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Updated: October 10, 2010 16:14 IST

Meals that heal - The fibre of life

Chef Bholanath Jha
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RICH IN FIBRE: Apricots.
RICH IN FIBRE: Apricots.

Sweet and juicy apricots add value to your diet

Apricots, those beautifully-coloured orange fruits, are full of fibre and vitamin A. The relatives of peaches, apricots are small, golden-orange fruits, with velvety skin and flesh, not too juicy, but smooth and sweet. Apricots are originally from China, but arrived in Europe via Armenia, which is how it got its scientific name Prunus armenaica. Dried and canned apricots are available year-round.

You can add sliced apricots to hot or cold cereal, chop and add them to whole-grain pancakes, add them to chicken or vegetable stews to lend them a West-Asian flavour. The nutrients in apricots help protect the heart and eyes. Their high beta-carotene content makes them an important heart-health food. Apricots also contain Vitamin A that promotes good vision — Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, and stops free radicals from damaging cells and tissues. Thanks to their fibre content, apricots help prevent constipation and other digestive conditions.

Now, for a recipe.

Apricot Chutney

Ingredients

Apricots: 500 gm

Vinegar: 150 ml

Water: 100 ml

Salt: 2 tsp

Red Chili pepper powder: 1 tsp

Cardamom (crushed): 2

Sugar: 1/4 kg

Ginger (cut into strips): 2 tea spoons

Garlic (chopped): 1 clove

Raisins: 4 teaspoons full

Almonds (blanched): 8 Method

Soak apricots in boiling water till soft. Peel and mash. Strain the pulp and wash the apricot stones with a cup of water. Mix apricot pulp, ginger, garlic, the water from the washed stones, almonds and raisins and cook till all the water is absorbed. Add vinegar, sugar, salt, cardamom and red chili pepper powder and cook till it turns thick and golden brown. Spoon it into a jar. This can be stored for a year.

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