Friday, August 12, 2016

guava (Psidium guajava) : a super food affordable to everyone | 13 ways guava fruit and guava leaves can be used to treat ailments


Guava is one of my favourite fruits and the red skinned fragrant guavas of Allahabad are the best. There are so many varieties of guavas in India that every city can surprise you with a new variety or a different flavour bouquet of the same variety.

guava fruit

Every second Indian household would remember a guava tree in the vicinity or in the backyard and almost every stage of the fruit is used to make something or the other, the fruit at its prime is the most delicious.

Guava has always been touted as the fruit for good skin, because it keeps the digestive system clean and toned. But there is much more we need to know about guavas. 

I have mentioned in the past how cooked guava helps relieve chronic cough and throat and chest congestion. This guava soup can be a great relief from chest congestion.

guava soup

In older times guava was roasted in dying embers and was eaten with rock salt to relieve chronic phlegm. I have seen it works even if a soft ripe guava is cooked over gas flame or microwave. This guava soup also helps the same way.

guava fruit

I have had the experience of using guava leaf infusion to treat toothache. The leaf infusion works wonderfully as a mouthwash too. I remember my grandmother used to say that guava datoon (natural toothbrush made with freshly plucked twigs) is better than Neem datoon when you have toothache. No wonder I see some studies suggesting antibacterial activity of Guava leaf extract.

guava leaf infusion

If you boil 2-3 leaves of guava in a cup of water and pinch of salt, it can be used as a mouthwash to treat toothache and any inflammation of the gum. We need home remedies like this as the commercial mouth wash will have some unnecessary perfume, some colour and even some for of sugar as well. 

guava fruit

And if you roast a fully ripe guava over embers or gas flame and eat the pulp with a sprinkle of black salt and pepper powder, it can relieve chronic congestion that remains even after a course of antibiotics sometimes.

Here are more ways of using guava fruits and leaves to treat common ailments. 
1. Raw guava makes excellent digestive chutney when mixed with ginger, green chilies, cumin seeds, black rock salt and some mint leaves together. Just mix these together and pulverize to make a coarse chutney. Serve with any Indian fried snacks or as a side dish.
2. Raw or ripe guava juice is an excellent digestive aid when mixed with ginger juice and black rock salt. Some paprika and ginger powder also taste great in this juice.

spiced guava juice
3. Ripe guava makes delicious fruit chat that helps cure constipation and digestive issues. The fiber in guava is great as a prebiotic agent that helps improve gut flora.

guava salad
4. Ripe guava can be cooked either by roasting, boiling or grilling and be made into chutney, salsa or guava soup that helps treat chronic throat and chest congestion. For long standing congestion one may need to take the soup like a medicine dose twice daily for a week or so. (tried and tested on allergic type congestion).

This roasted guava relish is made after roasting the ripe guava on open flame, then chopping it. It is then mixed with pink salt, pepper powder, ginger powder, chilli powder and a hint of sugar. It tastes great as it is for a snack or served with some crackers or fritters.

roasted guava relish
5. With 381% of daily requirement of Vit C in just 100 gm of guava, this fruit boosts immunity tremendously. So having ripe guavas during changing seasons and during winter is a great way to ward off seasonal infections and keep healthy naturally.
6. Whole guava fruit has potent anticancer activity due to the presence of various antioxidants found in it. (study). According to this study guava peel is the most effective compared to guava flesh and seeds.
guava fruit
7. Vit B3 and B6 in Guava along with Vit A and C help boost immunity, get better eyesight and improve brain function too. Vit B3 and B6 known as Niacin and Pyridoxin help improve cognitive function of nerves. In short, eating guava could improve focus on work.
8. Leaf extract of guava is great for management of diabetes. (source) The aqueous leaf extract (leaf tea or infusion) can reduce postprandial glucose elevation (source

guava leaf infusion
9. Leaf extract of guava has shown anti-hyperlipidemic activity as well. The guava leaf infusion if taken as a tea can help manage the lipid profile. (source)
10. Leaf extract of guava has also been shown good results as anticancer agent. (study) The guava leaf tea could be a good habit to cultivate.
11. Guava leaf extract can even be used to prolong the shelf life of ripe fruits like banana (source). This method can be useful for the industry as a natural way to increase the shelf like of fruits and can reduce the use of chemicals. To make the fruit wash, 250 gm of guava leaves are boiled with 500 ml water for 30 minutes and the filtered extract is used to brush fruits.
12. The astringents in guava leaf extract help tone up the skin if applied daily. It will help kill any microbial activity on the skin as well, healing minor wounds.

