The number of tales and proverbs revolving around the humble curry leaf can make an interesting volume. No cook worth his or her salt can ever claim to have completed cooking unless the spicy delicacies are garnished or seasoned with a spray of curry leaves.
The unique flavour and colour of the leaf which seemed to deliver the nourishment, taste and aesthetic appeal of gourmet were certainly not missed by our ancestors.
The leaves were incorporated into the daily menu as the quintessential seasoning and sometimes as the main ingredient in chutneys and exclusive kozhambus. The fact that the curry leaves have traveled halfway across the world for more or less similar uses gives little room for speculation about its necessity to make dishes exclusive.
A good cook will optimize the use of these leaves by judging their freshness. The young sprays of a lighter green taste best when added to salads or garnished freshly on food and in buttermilk. The
mature leaves have the ability to release their essence entirely when boiled along, fried, ground or used when seasoning is the first step of the chosen recipe.
Drying or dried leaves can be allowed to dry completely in the shade and powdered and can be tossed into curries, gravies, sambar and rasam among other such foods when you run out of fresh leaves or happen to live in places that cannot grow this herb.
Radish, red or white, is definitely not an all-time favourite veggie of most people. Yet the pungent root cannot be wished away, for it is a repository of nutritional and therapeutic values. The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of the vegetable can go a long way in boosting immunity. The presence of vitamin C, potassium, sodium and traces of other minerals besides vitamins and fibre has elevated its medicinal value.
Radish can bestow a world of good when eaten raw in the form of a salad. If it is cooked, ensure that it is cooked with minimum water, and take care not to drain the water in which it is cooked, so that the goodness is not wasted away. Here are some benefits:
Radish is very good for the liver and stomach. Those of you who are recuperating from jaundice will find yourself healing faster if you have a helping of radish every day.
Radish is a rich source of roughage, which is indigestible carbohydrate. This facilitates digestion, helps in retaining water and curing constipation, thus providing relief in piles. When consumed as juice on an empty stomach for two months, it can detoxify the digestive system entirely and cure piles.
Radish is a diuretic, and thus helps in increasing urine production. The juice of radish helps in treating inflammation and the burning feeling during urination. Hence, it is very helpful in treating urinary disorders.
Radish is a very good source of dietary fibre. When eaten as a salad regularly, it can aid in natural weight-loss.
Since the root is a rich source of vitamin C and lycopenes, it helps to contain many kinds of cancers, particularly those related to the intestines, stomach, colon and prostate.
Dab pure radish juice with a ball of cotton over the uneven skin tones of your body. And wash off after an hour or so. This will lighten your skin and make it glow.
Hectic lifestyles are the order of the day. Caught up in the day-to-day activities, many women find cooking cumbersome. The stress of work and managing the household doesn’t leave much time to dish out meals three times a day, everyday.
It’s a fact that we are living in an age when women who want to wean away from the kitchen chores, can feel free to do so because the market caters to all their needs, albeit for a price. One only has to step out of their home to relish global cuisines. Or even better, just log on to the Internet and you will have the world at your fingertips.
For working professionals, eating out is a very common scenario. What started as a means of satisfying one’s cravings once in a while slowly metamorphosed into a habit of convenience. Small bistros, mess and shacks sprouted alongside big restaurants to cater to the urgent or specific needs of people. Many families are reliant on their neighbourhood kitchens in times of emergencies. Why slog for hours to prepare sweets and treats for festivals when you can easily order them from outside? Parties and get-togethers can be enjoyed without the stress of cooking for everybody.
Apart from changing food habits, there is an apparent change in the concept of cooking itself. People who cook from scratch are hard to find these days. Change in lifestyle, time constraints and the strain of multitasking are taking a toll on people who have little or no time to go through the elaborate aspects of cooking. The fact that we have readymade masalas and ready- to-cook foods is well-known.
Stores today also stock and sell idli-dosa batter and semi-cooked foods because they are sure of takers for these products. Many grocery portals and shops are also offering to clean and cut vegetables, grate coconuts, peel onions and garlic for a nominal service charge.
These and other such facilities have made life a lot easier for women. The ones who have the flair for cooking elaborate and exotic dishes no longer have to dread the drudgery in the kitchen. They can get the right ingredients, processed in the manner they like. And for those who don’t have the time or inclination for cooking, there are many avenues today that offer the exotic stuff they want, without them having to worry about soiling their hands. As ordering food online has become a quite a phenomena, it has obliterated the bleakness and blandness of the appetite even when the lady of the house is not up for some cooking.
We can have the best of both worlds, where women can take a call to cook or not to cook without an iota of guilt or self reprisal because we have created a parallel world that can fulfill our needs quite competently. Today, there is a plate to cater to every palate and that too, at very reasonable prices. The boom in the food business is, perhaps, a pointer to the fact that there is a growing demand and hence, the undisturbed, variegated supply. So, when a woman chooses not to cook today, it doesn’t have to mean a hungry household.