27 April 2017 | Last updated 05:51 PM

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A Lunch Bowl
Anukriti Sharma | Thursday, 23 March 2017 AT 08:33 PM IST
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Pune-based chefs talk about the nutritional benefits of one-bowl meals which are also easy to make.

Imagine opening your lunch box at work every day just to find the same old ‘dal-roti’! Of course, your reason could be ‘who will wake up early to prepare a fancy meal?’ And you obviously can’t always order a takeway because you want to stay healthy. So why not try a third option? Create fusion foods and break away from the monotony of ‘dal-roti’. Talking about growing trends, the one-bowl meal acts as a nutritious alternative to your everyday comfort food.

The original ‘noodles in a bowl’ concept started when people added their own flavours and innovations to a dish. Joy Dey, executive sous chef, DoubleTree by Hilton Pune – Chinchwad, says, “People now have less time to prepare food at home due to long working hours and you can’t always rely on takeaways to feed your appetite. So the best option is to create your own recipes and innovate in order to break the monotony. Just take chicken breast, add avocado and a lemon chilli dressing to it and you will have an interesting lunch with ample amount of protein. Besides, you can also experiment a lot with mushrooms and potatoes. ”

Meeta Makhecha, chef/ owner, The Flour Works, Kalyani Nagar, says that youngsters are game for such substitutes to make their meal more appetising. She shares, “It also gives you a control over what you want to add in your diet. You can simply take granola, some fruits, honey and yoghurt, mix them together in a bowl and your lunch will be healthy and different from the usual days.”

But while you experiment with your everyday meals, the chefs also suggest you to keep certain things in mind. Dey says, “Always make sure that you are opting for fresh vegetables and fruits to add in your recipe. For example, if you are going to pack your lunch and will consume it hours later, don’t use raw onions in it. Try to add ingredients that don’t need much cooking or can be consumed just after boiling so that the freshness of the vegetables and fruits can be retained. Don’t mix the international ingredients with the local ones if you are not too confident like you can’t add red chilli powder with every type of dressing.”

Makhecha emphasises on not mixing the dry and wet ingredients in the beginning. She explains, “Try creating a layer of the ingredients, for example, make a layer of quinoa, then add a layer of fruits or vegetables and then on top add the dressing so that you will not run the risk of consuming moist food. You can always mix them later before eating. Most importantly, avoid adding fish in these meals because there is a higher chance of them leaving a bad odour.”

-  Quinoa, cooked     1cup
-  Cherry tomatoes, split into halves    1 cup
-  Large cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces    1
-  Bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces    ½ cup
-  Small onions, diced    2
-  Chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces    1 cup
-  Basil, roughly chopped    ¼ cup
-  Fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped    ¼ cup
-  Extra-virgin olive oil     4 tbsp
-  Lemon juice    2 tbsp
-  Salt and pepper to taste

-  Emulsify the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to make your dressing.
-  Mix the quinoa, diced onions, and half the portion of basil, mint leaves and dressing. Layer your bowl with quinoa.
-  Toss the cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers with the remaining dressing. Add the rest of the basil and mint leaves. Add this to the layer of quinoa.
-  Sauté the chicken and use your choice of seasonings. Cool it.
-  Put the chicken on top of the vegetables.

The author can be followed on Twitter @sh_anukriti

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