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Delicious bakery products hold special place in Kashmir cuisine

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Kashmir cuisine
Freshly baked Kashmiri 'bagel bread' Tilwor, also known as Chochwor. Image source: blogspot.com

Srinagar: Kashmir’s cuisine speaks for itself. Although it brings to mind Kashmir’s famous multi-course meal Wazwan, connoisseurs believe there’s a mind-boggling variety of traditional bakery products available in the state.

Very few outsiders would know that the Valley bakes products, known for their unique taste, prepared in a traditional tandoor by bakers called “kandhurs”.

These professional bakers are in the trade for generations.

For instance, there is choatt, flatbread with thick edges and furrowed surfaces, and lavaasa, a lighter variation of pita bread which the locals enjoy with a salted tea called noon chai.

Kandhurs prepare bread in tandoors, imprinting their fingertips on the dough before putting it in the oven. They use long iron rods to pluck out the hot choatt from the tandoor’s inner surface.

Lavaasa, being lighter and thinner, is prepared by placing it on a round mound of cloth filled with cotton, a round, pillow-shaped surface. The lavaasa is stretched upon it and then pasted on to the hot oven.

“Lavassa is a paper-thin blistered naan. One can also apply butter or jam to it before eating,” Ghulam Muhammad in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, better known as Gull Kandhur, told reporters.

Some lavassas are soft while others are crisp. It is also eaten as a wrap around barbequed mutton.

Chochwour, a bagel-like bread, generously daubed with sesame seeds and given a glazy look by rubbing it with pasteurised butter is another favourite of Kashmiris and is preferred with afternoon tea.

Other delicacies include British-era puffs, patties, cream rolls, pastries, stuffed kulcha (oven baked), mittha bundhh (sweet bun) and bundhh (salted bun).

“There are many types of traditional breads like baqerkhani (more like puff pastry, baked in layers and often served with the famous Kashmiri saffron-flavored kehwa), katlam (usually crispy and thin) and sheermaal, a dry, crispy bread with a long shelf life,” said Mushtaq Ahmed, a seventh generation traditional baker who runs a bakery shop in Chadoora town of central Kashmir.

Besides these breads consumed on a regular basis, Kashmir’s bakeries are also famous for specialties like kulchas, modur kulchas, telvarus, khamira rotis and khatais, most sought after on various occasions.

Kashmir, in fact, has a bread and bakery product for every season and every occasion, be it a wedding or a birthday celebration.

“There are nearly a dozen versions of sweet, salty or bland kulchaas (small, hard dry, crispy bread, usually round in shape decorated by placing a peanut in the centre) which are served on special occasions, including during mourning. Kulchas will always be in demand” said Gulzar Ahmed Sofi, who runs both a traditional and a modern bakery in Budgam.

Sofi said traditional Kashmiri bakeries are irreplaceable when it comes to special occasions in the Valley.

“Modern bakeries just won’t make the cut. You cannot serve chocolate pastry and stuff like that during Kashmiri weddings, or any other ceremony for that matter,” he added.

The roath (Kashmiri dry fruit cake) is a delicacy, usually prepared on auspicious occasions such as Muharram.

The evolution of the Kashmir bakeries owes itself to historical influences.

According to local historians, the rulers of Central Asia brought along a change during their reign in Kashmir when different varieties of baked products were introduced in the Valley.

“It was during the golden era of Kashmir, when Ghiyas-ud-Din Zain-ul-Abidin, known as ‘budshah’ ruled, that bakery touched its zenith,” poet and oral historian Zareef Ahmad Zareef told reporters.

Thus, while modern culture has touched and changed almost every aspect of life in Kashmir, the traditional bakeries have withstood the onslaught of modernity and held out against pizzas, burgers and pastries as well as sweets from other parts of the country. (Shamshad Ali, IANS)

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10 Tempting Desserts You Won’t Believe Are Sugarless!

People often eat less dessert for the fear of gaining unnecessary calories. However, We have brought to you a list of desserts which are sugarfree and thus there is no need to suppress your desires to have desserts.

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Desserts - Pixabay

Who doesn’t like a tasty dessert which melts in your mouth after dinner? A Dessert is a must after a dinner. But the sugar used in them leads to unnecessary calories in our bodies. If you have a sweet tooth and you are conscious about the unwanted calories, then these desserts are perfect for you to cconsume.

We have got the perfect list of desserts you won’t believe are sugarless, here for you so that you don’t have to give up on your dessert cravings. 

