What kind of food can you make when trying to lose a few (actually quite a few) pounds and boring steamed veggies, insipid meats and oil-free foods are just not going to cut it? Well, this. My sun-dried tomato grilled fish with charred vegetables not only tastes good but also provides a nutritious and interesting way to shed those kilos. And it also provides a hint of cheat with my light yummy raw mango chutney so that your sweet cravings are satisfied to an extent.
Losing weight is not about eating food that’s unappetising and something that you just ingest for the sake of getting nutrition. In fact, the more boring the food is, the faster it takes for people to get completely fed up and overcompensate with something unhealthy. Weight loss actually depends more on food than exercise, but with food it’s about making healthy choices on a daily basis rather than depriving yourself all week and bingeing on the weekends.
For example, when you eat out, sometimes that’s inevitable, go for the grilled fish, grilled chicken, stir fried veggies options, or the food which has the least amount of sugars, cheeses and fats. Salads in restaurants can sometimes be extremely calorific as they are deceptively loaded with fats and sugars. Anyone watching their weight should avoid those where the ingredients include candied nuts, deep fried cheese and dressings that involve mayonnaise or lots of oil among other things. Chose intelligently. My nutritionist told me that losing weight is making healthy food choices for a lifetime. And of course exercise, even if its just a brisk walk, is a MUST!
My own experience is that everyone’s bodies and metabolism and food tolerance is different and we ourselves know what suits us or doesn’t. For me, on a weight loss mission, eating a tablespoon of oil in my meal is not bad if I’m using it to grill fish, chicken and stir-fry veggies, but having deep fried anything including cheese balls, or pakoras are a no no. I do cheat on certain days with a couple of meals but now I try to keep a check on the quantities and increase the walking time.
So when I got seriously bored with the regular fruits and vegetables and the daal roti routine, I devised this to keep my floundering spirits up. You’ll probably get lots more of these healthy stir-fries and grills coming up in the next few weeks as my journey continues.
In this recipe I’ve used sun-dried tomatoes which have not been stored in oil, so I added oil to it. If you’re using those that have been stored in oil, then you can omit the extra oil. Four pieces of sun-dried tomatoes makes a paste for at least eight fillets of fish. You can store whatever you are not using in an airtight glass container in the fridge for at least a week. It’s a very simple recipe with few ingredients but packs a flavour punch. I hope you like it.
Ingredients (serves one person with a large appetite)
Sun-dried Tomato Sole Fillets
2 fillets of sole
4 pieces sun-dried tomato
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika powder (Kashmiri mirch)
Charred Vegetables with Raw Mango Chutney
50 gms carrots cut into strips
50 gms beans cut into 2 inch pieces
50 gms red and yellow peppers cut into strips
1 heaped tbsp garlic diced finely
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp raw mango chutney
Get Started (pictorial steps below)
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the sole fillets and keep in the refrigerator.Place the sun-dried tomato, olive oil, white vinegar, lemon juice, salt and paprika powder in a grinder and whack nicely till well blended into a paste.
- Coat the sun-dried tomato paste generously and evenly over the top and the sides of the sole fillets and let it marinate for a couple of hours, or if you’re in a hurry, you can cook it immediately.
- Heat a teaspoon of olive oil on a non-stick pan and place the sole fillets bottom down (the part without the sun-dried tomato coating) on the pan. Lower the heat to the lowest setting, cover the pan and let it cook for a minute and a half.
- Flip the fillets, and now coat the upturned side with the tomato paste, cover and cook for another minute. Flip again for half a minute so the side with the newly added paste can get cooked a bit and then remove from the pan. You should have a nice moist and perfectly cooked fillet. The cooking time is for fillets that are a little over a centimetre thick. If the fillets are smaller, you will have to cook for lesser time – maybe a minute on each side – and if they are thicker, then you will have to cook for longer – approx 2 minutes on each side – but keep an eye on it. Maybe try out one first and get the timings right.
- Blanch the beans in boiling water for a minute. Add the carrots after a minute and keep for another minute then remove both from water and set aside.
- In a non-stick pan, heat a teaspoon of olive oil, place the red and yellow peppers and heat on high for about 30 seconds. Flip them over and cook for another 10 seconds, add the carrots and beans and stir fry on high for another minute till they start getting slightly charred. Add the garlic, the salt, paprika powder and mix. If you’re using a non-stick pan, 1 teaspoon of oil will do for the stir fry. If it’s a steel pan, you may need more than that.
- Then add the tablespoon of mango chutney and mix well till all the veggies get coated with the sweet-tangy flavour. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with the fish.