Chicken Tikka Masala

The man who is said to have invented the dish died on 22nd December 2022 at the age of 77 years. His name was Ali Ahmed Aslam and he was a Glassgow restaurateur. He migrated to Britain when he was 16.

Mr. Ali Ahmed Aslam

He belonged to Lahore and his family was into farming. His uncle was in Britain doing tailors shop. But Ali was ambitious and soon opened an eatery in Glasgow serving typical tandoori food of Indian subcontinent. With time and exceptional success it became a restaurant with name Shish Mahal.

How did he invented the recipe which became the National dish of the Britain? Well, he says that one driver came to his eatery and asked for Chicken Tikka. But he said the dish was too spicy and dry. As he is not feeling well, he wanted something mild and sweeter. Mr Ali took the chicken tikka and added to it tomato puree and cream. Thus was born the iconic dish which became a rage in Britain.

www.spicezone.com

There are hundreds of restaurants across Britain who claim to serve the authentic dish. There are modifications as are in every food preparation.

Many people in India claim that dish was invented in India long back in 1947. But it was Mr. Ali Ahmed Aslam who got the credit.

Stinging Velvet Beans

Mucuna Pruriens known by common names such as Stinging Velvet Beans, Cowitch and Madness Beans.

The bean seeds or legumes are used in many medicines. Legumes are rich in L-DOPA which is an amino acid. It is the precursor of Dopamine which is a brain neurotransmitter.

The beans are also calm inducing and boost testosterone levels in the males. Mucuna Pruriens legume helps in calming the mind. In comparison to many legumes, these beans contains higher levels of proteins. The beans are used in the treatment of snakebites.

The beans vine comes in two varieties. One is domestic and other grows in the wild. The vine is a nitrogen fixer in the soil and is thus planted to enhance the organic content of the soil and fertilise the soil.

Th wild variety bean shell which is velvety in texture is very harmful to skin touch. It gives the affected person acute itch and pain. This is caused by the mucuna protein which induces allergy.

I happen to spot the vines at few places in a forest near our home. I took the photos for reference.

Bitter Melon!??

Karela aka Bitter gourd is bitter but it is a storehouse of vitamins and minerals. Bitter gourd contains iron, magnesium, vitamins, and potassium. The calcium and potassium content in it is twice that of spinach and banana.

https://www.organicauthority.com/live-grow/why-bitter-melon-needs-to-be-in-both-your-garden-and-your-kitchenter
Bitter Melon

Are you surprised to know that it is not a vegetable but a fruit. It belongs to the family of Melons which are known for their sweetness and are popular all over the world. It is called “BITTER MELON

melonshttps://www.washingtonpost.com/food/2021/07/19/melons-tips-watermelon-cantaloupe-honeydew/

Karela is a native of Indian subcontinent and now it has been established that it contains a insulin like compound polypeptide-p which helps in regulating the blood sugar.

Karela contains potassium which helps to reduce the blood pressure by replacing some of the sodium responsible for increasing blood pressure.

It improves the skin and hair. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and C.


Even USA is going to take its farming in a big way recognising it’s benefits.

https://sakasaka.net/bitter-melon-juices-7-health-benefits.html

Perhaps when God was distributing goodness to the family of Melons, all the sweetness was bestowed upon its brothern. It was feeling sad as it’s taste was very bitter and it was ruing the fact that due to the bitter taste nobody will like it.

But God blessed it and said “My son, I can’t make you sweet but i will bless you with so many nutrients and medicinal properties that you will outshine all your siblings and become a darling of the human beings”

Carbs: All are not Bad

When the humans were evolving they didn’t know the art of agriculture. So they didn’t know to grow the edible plants. At this stage their diet was obtained from killing the animas. Thus their diet consisted mainly of fats and proteins. When agriculture was established, then humans added the carbohydrates into their food menu.

Carbs or Carbohydrates have become much maligned food from sometime. Many people say they are not good for health. These are mostly sugars. Sugars they say lead to diabetes, obesity and tooth decay.

Carbohydrates are one of the three essential categories of food along with fats and proteins. Carbohydrates provide energy to the body, fats also provide energy and fat and proteins build the bony structure of the body.

