Mango: India’s Delicious Super-Fruit

Mango

The mango is a fruit native to the tropical regions of the sub-Himalayan plains of India. Delicious and highly nutritious, mango is considered by many to be “the king of fruits”. It is for this reason that it has been a big part of Indian dining for many years.

Nutritionally, mangos are among the richest of fruits, often identified as “super-fruits”. When you eat mango, you are enjoying all of the following benefits:

  • A 100 gram serving of fresh mango gives you 25% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, as well as flavonoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. These compounds are valuable for maintaining healthy vision and skin, as well as protecting you from oral cancer.
  • A high vitamin C content and strong antioxidant compounds found in mangos have been found to protect you from colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and leukemia.
  • A 100 gram serving of fresh mango contains 156 milligrams of potassium and only two milligrams of sodium. Potassium serves to remove excess sodium from your blood, helping regulate the blood pressure of people struggling with high sodium levels.
  • Mangos are high in fiber, helping you to maintain a healthy digestive system.
  • The strong iron content of mangos makes them a strong choice for people who need a meat-free source of iron.
  • Mangos contain a variety of other nutrients, including vitamin E, vitamon B6, and copper.

Enjoy India’s Popular Lassi

Lassi is a popular drink in the Indian Subcontinent that is made from yogurt, water, fruits and spices. The drink can either be made into a sweet lassi containing sugar or fruits to sweeten the drink or a salted lassi. Lassis can be enjoyed as a summer refreshment to cool off from the hot weather.

Other than the classic lassi, other popular flavor is the Mango lassi. It’s made from the original ingredient with the addition of fresh mango or mango pulp.

The Mango lassi is enjoyed all over the world and is a summertime favorite because of the cold and creamy consistency, similar to a smoothie. Just like a smoothie, Lassi drinks can be made at home with a few simple ingredients.

Ingredients

The base ingredients include: plain yogurt, water, and flavor such as salt, sugar, honey, fruits, spices, etc. There are alternatives such as coconut milk for a vegan option. Some people add in alcohol, mint leaves, nuts, flaxseeds, cream, or even butter to change up the classic recipe.

Health Benefits

Since the drink is a yogurt based drink, it contains many beneficial bacteria that aides digestion and decreases the harmful bacteria.

Try our Mango Lassi, one of the popular and top selling beverages at MokSHA Bellevue.

The Phenomenon of Chai Tea

Masala Chai

What is chai tea? This question can be answered in two ways. When we trace the word back to its native land in India, the word “chai” is simply the Hindi term for tea. However, outside of Hindi-speaking countries, the term is often used to specifically describe a style of tea commonly associated with traditional Indian dining.

A chai tea will often be called masala chai, describing the mix of spices that goes into its brewing. The specific blend of spices used in the tea will vary greatly from one region to another, and even among different Indian households. However, the most common spices are cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and pepper.

Some people will add to this vanilla, nutmeg, coriander, fennel seed, or chocolate. These spices are combined with a rich black tea, heavy milk, and usually a bit of sugar or some other sort of sweetening agent.

Fans of chai tea appreciate the warm, relaxing sensation that it brings about, as well as the health benefits that come with drinking it. It contains some potent antioxidants, powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and substances that serve to calm your stomach and facilitate a healthy digestive system. The caffeine in the black tea makes it a popular, more healthy alternative to coffee.

Drinking chai tea is a big part of dining in India. It is common to find this beverage on the menu of any good Indian restaurant, either within the country or abroad. At our Bellevue Indian cuisine restaurant, you can experience this classic favorite for yourself. Try it out at MokSHA today!

The Difference Between Northern and Southern Indian Food

Spices Indian Food

India is a large country with one of the world’s largest populations, so its culinary traditions have naturally developed a number of distinct regional variations. One can easily see the great variation present in Indian cooking simply by dividing the country into Northern India and Southern India.

These two regions differ greatly in their cooking, both in their ingredients of choice and the way their dishes are generally prepared.

One of the biggest differences between Northern and Southern Indian food is the staple grain. The culinary traditions of the south share some similarities with China and other nearby Asian countries, making use of rice for most meals. The north, on the other hand, has been more influenced by Mughlai cooking.

Their grain of choice is generally wheat. It is for this reason that naan and tandoori-style cooking is largely a specialty of the north.

Vegans and vegetarians are more likely to be drawn to Southern Indian food. North India makes more use of meat and dairy products, whereas the south has a stronger focus on vegetables and seafood.

