Baingan ka Bharta ( roasted eggplant), an integral part of a traditional Punjabi Menu.

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Ingredients
2 large Brinjals (eggplant)
1 tablespoon oil
2 medium Onions chopped
4 Tomatoes chopped
Salt to taste
3 tsp Red chilli powder
2 tablespoons Fresh coriander leaves chopped
5-7 garlic cloves chopped
small piece of ginger chopped

Method
Roast the brinjal on a medium flame till well cooked and the skin has charred completely.
Cool, peel and mash the roasted brinjals.
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and saute ginger and garlic till light brown.
Add onions and saute till golden brown.
Now add tomatoes, salt and chilli powder, and saute till the mixture is cooked and the oil rises to the surface.
Add the mashed brinjal and mix well. Lower the heat and cook for four to five minutes on low to medium flame.
Add  half of the chopped coriander and mix well. ( Here you can add 2-3 spoons of desi ghee or clarified butter for extra flavor).
Garnish with left chopped coriander and serve hot with naan, prantha, chapati or bread.

Punjabi Kheer (Rice puddding), A dish specially associated with Rainy season

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Saavan da mahina te kheer!

Ingredients:
1/4 cup rice (Basmati)
1 ltr whole milk
1/2 cup condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar (adjust to taste)
5-6 crushed and powdered green cardamom seeds
20-22 sliced almonds
1 tablespoon sliced dry coconut

Method
Prefer to use a non-stick frying pan to make kheer or a heavy bottomed pan.
Wash rice, changing water until the water appears clear.
you can also soak the rice in water for 30 mins.(optional)
Put milk into the pan and when it reaches boiling level, low the flame and add rice.
Cook until the rice is tender and the milk is creamy and reduced a little. Stir often to ensure the milk does not burn in the bottom of the pan.
Also scrape the sides of the pan often and add it to the simmering milk.
Do not cover the pan while cooking.
Add sugar, condensed milk, and cardamom powder.
Allow it to simmer on low flame for 12-15 mins, depending upon the creamy thickness of milk.
Turn off the gas and add sliced almonds and diced dry coconut.
Cover the pan and let it stay till it comes to room temperature.
As kheer cools of it will become thicker in texture.
If kheer is to be served cold, keep it in refrigerator for some time.
Some people prefer to have it warm, if so, serve at room temperature.
Saffron strands, pistachios are optional but can be added.
To add saffron strands, mix saffron strands in a tablespoon of warm milk and add to milk rice mixture at the cooking time.
Rice can be replaced with Vermicelli also.
TASTE OF KHEER DEPENDS UPON TWO THINGS:
1.THICKNESS OF MILK. WHICH IS ATTAINED BY COOKING MILK AND RICE ON VERY LOW FLAME FOR A LONGER TIME TILL RICE STARTS MELTING IN MILK.
2. CRUSHED GREEN CARDAMOM POWDER AND SUGAR.
Rest everything is optional in traditional punjabi kheer

Easiest way to cook Chick Peas in Punjabi style with Rehri Wala Flavour!

IMG_20150506_103512Ingredients

250 gm White chick Peas, soaked overnight
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds powder
1 onion, grated or blended (optional)
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
200 ml Tomato puree
4 tsp chana masala(readily available in grocery stores)
3 tsp chilli powder
3 tsp dried mango powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
3 tsp crushed kasoori methi
1 tbsp oil or ghee
salt to taste
1 black cardamom, 2-3 cloves
Coriander for garnishing
Method
Put soaked chick peas in Pressure cooker and add tomato puree, salt, turmeric, ginger garlic paste,onion(optional),oil, 300 ml water and bring 4 to 5 whistles.
After the chick peas are soft, add chana masala, crushed black cardamon and cloves, kasoori methi, coriander powder, dried mango powder, chilli powder, cumin seed powder and mix well. simmer on low flame for 15- 20 mins. keep on checking the thickness of gravy and add water accordingly.
Mash chick peas with light pressure with potato masher in cooker only. This will make gravy more thick and pliable.
After desired thickness is achieved, garnish it with coriander leaves and serve hot with kulcha, naan or rice.

Healthy Fruit of a Romantic Flower!

