A healthy alternative to The Burger – the health benefits of salmon and the cooling cilantro sauce will have you energized and feeling chill next time you grill.
Eastern View: Saltwater fish is warming, but fresh water fish less so. Salmon is mild and not too hot, so this is a great fish for Vatas, and an okay dish for Pittas unless they have an active aggravation.
Salmon with its heavy, oily properties is grounding for Vatas – especially this time of year. Because of its salty taste, this fish will stimulate digestion by increasing digestive enzymes and thus benefits low appetite and digestion. The sat in Salmon works as a laxative helping with constipation. It also helps retain fluids and combats dryness – often a Vata problem.
Salmon’s sweet taste reduces dryness and weakness. It’s a tissue healer and the sweet taste benefits the mucous membranes lining the mouth, lungs, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. The sweet taste helps to clear a dry throat and lungs by enhancing expectoration. It also benefits the complexion, improves hair and nail quality and helps sooth the voice.
Sweet substances like Salmon, will build all the tissues and create inherent strength. Following the principle of ‘like increases like’, you want to increase your sweet experiences and flavors in life to be truly nourished, loved and cherished. So all in all – very pacifying for all of us.
When we add cilantro, a popular Indian spice used in curry – we add an invaluable medicine. Cilantro soothes an irritated digestive system and cools any burning sensations in the body. It’s sweet aroma can help lift the spirits and reduce depression. It is pungent, bitter and sweet and slightly oily and it reduces excess Vata and Pitta.
Cilantro also known as coriander is an excellent remedy for promoting digestion. Its especially good at building your metabolism without aggravating any acidity. It can be used safely when there is any inflammation in the digestive system and when the digestive fire needs strengthening.
It is a useful carminative herb prescribed for IBS and colic. Both the leaf and the seed are used for digestion to clear gas, gripping, and bloating.
Often used as a treatment for urinary tract infections such as cystitis, dysuria and cloudy urine. It’s also a good remedy for diabetes and it helps reduce hot flashes.
Cilantro is a great anti-allergenic remedy and helps with allergic rhinitis, and is especially good at clearing toxins from the skin. It has an antispasmodic effect in the lungs and acts as an expectorant clearing mucus and congestion. Great for clearing summer colds this time of year.
Western View: Salmon is one of the best sources of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and decrease risk factors for disease.
Salmon is rich in high-quality protein. Like omega-3 fats, protein is an essential nutrient that must be consumed through your diet. Your body requires protein to heal, protect bone health and prevent muscle loss, among other things. Salmon provides 22–25 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce serving.
Salmon is an excellent source of B vitamins which are needed for energy production, controlling inflammation and protecting heart and brain health. Salmon is also quite high in potassium. This is especially true of wild salmon, which provides 18% of the RDI per 3.5 ounces, versus 11% for farmed. In fact, salmon contains more potassium than an equivalent amount of banana, which provides 10% of the RDI.
Selenium is a mineral found in soil and certain foods. It’s considered a trace mineral, meaning your body only needs tiny amounts of it. Nevertheless, getting enough selenium in your diet is important. Studies have shown that selenium helps protect bone health, decreases thyroid antibodies in people with autoimmune thyroid disease and may reduce the risk of cancer. Salmon is high in selenium.
Salmon also contains Astaxanthin which is a compound linked to several powerful health effects. As a member of the carotenoid family of antioxidants, astaxanthin gives salmon its red pigment. Astaxanthin appears to lower the risk of heart disease by reducing oxidation of LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol and increasing HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.
Cilantro is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol. However, its deep-green leaves possess good amounts of antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, and dietary fiber, which may help reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels in the blood.
The leaves and stem tips are also rich in numerous antioxidant polyphenolic flavonoids. Cilantro is also a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is essential for red blood cell production. Manganese is used by the body as a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
It is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic-acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-A, beta carotene, vitamin-C, which are essential for optimum health. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant. It provides about 225% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin-A, an important fat soluble vitamin and antioxidant, is also required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A and flavonoids (carotenoids) may help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Cilantro is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K which has a potential role in bone mass building through promotion of osteotropic activity in the bones. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.
Cilantro leaves provide only 23 calories/100 g, but their phyto-nutrients profile is no less than any superfoods around us!
Salmon Cakes with Cilantro Serrano Sauce
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
15 ounces canned salmon, drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked salmon
1 tablespoon egg substitute, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 3/4 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Creamy Cilantro Sauce (recipe below)
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in parsley; remove from the heat.
Place salmon in a medium bowl. Flake apart with a fork; remove any bones and skin. Add egg substitute and mustard; mix well. Add onion mixture, breadcrumbs and pepper; mix well.
Shape the mixture into 8 patties, about 2 1/2 inches wide.
You can fire up the grill and grill these patties or cook over the stove as below.
Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add 4 patties and cook until the undersides are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a wide spatula, turn them over onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining patties.
Bake the salmon cakes until golden on top and heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare Cilantro Serrano Sauce. Serve the salmon cakes over a bed of mixed greens with sauce and lemon wedges.
Makes 4 servings.
Cilantro Serrano Sauce:
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 3 serrano chile peppers, seeded and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup nayonaise
- 1 cup heavy cream substitute like coconut or almond cream
- salt and pepper to taste
Place cilantro, serrano peppers, garlic, nayonnaise, and cream into a blender; season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, about 15 seconds.
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