True to its name ‘The small plate’ seemed quite literally tucked away with a signage that was so easy to miss behind a thicket of trees in my residential neighborhood. Truly foolish of me but I had grown a silly fondness for this charming tuck away café. At a stone’s throwaway distance, this quaint little bistro offered a mini range of sandwiches and loads of savory delights adorned the shelves to partner the evening chai.
But like any typical teenybopper, I was all eyes only for that delicious spicy potato stir fry roast, sizzling hot scrumptious samosas and delightful warm pesto chili cheese oozing of a racy and peppery sweetness. Some yummy great tasting that was! Cooling off the after-zing with a scoop of a hazelnut ice cream or a sip of a freshly made warm brew of cappuccino…well! Who could ever think up of anything to outdo this crunch of an evening straight out of an ASMR video? No! I certainly wouldn’t have missed that for anything.
Geez! That place was my Xanadu; one exotic luxury I‘d set my heart on.
Twenty years later I dearly miss my post-card perfect moments of rainy afternoons and sultry evenings, hanging around and spending most of the time straddling my favorite creaky four legged wooden barstool in the café; that tingling aftertaste of chili cheese, the warm balmy smell of crumbly croissants straight out of wood fired oven, the gushing flavors of hot heavenly samosas dripping of mint tamarind chutney, the tantalizing smell of turmeric sourdough toast with a generous dollop of butter and the towering glass of hot chocolate all whipped up thick with pure Belgian chocolate; every memory is a torment!
It’s so hard to forget those bang-up times!
But then like everything else, there is always a good time to ditch frizzles and fries and move on to healthy yummy snacks, especially when craving for munchies hits mid day or when you think you’ve run out of choices to side with your evening cuppa chai!
Like everybody else, the moment clock strikes 5 in the evening my gut starts groaning and makes grumpy noises. Despite knowing the ill effects of fried snacks, I am tempted and fantasize of warm fried rice and chili potato platter; far from what anybody would wish for health goals. But unlike what you may think, I always choose to suffer. A heavy sigh and all thoughts of a finger licking luxury of sumptuous brownies or that self-destroying flash fried crackling high food are set aside.
Yet, I do not put the shutter down on my evening snacks and still enjoy them with a hot cup of tea!
So, if not the fried cutlets or chili potatoes, then, what’s there for me to eat?
Well, here’re five healthy low cal yummy snacks, laden with a number of nutrients and health benefits that like me you can add to your ‘eve-nosh’ without worrying about upsetting your waist line.
Luscious, mouth-watering! Dig in and you’ll thank me for the heads up.
Sautéed Sprouts, Corn and Peas Chaat
A rainbow bowl filled with fresh chopped veggies and paired with sautéed sprouts, corn and peas seasoned with that funky, salty, spicy sour blend of chaat masala, invites you to an umami like intensity, inexplicable depth and complexity. Adding overnight soaked chickpeas gives the dish a heavily nutritious punch! Throw in the veggies you love most; chopped cucumber, tomatoes, onions, olives and jalapeño, just about anything from your crisper is all you need to transform this catchy bite into a perfect tea time snack.
The heart of this delight though, I must say lies with the otherworldly blend of spices. Mysterious and forceful, it may smell somewhat alarmingly like rotten eggs to some, but the effect it has on your bowl or even a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a salad dressing and a million other things, is simply divine.
Fire-toasted masala Papadam
Simply super tasty and super quick, this is one guilt free anytime snack that would leave your mouth zinging with aft-flavors. Made with pulses and flour, the low cal Papad is high in fiber and protein and works similar to a probiotic, promoting growth of good bacteria and improving digestion by whipping up digestive juices and enzymes which are essential for metabolism.
Finely chopped veggies like tomatoes and onions adorning it, have high water content and carry Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, potassium. Antioxidant properties of tomatoes reduces the risk of cancer and several heart diseases. Onions help control blood sugar levels, boost up bone density and have antibacterial properties.
Seasonings like asafetida, cinnamon, black pepper and allspice are a great help in abdominal pain, bloating, gastric problems and digestion and reduces chances of stomach infections.
If you’re the one with a bent for a bit of wet and wintry weather, well…then let’s say cravings for fried food is bound to torment you every so often. And if you could ride out the elements wouldn’t you love to nosh on hot samosas or flaming fritters?
Often looked-upon as one of the best-loved snacks to side a cup of hot tea, this baked delight on the other side, is a perfect lip smacking body bloom choice when gently pattering rains have sneaked in or when a foggy dank wintery evening finds you in a sullen mood.
Baked kachori is guilt free healthy twist to otherwise gettable deep fried bites that beckon so invitingly. Beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains; just about every one of them bring the right fiber-rich luxuriance to your platter to help you win over your belly fat quickly.
Made with whole wheat flour and stuffed with coarsely grinded skinless black gram lentil and spices like chili, coriander, fennel and much more, baked kachori is unmistakably a super delectable combination of both health and taste.
Pair it up with your dip and savor the difference!
If you think healthy food can’t be tasty then this crispy beetroot kebab will change your mind. Crunchy, smoky and made with kidney beans and beets pairing velvety yellow mustard dip, beetroot kebabs are meant to leave you strung out. A perfect appetizer and powerhouse of energy, these kebabs are a definite showstopper at the tea table! Brimming with antioxidants, kebabs hardly have any calories and not only they look gorgeously inviting; they super quick to make! Some food processor action, a bit of stop top roasting and you’ve served yourself a veggie fare that’s loaded with spicy, tangy and savory flavors!
Put together with a creamy yellow-brown silk smooth mustard dip and there’s just no better match!
Puffed Rice Bhel
Tangy and spice, this yum low calorie snack is a super addictive phenomena of papadis, puffed rice, sev, onions, potatoes, raw mango and chutneys packing a mélange of unparallel flavors and textures.
Typically made with dry cereal, fresh chopped vegetables, lemon juice and peanuts; simple but sensational chutneys beef up the zing of this mouthwatering crunchy ‘beach snack’ that would also happen to bring a wholesome evening delight straight to your table. More often you’ll find bhel puri with two chutneys-a sweet tamarind one and spicy green chutney. But actually it’s the red pungent garlic paste that reconstructs the whole pot-pourri to an irresistible medley of flavors!
You could build on an extra crunch to this light snack by adding some roasted walnuts or sesame seeds!
Seriously… be it a racy morning or a lazy tea and crumpets evening, don’t we all just love a cup of chai as aft-brew for that instant gratification? Chai is not just a beverage; it’s an emotion that sets everything right away. Pair it with one of the most loved lip smacking healthy light crunchy snack and you’re spoilt for options.
And…you don’t wreak havoc on your wellness, if you know how to stick to a healthy and clean eating.
Now that you’ve learned a bit of everything…go ahead; flatter yourself!