Both Northern and Southern Indian food is known to make use of curry and other strong, spicy dishes. However, Southern India is known to be the spicier of the two. Further, comparing the dals and curries of the two regions, Southern India’s tend to have a soupier consistency than similar dishes found in the north.

Rice in India

It could be easily argued that rice is the single most important food item in the entire world. A major part of many culinary traditions throughout the globe, this grain is cultivated on every inhabited continent. Current estimations suggest that a full half of the world’s population subsists either wholly or partially on rice, and the people of India are no exception.

Rice has been a big part of Indian dining since ancient times. Historical records indicate that the grain was first cultivated as a food source in neighboring China approximately four thousand years ago, and the practice made its way to India not long afterward.

The tropical crop took well to India’s warm, wet climates, and it was quickly embraced as a staple food. Today, the country grows roughly twenty percent of the world’s rice, coming in second to China as the leading rice producer.

Even as many farmers in Europe and America switch over to mechanized cultivation techniques, the traditional rice farming methods are still practiced in much of India. First, a field is plowed and fertilized with dung, then smoothed over by dragging a log over the earth.

The seeds are then planted and allowed to sprout. After about thirty to fifty days, the plants are transplanted by hand to flooded fields. The water in these fields is maintained by either dyke-controlled canals or hand-watering, and is allowed to drain out before the crop is harvested.

Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice

The type of rice most predominantly used in Indian cooking is a long-grain variety known as basmati. This term is taken from Sanskrit, and translates to “the fragrant one”. Rich with essential oils, basmati grains release the distinctive and pleasing aroma for which it is named as it is boiled.

In traditional cooking, the Indian people will serve basmati with a spicy sauce or meat stew, mixing the two together before eating them. Many Indian restaurants in America will give diners the choice between familiar white rice and the more traditional basmati.

Nutritionally, basmati rice is a strong choice. Compared to other forms of rice, basmati has a relatively low natural sugar content and glycemic index rating. For this reason, it is particularly good for people suffering from diabetes and similar conditions that make them sensitive to blood sugar spikes.

Basmati also contains trace amounts of valuable nutrients, including iron and selenium. In the case of brown basmati, representing basmati grains that still have their outer bran layer, you can also expect a healthy supply of fiber and protein. White rice features less fiber and protein, but is often enriched with folate and other nutrients.

The Tandoor Oven

Tandoor Oven

When we talk about tandoori dishes, we’re talking about more than just the distinctive marinade that generally flavors such dishes. The word “tandoori” refers specifically to the tandoor oven, in which tandoori-style food is traditionally cooked.

Such ovens have been used at least as far back as 9000 BC, and have served as an important part of the culinary traditions in India as well as much of the rest of Southern, Western, and Central Asia.

The tandoor oven generally comes in the form of a large, clay cylinder, open at the top, with a wood or coal fire on the bottom. It is designed to reach very high temperatures, with the thick clay walls serving to trap the fire’s heat and let it build up to intensities that easily exceed 500 degrees.

The tandoor oven generally comes in the form of a large, clay cylinder, open at the top, with a wood or coal fire on the bottom. It is designed to reach very high temperatures, with the thick clay walls serving to trap the fire’s heat and let it build up to intensities that easily exceed 500 degrees.

As the walls warm up, they provide for an even heat that bombards the food from all sides. Chefs will often keep their fires roaring for hours or even days at a time to maintain a proper temperature for tandoori cooking.

Tandoori cooking is great for meat dishes, most notably the classic tandoori chicken that appears as a favorite in many Indian restaurants. In this recipe, the meat is coated first with a form of plain, mild yoghurt and a selection of spices that might include turmeric, ginger, garlic, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, and garam masala.

Pieces of the meat are then stuck on skewers and lowered into the tandoor oven; the thick yoghurt serves to hold the seasonings in place while they cook, while its natural acidity acts to bring out the best of the marinade. The final result has a pleasing seared quality, and the complex, often intense level of spiciness that many people have come to expect from their Indian cuisine.

Tandoor ovens are not just for meat dishes, though. This is also where an Indian restaurant is going to prepare most of its breads, including lavash, samosas, and naan. After the dough of these breads is prepared, it is slapped up against the sides of the oven. The intense heat cooks it quickly, allowing a restaurant to put out large batches of bread to be enjoyed as appetizers.

At MokSHA, you can enjoy the bounty of the tandoor oven in many different forms.

