Saturday, February 25, 2012
Bajra, a foodgrain known in English as Millet, is cultivated extensively in Rajasthan.
India is the largest producer of Pearl Millet. It is locally known as Bajra, and is primarily consumed in the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Roti (made from pearl millet) has been the primary food of farmers in Gujarat.
Cereals used for human consumption belong to the grass family and are seeds of matured plants. The important cereals cultivated all over the world are Rice, Wheat, Corn, Barley, Oats and millets such as Ragi, Sorghum, Bajra, Italian Millets, etc.
It is a known fact that fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of fiber and vital nutrients. But most people do not know that the nutritional value of whole grains is comparable to that of fruits and vegetables. And one such whole grain is Pearl Millet or Bajra. Cereals are most economic source of energy.
They provide both soluble and insoluble fiber. When consumed as whole cereal food and being of plant origin, cereals do not contain cholesterol and fats and are in poly unsaturated forms. It is consumed locally as leavened bread called Bajre ri roti, or as a gruel called Bajre ri khichidi. It is also used to make other Gujarati Dishes like Dhebra or Thepla, Vada. Khichidi is a traditional Rajasthani recipe. With wholesome bajra, whole moong dal and ghee in it.
Bajra has phytochemicals that lowers cholestrol, plenty of fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, copper and zinc, and vitamins E and B-comlpex. The humble Bajra is particulalry noted for its high iron content.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I thank all who check out my cookery page Usha's kitchen and my blog.
All my viewers deserve a bigger thank you than this note has 2 say. Sincerely am Thankful to those who click the ' Like ' button
and Thank all to those who give a feedback or ask queries or leave a comment, also Thank all 4 motivating and appreciating my work.
Thank u 4 making me soooooo happy each time.
Always have motivated, whenever each peeked into Usha's kitchen to check out what was being posted on regular basis.
Thankful 2 all 4 encouraging me during a time I needed encouragement.
" Thank you." 4 the timely help extended.
"Thank you." Those two little words mean so much n hold great weight.
It is also known as devil's dung, stinking gum, asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, Jowani badian, hing and ting is the dried latex (gum oleoresin) exuded from the living underground rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula, which is a perennial herb.
The species is native to Afghanistan mountains and are imported to India. Asafoetida has a pungent, unpleasant smell when raw, but in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavor, reminiscent of leeks.
Asafoetida is acrid and bitter in taste and emits a strong disagreeable, pungent smell. Asafoetida is extracted from the Ferula plants which have massive taproots or carrot-shaped roots, the milk juice (obtained from the root), which becomes a brown, resin-like mass after drying.
There are two main varieties of asafoetida, the Hing Kabuli Sufaid (Milky white asafoetida) and Hing Lal
This spice is used as a digestive aid, in food as a condiment, and in pickles. When uncooked its odor is so strong the aroma will contaminate other spices stored nearby if it is not stored in an airtight container.
Asafoetida is extensively used in India for flavoring curries, sauces and pickles in conjunction with garlic and onion. In Iran, the natives rub asafoetida on warmed plates prior to placing meat on them. In various medicinal systems practiced in India, asafoetida is considered as effective remedies for many diseases and disorders. Asafoetida expels wind from the stomach and also helps as a digestive agent and a sedative. Asafoetida is also used in the treatment of respiratory disorders. Hing is used as home remedy for various ailments like colic pain, flatulence.
In Bhagawat Purana, it has been mentioned that around the abode of Lord Shiva a lot of Hing plant grows. The abode of the Lord is in Kailash Mountain supposed to be in modern Tibet, now in China.
Making chocolate at home using chocolate slabs.
" Try melting chocolate of your choice and then pouring into the molds ".
There are Chocolate Slabs available in the market. Take one Milk Chocolate Slab and one Dark Chocolate Slab. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Remember to stir the chocolate with a spatula because its very important that both the dark and milk slab mix well with each other. Again put the bowl in the microwave and heat it for another 30 seconds. Continue this procedure till the chocolate is melted fully. If the chocolate has melted then give the chocolate shapes by pouring in molds but before pouring in the molds, one can add Rice Crisp, Butter Scotch, Nuts, Peanuts, Roasted Cashew or anything of your choice.
The chocolate is ready but in the melted form so keep it in fridge section for 5 - 15 minutes to harden or set. When it set take the chocolate out of the fridge and turn upside down, so that chocolate easily come out of their molds.
