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.

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.

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!

Spicy Healthy Delicacies from Curry Leaves


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The ubiquitous curry leaf in Indian cuisine simply cannot be ignored. Every delectable savory and salted item is invariably seasoned with curry leaves to improve its colour and flavour.

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 flavor.

These leaves which are repertoires of iron supplements have therapeutic   values. Research has proved that these leaves influence lush growth of human hair and also plays a role in keeping its sheen and turning it jet black.

If one consumes eight to ten curry leaves very morning, it can control obesity and sugar levels. Yet most adults and children make it a point to identify these leaves and keep them aside thereby throwing a wealth of goodness away without a second thought. It will prove to be a good idea to grind these leaves and add it to the masala or gravy so that its intrinsic goodness is not entirely lost.

These leaves when cooked exclusively can turn into some very delectable dishes, full of the much requisite nutrients. These dishes when eaten with hot rice and ghee have been time-tested recipes particularly suitable for mothers to be both in the pre- natal and
post -natal period of time.

 

Curry Leaves Chutney
Curry leaves: 1 large bowl,

Urad Dal: 1 cup,

Red Chillies: 6

Hing: 1 Teaspoon

Salt:1 teaspoon

Cooking Oil: 1 Teaspoon
Tamarind syrup: 1 Tablespoon ( Soak a small lump of tamarind in a cup of boiled and cooled water for 10 minutes and extract a thick syrup of the same)

* Wash the curry leaves and allow it to dry completely on a dry towel.
* Heat oil in a pan and fry the urad dal, hing and red chillies till they are roasted completely.
*Run all the ingredients in the mixer till it turns into a coarse paste.
* Do not add water to the Chutney at any point.
*The Curry leaves chutney can be served with hot rice and ghee.A fresh salad or a raitha will complement this dish very well.

If one wants to enhance the shelf-life value of this chutney it can be done so with a little variation. You can substitute 3 of the red chillies with one teaspoon of roasted pepper a tablespoon of roasted jeera. You can follow the same procedure but use dry tamarind instead of the syrup. Make sure to tear the tamarind into little bits lest it gets lumped and interfere in the processing of the mixer.

Milagu Kozhambu/ Curryleaves Gravy

This traditional, and proven gravy not only helps out women during their pregnancy and nursing period but also transforms into a ready remedy for people suffering from constant bouts of cold and indigestion. This gravy can be eaten with hot rice and ghee as an appetizer at the head of a meal to smoothen the process of digestion for a couple of days. This food also can be an appropriate supper dish 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 a very  fine appetizer This dish has a long shelf life and can be kept in the open for a week and when refrigerated in air-tight containers can be stored upto six months.   .

Ingredients

Curry leaves: 1 large bowl,

Urad Dal: 1 cup,

Pepper: 1 tablespoon,

Hing: 1 Teaspoon

Salt: 2 teaspoon,

Til Oil: 1 large cup (For best results in terms of taste and effect do not substitute with any other oil)

Tamarind  50 grams,

Mustard:1 teaspoon.

 

* Wash the curry leaves and allow it to dry completely on a dry towel.
* Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the urad dal, Hing and peppers till they are roasted.
*Grind the tamarind along with all the ingredients in the till it turns into a coarse paste.

 

*Add some oil in the pan and allow the mustard and Hing to spatter and pour the ground gravy into the pan. You can add water from time to time in order to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

 

* Once the gravy boils allow it to simmer for 15 minutes on a very slow fire after pouring the rest of the oil into the gravy.

 

* Once the gravy cools transfer it into an air tight container and it can be served with hot rice and ghee from time to time.

 

CURRY LEAVES  RICE

Ingredients

Curry leaves: 1 large bowl,

Peeled garlic cloves: 6

Urad Dal: 1 cup,

Red Chilli  6,

Pepper: 1 tablespoon,

Dhaniya 1 tablespoon

Turmeric:1 teaspoon

Hing: 1 pinch

Salt: 2 teaspoons,

cooking  Oil: 1 large cup

Tamarind  syrup:3tablespoons

Mustard:1 teaspoon.