Indian Food on a Low-Sodium Diet

A low-sodium diet is important for many people. Far too many of us get well over our recommended intake of sodium every day, which leads to an increased blood pressure and a heightened risk of heart attack, stroke, and similar problems. The problem is that sodium is very difficult to avoid, particularly when it comes to preserved foods and restaurant fare. So, is it possible to enjoy quality Indian cuisine while simultaneously limiting your sodium intake?

Indeed, there are ways to cut down on the sodium in your Indian food. Indian food is nothing if not heavy in strong flavoring agents, making it easy to achieve a great taste without the use of salt. Table salt is the biggest source of sodium for most people, and cutting it out of your diet is an important part of a low-sodium diet. However, some dishes are going to be more salt-heavy than others. If you are on a low-sodium diet, skip anything fried and look for baked dishes. Favor tandoor-based dishes over soups and creamy curries.

Further, look for potassium-rich foods; since potassium is instrumental in removing sodium from your body, it is the best friend of anyone on a low-sodium diet. Common options in Indian food include potatoes, green vegetables, yogurt, halibut, and other fatty fish. Red meat and poultry also represents a moderate serving of potassium.

If you are concerned about the sodium in your meal, or if you have any other dietary restrictions while dining at MokSHA in Bellevue, please talk to your server.

The Benefits of Eating Spinach

It’s no secret that spinach is one of the healthier foods you can eat. A diet rich in spinach gives you many benefits, including the following:

  • Fiber: A single cup of spinach gives you fully 20% of your recommended daily intake of dietary fiber. Your body needs fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system and stay regular. It also serves to help maintain a low blood sugar. If you need to watch your weight, it’s a good way to curb your appetite and prevent overeating.
  • Cancer Prevention: The flavonoids found in spinach have been found to slow down the division of cancerous cells in the human stomach or skin. It also protects against prostate cancer.
  • Antioxidants: Spinach is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, selenium and zinc, all of which are valuable in protecting your cells from damage. Getting enough antioxidants in your life gives you a reduced chance of developing many diseases.
  • Anti-Inflammation: The neoxanthin and violaxanthin in spinach have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Heart Health: The peptides found in spinach inhibit the angiotensin I-converting enzyme, serving to lower your blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
  • Vitamin K: A single cup of spinach gives you over 1000% of your recommended intake of vitamin K. This vitamin is valuable in maintaining healthy bones, protecting your brain and nervous system, and fighting diseases like atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and strokes.

You can get the spinach you need at MokSHA in Bellevue in a number of delicious South Indian-style dishes. Try our lamb or chicken saag, served with spinach and garam masala. Come in for lunch and try our spinach sauce over vegetables, paneer, chicken, lamb, salmon, or shrimp.

What is a Samosa?

A samosa is a type of savory pastry from Indian culinary traditions. It is made with filo dough or a similar pastry crust, which is stuffed with fillings that may include curried potatoes, peas, lamb, chicken, onions, lentils, noodles, pine nuts, and more. The dough is folded over its filling in a distinctive, triangular shape, after which it is deep-fried in vegetable oil until it achieves a golden-brown appearance. It will then be served hot as an entree or appetizer with many Indian meals, often accompanied by yogurt or chutney. Fans of the dish appreciate it for its delightfully crispy texture, paired with the hearty and flavorful interior.

Samosas first came about somewhere in the Middle East. The earliest record of the dish comes to us from Abolfazl Beyhaqi, an Iranian historian from the eleventh century. It made its way into India as early as the 13th century, when traders entered the subcontinent from Central Asia. Similar dishes spread throughout the region, and today you can find popular variations in Greece, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

In restaurants throughout India, patrons can generally either order samosas alone or as part of a chaat dish. Such dishes are served as appetizers, and include a selection of different foods that may include steamed dumplings, onion cakes, momos, yogurt, and a chutney garnish.

At MokSHA, you can enjoy this old favorite in the form of our potato peas samosas. Stuffed with spiced potatoes, this hearty appetizer is served with tamarind and mint chutney. Come and join us for dinner tonight!

Update from MokSHA

Our communities continue to feel the increased impact of Coronavirus, Just as you are, we are closely monitoring any new developments regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The health and safety of our extended family (you) and our team is of the utmost importance.

We are committed to doing everything we can to make Mōksha safe for you when you visit us during this difficult time. To make sure we accomplish this, we’ve raised our usual standards of cleanliness and health safety even higher.
We have implemented several new policies and procedures, which follow recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Seattle King County Department of Public Health (SKCDPH).