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From last few days I have been studying on medicinal properties of ROSES. Yes, I said Roses! It was surprising and amazing to know that other than romanticism, this beautiful flower holds such nutritional and medicinal properties. People are still not aware of these benefits. So, I decided to pen down the importance of roses in food and how we can avail health benefits of the fruit of this beautifully romantic flower.
Fruit of the rose is called rosehip. Once the leaves fall off, we forget the flower and plant but the fruit is still there! Also known as rose haw or rose hep. The wild dog rose is the type of rose most often cultivated for their hips. This plant bears a very fragrant rose flower. Once the flower has bloomed and all the petals have fallen off, the hip is picked and used in a wide variety of preparations. Numerous are the benefits of this fruit. They are considered super-foods because rose hips contain more vitamin C than grapefruit and oranges. It contains Glycosides(GOPO)and a variety of antioxidants; carotenoids, flavonoids, polyphenols, leucoanthocyanins and catechins, vitamin A, C,E, Beta-carotene and Lycopen as well as calcium, iron, selenium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, silicon, and zinc, which is why they have become such a desirable and sought after product in markets around the world.
When it comes to kitchen, Rosehips can be prepared in variety of ways. Some of the most common forms of rose hips include jams, jellies, soups, bread, wine, pies, tea and even marmalade. It is an extremely versatile ingredient that is enjoyed by people all around the globe, due to its delicious flavor or for its nutritional benefits. Rose hips can be stored in the freezer or they can be dried and stored. While storing them do not use a metal container because the fruit acids and the metal do not mix well. They can be eaten raw also, after being put through a blender, or soaked in water overnight and then cooked in the water for about half an hour. If you want to have rosehips from your own rose plant, do not spray any kind of pesticide on the plant.
Just by making Rosehips a part of our kitchen, Following are the health benefits that we can obtain:
1. Immune System – Rose hips have an impressive amount of vitamin C, Which makes them an excellent immune system booster. Vitamin C stimulates white blood cells and is also essential in the prevention of asthma and the general health of the respiratory system. It is used as a treatment of colds and flu.
2. Diuretic Effects and Digestion – The fruit acids and pectin in rose hip tea is a mild diuretic and laxative. It is used to improve, and relieve the symptoms of kidney disorders, or to help in the case of mild constipation. Rose hips help eliminate toxins from the body, as well as excess salts, liquids, and even fat. Actually rose hips can be called excellent detoxifiers.
3. Lowers Cholesterol – Organic compounds and antioxidant components in rose hips also reduce the cholesterol content in body, thereby reducing strain on cardiovascular system and also seriously lowering the chances of suffering a stroke or a heart attack.
4. Prevents Cancer and Chronic Diseases – Free radicals or a lack of antioxidants is connected to a number of serious conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and premature aging. The wealth of antioxidants in rose hips are particularly adept at keeping the body healthy from all angles.
5. Diabetes Management – Rose hips have been shown to strictly regulate the blood sugar levels of the body, which is very important for people suffering from diabetes. By keeping the balance of insulin and glucose in the body, rose hips can prevent the unfortunate plunges and spikes in blood sugar that can be so deadly.
6. Bone Health – Clinical studies have shown that rose-hip powder has the potential to reduce Stiffness and joint pain. It reduces consumption of potentially dangerous pain-relieving medications, and improve energy and sleep quality. Rosehip discourages white blood cells from accumulating in the joint area, knees, hips, lower back, hands and feet. It effectively cures Arthritis (OA/RA). Rose hips can help prevent osteoporosis by maintaining bone mineral density, keeping you strong, flexible, and able to live an active life!
7. Skin Care – Flawless, beautiful, blemish free and youthful skin is the dream of everybody all over the world.There are hundreds of products and potential treatments for tightening and toning the skin, but rose hips are one of the best options. It has the ability to help regenerate new skin cells. Rose hips have a high vitamin A content. Vitamin A is commonly referred to as the “skin vitamin”. The astringent quality of rose hips keeps the skin elastic, so it doesn’t develop wrinkles, flaws are easily eliminated, burns and scars quickly heal, and skin generally looks younger and more vibrant.
8. Circulation – Rose hips have a significant amount of iron, which is an essential component in the creation of red blood cells. Therefore, having an adequate amount of rose hips in your diet can prevent anemia and also keep your essential organs well-oxygenated, increasing metabolic activity and optimizing functionality of your various systems.

