a budget. Beans are rich in protein and fiber. The fibers, minerals and enzymes in beans regulate the blood sugar level. They are also loaded with vitamin B, calcium, potassium, folate and several trace minerals. Research shows that eating beans regularly will reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity and several other diseases.

Spices in this dish have several health benefits as well. For example, fennel seeds help digestion, relieves bloating, and helps detox the body. Mustard seeds have phytonutrients that protect against gastrointestinal cancer, trace minerals such as selenium, and some powerful anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants. Cumin is a good source of iron, helps the digestive system, and helps prevent cancer. Coriander controls blood sugar level, reduces bad cholesterol, and provides many essential minerals and antioxidants. Garlic is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral, and it reduces the risk of heart disease as well as cancer. Garlic also helps the metabolism of iron. Ginger is anti-inflammatory, protects against colorectal cancer, helps digestion, and boosts the immune system. Turmeric contains a very powerful anti-oxidant called circumin which is anti-inflammatory, inhibits cancer cell growth and prevents various kinds of cancer, improves the liver, lowers cholesterol and protects against Alzheimer disease.

A traditional Nepalese, Indian or any South Asian diet is rich in protein, good carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and powerful anti-oxidants. Most of these dishes use different types of vegetable and spices. The combination of these vegetables and spices make them very tasty while providing excellent health benefits.

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