A Perfect Bite is introducing a new section - Incredible Ingredient. It's pretty normal around our parts to be so enamored of an ingredient that we explore every aspect of it. In the past we have adored anise (star), flirted with figs, and continue to be seduced by citrus so now we are going to blog about specific ingredients. This time around the Incredible Ingredient in focus is The Pistachio!
Off late, my family is gleefully telling the world that I have gone nuts!
And I can’t blame them, because I have!
I have been more that a little obsessed with nuts of late. It is the right time of the year for it, after all, with the festive season on us, there will definitely be a surfeit of nuts and it seemed prudent to plan ahead on using them.
But, I digress, to be accurate it is one nut in particular that has me obsessed. I am passionate about pistachios currently. New research has already established that nuts are beneficial to one’s health. But I recently found out although like most nuts, pistachios are extremely good sources of protein and fiber, they have an advantage over their nutty buddies. At approximately 49 kernels per ounce, pistachios offer the most nuts per 160-calorie serving – comparatively almonds offer only have 23, cashews, 18 and walnuts, 7. Pistas are also the lowest in calories and fat and highest in fibre. One single ounce of pistachio provides 3 grams of fiber, (thats equivalent to approximately as much fibre as 1 serving of oatmeal and twice the fiber of walnuts).
I'd never really given Pistas (as we call them in India) much thought, beyond popping a couple in the mouth when presented or as an opulent garnish over festive dishes. So I was pretty flummoxed to discover a big bag of them had mysteriously snuck into my freezer. I couldn't think of a single thing to do with them (which is probably why they'd snuck to the bottom of the drawer in the first place), so I did what any curious cook does these days, I googled! And it turned out to be an an absolute journey of discovery!
But what really tipped me in favour of Pistachios was discovering that they are my route to having my proverbial cake and eating it too, this Diwali!
Diwali, being the largest festival in India offers one the classic excuse to indulge. How many times have we given in to that urge to indulfe in an extra serving of pulav because the curry is so good, or just one more irrisitible sweet or brushed off our resolution to diet since it is Diwali... Rich feasts of festive delicacies make it easy to be tempted. But Pistas, meet all the criterion of festive food with all their health benefits and their vibrant colours ( I am especially enamored of California Pistachios for their green and purple colour and their quality and taste) and instantly add oomph to any dish. Their health benifits also make them the perfect addition to my festive table for a little guilt free sinning! So enamored have I become of these ‘Skinny nuts’ that not only have I decided to gift Pistchios to my friends and family this festive season, but I am going to blog about them, my discoveries, experiences and favourite recipes, AND host the biggest ever recipe competition for them on A perfect bite throughout October!
So without further ado let me present The 1st A Perfect Bite Recipe Contest.
Send A Perfect Bite an original Pistachio recipe (it could be sweet, savoury, for any course from starters to dessert and even beverages and cocktails (ensure it is your original recipe not copied) with the story of how it was created and an accompanying photograph.
Email recipes with “A Perfect Bite – Pistachio recipe contest’ along with your mailing address and contact details because every entry will get a participation gift! at firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on your blog and send us the link. Email us at email@example.com with any questions you might have. The deadline is 05th November 2009. Winners will be announced by 15th Nov 2009. Three winning entries will get Hampers of Pistachio goodies such as Wonderful Pistachios, Turkish Baklava, Pistachio Mortadella and a few other surprises! (1st prize – Pistachio hamper valued at 2500, 2nd prize – Pistachio Hamper valued at Rs. 1500 and 3rd prize – Hamper valued at Rs. 1000. (All prizes to be picked up from Mumbai.) If winner is not a citizen of Mumbai, we will substitute the prize hamper with a book of the same value.
The recipes should be your own original recipes. A story of how the recipe was created is mandatory. Please keep in mind that we do need to be able to get the ingredients where we are to test recipes. (Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to check if you want to double check).