Colour me Yellow


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Image for representation.Image for representation.

It is interesting to note that every household in our country uses haldi or turmeric powder in their food. This wonder rhizome has been used in vegetarian, non-vegetarian and vegan cooking in the powdered form for centuries now.

The condiment is an integral part of our culture, a mandatory ingredient in our cuisine, an effective curative, and is also used as a cosmetic. Its subtle spiciness can add a zing to just about any curry, pulses, rice, and even baked goodies like buns and breads. The secret of getting the colour and flavour of turmeric right is simple. The haldi powder should be tossed in just before the oil or ghee, which is used for seasoning, starts smoking. If you add it too soon, the turmeric will leave its raw smell behind, and later than the precise moment will lend shades of brown instead of the desired yellow, and will give out a burnt smell.

Turmeric is usually avoided in sweets. The exception to the rule being that a pinch of haldi added to boiling milk, while making milk sweets to lend it a pale creamy colour. If you are planning to add the herb in milk for therapeutic purposes, it is best that you put it right at the end, just before serving.

It is advisable to add sundried rhizomes instead of the powdered form while making masalas for rasam, sambhar, bisibele bath or vangibath at home. It will make a tangible difference to the taste, colour and potency of homemade masalas.

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Amazing Curry Leaves


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Know your ingredient

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.

Unresolved Misery, Remorse Can Be Fatal


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There are moments in life when nothing seems to be under our control. An incident from the Ramayana enumerates one such situation. When king Dasharatha fixed the coronation of his beloved son Rama, he hastened to his favourite queen’s chamber to break the news to her personally. Little did the king realise that Kaikeyi’s mind had been poisoned by her maid Manthara. He was shocked beyond words when he heard her demands to redeem the two boons given by him long ago. He could not digest the idea of exiling his dearest son to the forests for 14 years after fixing his coronation. He was also not very open to the idea of crowning Kaikayi’s son Bharatha as the king of Ayodhya. Repeated pleas to his dear wife got him nowhere and he swooned from time to time. The king was truly caught between the devil and the deep sea.

On the one hand, he could not even dream of going back on his promise because he was a man of his word. On the other hand, he could not bring himself to inflict an undeserving heinous punishment on his faultless son. He tried to cajole and coax his beautiful queen. When she refused to respond, he berated her and even threatened her about her impending widowhood. When she refused to budge from her obstinate demands, he wondered if he was at the receiving end of his own Karma. He imagined that he must have separated thousands of cows from their calves, mothers from their sons and wives from their husbands to have merited such a state. He tried to recollect all the possible evil deeds that may have been perpetrated by him to reap such misery. He succumbed to his end without putting up a fight as he was depressed beyond measure.

Natural disasters, death of a beloved person or separation from a loved one can leave us devastated. Any amount of solace cannot reverse the incident. When misery and remorse envelop us, it will be better for us to accept the situation and contemplate on the next step forward. On the other hand if we choose to wallow in our despondency we might tumble into a bottomless pit of sorrow which can push us to a state of depression or death.

Rage for Radishes


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Well-being

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.

Brace Yourself For The Post Party Syndrome


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Calm after the storm

The two-faced Roman god Janus is ready to usher in the new year, while earthlings are partying hard. What many of us do not know is that we are working ourselves into as state of frenzy in the name of unwinding. This is true of those who organise parties as well as those who attend them.

A lot of meticulous planning, precious time and hard-earned money is ploughed into these events by hoteliers and owners of restaurants, bars and pubs besides individuals. Painstakingly decorating the party space, arranging enough food and drinks to go around and organising entertainment programmes takes several months of hard work and networking. Needless to say, this puts a great strain on their nerves.

It’s easy to assume that the party hoppers are a jolly lot, but that is far from the truth. They, for their part, are stressed about what to wear, whose company to seek, how to fit in at the party and get home safely afterwards.

Back to the grind

While all the music, dancing and socialising is fun while it lasts, the morning after generally brings along a hangover or worse, depression and loneliness. The post-party syndrome can encapsulate a lot of issues. You might feel lazy, fatigued and reluctant to get on with your work and normal routine. The late nights, gorging on calorie-rich food and aerated or alcoholic drinks can take a toll on the intestines and the liver. The lack of sleep will affect your cognitive function.

While none of these are reasons to pass on the merriment, by taking a few smart measures, you can save yourself from the physical and emotional stress that is likely to bog you down.

Catch up on some sleep every now and then so that you’re not caught yawning in company during the party. Loss of sleep can be telling on the countenance and general health of the individual in the long run. You would do well to have plenty of salad, fruits and juices during the day to offset the heavy food that you might eat at night.

Following an exercise regime will help you burn off the calories you gained binge-eating and drinking over the past few weeks. It is wise to keep tab on the amount of liquor that you consume in order to avoid embarrassment, untoward incidents and accidents.

The emptiness you’re left with

Psychologists point out that people who throw or attend many parties could experience a sense of loss, emotional numbness and anxiety once the gala time is over. This usually happens because they might have run into people whom they no longer care for or simply wish to avoid. They might have lost track of important days in all the frenzy. Even as they pretend to be happy and confident, they might be upset and despondent.

Putting the past behind and learning to live in the moment is the way to deal with these painful emotions. New year parties are, after all, about ringing out the old and ringing in the new. When you run into someone you dislike or have complicated emotions for, flash an affable smile, offer a kind word and move on. Try to forgive and forget for your own peace of mind.

You must understand that anything that brings you happiness must be good and genuine for it to last long. Refrain from hypocrisy and try to be earnest in terms of behaviour and attitude. Good manners and courteous behaviour has never killed anyone. A dollop of unadulterated enthusiasm can spread chirpiness and good cheer all around.

