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Native Australian Spices and Herbs : Some Recipe Suggestions

Native Australian Spices and Herbs : Some Recipe Suggestions

Spices and herbs are the lifeline of any cuisine. The way each cuisine of the world had been using spices and herbs, is a wonder that unfolds with each bite we relish with our senses. The classic flavor combinations have been time tested and it is not so much of a surprise that each one of the classic flavor combinations is good for health as well in terms of micronutrients and assimilation of nutrients in general.    Last month I received a spice box from Foodie Trails and Australia Tourism and the contents were really interesting. Seeing some tart fruit powders like Davidson Plum, Kakadu Plum, Quandang Peach, Finger Lime etc reminded me of how we use our anardana, amchoor, berchoor (yes, the powder of tart red zuzubes) and even crushed apricots that one finds in Leh markets. I was wondering if we could get tamarind, kokum and even elephant apple powders processed so beautifully.    The spice box had a few myrtle varieties too and I was amazed to see how potent flavor each one is. Tha

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Gehat ka paratha | horse gram stuffed paratha

Gehat ka paratha | horse gram stuffed paratha

  Horse gram is a type of lentil that I got introduced to quite late in life but once I got to know about this lentil about 20 years ago, I had to experiment with it out of curiosity. New ingredients have always been a pleasure work with and if someone says it's good for health, I feel even more enthusiastic. Since I got reminded of how I discovered horse gram, let me tell you the little story as well. My husband's first posting was in Dhanbad, a mining town in Jharkhand which was then part of Bihar and we used to get many tribal hawkers come with their wares mounted on bicycles. Since their language was new to me, I would stop each one of them to ask what they were selling and once when I saw this hawker with a sack propped between the three tubes I asked just out of my habit. The name was new and I wanted to see the product he was selling, he opened the sack and I found a dark brown lentil that I had never seen before. I bought a couple of kilos immediately, it was grown wild

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Almond Coriander Soup Recipe

Almond Coriander Soup Recipe

Soups are sustenance during the harsh winter months. This almond coriander soup or almond cilantro soup as it is called in many countries, is something I love making whenever I have good coriander leaves in excess, usually in peak season.  In India the season for coriander is winter and a lot of it is grown for the leaves. All over India we have so many dishes where the coriander leaves are used as the main ingredient, the kothimbir vadi , Bhopali rezala, harey alu, dhaniya patta vada are some of those dishes. Apart from that our green chutneys can't be imagine without green coriander leaves. As a garnish, we love a generous sprinkle of hara dhaniya over a lot of our curries and dals.  We have started getting coriander greens all year round but winter is the time when the whole green plant is most flavoursome. I do try and grow some coriander in my garden and I must add that the mature plants that bear the flowers and tender seeds, get a really strong aromatic property and I love

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Bajra apple muffins | gluten free healthy cakes

Bajra apple muffins | gluten free healthy cakes

Cakes are a treat for everyone.    Sometimes the popularity of a food becomes such a case that it starts ruining its food value. Food value is the sum of all the good nutritional and flavour qualities a food has naturally. Once a food become too popular, it becomes the pawn of the market to generate more profits and the food value degenerates. Cheap processed ingredients replace good quality genuine ingredients and the food item has to not just taste good it has to stay on the shelf for longer so there are better chances of it getting sold. Being sold is the prime motive of a processed food that has become a product, a commodity whose utility is just to make money. No need to be nutritional anymore, food value is  depreciated .    Same has happened to cakes. The real home made cakes with butter, unrefined sugar, fruits and freshly milled whole grain flour  wouldn’t  survive on the shelves and it is not seen in the markets ever. The markets are churning out artificially coloured and fla

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Pearl barley khichdi to mimic sabudana khichdi

Pearl barley khichdi to mimic sabudana khichdi

Sabudana khichdi is one of the favourites since childhood. When I used to do Navratri fasting in the 80s I would make sabudana khichdi in huge Kadhai at home because everyone wanted generous portions of it. I learnt supplementing the sabudana khichdi with paneer and seeds or nuts back then because that was the only big meal I used to have during the nine days of Navratri fasting. Later I started doing minor changes to the recipe because this was a favourite and sabudana or sago pearls aren’t the healthiest of ingredients even though they are are neutral, considered cooling and Ayurveda approves it for cooling properties as well as to support lactation etc. Do check out the fortified, low glycemic sabudana khichdi I have shared earlier. Nevertheless, my quest for a good substitute for sabudana was on and I didn’t realise the solution was just under my nose all this while. I have been using barley in many forms ever since I started my own kitchen. This blog has barley reci

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Fermented foods for immunity : pickled watermelon pith

Fermented foods for immunity : pickled watermelon pith

Fermented pickles are not an accidental occurrence. Fermentation itself isn’t an accidental inclusion into human dietary habits. Fermentation was there before humans evolved so there is no question whether humans tasted the first fermented foods before or after a certain milestone of evolutionary process. They tamed the process of fermentation after they started cultivation of food for sure.  And how.  Humans always knew fermented foods are good for their gut even though they didn’t realise (in prehistoric times) there is a thriving population of bacteria in their stomach that helps in so many ways. Evolutionary wisdom is something humans tapped quite well I believe, fermentation is one of those evolutionary wisdom acquired over millennia and refined according to the climate and geography.  Coming to the present times, fermented foods are immensely useful in boosting immunity that we need during the COVID-19 outbreak. Using different types of fermented foods made with

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Amla and curry leaf pickle to boost immunity

Amla and curry leaf pickle to boost immunity

This  Amla  and curry leaf pickle is one of the best  immunity  boosting condiments  that’s  easy to make and versatile enough to include in  several  meals every week.  What’s  more? In the times of lockdown many of us  aren’t  getting a regular supply of  vegetables  so this pickle could compensate for the vegetables, providing comparable nourishment in terms of vitamins and minerals and even fiber content. The pickle uses huge amount of curry leaves that are high in vitamins and minerals as well as fiber and of course the other ingredients are the added  benefit .  I have been sharing a lot of immunity boosting foods lately, something we all need right now to fight the COVID-19 and keep our health in best possible state.  Immunity building through read foods that are rich in antioxidants, hepatoprotective and immune boosting is the best holistic way to build and protect the health. In fact there are so many factors that compromise our immunity that  almost  all of

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Boost your immunity with protein rich foods: Recipe of protein rich immunity bliss balls

Boost your immunity with protein rich foods: Recipe of protein rich immunity bliss balls

I have been talking about cranking up our immunity a lot these days. I believe all the fitness and diet parameters we work for have a role to play in keeping the immunity alive and kicking but there are times when we are indisposed which is normal if our immunity i s  strong. Regular exposure to pathogens is normal and it helps build our immunity too. For example, when we do gardening with bare hands, when we eat street food and take public transport we are exposed to a lot of pathogens that may cause potential health issue but our innate immunity takes care of it with the help of first line of action against pathogens. Healthy eating habits, protein s , good fats, vitamin and mineral rich foods, proper hydration and a generally disciplined lifestyle play an important role in keeping the immunity alive. Protinex has started an initiative in public interest bringing awareness about how proteins help in boosting one’s immunity.. I am partnering with them to highlight some

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