What are the carbohydrates?

Chemically carbohydrates are compounds made from Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. There are many categories of the carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are synthesized in nature by plants and trees by a process called photosynthesis. This way they convert carbon dioxide and water into Glucose which is the starting material for making higher or complex carbohydrates like disaccharides, starches and cellulose. Human beings can’t digest cellulose.

https://pharmeasy.in/blog/know-everything-about-carbohydrates-its-food-sources/amp/

Monosaccharides

Monosaccharides are the simplest sugars. Two of the most popular ones are Glucose and Fructose. Whereas Glucose contains only sugar, Fructose contains vitamins and minerals alongwith sugar. These are derived mostly from fruits. Thus Fructose are better than glucose.

Disaccharides

Disaccharide means their skeleton is made of two Glucose units. Examples are Sucrose, lactose and maltose.

Starches

Starches are very complex molecules made from large numbers of Glucose units joined together. These are obtained from grains like wheat, barley and maize etc. Due to their complex structure, they are slow to breakdown into human consumable monomers.

How Carbohydrates provide energy?

Carbohydrates are like fuel in a vehicle. Carbohydrates are oxidised by Oxygen we inhale. During oxidation energy is released alongwith water and carbondioxide which are exhaled and again caught by plants and trees for making sugars for themselves and humans and animals.

Why body prefers carbohydrates than fat?

Fat provides about thrice the energy than same amount of carbohydrate. Even then body prefers it especially for giving instant energy to the brain. The reason is the ease with which carbohydrates can be broken down into energy. Also the byproducts are easy to get rid by the body.

Complex carbohydrates like starch take much longer to get hydrolyzed. First of all when we eat them, an enzyme called Amylase which is present in our saliva catalysis the starch breakdown in the belly. Thus the breakdown is slow and not instant and sustained over a longer period of time thus providing lower but sustained amounts of energy.

So in the nutshell the whole foods grains are better and useful to be taken. Carbohydrates from these are not harmful but useful.

Plantains and Bananas!!

Banana is the most consumed fruit in the world. It is very easy to eat. Just peel and eat. It is an instant source of energy. Sportsmen love it. It can be eaten in the form of milkshakes or as such. It is any time fruit.

Banana and Plantains look very similar. But in fact they have some subtle differences which make them suitable for different food recipes. Nutritionally there is not much difference between them. Plantains grow in Central Africa, the Caribbean, and other tropical regions, and they’re commonly used in Latin, African, and Caribbean cuisine.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-bananas/amp

As the bananas and Plantains begin ripening their colours start changing from green to yellow to black. Sweetness also increases in the same way.

Plantains are longer in size than Bananas. A plantain is almost double (12″) as compared to a banana (about 6″). Plantains are used mostly as a vegetable rather than as a fruit. When raw, both bananas and Plantains are bland. Sweetness increases as they begin to mature. When fully ripe, Plantains are more sweeter than Bananas.

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/all-about-plantains/amp

Sugar in the Plantains comes from starch. As starches take longer to breakdown into simple sugar they are initially less sweeter than Bananas. But since starches are complex sugars, they yield more simpler sugars.

Because ripe bananas are sweet, they are usually used in dessert recipes or baked goods, including banana bread, muffins, and cupcakes, often with chocolate chips thrown in. Chips are eaten as snacks.

Bananas are richer in many vitamins and minerals but due to their sugar base rather than starch base, user especially people with diabetes cannot overindulge in their consumption.

Brown and Turbinado Sugars

Sugars are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates break down into Glucose and Fructose. Fructose are the sugars which we obtain from the fruits. Glucose is instantly assimilated into our bodies and provides instant energy. Fructose on the other hand take time to break down and get absorbed into bloodstream.

Sugar is obtained mostly from sugarcane, beets and Palm. Each has many minerals during unprocessed stage which provide more nutrients as well as imparts colour to the sugar which is white.

Most of the world consumes processed sugar which don’t contain any molasses from which it is made by removing all the molasses. It is done to make the product look more aesthetic and also for use in foods where the brownish colour is not desirable. It is just like the polished rice versus unpolished rice.

