Alamelu Vairavan, a Whitefish Bay resident, is an author and culinary instructor. Alamelu has a passion for educating the public about the use of spices and legumes in preparing healthy and tasty foods. She is also interested in educating the public about the growing research that points to the enormous health benefits of spices in preventing many diseases. Her mission is to enrich people's culinary experience and to inspire them to discover that cooking and sharing healthful foods can be an especially joyful experience.
Visit Alamelu's web site, CurryOnWheels.com.
Do you feel too tired to cook after work?
Do you wish to eat healthy?
Do you exercise, but consume high calorie food?
Do you feel cooking is complicated and time consuming?
Do you feel that you don’t want to or don’t know how to cook?
First of all, it is in the attitude how we approach cooking. Cooking is an art and it can be really a relaxing experience. I know a lot of people who love to cook and others who are happy eating out.As an author and a culinary instructor, I have heard the following comments in my cooking presentations:“I don’t have time to cook everyday”.
My answer is, not every day. Maybe three times a week or on weekends, for an hour or so we can certainly find time. We are bound to find at least a few activities that can be replaced with cooking.
“Well, I don’t know how to cook”.
My answer is, take it from a pro. I didn’t either until I came to the US as a married young woman many years ago. I learned cooking after I came here. It has been a great and rewarding experience. Necessity was the mother of invention for me.
“Too many ingredients are overwhelming”
Just a little familiarity and enthusiasm will make a big difference. If we are interested in learning to play a musical instrument, what do we do? Well, we find a teacher to teach us, go to the music store and buy an instrument, music book, setup a time to get lessons, practice, and we become a pro. It is just like that. Cooking is a skill worth learning. “It is easy to get a carryout. Why should I cook?”
Because you care for your health. Carryout foods have too much fat, salt and sugar. Eating carryout foods or eating foods occasionally is fine. Eating carryout foods or eating outside habitually is a threat to your health. Recognize that. You are worth nourishing. “Vegetables are bland and boring. I don’t like any vegetables other than potatoes”
When you add flavors to the vegetables the resulting dishes actually result in greater enjoyment. Simply boiling and steaming will not do. The vegetables cooked with spices and lentils even transform kids from vegetable haters to vegetable lovers. “Cooking is time consuming”
Not really. Like any skill worth learning, one can learn and can get better and better with experience. Once we take the time to have the basic spices and ingredients, all we we need is to get vegetables, meat and other ingredients. There are dishes that you can prepare in less than 20-30 minutes.
"My children are picky eaters, they may not like it”
It is all in our mind. When you cook at home, and include children in preparation of food, they are excited and they will be willing to try. Kids must be offered variety of foods. My cooking experience with children in schools has been amazing. They eagerly participate in cooking and eat if vegetables are appealing, aromatic and flavorful. Cooking brings family together, and it is a great bonding experience.
Enjoy cooking with family and make it a fun enjoyable and culinary experience!Recipe:
Cucumber and Tomato Yogurt Salad
(Recipe from Healthy South Indian Cooking)
1 1/2 cups fresh cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
3/4 cup diced tomato
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 green chili pepper, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon black pepper and cumin powder (1/2 teaspoon each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fat-free plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander(cilantro)
Place the vegetables in a serving bowl.
Blend black pepper and cumin powder with salt into yogurt.
Pour yogurt mixture over diced vegetbles and stir to coat. Taste and add additional seasonings if desired.
Refrigerate at least one hour. Garnish with coriander before serving.
Question, comments e-mail Alamelu at firstname.lastname@example.org