What We Are Doing:

  1. We have scrub cleaned the kitchen, the restrooms, the front of house and other areas
  2. We have hand sanitizers located though out the restaurant for the public and our staff use
  3. we have implemented procedures to clean public touch points such as handrails, menus, door handles, etc multiple times a day
  4. We are in constant communication with our employees to reinforce our sanitization safety procedures in both guest-facing and back-of-house areas. We are sanitizing the back of the house and public areas at an increased frequency
  5. All employees are instructed on correct hand sanitizing procedures
  6. Employees are prohibited from coming to work if they are sick
  7. Employees are prohibited from reporting to work with a respiratory illness.
Moksha Interior Cleaning
Moksha Kitchen Sanitization

We feel it is important to share with you what we are doing to help keep people safe and healthy. Please be assured we have protocols in place and are working with the CDC and local public health officials.
Thank you in advance for your patience as we navigate this challenging situation one day at a time and determine how best to continue serving our communities, while maintaining our focus where it belongs: on our Valued Guests and Team Members.

Mōksha family

All About Coconut Milk

It is a common misconception that coconut milk is the fluid that comes out of the coconut fruit when it is cut open. In truth, this fluid is the coconut water. Coconut milk is an entirely different substance that is made from the creamy-white flesh that is found in a thick layer along the coconut’s inner walls.

To make coconut milk, the coconut flesh is first finely grated and steeped in hot water. After the steeping is done, it is pressed through a cheesecloth. The liquid that comes out is the coconut milk.

In many ways, coconut milk is more akin to cream than to conventional dairy-based milk. A single one-cup serving of this milk has 445 calories and 43 grams of saturated fat. While this may sound bad, these saturated fats come in the form of fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides, both of which are very easy for your body to burn and use as fuel. The medium-chain triglycerides are particularly beneficial, as they can be digested without bile acids. If you’re looking to lose weight, the fats found in coconut milk can actually increase your metabolism and facilitate weight loss in a low-calorie diet. If you’re looking to improve your heart health, the fatty acids can serve to kill the bacteria that cause plaque in your arteries.

At MokSHA’s Bellevue Indian restaurant, you can enjoy the benefits of coconut milk in our tomato-coconut shorba and other delicious South Indian-style dishes. Come and experience the great taste and superior nutrition today!

The Benefits of Hummus

Hummus is one of the world’s oldest dishes, dating back at least as far back as seven thousand years ago. The key ingredient of this dish is chickpeas. As such, it possesses all of the impressive health benefits of these beans, including the following:

  • Chickpeas are rich in fiber, which serves to facilitate a healthy blood sugar level and help remove unhealthy cholesterol from your system.
  • Vegetarians, vegans, and other people looking to reduce their intake of meat appreciate hummus for its strong protein and iron content.
  • The folic acid found in hummus is an important nutrient for proper bodily function. It is particularly important during pregnancy, as it prevents certain birth defects.
  • Tryptophan, phenylalanine, and tyrosine, all of which are present in hummus, are good at improving your mood and fostering restful sleep.
  • The olive oil used in hummus is rich in monounsaturated fat, which is beneficial to your heart.
  • There is a trace amount of molybdenum in chickpeas, which detoxifies the body.
  • The phytic acid and saponins in hummus defend your cells from genetic damage, preventing the development of cancerous growths.
  • Hummus is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent pain and inflammation, and help to sharpen the mind and ward off mental diseases associated with advanced age.

You can try our Mediterranean or Roasted Garlic Hummus at our Bellevue Indian restaurant. Join us for happy hour 3-6pm daily and all day Sunday!

Heart-Healthy Shrimp

There was a time when shrimp was considered to be taboo for people struggling with heart problems. This was because a single, 3.5 ounce serving of shrimp contains about 200 mg of cholesterol. A serving of this size accounts for a full day’s allotment of cholesterol for people at risk of heart disease. However, don’t let this lead you to believe that shrimp are bad for your heart health. Used properly, shrimp can actually reduce your chances of heart disease.

It is important to understand that there is both good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, is the type that forms a plaque around your blood vessels and puts you at an increased risk of developing heart disease. Good cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol, actually serves to break down LDL cholesterol and remove it from your body. The cholesterol in shrimp is largely of the healthy variety. In one study, subjects were fed ten ounces of shrimp every day for three weeks; it was discovered that, compared to the control group, the group that ate shrimp experienced an increase in bad cholesterol in their blood by about seven percent, but an increase in healthy, HDL cholesterol of twelve percent, as well as an overall decrease of thirteen percent in triglycerides.

The final word is that moderate servings of shrimp can play a role in a heart-healthy diet. Join MokSHA in Bellevue for some 7 Spice Shrimp, Spicy Tamarind Shrimp, Shrimp Biryani, and other Indian-style shrimp dishes today.