In the Microwave the chocolate is put for 30 seconds at a time, and stir between each microwave session to provide even heating. It's important to stop as soon as the chocolate is about to melt. Melting Chocolate in the Microwave is a gr8 way to melt chocolate as easily as possible.
Melting chocolate can be done in a microwave or over a hot-water bath called the Double boiler method. In a Microwave it can melt chocolate more quickly than a double boiler with minimal effort and mess.
For the double boiler, select a heat proof bowl to place your chocolate in and pour about 1/2 mark of the vessel with water, now put another bowl on top of the pot. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Now you have a double boiler. Always remember the chocolate is chopped into uniform pieces to ensure even melting. Never try to melt large bars or blocks. Avoid all contact with water. Stir the chocolate frequently with a rubber spatula. This is ' Tempering of chocolate. '
Some information related 2 chocolate making . . .
Bitter chocolate also known as dark chocolate, Semi-sweet chocolate is having sugar added to make it sweet. Milk chocolate is having sugar, and milk.
White and milk chocolate contain milk solids and butter fat not found in dark chocolate. This lowers the temperature at which they melt.
Tempering is the last step in chocolate making, to ensure that your chocolate is shiny and smooth. Tempering is the process by which stable cocoa butter crystals are formed. This gives chocolate its shine. Tempering also allows chocolate to shrink as it cools and that allows chocolate molding, releasing from the mold as it cools.
Lemon rice is interesting and delicious . . . .
Recipe coming up.......
Lemon Rice is a delicious South Indian dish in which lemon juice has to be added to suit one's palate so that one does not end up with a "khatta" or bland rice. Lemon rice is an authentic South Indian rice dish that can be prepared in few minutes by adding cooked rice with fresh lemon juice.
So the proportion of lime juice to salt has to be perfect to make really tasty rice. Lemon juice gives a very refreshing and tangy flavor to this rice. Also Curry leaves are very used frequently in this part of India. So fresh bunch of curry leaves are put to dry on a towel then stored in an airtight jar to use when needed. This dish is enjoyed with Rasam, Raita (yogurt salad) and Poppadums for a simple yet tasty meal.
Tamarind rice is a very popular type of rice in Tamil Nadu and parts of Karnataka. Which are spicy and sour. This recipe already posted in Usha's kitchen.
A Tempering is a very important part when making this rice recipe. A good tempering would consist of Mustard seeds, Green Chillies-slit, Red Chillies-torn into pieces, spring of Curry leaves, Oil, Cumin Seeds, Peanuts or cashew nuts, Bengal gram or Black gram and Asafoetida
Monday, February 20, 2012
Shivaratri Celebrations in India are marked with devotion and religious fervor. So this Festival of Mahashivaratri is the most important festival for the millions of devotees of Lord Shiva.
Shivaratri is celebrated in the month of Feb or March every year. On this auspicious day, devotees observe fast and keep vigil all night. Celebrated in the dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha(waning moon) of the month of Maagha or Phalguna month of the Hindu calendar.
Mahashivaratri marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava'. It is also believed that on this day Lord Shiva was married to Parvati Ma. On this day Shiva devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves on Shiva Linga.
Mahashivaratri Festival or the ‘The Night of Shiva’ is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor in honor of Lord Shiva, one of the deities of Hindu Trinity.
Shivaratri falls on the moonless 14th night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun, which comes in the month of February - March in English Calendar.
There are so many interesting legends related to the festival of Maha Shivaratri. According to one of the most popular legends, Shivaratri marks the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Some believe that it was on the auspicious night of Shivaratri that Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction. Another popular Shivratri legend stated in Linga Purana states that it was on Shivaratri that Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of a Linga. Hence the day is considered to be extremely auspicious by Shiva devotees and they celebrate it as Mahashivaratri, the grand night of Shiva.
Shivratri Festival is particularly awaited by Hindu women. On Shivaratri, married and unmarried women perform puja with great faith, as Goddess Parvati who is also called 'Gaura', is regarded as the giver of 'suhag' good husbands, marital bliss and a long and prosperous married life.
Corn Subzi | Gravy
2 Fresh Sweet Corn, grated,
2 Potatoes, boiled n cut into pieces,
1 Green chilly, cut,
A piece of Ginger, cut,
1 Cup Water,
2 Tbsp Oil,
1 Tbsp Curd,
1\8 Tsp Cumin seeds,
1\8 Tsp Turmeric powder,
1\2 Tsp Red Chilly powder,
1\2 Tsp Coriander powder,
1\4 Tsp Garam masala powder,
1\8 Tsp Sugar.
