The Ingredients Matter

For those who suffer from allergies and a myriad of afflictions such as asthma, arthritis, and obesity, The Ingredients Matter offers a new approach to cooking aimed at bringing us closer to eating a plant-based diet as well as foods in their natural state– as opposed to the processed, genetically modified foods that are both readily available and easily prepared with minimal effort needed.

Authors Urmi M. Patel, M.S., HinaBalar, B.E., and Shilpa P. Saxena, M.D. join together to provide readers with a unique take on preparing their favorite Indian foods. The trio pays particular attention to foods and nutrients that enhance gastrointestinal health. Unbeknownst to many of us, the “gut” is an integral part of our overall well-being. Limiting or even removing processed foods from our diet, while adding in naturally fibrous foods can do wonders for one’s overall health.

The recipes in The Ingredients Matter reflect the authors’ collective experience with their own efforts to bring themselves and their families closer to the diet of our ancestors – one that was not fueled by the convenience foods of our time. Rather than simply a compilation of scientific formulas designed to improve health, the recipes in this cookbook are meant to provide not just allergy sufferers, but also those who wish to embrace a healthy lifestyle, an opportunity to explore Indian cooking from a different perspective. Though far from the ghee-laden memories of our youth, the dishes highlighted in The ngredients Matter encourage us to truly taste and savor each ingredient while also doing our bodies a favor.

Highly recommended by holistic health and Ayurvedic experts such as Andrew Weil, M.D., Mimi Guarneri, M.D., and AnishaDurve, A.P. M.S.O.M., The Ingredients Matter is one cookbook that will get readers to think differently not only about their gastrointestinal health, but also about Indian cooking. To learn more about this healthful approach to Indian cooking and to order your own copy of the book, visit

Oats Halwa

Recipe from The Ingredients Matter

If you thought you were doing your body good by eating instant or rolled oats, think again. Steel cut oats are the healthiest, low glycemic form of oats you should be including in your food plan. With the bran and germ layers untouched, steel cut oats provide a hefty dose of soluble fiber which helps remove cholesterol from the digestive system, keeping it from entering the bloodstream. The wisdom behind the right oats- pass it on!

1 cup steel cut oats
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
Pinch of saffron
3 tablespoons maple sugar
2 cups whole or low fat milk
(can substitute almond, soy, or rice milk)
2 tablespoons almonds, slivered (for garnish)
Bring the milk to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. (If using a milk substitute, simmer at low
heat to avoid curdling.)

Divide steel cut oats into two Vz cup portions. Coarsely grind the steel cut oats in a spice mill, Vz cup at a time.
Heat the olive oil in a separate saucepan to medium heat. Add the coarsely ground oats to the oil and roast on medium heat for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

Stir in the cardamom powder, maple sugar, and saffron to the oats and mix well.

Pour the heated milk slowly to the flavored oats mixture as you whisk briskly to avoid the formation of clumps. Once well combined, reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and let the oats cook for approximately 10 minutes, until the oats absorb all of the liquid and are soft and fully cooked.

Serve warm or chilled with a garnish of slivered almonds.

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