  • Heat very little oil and roast the garlic, urad dal, dhaniya and pepper together and grind them together.
  • Wash and dry the curry leaves and grind them separately without adding water
  • Add little oil to a pan and toss in the mustard seeds, turmeric powder and hing.
  • Pour the tamarind paste into the pan, add salt and add the ground curryleaves when the gravy starts simmering.
  • Reduce the flame and add the remaining oil little by little and keep stirring the mixture for a while.
  • Just as the oil starts collecting towards the fringes add the powdered spices, bring to a simmer and put off the fire.
  • The Curry leaves gravy can be served with hot rice and ghee. Sautéed or deep fried papad will complement this dish very well.

The gravy can have a shelf life of about three months. The gravy tastes best when mixed with rice and allowed to soak up the gravy for at least two to three hours. If you make the gravy for just one time use, adding cut drumsticks or broad beans along with the curry leaves powder can add to the flavor.

 

 

FLAVOURED BUTTERMILK

If you have drying up or dried up curry leaves on your hands, do not throw them away. Dry them in the shade along with a handful of lemon leaves and couple of green chillies. When the ingredients dry up without retaining an iota of moisture grind them with a little salt and hing and store the powder in an airtight container. The powder can be used to flavor buttermilk instantaneously.

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know?

Curry leaves have divine connections.  There is an interesting folk tale which speaks about how the 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 a bride could need. Expensive clothes, jewellery, furniture, make up items, provisions, flowers, fruits, nuts and vegetables among other things. The king and his queen were proud of the rich array of their paraphernalia as they took the grooms mother Bakulamalika on a guided tour around the presents. When the king said that they had not spared a single item that could be possibly be included, Bakula gently pointed out that they had missed out on gifting their daughter something important. The royal couple went through the itinerary but could not zero in on the missing article. Then Bakula gently pointed out that they had forgotten to keep curry leaves which is a mandatory ingredient in most of our traditional cuisine!

 

 

 

And Sour Tastes The Curd


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And sour tastes the curd

Radha Prathi April 30, 2016

If you take the trouble to turn your sour curd into spiced buttermilk of various flavours, it can make your summer into a humble, healthy, and hydrated season.

Come summer, curds have a tendency to turn sour, much to our chagrin. If one forgets to store them in the refrigerator, even for a few hours, curds go sour, ruining our meals. But there’s an upside to this. Sour curds are the perfect ingredient for raitas, lassis and chaaj. And who can resist spiced buttermilk (neer majjige) in this intense weather? When churned together with curry leaves, ginger and seasoned with salt, asafoetida, curds can become a meal in themselves. 

If you take the trouble to turn your sour curd into spiced buttermilk of various flavours, it can make your summer into a humble, healthy, and hydrated season. Let’s start with the basics. To make spiced buttermilk, churn the curd well with all kinds of flavouring substances. Though it is not wrong to add finely cut or chopped ingredients, it can be a good idea to grind all of them into a fine paste. This will help the ingredients to blend well in the fluid and reach your system effectively and will also enhance the taste, leaving very little residue. Before adding water (boiled and cooled to avoid possible water-borne infections), add salt and a pinch of sugar to the churned mixture.

Wondering what are the flavours you can try with the healthy drink? Well, green chillies and curry leaves are mandatory. All the other ingredients you can combine in varying measures to create a new flavour every time. Asafoetida, ginger, mint, dill, garlic cloves, the wet insides of a cucumber, sauteed onions or even a pinch of garam masala can be used to spice your buttermilk. Although it is customary to season neer majjige with mustard seeds and asafoetida, people who are reluctant to use oil can do away with the tradition. The variations will taste good with or without the seasoning.

Interestingly, sour curds can be put to different uses depending on its quantity:

* Lacing the freshly ground dosa batter with a cup of sour curds can enhance the taste and crispiness.

* The dough used to make chapatis, akki roti and besan roti will yield softer and tastier breads when sour curds is added while kneading the dough, with a pinch of salt.

*Rava dosas and idlis will turn out better when the ingredients are soaked in a combination of water, freshly set curds and sour curds, for at least an hour before they are prepared.

*While making upma, thick set curd can be added to the seasoned water when it has reached a boiling point, before adding the rava in it.

* If you happen to be making fryums at home, add a small bowl full of sour curds to about half a kg of the batter or dough to improve its flavour and colour.

