A Nutritionally Great Superfood!
Figs, also called Anjeer, are known to be one of the first cultivated fruits by mankind going back decades and have been there with us ever since in a number of varieties, while some say it started from middle-east and others from Central America, we are blessed to have such an interesting composed and beneficial fruit full of goodness on our plates to relish!
Fresh and dried versions both are equally interesting to consume as a part of recipes and culinary adaptations. They are not only accepted cause of their pleasant appearance, colour and taste but also their medicinal properties. Some of the known producers of figs are Turkey, India, Iran, Japan & Morocco to name a few.
I grew up eating figs in various ways as a part of my diet in the summertime as a fresh-cut fruit and in winters as a dried version to give warmth to the body as suggested by the elders, the duo varietals tasted great and having them in a milkshake, ice-cream using dried ones was even interesting. Though initially never tried it in cooking but later of course with the exposure it turned out to be a great ingredient and came out amazing in salads, stir-fried, baked and stewed versions too.
Here are a few Health Benefits of FIGS that we should be aware of:
- Figs are a great source of fiber, calcium and also rich in anti-oxidants.
- Figs are great in iron content & good for our skin, hair & bones and helps lower blood pressure.
- Anjeer are great to have as a mid-meal snack bite, it makes you feel full and helps you manage weight and also weight loss.
- Good for the eyes, must have a few of them during the week, also a good immunity booster, helps in insulin control.
- Food for the heart, helps lower cholesterol levels, risk of coronary heart diseases & also prevents hypertension.
- Helps de-toxify the body and cleanses the inner system and also prevents constipation issues.
Culinary Usage of FIGS:
- Having them in their natural form works best for most of us, ensure to wash and check them well before having them, trim as needed & cut and have at room temperature for best flavors.
- In a fruit salad, combined with greens and other fruits like papaya, apples, pears, grapes, watermelon, chickoo, banana etc works well.
- Figs with feta cheese in a salad turns out well too with some fresh lettuce leaves/ kale/ mint/ blanched spinach & some flax seeds in a honey lime mustard dressing.
- Stewed figs with cinnamon/cardamom using organic sugar/jaggery serving it for breakfast with a combination of cereals/porridge works well to and adds a feeling of fullness.
- Figs turn out good on a cheese platter as well, offer them a variety of international cheese and crackers, nuts like walnuts, almonds, pista and greens.
- In a stewed form, with chicken and meat dried figs turn out good and add a delicate and awesome mouthfeel and texture when served with brown rice, couscous, oats or millet pulao.
- Anjeer has also been widely been used in our Indian style mithai and sweets, Anjeer burfi, Anjeer aur badam ka halwa, Anjeer phirni, Anjeer aur seviyan kheer, badam aur Anjeer ki rabdi.
- Trying it in a slightly twisted version fig and walnut cupcakes, fig- banana and cinnamon bread, dried fig and white chocolate sauce with warm whole wheat and sunflower seed pancakes, how about trying sliced dried figs with coconut jaggery filling into a karanji concept, served with strawberry rabdi or a dark chocolate and Gulkhand mousse.
Here are a few recipes using FIGS for all to try!
Recipe-1] FIG FOR US SALAD
Recipe-2] FIG & BEAN TOSS SALAD
Recipe- 3] NUTTY HEALTHY FIG SHAKE
Recipe- 4] FEAST FOR THE PALATE SALAD
Recipe- 5] OVEN COOKED STUFFED CHICKEN WITH FRUITY FIGS
Recipe- 6] WARM SPICED BAKED FIG PUDDING
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About the author
Dr. Kaviraj Khialani – celebrity master chef - is a Mumbai-based author, writer, academician, food –health-lifestyle coach, mentor & consultant.
He is specialized in over 33 International Cuisines & has worked with brands like the Taj Group of Hotels, Kuwait Airways to name a few. Chef Kaviraj has been awarded several Global and National Awards for his outstanding performance and achievements in his chosen field. He has been featured on Star Plus and Colors Television on several food shows as well.