Swipe right on this date
Swipe right on this date. And we guarantee you won’t be disappointed. From bone health to being used as a natural remedy for hangovers — the proven benefits of this humble fruit, are off the charts.
As the consumption of dates spikes this month — whether in iftar boxes or in Muslim homes across the world during Ramzan, we explore the plethora of reasons why these need to be a pantry essential all year-round.
Here’s a quick starter kit for the uninitiated. There are as many as 3,000 varieties of dates worldwide but in Chennai, Dr Wasim Mohideen, Director of Techmed Healthcare and Basil Wellness tells us, “Some of the popular ones to look out for are Kimia (quite creamy and rarely flaky) and Fardh (sticky and originally from the deserts of Saudi Arabia).” If you’re looking for health advantages, Mohideen shares that he isn’t a big fan of date syrup that has now become commonplace in stores.”
“Most fruits in nature are meant to be had as is because the fibre and the energy values are balanced. The minute we grind or syrup them, we destroy a lot of that balance. So, they are best consumed raw,” he says. As you might have guessed given that it is tradition to break a fast with a handful of raw dates, this fruit is packed with energy. “They also help in quick satiety because of the speed at which they get absorbed,” he explains. Now you know what to swap your potato chips for, the next time you are hankering for a quick snack.
Flyberry Gourmet Medjoul dates, Rs 1,899
Emazing Gourmet Caramelised Dates, Rs 449
Taj Coromandel’s Marzipan stuffed dates, Rs 1,000
Apart from stocking a host of goodness — from iron to vitamins and micronutrients such as zinc and magnesium, culinary experts like veteran chef Mohamed Siddiq say that the date is as versatile a fruit as they come. “You can do so much with them. You can make a mousse or a shake, a payasam or a kheer. People in rural Sri Lanka and Muslims down South make their versions of pickles with dates as well,” says the chef, who runs the consulting firm Kitchen Affairs, and was previously with the Taj group of hotels for over 30 years.
From healthy snacks to savoury main courses, Bengaluru-based Shazia Khan of MasterChef India fame can’t stop raving about them either. “Amber-toned aged dates with Vitamin C and antioxidants are just perfect for curing and barbecuing meat,” she says, leaving us with a quick recipe for inspiration. “Team up your meat with a few peppery spices and massage into pieces of lamb,” says Shazia adding, “Then pair that up with a fresh sauce made from ‘Halawy’ dates, lemon juice, paprika, olive oil and fresh mint and you’ve got the best Sunday afternoon lunch that is bound to impress your guests!”
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