                                                       Rose Hip Tea
To make the tea simply pour a cup boiling water over a tablespoon of crushed, dried hips and let steep. After straining out any pieces of the hips, add honey and drink.

Note: There are least known side effects of rosehip. But in case of any allergies, Pay attention to your body and act accordingly.

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INDIAN SPICES THAT HELP PREVENT CANCER

 

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There are certain things about which we cannot do or change anything as per our own choice but it when it comes to health , I believe that it is totally in our own control. Our well-being depends upon us only as nobody could do anything for us in this matter. Healthy life style and our food choices make us what we are and what we look. I was reading a topic on cancer as 4 February 2015 was World Cancer Day. I read about the stories of people who have faced this deadly disease, their pains, their psychological conditions, financial burdens and all that. I felt that why people ignore their health and their body as it the only thing that is ours. only ours! How can anybody neglect health? I understand that in this cut throat competition, stress level remains to high to earn money and maintain a life style but why health is not included in the so-called pattern of maintaining a lavish style? I heard it somewhere that first people ignore health for money and afterwards spend that money to maintain health.

We should take care of ourselves . It is our prime duty to listen to our body and be very careful of what we consume. The deadly disease like cancer, nerves shrug by its name only and the people who face it, how difficult would have been for them to pass through it. Now the question arises which is the best possible way to prevent a Disease like Cancer. Prevention is always better than cure. Believe it or not, but when the opposition in question is an adamant disease like cancer, everything you need to prevent or treat it is right inside Indian Kitchen. We are blessed with such herbs and spices that can avert the multiplying of malignant cells in the body that gradually mature into insurmountable cancer cells. Following are the spices which have Cancer-fighting properties.
Turmeric One of the most recognizable of all the Indian spices. Turmeric is an anti oxidant and it is not only great for fighting disease like cancer, it also aids in the prevention of diabetes, allergies and internal injuries. It’s not difficult to reap maximum benefits of this spice as it is easily available and using just a pinch of it daily helps solve the purpose. Usually it is mixed in warm milk or added in dishes to get a robust flavor and color.
Saffron Cancer progression is retarded with Crocetin, a carotenoid dicarboxylic acid present in saffron. This compound has the potential to reduce the size of cancerous tumors by 50%. It’s very expensive no doubt but its benefits can be enjoyed by ingesting only a few of its threads. It’s widely used in Indian traditional drinks and sweet dishes.
Fennel– Fennel contains Anthole that enables the spice to resist the invasive and adhesive qualities of cancer cells. Fennel does this by suppressing those activities that are regulated by enzymes and that encourage cancerous cells to multiply. This spice do contains a plethora of other antioxidants and phytonutrients as well.
Cumin– It is Popularly used as a digestive aid. People usually do not know that it is a powerful antioxidant too. These seeds contain thymoquinone which helps reduce the spread of the cells that can cause colon cancer. It can be used in various form in different dishes depending upon the flavor we want. It tastes excellent in roasted form.
Cinnamon– Just half teaspoon of cinnamon powder added to meals every day is enough to keep cancer risk away. It is a natural food preservative, a source of iron and calcium. It’s very useful in reducing tumor growth.
Parsley– Other than garnishing qualities, parsley is actually a potent cancer-preventer too. An oil found in parsley called Apigenine, has been proved to inhibit cancer growth by preventing the extension of blood vessels that supply fuel to a growing tumor.
Ginger- It can be called an excellent Immune system booster with generous amounts of both Vitamin A and Vitamin C. This makes it potential to keep cancer cells away.
Basil- Basil’s antioxidant, antimutagenic, antitumorigenic, antiviral, and antibacterial properties can help to cure cancer. The word Basil is derived from the Greek word “basileus”, which means “king”.
Garlic – Regular intake of garlic has been found to be associated with the reduced risk of certain cancers like cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast. Garlic Boosts Immune System. It has strong antiviral properties. In Russia, garlic was known as “Russian Penicillin” due to its abilities to effectively treat infections. It’s a strong anti fungal and anti viral which helps to keep diseases like cancer at bay.
There are many more spices and herbs which hold the qualities of preventing cancer. These above given spices and herbs are readily available in kitchen. We can take the benefit just by adding a little amount of them in our daily diet.