If you think your emotional wounds are still raw or that you may not be able to handle nasty surprises, pre-empt the guest list. If it is not to your liking, excuse yourself from attending the party. This can save you a lot of trouble and unpleasantness.

The most telling sign of the post-party syndrome is the lacuna created by the sudden lack of activity, which could lead to boredom, frustration and irritability.

Once you understand that parties are for enjoyment, socialising and rejuvenating your spirits, you can spend the days after the party organising contact numbers and addresses for future use. You can redeem your promise about keeping in touch by sending flowers or cards to renew your friendship with those you like.

If you hear of good or bad things happening to those you care for, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and get talking. An unexpected friendly gesture can not only cheer them up but will also make you feel happy. Once you learn the art of coping with the post-party syndrome, you will find yourself looking forward to more such good times!

Smart Pools- An Upcoming Trend


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Urban India is being riddled with lifestyle diseases. Doctors vouch for the fact that this problem can be contained to a large extent if people get to exercise enough. People who have the time have many options to burn those extra calories, but the ones with time limitation will do well to swim for at least twenty minutes three or four times a week for a complete workout.

If one does choose to swim, the tall task of finding a pool in the vicinity of one’s residence can prove to be the next challenge. If you are lucky enough to have one nearby, then the availability and cleanliness factors of the pool can prove to be bothersome.

It is perhaps keeping these factors in mind, that engineers have come up with the concept a Smart Pool, which is compact, can be personal, needs very little maintenance and serves the purpose all the same. Initially, Smart Pools were designed to be fitted out into the penthouses on skyscrapers, cruise ships and caravans to cater to the needs of the super rich. However constant redesigning and addition of attractive and practical features have made builders and even owners of villas consider introducing a Smart Pool in their premises.

The concept

For those of you who are wondering what a Smart Pool is all about, it is a modestly sized swimming pool, mostly linear. which operates on electricity. It can be fitted indoors or outdoors. Smart Pools can be installed above the ground like a giant bath tub or within ground like a regular pool. It can be fitted in your basement, roof top or even in a room.

It is a place where you can swim against an adjustable water current of your choice. The pool can give you the variations in depth, breadth, smooth and harsh waters, according to your requirements. In other words, you can set the tone of the kind of water that you need to swim in, by operating it on the lines of your washing machine.

The features of Smart Pools can be compared with that of a conventional pool. The water can be filtered, heated and chlorinated automatically as and when you want. If you want to give your Smart Pool a touch of class and optimum utility, then it can be fitted with underwater lights and Jacuzzi jets.

If you want to give your Smart pool the conventional look, then, go in for sitting benches which can be fitted within the water to help you soak up or to attend to your therapeutic needs. These very benches can also used outside or around the pool.

Features

One of the interesting and useful accessories of a Smart Pool happens to be the insulated pool cover. This large pool lid can serve multiple purposes such as retaining the heat of the water; preventing dust and dirt from falling into the water between uses and keeping the empty pool clean and dry when not in use.

This variety of pool has been quite popular among the rich across the globe. Of late, the practical and medical utility of these pools have made spas, old age homes, hospitals, physiotherapy centres and even apartment complexes consider such pools fitted out in their premises.

These pools can double up as hydrotherapy aids and rehabilitation pools to soothe the nerves and give relief to aching bones and muscles by just soaking up in them at the prescribed temperature. It is possible to add bath salts, oils and fragrances just like one uses teabags to infuse the essential ingredients as and when necessary.

High-end Smart Pools also known as fitness pools fitted in body building studios have in-built underwater treadmills and resistance therapy jets which can increase the stamina of the user. Its manageable size and optimum utility has the ability to make even sport complexes of a moderate size and school and college campuses
consider having one in their premises.

Of late, quite a few Indian entrepreneurs have been working on the production of these pools and its attendant accessories. Even as more and more people start considering this novel facility, there will be an increase in demand for the pools.

Since in-house manufacturing is likely to bring down the price all the while offering more options, Smart Pools will prove to be the apt way out especially when negotiating with space constraints.

Health Leaves- Curry Leaves


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Curry leaves are an integral part of Indian food. However, children and adults alike tend to pick them out of their meals and put them aside without second thought. Here are a few of the iron-rich ingredient’s benefits that will make you consider developing a liking for curry leaves:

Research has shown that regular intake of curry leaves not only promotes hair growth, but also keeps your locks shiny, black and healthy.

Munching on eight to 10 curry leaves every morning can help you keep obesity an high blood sugar at bay.

Curry leaves, thanks to their high iron content, are excellent for the health of mothers before and after childbirth.

Grind up the curry leaves and add them in curries to make sure your children get the full benefits of the leaves.

Spicy gravies made of curry leaves, when eaten hot with rice and ghee, can stoke one’s appetite and regulate metabolism for the next couple of days.

When eaten for dinner, it which relieves one of body aches and congestion of the lungs. Patients recuperating from simple flu, fever and other minor illnesses will find this dish to be soothing.

 Munching a a dozen fresh curry leaves everyday in the morning can help you reduce high blood sugar levels even some of your unwanted weight.

Those of you who have green fingers will vouch for the fact that, growing a curry leaf shrub can be a very demanding task, especially in the sapling stages. Besides turning the soil gently and watering it in a limited way, traditionalists have found that diluted sour buttermilk poured at the roots of the plant can improve its colour and flavour.

Legend has it that king Thondaman lined up a whole range of gifts for his daughter Padmavathi on the occasion of her wedding with lord Srinivasa. The gifts consisted of just about everything that she could need– expensive clothes, jewellery, furniture, flowers, fruits, nuts and vegetables among other things. However, Bakulamalika, the groom’s mother, gently pointed out that they had missed out on gifting their daughter something important -curry leaves!