Grate the corn. Put a pan to heat add oil,
cumin seeds, ginger n green chilly.
In a bowl mix all dry masalas, using few spoons of water like turmeric, red chilly powder n coriander powder. Add this to the pan, also add the grated corn, stir. Now add garam masala and sugar. Cook until leaves the pan, now add water, salt and the cut pieces of boiled potatoes. Cover and cook, allow to simmer, lastly add curd and garnish before serving.
AMLA . . .
Indian gooseberry, called amla in Hindi. Also known as Indian Gooseberry (Emblica officinalis) is an edible fruit that has one of the highest concentrations of natural vitamin C. Amla is the size of a lemon, spherical, bitter and yellow-green.
The fruit juice is reported to contain nearly 20 times as much vitamin C as orange juice. Vitamin C helps to preserve the normal immune function and promotes rejuvenation of cells.
A recent study on Amla attributes its strong antioxidant properties to its small molecular weight.
Amla has been used as powerful antioxidant agent that also boosts immunity.
It enhances food absorption, supports the heart, strengthens the lungs also. It means it nurtures the heart, blood and circulation. it is very good for the complexion.
Amla restores the vitality and rejuvenates all bodily systems. It is the best ever herb for day-to-day use. Good for the skin, promotes healthier hair and acts as a body coolant. While the fresh Amla fruit is used to make chutneys and relishes in India.
Indian gooseberry or Amla is having very good medicinal value.
Amla is the Indian word for the fruit of the gooseberry tree that is native to all parts of India. Gooseberry (avalo or avla) is full of Vitamin C. It's Murabba is prepared by cooking gooseberry pieces in sugar and preserved. Try by grating the Gooseberries then cooked or easy way by doing in pressure cooker and then cut them into small pieces before cooking them with sugar.
An excellent tip on cooking and dicing it before adding sugar because so hard and gets difficult to grate.
Would you rather steam the gooseberries as a better option
than pressure cooking?
Since the vitamins from the amla would anyways be lost in the water in the pressure cooker?
Another tip is pressure cook with as little water and use that water while cooking the syrup. So simple and no loss of vitamins.
Try adding ginger juice and pepper powder, so that it will help as a medicine for cold and cough.
Follow few simple steps to get a tasty homemade Amla Murabba.
Take the Pressure cooked gooseberries, cut into pieces and remove the seeds. Throw the seeds. Now measure the cut pieces of steamed amla and take the same amount of sugar.
Always remember: Sugar, equal to the fruit.
Put amla pieces, sugar and little remaining water from
the pressure cooker.
Cook until the sugar gives one thread syrup consistency.
[ Make a one-thread consistency sugar syrup means touch
the syrup with your forefinger and touch thumb to forefinger,
if it forms a| one thread, syrup is ready].
Remember to add little ginger juice and pepper powder also. Preserve in the fridge section to last longer.
Amla is, indeed, the key ingredient in the popular Ayurvedic recipe, Chyavanaprasha.
More than anything, it may be called as “King of Rasayana” [rejuvenation], owing to its multiple health benefits. Ayurveda describes amla as a cooling, astringent, digestive, laxative, stomachic, and aphrodisiac medicine. It also has anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties.
Amla strengthens absorption and assimilation of food.
It improves digestion and stimulates our taste, maybe this is stomachic.
Have you tried storing amla juice?
Just extract the juice and put in airtight container and put it in the freezer! At the time to serve| drink the juice have it in water mixed with sugar and few drops of ginger juice n lime juice.
all about corn . . .
The Indian name of corn is "bhutta" or "makka" or "makki". Indian people love to eat roasted & boiled corn in rainy & winter season. It is said that corn was unknown to the Europeans before they met the Indians. Indians gave them the seeds and taught them how to grow it.
Turpeth also popularly known as Indian Jalap, this herb belongs to the family of morning glory. A plant in the morning glory family, it is perennial herbaceous, hairy vines growing 4 to 5 meter in length, endemic to India. According to the scriptures of Indian traditional medicines, Ayurveda, Turpeth is considered one of the best remedy for jaundice.
Turmeric health benefits mean that it can be used to cure several ailments. Many of the herbs are also used as spices in cooking. Turmeric possesses antiseptic properties.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
7 Reasons to Give Up Sugar because excess of anything should be avoided ...
Sugar is Not Food. It is empty calories. It is filled with calories, so sugar makes you fat. There is a clear link between excess sugar and disorders like anxiety n depression. Sugar causes Diabetes, Kidney and Heart Problems.