13. The tender guava leaves can be chewed on and can be swallowed too. It helps making the gums healthier, kills any minor infections of the mouth and is a potent anti cancer agent as well. Try this if you smoke a lot, it helps minimize the urge to smoke.

guava fruit
Do we need more reasons to eat guavas? May be planting a guava tree nearby will be helpful too as the leaves will be available even before the fruiting starts.




Monday, August 8, 2016

sandwich | roasted pickled bell peppers and paneer sandwiches made with ragi sandwich bread


So we made Ragi sandwich bread loaves at Suryagarh 2 months ago and that became an instant hit with everyone. We made burger buns and steamed bao, some whole grain pesto rolls and many more breads with millets. I am working on a few new menus at Suryagarh as a consultant and loving it.

It is always good to see people loving all these breads despite a prejudice about millets being rough and tasteless. Millets are not rough and tasteless if they are cooked or baked rightly.

This ragi bread sandwich with pickled peppers and cottage cheese filling is such a flavourful delight I decided to share it with you all. The textures also work really well.

roasted pickled bell peppers and paneer sandwiches

The ragi bread was made with whole wheat and ragi mix where 30% ragi, 30% whole wheat and 40% white flour was used, bread was baked using the standard bread recipe with minor manipulations to it. I am not sharing the detailed recipe of this particular ragi sandwich bread but I have already shared many ragi bread recipes in the past so you can try those at home.

Roasted pickled peppers filling is the recipe I am going to share today and how to assemble this pickled peppers and cottage cheese sandwich for any bread you are using.

This roasted and pickled peppers recipe is simple but needs a little planning and some pickling time, before assembling the sandwich.

roasted pickled bell peppers and paneer sandwiches

ingredients 
(enough for 4 servings of loaded sandwich or for some extra salad)

For making pickled peppers
2 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
2 large juicy ripe tomatoes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp minced garlic
few springs of fresh thyme or a pinch of dried thyme 

To assemble sandwiches
some onion rings
a slab of fresh paneer 
some salad greens (I used home grown rucola)
toasted bread of choice 

procedure

Grill the bell peppers and tomatoes on open fire, I used the flame of my gas stove. You can grill them all in broiler mode of the oven. Grill them all till the skin is charred and the vegetables get a bit soft. I am using the words grilling and roasting interchangeably here, hope that is okay.

Peel the skin of all the grilled peppers and tomatoes, rubbing off the charred part works fine.

Discard the seeds and white pith of the peppers, and white pith just under the tomato stalk. Now chop them all lengthwise, in quarters or thinner strips.

To make the pickling dressing, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and the minced garlic together and smear over the grilled and chopped vegetables.

Transfer all the contents into a clean glass jar, pressing the slices down and let everything marinate for at least 3 hours. This jar of pickled peppers keeps well in the refrigerator for a week.

To assemble the sandwiches, toast the breads lightly and prepare the paneer.

Slice the paneer thinly into large sheets and grill it over open flame using a metal grid. Do not bake or grill in the oven as the paneer slices dehydrate and become chewy that way. You can smear salt over paneer if you wish, we never needed to do that.

Arrange the salad greens, paneer slices and pickled peppers and tomatoes over one toasted bread slice and cover with another. I have not buttered the bread slices as there is enough olive oil in the pickled peppers and enough fat in the paneer.

roasted pickled bell peppers and paneer sandwiches

You can use slices of fresh Bocconcini instead of paneer or can add some grated cheese of your choice to the sandwich too. I love adding a bit of Feta cheese sometimes but I like paneer a lot too.

This loaded sandwich is quite heavy so wrap it in butter paper to hold well. Eating the sandwich will be easier that way. And this grilled pickled peppers sandwich is quite heavy as well. One weekend we had it for our brunch and it kept us full all day.

I have been making wraps with the same filling too and the husband doesn't mind eating pickled peppers. Else he is slightly intolerant to the aroma of peppers and he can smell peppers from a distance. Pickling rocks, quick pickling or otherwise.