Turbinado Sugar:

Turbinado sugar is minimally processed sugar. It contains more molasses. It has larger crystals and is more dryer in nature. So it’s solubility is lower than normal white sugar. It is mostly used in hot beverages.

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/turbinado-sugar/amp

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is obtained by adding a controlled amount of molasses in the white sugar. First of all molasses is stripped off to make the molasses free colourless sugar and then molasses is added in the desired amounts. It has smaller crystals but more moisture as compared to Turbinado sugar. It is used in food preparations where sugar is supposed to dissolve into the food homogeneously and evenly like cakes.

https://browntree.in/product/brown-sugar/

Argan Oil

Argan oil is one of the most expensive oils. It costs around $300 for a liter of this oil. It is extracted from the ripe fruits of Argan tree which is endemic to Morocco only. That’s is why it is sometimes called “Red Gold”

https://www.feedipedia.org/node/54

This tree is the saviour of Moroccan people. It’s fruits are used to make oil which is used for culinary purposes like sprinkling on the salads. The oil is used now worldwide as a cosmetic products for skin and hair. The tree fights desertification by providing stability to the soil. It is a hardy tree which can tolerate harsh arid conditions.

https://www.travelawaits.com/2549853/things-to-know-about-argan-oil-in-morocco/?amp

The oil contains mostly unsaturated fatty acids along with Vitamin E which is good for skin and immunity. It also contains carotenoids.

The oil is extracted by traditional manual methods in vogue for centuries. In this method the self fallen fruits are collected and the flesh is removed. Then the kernels are dried in the Sun.

After drying the seed shells are delicately broken to take out the oil bearing seed. It takes a woman, who traditionally do this work, 24 hours labour for producing 1 liter oil. The seeds are grounded in the traditional method. After this the powder is hand pressed to extract the pure oil. This is also one reason for its high cost.

The leftover cake is used as a feed for the cattle especially goats and sheep. There was another technique that was used sometimes. The goats were left for climbing on the fruit laden tree. They will eat the fruits and the seeds were collected from the droppings. But this is used these only for tourists who enjoy the goats climbing on the tree branches.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2132751-tree-climbing-goats-spit-out-and-disperse-valuable-argan-seeds

To meet the heavy demand from cosmetic industry more trees have been planted. This also serves the purpose of soil conservation. Women have been organised in cooperatives for increased efficiency.

Paleo Diet

For a man who barely gets enough to eat, dieting is irrelevant. For farmer who works all day in the fields, no dieting is required.

Whatever food we eat gives us energy. Energy is required for doing work. So when the intake of calories is more than the spending the amount of energy by means of exercise, walking and other physical activity, the remaining amount of energy gets deposited in the body in the form of fat. Over the time, than body weight will go on increasing. The energy group foods are fat and carbohydrate. Our bodies have evolved in such a way that their first choice is sugar or carbohydrate followed by fat in the form of saturated oils.

Most people who wish to shed the extra pounds, go for exercise and dieting. These diets contain generally more proteins and cut down on the carbohydrates and fats and sodium. Also most of the obese people are those who are generally well off and have occupations which involve very less manual activity. As the time passes by, many ailments take over, forcing such people to go to doctors, dieting and exercise. They want quick results which are unattainable causing frustration.

Many smart health experts take advantage of this and float different types of diet plans with exotic names. There are at least more than dozen such plans. Some of these are Mediterranean diet, Ketogenic diet, Low-carbohydrate diet, Intermittent fasting, Veganism, Vegetarianism, Plant-based diet, South Beach Diet, raw food diet, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig Low-fat diet, Dukan Diet, Mayo Clinic Diet, WW International
Nutrisystem, Whole30 , Alkaline diet, Blood type diet, Diabetic diet, Cabbage soup diet, Zone diet, Atkins diet, Flexitarian.

Paleo or Caveman Diet

One such diet plan is called Paleo Diet. Also called Caveman’s Diet. It’s based on food sources for humans during the Paleolithic area, which spanned the time period of about 2.5 million years to 10,000 years ago.

caveman

From the name, you can guess the type of things one has to eat or avoid. Caveman was our primitive ancestor who barely knew the recipes and ate whatever came his way. He didn’t know agriculture. Although he had learnt to make fire.

