Dal Chawal Above All

We should eat food to fill our stomach up to half. After about forty minutes we should drink water up to one quarter of our stomach’s capacity. The rest of the stomach should be left empty to aid easy digestion.

Dal Chawal Above All

In an era when food is not just a means of nutrition, it’s an art or science which provides livelihood to many in the food industry, food perhaps has become a business more than being just a means of sustenance.

What’s your favourite food? When you come home after days of travel, what do you feel like eating? A renowned institute recently did a survey the world over, about food types. The idea was to find out what the best food in the world was.

There were three parameters that they studied about popular, everyday staple foods. Firstly, was the food easy to prepare? Secondly, was it nutritious? Thirdly, was it tasty? When we talk about fancy food or gourmet food that takes the discussion to a different tangent. But if the genre of food being talked about is daily food, it’s important that the food should score high on the these parameters. We could even add a fourth one, that it should be affordable by all and sundry.

After surveying many cuisines the world over, guess what the results indicate? They found that the Indians eat Dal Chawal in various forms. In each state of India, Dal Chawal has its own kind of avatar. The Dal could be Sabut moong, Sabut Maah, Sabut Masoor, Arhar/Tuvar, chana dal, dhuli moong, dhuli maah, lobia, rongi dal, laal masri, moth dal, kulthi, etc. Cooking them in different ways, adding different spices and condiments can create culinary wonders like Dal Makhani, spicy sambar, tomato sambar, yellow dal tadka, panchmel ki dal, maah-chana dal, moong-masur, chana dal with ghia, dal palak, etc.

The rice could be Basmati, Parmal, Brown Rice, Jasmine, Chakhao, Dubraj, Laxmi Bhog, Burma Black, Jawaful, Kalal, Joha, Ambemohar, Kuttanad, Matta, Mysore Malliage, Samba, Jeerakasala, Wada Kolam, Indrani etc. India grows over 6000 varieties of rice!

Everyone in India eats Dal Chawal in some form or the other. The simplest form of dal is cooked with just salt, turmeric powder and water. The taste of hot Dal Chawal topped with ghee is soul food to many.

It’s easy to prepare and tastes yummy. What about nutrition? Dals have proteins, fibre, iron, vitamin B6 and minerals in it. Salt provides iodine and turmeric has properties that are naturally antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Rice has carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins in it.

If you add any dry vegetable as a side dish to Dal Chawal, it’s a complete balanced diet. If salads and/or pickles are served alongside, there is nothing beyond this in healthy food. Eating this daily, has no adverse effects and one doesn’t get bored of it.

Whenever we travel, I enjoy tasting the local food or the street food there. A meal at a good restaurant is definitely enjoyable. Sometimes the ambience, service, music etc. more than the food, are what make you relax and feel good. But after a few days of eating fancy food, when one is headed home, the tummy craves simple home food.

We should eat food to fill our stomach up to half. After about forty minutes we should drink water up to one quarter of our stomach’s capacity. The rest of the stomach should be left empty to aid easy digestion.

The purpose of food is nutrition. Eating heavy food makes us sluggish, irritable and obese too. Sri Sathya Sai Baba says that we should eat to live; not just live to eat.

Most people in our generation understand that simple home cooked food is the way to go. Strangely and sadly the next generation is more inclined to eating out, ordering in and consuming junk food that is fried, loaded with cheese, cream etc. For youngsters, their comfort food may be Pizza, burger, instant noodles etc. It is upto us to impress upon them the virtues of eating simple food for good health and longevity. Health is our greatest wealth!

This piece has been published in HT on July 7, 2024. It can be viewed here https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/chandigarh-weather-today-aqi-and-rain-forecast-updates-july-9-2024-101720488640478.html