* If you have found the choicest chillies in the market, buy half a kg. Wash dry and slit them at the tail end. Take about two litre of sour curds, salt it a trifle excessively and churn it well. Toss in the chillies, mix it well and keep the mixture in a closed container for a day and night. Spread out the ingredients on a try and dry them in the sun for a couple of days before storing them. The marinated chillies can be deep fried and used in place of store-bought pickles.

* If the curd has soured way too much, it may not be feasible to use it in your cooking. However, you can use it to wash your hair, especially if you want to get rid of dandruff. Or, it can be poured into your garden soil or in the potted plants. If you do not have soil around your home, pour the curd around the empty sink, spreading it evenly around. When you scrub the sink after half an hour, you will be surprised to find it refreshingly clean. So, do not fret the next time your curd turns sour. Now you know how to put it to good use!

Calamity Control With Quick Fixes


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Kitchen disasters are common while preparing a meal for a big number.  Radha Prathi provides tips on how to avert a few critical ones

Cooking for a large number of people can be a formidable task, especially if it involves entertaining at home. You may plan ahead and prepare a practical menu and work on it methodically, but then there is always a lurking fear that things could go awry.

Many a time, something may go wrong, leaving you wringing your hands in desperation because you may have salted your dish too much or too little, or may have overcooked or under cooked the food. Here are a few tips that can emerge as saviours and get you through the night without breaking into a sweat!

*Add a small piece of tamarind into the frying pan when you do deep frying in already used oil, for the tamarind will absorb food smells which the oil may have retained.

*Bake two or three large potatoes and keep them aside. If you find that you have salted some dish generously, you could mash these potatoes and mix it with the dish and it will absorb the extra salt without altering the taste of the dish to a large extent.

*You could use tomato puree to balance out the flavour of the dish in terms of salt, sourness or spice.

*Add a tiny pinch of sugar when you cook salted food and a pinch of salt when you cook prepare sweet dishes as this practice will not only retain the natural food colour but will highlight the flavour too.

*Add washed and freshly-cut curry leaves and coriander to the dishes after you put off the flame to retain the smell and flavour.

*Keep a litre of boiling water ready while cooking. If you feel the gravy is getting thick or your vegetables appearing dry in the pan, add small quantities of that boiling water to help it cook in the same pace.

*If you find your gravy getting  very thin, take a tablespoon of rice, wheat or corn flour and mix it with cold water and make it into a thick, fine syrup and add it to the gravy while it is still cooking. Stir the contents till it simmers even as it thickens.

*If you have under salted your dish, you could dissolve the salt in some boiling water and add it to the dish and mix it well to help it blend.

*If you find your dish falling short of some spice, you could add it in the form of powder or paste to help it mix easily. Keep pastes of ginger, garlic; chilli and coriander ready as they mix easily with the cooked food and improve flavour.

*Do not hesitate to throw away seasoning which you may have burnt inadvertently as it could alter the taste of your dish to your disadvantage.

*Make sure you don’t use burnt cashews, raisins, ghee, channa dal, or for that matter any ingredient as it can upset the native flavour of the dish.

*Use natural food colours like turmeric powder, kesar or beetroot juice to highlight your food. Artificial colours may sometimes spoil the food and your digestive system too. For instance, use saffron powder or turmeric for colouring sweets and savouries respectively.

*As far as possible avoid synthetic food flavour and use a pinch of the original spice, fruit or nut to lend flavour.

*If milk curdles accidentally, you could  use it to your advantage. Allow the milk to curdle further on a very slow fire, once the whey separates add a spoonful of corn flour for every half litre of curdled milk, add a lump of jaggery and a pinch of powdered cardamom and turn it into an instant sweet dish.

*If, for some reason, the dish you are preparing gets burnt at the bottom of the vessel during the process of cooking, make sure you put off the fire and transfer the contents to another vessel before continuing with the cooking otherwise the taste of the burnt dish will linger on and spoil the aroma.

*Use saffron powder or turmeric for colouring sweets and savouries respectively.

*If you find out that you have undercooked the rice or vegetable,  sprinkle water and pressure cook the entire contents and season the dish lightly once again.

*If you feel that there is not enough chutney to go around at the last minute, grind some popcorn or salted biscuits along with some chillies and salt and mix them with the chutney before the final seasoning.