Sugar increases the bacteria in your mouth that erodes enamel. Sugar kills your teeth as well. Sugar interferes with the immune system of the body. Sugar causes wrinkles.
The average American consumes 20 teaspoons of added sugar each day; that is 2-3 pounds of sugar per week! This is added sugar; not sugar naturally found in fruit, vegetables, grains and milk.
The World Health Organization says no more than 10 percent of calories should come from added sweeteners; that is a maximum of 12 teaspoons of sugar for a 2,200-calorie diet. Twenty teaspoons may sound like a lot of sugar to get through in one day, but…
EAT THE FIGS . . .
The health benefits of figs include treatment of sexual weakness, constipation, indigestion, piles, diabetes, cough, bronchitis, and asthma. It also helps in gaining weight after illness.
Health benefits of figs can be attributed to the presence of minerals, vitamins and fiber in them. Figs contain vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, potassium and chlorine and more. Fig fruit is low in calories. Dried figs are excellent source of minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. In fact dried fruits are concentrated sources of energy.
The dried figs are available throughout the year.
A Sweet Way to Lose Weight. Fresh figs are one of the most perishable fruits. Fig is very rich in high quality dietary fiber. It is therefore very beneficial for your digestive system. Figs also contain a rich quantity of iron.
EAT THE PEACHES . . .
The Peach is a member of the rose family, cousin to apricots, cherries, plums, and almonds. Peach is a fruit native to china, but cultivated in almost all the countries with a cool climate. They have an outer skin that is reddish-yellow in color with a flesh that is either white or yellow.
Peaches rich in Vitamin A and researches have suggested that peaches have good to excellent antioxidant activity, some antimicrobial activity and good to excellent tumor growth inhibition activity. Peaches will give a healthy skin and also add color to the complexion. Peaches are full of vitamin C and are also a good source of potassium and fiber. They contain beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A.
Plus, peaches are low in calories, also contains no sodium or cholesterol, and offers a nice helping of vitamins and antioxidants, which are thought to protect the body from aging, heart disease and some cancers.
Poha Also Known as Poha, Powa, Flattened rice, Pressed rice, Flaked rice . .. Flattened rice (also called beaten rice) is a dehusked rice which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. These flakes of rice swell when added to liquid, whether hot
or cold, as they absorb water, milk or any other liquids. The thicknesses of these flakes vary between thin to nearly four times thicker than a normal rice grain.
Poha, also known as "beaten rice," is rice that has been flattened into flakes, rather like rolled oats, and it absorbs water much faster than whole rice.
The thickness of the flakes varies, and both thick and thin flakes.
From western India, Poha, made from flattened rice, is an easy-to-cook, nutritious snack. It is often eaten for breakfast or brunch. The flakes are very easy to cook and can make a meal in minutes. Poha is one of the favorite breakfast not only because its delicious but also because one can fix it in minutes.
Especially the Kanda Poha recipe. Kanda means onions in Marati and poha is rice flakes. As this dish is made of onions and potatoes, so its called kanda poha.
The Poha Chivda is made using crispy beaten rice in which peanut and masalas are added to makes a tasty, any time snack.
Try adding Poha to your gravies, it will thicken it. Poha are Lactose free. Fat free. Heart healthy. Also a good source of 11 essential vitamins and minerals including iron.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Masala Cashew nuts
2 cups Cashew nuts, fried,
1\4 cup Homemade masala,
Oil to fry.
For the homemade masala, as per your taste
in a mixer jar, put salt, black salt, red chilly powder, pepper powder, sugar, dry mango powder, roasted cumin powder n chaat masala.
Just grind for a second, so that all the masalas, blend well.
Put oil to heat, fry the cashew nuts, light
pink| brown color.
Do not drain on kitchen paper napkin. Instead collect after frying in a bowl or directly in a container and when they are
a little oily n hot, add the masala to coat well.
Tip 2 Remember do not shake the masala cashew nuts or the coated masala will shed off. When they cool down, store them in a container.
Tip 3 fry n directly, put in a container in which the masala can be added easily.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Curd Rice is truly comfort food . . . Thair Sadam
Heidi Taylor asked... Do you have a recipe for yogurt rice. I love that stuff. Heidi Taylor, Dear Friend, you will need cooked rice, rice cooked really soft.
