Monday, November 26, 2018

Resistant Starch - Hard to Resist Potato Salad

At some point in time, the potato, once so popular, acquired a bad reputation: eating potatoes bred couch potatoes. People avoid the poor potato like the plague. But potato is hard to resist.

Now, scientists say that potato need not be resisted: it can provide us with resistant starch. Resistant starch resists stomach conditions such as acid and reaches the gut where it nourishes good bacteria that protect us. From diabetics to those who want to lose weight, from people with chronic stomach infections to those with insomnia, many are those who can benefit from resistant starch. But what is resistant starch?

I stumbled on some clues to this wonder food in Giulia Enders book. In Gut, she mentions that her grandmother's remedy for all ill health was potato salad. Giulia says that it might be good for our gut. You can peek into the book using the Preview function on the cover below:

The book is informative and laced entertainingly with anecdotes such as the one about the grandmother's potato salad.   

So, the theory is that there is something called resistant starch in some foods. And it is good stuff which gets enhanced in some foods - potatoes, rice - when we cook them and then cool them. It makes me wonder if that's what many Indian villagers in rice eating areas already knew as it was once habitual for them to eat leftover rice  - left overnight in water - for breakfast.

For those with chronic gut infections, the small intestine can have bacterial overgrowth. Nasty organisms flourish as medicines disturb the balance of gut bacteria. Also, tummy infections damage delicate linings, making us vulnerable to organisms the body otherwise easily resists. Research suggests that a moderate intake of resistant starch can bolster the chances for healthy gut bacteria.

Of less interest to me is another bonus that some claim - resistant starch might be a good ingredient in a weight loss diet.

Now, I do love my aloos! Also, I've read of potato salad and I imagine it to be like the Russian Salad I used to have as a child in Bengaluru.

We, in India, have many variations of our own kind of potato salad. In fact, such a thing is probably the first dish I cooked in my life and that was sometime in the Seventies and it was a recipe from Femina!

The one I made did not use mustard oil. I do not remember that it had any oil but mustard oil gives great flavour!

However, I am opting for the other kind of potato salad and I plan to combine the boiled potatoes with a coleslaw as I have some excess cabbage on hand. Cabbages are too big these days!  And cabbage also plays a helpful role for tummy health.

In any case, we need some Mayo! 

Now, one could stop there but some folks put boiled eggs in their potato salad. However, mayonnaise has egg anyway and so I used chicken from a leftover chicken curry. The result was very yum!

The much maligned potato now boasts benefits!

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