What is a Thali?

The word thali translates to “plate”, specifically referring to a round, stainless steel plate commonly used throughout much of India and South Asia.

The word is also commonly used to describe the meal that is served on such a plate. A thali meal comes in many forms, the general idea being that it should include all six of the different taste sensations identified by Indian traditions. These tastes include the familiar bitter, sour, salt, and sweet, adding to these spicy and astringent. A proper meal, according to Indian traditions, should feature each of these in perfect balance. They generally include some form of bread, a rice dish, vegetables, milk products, various sides, and a sweet.

At MokSHA, you can enjoy one of five different kinds of thali. Come and experience the rich spectrum of Indian flavors today!

Indian Street Food

On any day, you can expect the streets of India’s larger urban areas to be awash with food vendors advertising their delicious wares. Even here, in its simpler forms, we can see that Indian food can be quite the fascinating experience. You can find all sorts of classic dishes out on the Indian streets, including such favorites as kebabs, lassi, tandoori chicken, omelettes, chaat, aloo paratha, rabri, and many more exciting options.

The Indian street vendors are a far cry from the familiar hot-dog-friers we most commonly associate with street food in the United States; they are culinary artisans, combining a rich selection of traditional spices and sauces into the hearty and flavorful dishes that the country is known for. Some even have their own portable, tandoori-style ovens, where you can watch them press the dough right up against the oven’s inner wall to cook it before your very eyes.

The Value of Lentils

Lentils are a very important part of the culinary traditions throughout much of the Middle East. It is thought to have originated in the area, likely representing one of the very earliest crops to have been cultivated by the native civilizations. For many, it is a staple second only to rice, and features strongly in soups, stews, dal, mejadra, and other dishes.

Many chefs favor lentils because they have very little taste by themselves, and are great at absorbing the flavors of other ingredients they are combined with. When added to a spicy Indian dish, they take on the taste of the most powerful spice present.

Nutritionally, the lentil is a strong choice. A single half-cup serving of the legume gives you roughly 60% of your daily recommended iron, 67% of your vitamin B1, 28% of your copper, 18% of your protein, 12% of your zinc, 10% of your potassium, thirty-one grams of dietary fiber, and a whole lot more.

At our Bellevue Indian restaurant, you can experience the superior nutrition of lentils in many of our South Indian-style dishes.

Garlic in India

India has had a long relationship with garlic. Some of the earliest available written records from the country show us that the Indian people were aware of its curative properties since ancient times. A medical text called Charaka-Samhita describes how it was used to treat heart disease and arthritis, and the Bower manuscript tells us that they would use it for fatigue, digestive diseases, leprosy, and parasites.

Though some of the properties associated with this classic clove are questionable, modern science has shown us that garlic does indeed offer many impressive health benefits. Powerful antioxidants serve to protect your cells from free radicals. People struggling with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels can use garlic to help manage these problems. Some studies have also demonstrated that garlic serves as a natural broad-spectrum antibiotic; it kills off harmful bacteria in your body, which apparently is unable to evolve a resistance and develop into a “superbug” the way such microbes often do when treated with conventional antibiotics.

If you would like to make garlic a bigger part of your own diet, consider our Bellevue Indian cuisine. From our garlic naan to our masala sauce, we have many delicious ways to improve your health.

What is Chutney?

Chutney is a form of condiment originating from India. It is similar in its consistency to a jelly or salsa, made from a mixture of spices with some form of vegetable or fruit. There are many different variations of chutney, some of the most popular main ingredients including mangoes, likes, apples, peaches, apricots, plums, lemons, tomatoes, and coconuts. The spices frequently include cloves, cilantro, garlic, mustard, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, jalapenos, tamarind, and mint.

There are two main categories of chutney, these being the sweet chutney and the hot chutney. It can also be found in both chunky and smooth varieties, much like a peanut butter. In this way, Indian diners are able to use this condiment for a broad number of dishes.

The history of chutney can be traced at least as far back as 500 BC. It was difficult for people to preserve food before the invention of reliable refrigeration devices, so fruits and vegetables were turned into chutney to keep for extended periods of time. Though it originated in India, the practice was quickly adopted by other countries. The Romans were the first to borrow the practice, and later the British, who went on to export it to their colonies in Australia and North America. Today, it remains a popular condiment throughout much of the world.

When you’re looking for good Indian cuisine in Bellevue, come to MokSHA. We offer many quality Southern Indian-style dishes.