Being an Indian and living in India we have just begun to realize the harm that has been caused to an entire generation over the decades. The ripple effect has come to shock everyone here and everywhere. The power of this kneaded falsehood is so deeply ingrained that it's no rocket science to understand the humongous task of back pedaling the credence of the populace. So, it is our minds that we are fighting everyday more than anything else and trust me, it is hard.
When my cardiologist boss asked patients to eat whole eggs or meat or butter or not to eat biscuits and bread they were in complete disbelief. They still are and this skepticism is something that's not going to go overnight. That said, we have been spending days figuring out the right and real food that is healthy, nutritious and delicious. Quite a bit of research work later, we found out that even with all the snags puffed rice is the best possible snacks we can fall for especially if you are an Indian or if you plan to live in India.
So what is puffed rice? (This of course is for my friends from abroad). Trust me it is the ultimate survival food! Muri is indigenous of South Asia and is prepared from rice kernels in a similar manner as popcorn is made from corns. Traditionally it is made by heating rice over sand filled earthen oven. It serves as an excellent cereal food and can be eaten just as we eat corn flakes or oats with milk and seasonal fruits. Muri is healthy and has immense likelihood of turning into a super food when tossed with assortments of veggies like cucumber, parsley, green chillis, tomatoes, boiled potatoes, onion, sprouts- you just name it! Bengalis love it with pure raw mustard oil (mustard oil is one of the best oils we can eat nowadays, so you can eat it guilt free) and hot green chillis and occasionally with "aloor chop" (potato fritters) and often with friends and family.
Another snacking food is flattened rice or rice flakes (chura/ chire) which is also a powerful comfort food. Nowadays we get lovely roasted chire which is not only tasty but also nutritious. If you are an Indian and have survived numerous homesick moments it's needless to introduce you to poha. You know how you can add lovely fresh veggies, sprouts, peanuts, raisins and more to cater to your taste buds making it hugely popular among desi and not-so-desi friends.
The benefits also are immense. If you are a weight watcher you can never go wrong with this super food. It's high on iron, carbohydrate and have low gluten content. Besides, it is a fantastic mood lifter and reminds me of camaraderie. Although the brown variety is hard to get these days but both muri (puffed rice) and chire (flattened rice) are better picks than suji (semolina) which is totally a white stuff. Having said that, be a smart buyer and a smart eater. Try not to look for stuffs that are glossy, inviting and too good to be true. The crude variety is less appealing, less puffed and are less cosmetic. And I know you are a smart eater and never go on binges.
Now, a takeaway. We went to the US last year and sitting there miles away we relived our Calcutta days merely by eating muri, chanachur (spicy snacks mix) and chai over bangla cinema on youtube (courtesy my lovely sister who rolled in a whole lot of bengali essentials in no time). So, no brownie point for guessing that I am insanely in love with muri. Although my family will disagree I can tell you that they too resort to this super snacks, aka muri, in times of nostalgic Calcutta moments.