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Calorie counter: Is mutter paneer a healthy choice?
Samreedhi Goel
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August 24, 2007

Just the mention of kaju katri, mutter paneer and paneer pakodas is enough to get the tastebuds tingling. However, while undeniably delicious, these dishes have the potential to wreck havoc with any diet. 

Get Ahead diet expert Samreedhi Goel analyses the calories and fat content of these ever-popular dishes and suggests how you can keep those your calorie count down.

Kaju katri

2 medium-sized pieces (200 calories, 15 gms of fat) = Walking for 36 minutes at 5.5 km/hr

Making kaju katri is actually quite a simple process and does not require too many ingredients. All you need is sugar, ghee, cashews (kaju), a little milk and cardommom powder. The trick is to get the sugar syrup just right.


While this wonderful sweet, if made correctly, will just melt in your mouth and disappear in a few seconds, the fat calories from this will definitely take a much, much longer time and lots of effort to work off!


All the main ingredients of this recipe are not just high in calories but also very high in fat. One hundred grams of cashews alone will give you 570 calories and with the other two ingredients being sugar and ghee, you can understand that they only add to the calorie count with no benefit of any body nourishing nutrients. Ghee again is saturated fat which if eaten in excess will add to your weight problems and won't do any good for your heart either.


So enjoy this delicious snack in moderation and once in a while.


Mutter paneer


1 medium bowl (313 calories, 22 gms of fat) = Walking for 55 minutes at 5.5 km/hr


The main ingredients for mutter paneer are peas, paneer (cottage cheese), onions, ghee and/or oil, cream, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and spices. The paneer is first cubed and deep fried after which boiled peas are added to the prepared onion tomato gravy containing all the spices and flavoring ingredients like ginger and garlic, followed by the paneer itself. All the ingredients are cooked together and a few spoons of cream are added towards the end to enrich the taste.


If this is your choice at a restaurant, you can rest assured that it is going to be a very high-fat meal especially if you are going to combine it with a butter nan.


However, if you are making it at home it can actually be made with much fewer calories and using a healthier type of fat.


Firstly, making paneer at home instead of buying it will immediately cut down 25-30 per cent of the fat content. Store-bought paneer is made from whole milk, while you can use skimmed milk (without cream/ malai) thereby reducing the saturated fat content.


Secondly, you do not need to deep fry the paneer. Either cut it into pieces and add it as it is or put a little oil on a non-stick pan and roast the paneer. This again will greatly reduce the fat absorbed by the paneer.


You can completely avoid adding cream to this dish and substitute it by adding a spoon of milk or curds (dahi). This won't really alter the taste much but will make a substantial difference calorie-wise.


Paneer pakoda

6 pieces (500 calories, 25 gms of fat) = Walking for 89 minutes at 5.5 km/hr)


The ingredients for the pakoda's usually include paneer, besan (gram flour), a few spices and oil for deep frying.


Deep fried food, whether prepared at home or store-bought, is never a great choice though the home-made variety is definitely less harmful.


The high fat content and the fattening effect of these foods is only a secondary concern. More important is the fact that oil that is heated at high temperatures over and over again contains toxins which in the long run can be a cause of heart disease and even cancer.


Restaurants make use of saturated fats and shortenings in several fried and baked food which can be the source of a type of fatty acid called trans-fatty acids which are again harmful to the heart.


So if you want to indulge your pakoda and bhajia craving, put them on your "eat once in a while" list of foods and preferably make them at home. Choose baked or grilled foods or food made in the tandoor or on a non-stick pan instead, these are a better option than fried food that tend to have a higher fat content.




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