Eat Easy, Occasionally


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The time has come for a detox. Replace the rich with simple, nutritious dishes to ease out stomach pain and upsets, says Radha Prathi

There are  those days that are ruled by an uncomfortable feeling. A nagging headache, a queasy stomach, lack of appetite, renal fissures, lacklustre skin and stubborn dandruff — can all cause some level of discomfort. The most common of these is  erratic bowel movements. In other words, it could be constipation. The inability to pass stool at regular intervals,  can prove to be a nightmare at times.

Some of the common reasons attributed to this condition could be lack of a balanced diet, inadequate fluid intake, lack of physical exertion, long periods of travel, unhygienic public toilets, prolonged use of antibiotics and analgesics, or very simply stress.

The problem could be temporary or could last over several weeks or months. And we often reach out for laxatives that are available over-the-counter. While this measure will certainly provide instant relief, it is highly unlikely to solve a long-term complication with the stomach.

Simple remedies

Consumption of two ripe bananas or a handful of fried or boiled peanuts topped with a glass of warm water, a tablespoon of roasted flax seeds or a handful of prunes or dried figs usually does the trick. Stimulants like a hot cup of coffee or hot milk, spiced with a pinch of turmeric powder and pepper, can also act as aids.

A glass of warm juice generated from raisins boiled in water can help even infants suffering from constipation.

On the other hand, if the problem is persistent, a spoonful of castor oil or liquid paraffin is advised for immediate relief.

A few pressure-cooked garlic pods, ground into a paste and consumed with a glass of milk overnight for a couple of days is a proven traditional curative.

One must steer clear of white bread, maida-based food items, alcohol, and condensed milk products if they are prone to constipation. Consumption of non vegetarian food and eggs should be stopped temporarily. Besides, it is mandatory to consume at least 8-10, tall glasses of water each day to replenish the water quotient in the body. Drinking fruit juices, beverages, flavoured milk and milk shakes can certainly prevent the body from dehydrating.

Here are two recipes that are ideal for those who are trying out a body-cleansing fast. These Sattvic dishes have more good than bad. Beaten rice is accepted as an ideal dish for those on a fast for several reasons — It is a rich source of carbohydrates and Vitamin B, is easy to cook, easy to digest and has enough supplements to keep the body metabolism active. Here are some different ways in which beaten rice can be cooked.

Imli Poha

Ingredients: Beaten rice — 250 gms, tamarind — 50 gms, red chillies — 6 nos, Salt  to taste, mustard — 2 teaspoons, turmeric powder — 1 tsp, methi powder — ½ tsp, white gingelli powder — 1 tsp, asafoetida — ½  tsp, channa dal — 1 tbsp,
groundnut seeds — 100 gms, cooking oil — 50 gms, curry leaves — 3 sprigs.

Method: Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract the thick syrup. Add the turmeric powder and salt to the syrup. Wash the rice and soak it in tamarind syrup. Heat the oil in the pan and add mustard, asafoetida, red chillies, curry leaves, groundnuts, methi powder and white gingelli powder to the oil. Add the soaked beaten rice to the mixture and stir it well and put off the fire underneath. This dish can be served hot or cold. In fact, the flavour increases with time.

Dal Poha

Ingredients:  Beaten rice 250 gms, urad  dal — 250 gms, channa dal  — 100 gms, grated coconut — 100 gms, lime juice — 2 tsp, red chillies — 6 nos, green chillies — 4 nos, ginger paste — 1 tsp, mustard —1 tsp, asafoetida —  ½ tsp, cooking oil —  100 gms, curry leaves — 3 sprigs.

Method: Soak the dal for two hours and grind them to a fine thick paste along with red chillies, green chillies, ginger paste and salt. Steam the ground ingredients in a pressure cooker separately till it cooks well. Once the steamed dough cools disintegrate the mass with a dry spoon.

Wash the beaten rice and soak it in water for five minutes. Heat oil in a large pan and add the mustard and asafoetida till they spatter. Add the cooked dal to the pan, slow the fire and allow the mass of dal to disintegrate till it becomes very small lumps.

You should attend to the ingredients in the pan from time to time, adding half a spoon of oil every now and then to prevent it from burning at the bottom.  Once the dal turns golden brown, add the grated coconut, soaked beaten rice and curry leaves and stir well. Add lime juice in the end and mix it well with the other ingredients just before you remove the contents from the fire.

Serve hot or cold with either mint chutney or pickle.