He was essentially a hunter and survived on the animal flesh which means that he consumed more protein rich diet with minimal processing. At the most he was roasting the animal. Secondly he ate fruits and flowers and whatever grains were growing naturally.

So the Paleo Diet plans stresses on eating animal proteins, fish, lean meat, fruits, nuts, eggs, and cereals. It rules out eating the dairy products like milk and milk based products like cheese, potatoes, butter, and curds etc. It also emphasis on inclusion of critical ingredients like vitamins and minerals.

Naturally Paleo Diet will be costlier to other diets. Also from the energy point of view whatever food plan you follow, you have to side by side reduce the already deposited extra fats. So exercise is a must along with the dieting. Caveman didn’t have many worries like modern man. Most of his time was spent chasing the animals for hunting and fishing with not efficient tools. So he was always exercising his body.

I doubt that with this type of strenuous physical routine the caveman would have become overweight even after eating the fat from the animals. These diet plans all boil down to the fact that if the intake of the calories is offset by spending those calories through physical exercise and activity leaving a slightly negative balance, you will be fit

Eggs Kejriwal: Dish

EGGS KEJRIWAL topped NY food critic’s list in 2017. Surprised?

It has nothing to do with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal although the marwari connection is very much there. Kejriwals belong to the Bania caste. They are astute businessmen. Mostly they are vegetarians. Many young people from the community eat non vegetarian food clandestinely.

The said dish was invented by Devi Prasad Kejriwal a businessman from Mumbai. Being a conservative marwari in he didn’t take eggs at home. But he enjoyed it after golf.


Good thing about the dish is easily available three ingredients Eggs, Cheese and Green Chilli. It hardly takes any time to prepare.

Picture from New York Times


He would tell the waiter how to make it with a slice of cheese, a fried egg and, being a Marwari, he liked green chillies,“ says Ajay Kejriwal, his nephew.

How did it get thus peculiar name?


It got its name because other members began asking the waiter to give them the same what Kejriwal is having.

The dish topped New York Food Critic’s list. One reason cited is the commonality of the ingredients and easy way to prepare.

Tea Eggs!!

Tea is the most popular beverage all over the world. Although tea is grown mainly in China and India, it is relished by people all around the globe.

Many variations of traditional steeped variety exist depending upon the innovations done locally. For example, in India people like to drink milk tea. Then there are spicy teas lik ginger tea and cardamom tea.

Tea

Tea has been said to be good for health as it contains many antioxidants like flavonoids. Beverage is addictive in nature that’s why whole world craves for it in the morning.

Now Eggs.

Eggs are also consumed all over the world. Mostly hen eggs are eaten. Eggs are very nutritious full of protein, calcium, vitamin A, iron and phosphorus. They are very easy to prepare even by a novice. These are eaten in many forms like simple boiled eggs, omelettes, in egg curry. Eggs are in essential ingredient in various cake preparations, coatings of food, trapping air in many preparations to give volume and fluffiness.

What are Tea Eggs then?

These originated in China as evening snack. The are also called Marble Eggs. In most simple terms the boiled eggs with small perforations in the shell are steeped in tea liqueur. Many other ingredients like Star Anise, Ginger, soy sauce, cinnamon are also added to spice up.

Tea Eggs

The steeping liquor is made by boiling these ingredients in water and cooled down.

The eggs are hard boiled which take about 7 minutes time. They are removed from hot boiling water and immediately put into freezing bath to stop further cooking.

When these are at room temperature, the eggs are tapped at different places lightly with a spoon to create cracks avoiding the detaching the shell portions. After these these are soaked in the tea liqueur prepared earlier.

After about 24 hours, the shells are removed. The eggs become dyed with the liqueur color. They look like marbles. And are ready to be eaten.

Recipes:

There are a number of recipe pages on the internet. For example the following link.

https://images.app.goo.gl/CSwpPJEgLv1gB7am8
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