In a bowl take cooked rice, mash lightly using a spoon. Add beaten curd| yoghurt, 1 spoon cream, if the yoghurt is slightly sour. Also add Salt, mix well. A tempering is added on top, so 4 it heat one spoon oil, add some mustard seeds, few curry leaves, 1-2 pinch Urad dal, cut green Chillies n cut pieces of ginger, add on top, serve with garnish of coriander leaves. Eat with pickle n Appalams of South India.
Curd rice also called yogurt rice is a dish of India. Actually of South Indian origin.
The word "curd" as used in India usually refers to a liquidy, sour, unsweetened yoghurt. It is most popular in the Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. In the state of Tamilnadu it is so popular that this food is one of the chief offerings to the God in Sri Vaishnavite Temples which later distributed as 'prasadam'.
It is most easily prepared by simply mixing boiled rice and yogurt. Rice is boiled
so that it breaks down, becoming almost like a paste.
Bring it to room temperature. It is then seasoned with fried finely chopped green chillies, ginger, and curry leaves, and sometimes along with the tadka of urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and asafoetida. Finally, milk, yogurt, and salt are added.
Curd rice is often eaten accompanied by South Indian pickles such as those of mango or lime.
Eat curd rice at the end of lunch and dinner, which helps ease the effects of the spicy main dishes n also said to aid digestion. So it is served at the end of the meal. It is a must in most houses. It cools your stomach.
Garnishings vary with region and range from grated carrots, pomegranate seeds, boondi. It can be served lukewarm or chilled. Additional options include a pinch of grated carrot.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Aluminum Foil Parcel or Packet In The Oven . . .When all ingredients are wrapped in a foil pouch then cooked in the oven. These foil packet meals can be some greatest meals ever. It’s cooking at its simplest level. Whether in the oven or over a campfire, cooking with foil packets provide easy and pan-free cooking.
These tinfoil packets are a great way towards healthy meal. Try to make these at home, after trying these once you won’t be able to wait to make these again n again. These are healthy and can become a family favorite.
Aluminum foil packets are used to bake or grill various dishes. Chicken and fish are excellent in a foil packet. Large aluminum foil packets work well for cooking vegetables. By grilling and baking meat or vegetables in a packet made with foil, you trap the moisture in the packet, which creates steam. That steam keeps the food fresh and tender.
Cooking in a parcel, especially since the invention of foil, remains an idea worthy of oven time.
Place aluminum foil packet in a preheated oven to 350 degrees. Place packets in the oven.
A useful tip: When you seal the food in the packs, be sure to leave some space for air to circulate inside. Be careful when unsealing the packs after cooking, as the escaping steam will be very hot.
When placing your ingredients on the sheet of foil, always put the heavy or bigger pieces on the bottom as it takes the longest to cook. Hard, raw vegetables like carrots and potatoes take a long time to cook. Remember to add some high-moisture veggies like tomatoes and onions. This will keep the food from drying out.
Cooking times will depend on the kind of food in the packet. When finished cooking, open your foil packet carefully, as it’s full of hot steam!
This is a wonderful way to do veggies, they are so well prepared this way in the oven. You can make these packets up hours in advance, and keep the foil packets in the fridge, just put them in the oven when ready to serve.
When the cooking is done, all you have to do is throw away the foil.
Method of cooking by making parcel| packets and putting in the oven.Preheat the oven to 350- 400 degrees F.
Tear the aluminum foil, twice the size of food to be put inside.
Add the dish| food you are cooking to the center of the foil sheet.
Add any seasonings, butter or other ingredients you wish to add.
Bring the two opposite edges of the foil and bring them together over the center and fold the edges down several times, also seal the two remaining open ends and fold and seal those together.
Put in a hot, preheated oven, the cooking time will depend on the food in the packet.
Cooking in a parcel, or en papillote as the French elegantly call it, is a clever combination of baking and closed steaming. Both vegetables and fruit can be cooked by this method and it is an excellent way of preserving the goodness and fresh flavor.
The vegetables or fruit with fat and flavoring are placed in the center of the foil. The sides of the foil are brought up into a bowl shape before the liquid is added. Bringing the sides up into a bowl shape will prevent the liquid running away. After adding the liquid, the edges of the foil are crimped together, to seal the parcel firmly but leaving plenty of space between the vegetables and the top of the parcel. The parcel is then placed on a baking tray (this is essential to support the base) and cooked in an oven heated to 180°C (350°F) for the time needed to cook.
Always apply butter to one side of the foil using a pastry brush.