Munching your way to health

SALAD DAYS: Master chef Jiggs Kalra with Perfect Ten owner Neena Gulati.

SALAD DAYS: Master chef Jiggs Kalra with Perfect Ten owner Neena Gulati.  

MUNCHING AWAY at a bowl of crunchy salad could very well earn you the label of a health freak. Or maybe the looks of sympathy reserved for one on a compulsory diet trip. For - given the elaborate dinners and lunches in a typical Indian household - a salad is too often considered a mere part of a meal, and not a meal in itself.

But, if you ask master culinaire Jiggs Kalra for his opinion, pat he would reply, "I not only call it a talisman for fat ladies, but a meal capable of giving you the joys of colours."

Enumerating the benefits of salads, the well-known foodie says, "It is light, freshens you up, and yet allows you to experiment with different dressings to go with different combinations of vegetables and greens, which hardly any other dish does." Despite his expertise in often spicy, rich recipes, salad, for him, is "the best food in the world, a food armed with a history as ancient as 16th century."

Though faded from active "culinary life" due to health compulsions for sometime, Jiggs returned last week to his favourite craft to dish out an all salad menu at a beauty and health centre in Delhi's Greater Kailash. Playing with many a self-thought-out combination of dressings using raw mango, coriander leaves, lemon juice, yogurt, roasted garlic, red pepper, low fat cheese et al, he left the salad eaters to pick and choose from an array of seasonal fruits and vegetables like cucumber, radish, celery, parsley, spinach, tomatoes, beetroot, lichis, corn, olives, with paneer and shrimps to go with various palettes.

However, Jiggs laces his salads with a word of caution. "Never trust a salad even at a five star hotel. For, you never know whether the vegetables are properly cleaned. Always make it a point to wash the ingredients with potassium permanganate," he says.

And yes, he also gives you free advice on choosing fat-free dressings. "If you munch away at vegetables with fatty seasonings, the entire cause of it gets defeated. After all, it is meant to be a health food," he adds.

Neena Gulati, owner of the health centre Perfect Ten, agrees. " You are what you eat, and that is the idea behind inviting Jiggs to lay out uncooked, yet tasty meals that work as the ultimate detoxicant."

Did the lover of sugar and spice hear?

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