Here is the list of the Desserts which you won’t believe are Sugarless

Strawberry Blueberry Cake – Wikimedia Commons

  1. Blueberry pie

Many will be surprised to hear of a pie without sugar. Sugar is supposed to be the main ingredient in a pie. But it’s true that this pie is made without sugar. It is sweetened by the use of fresh blueberries and strawberries. This recipe is given by Chef Seema Chandra.

  1. Fruits With Silken Tofu

It is a simple yet splendid dish. Place some chopped fruits in a bowl along with some pureed tofu to turn it into a pudding dish that is amazing in taste. You can have as much as you want without having to fear about gaining calories. This recipe is given by Chef Bakshish Dean.

  1. Pumpkin Oats Cake

This dessert is best enjoyed with a cup of hot tea. This is not only healthy as it is made by pumpkin, oats, nuts, and jaggery but also is delicious. This recipe is given by Purva Vivek Sawant.

Coconut Laddoos – Wikimedia Commons

  1. Ragi Coconut Laddoos

These laddoos can be made and stored for satisfying sudden sweet cravings. These wholesome and sweet laddoos are not healthy but they are equally tasty. They are made up of coconut and ragi. In order to sweeten them, jaggery is used. Jaggery is good for warming the body during winters. The recipe for this dish has been given by A. Shanthi.

  1. Mocha and Prune Cheesecake

This is a creamy cheesecake with a flavor of coffee. The bittersweet taste of this dessert makes it an extra special one. In order to make it sweet, prunes are used. The recipe of the dish is given by Chef Vicky Ratnani.

  1. Fig Mousse

This is one dessert which leaves a tinge of sweetness in your mouth even after finishing it. The sweetness is given by the natural sweetness of the figs in the desert. The recipe of this amazing dessert is of Niru Gupta

  1. Hot Paneer Sandesh Pudding

This pudding just tastes heavenly with the freshly poured raspberry sauce on top of it. This is an innovative dessert made with the help of cottage cheese with a combination of warm spice like cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. To give it natural sweetening, fresh fruits are added.  This is a dish given by Chef Seema Chandra.

  1. Custard Apple Kheer

This dessert is perfect to sweeten your festive mood. Made with a combination of custard apples, jaggery, coconut milk and nuts, this sweet dish is specially made for those who have a sweet tooth. The dessert will leave you wanting more. The recipe is given by Chef Sanatan Jojo South regional chef at Barbeque Nation.

Nutty Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream – Wikimedia Commons

  1. Nutty Chocolate Cake

This cake is full of honey and lots of crunchy dry fruits which gives it a sweet yet crunchy taste. This rich and moist dessert is extremely easy to make and better than the cakes found in the market. The recipe is given by Chef Vicky Ratnani.

  1. Sugar-Free Rice Pudding

This is a dish that has the sweetness of the coconut milk and juicy pineapple to make it sweet. This dish is so tasty that it leaves a mark every time it is eaten. This recipe belongs to Chef Vicky Ratnani.

-Prepared by Saloni Hindocha 

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World Food India 2017: Netherlands to Participate as the ‘Focus Country’

To promote the grand event, Harsimrat Kaur Badal was in the Netherlands

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world food india
World Food India 2017. Facebook
  • The World Food India 2017 is to be organized in Delhi from the 3rd to 5th November
  • Netherlands has recently announced itself participating as the ‘focus country.’ 
  • India and Netherland have good bilateral ties, and this is another significant step forward

August 26, 2017: The World Food India 2017 will be organized from 3rd to 5th November in New Delhi. On Wednesday, Netherlands declared that it wishes to participate as a ‘focus country.’

Martijn van Dam, Netherlands’ Minister of Agriculture, expressed the decision of Netherlands to be the ‘Focus Country’ at the 2017 World Food India to the Minister of Food Processing Harsimran Kaur Badal.

Also Read: Dorset Indian Mela: Indian food festival on August 26 in the UK to Showcase different varieties of Cuisine and Culture

A business, as well as official delegation, will be sent by Netherlands for the event organized in the capital of India.

To promote the grand event, Harsimrat Kaur Badal was in the Hague, Netherlands.

The objective of the World Food India 2017 is to explain the policy environment of India to the global food industry. It further seeks to establish India as a major player in the global industry and provide investment platforms.

Netherlands, being the ‘focus country’ at the event, will get to showcase its expertise and knowledge about the food processing sector. This will include seminars through the country.

Harsimrat Kau badal speaking to ANI, stated, “World Food India welcomes The Netherlands as Focus Country and hopes that participation from The Netherlands will help businesses from both sides to leverage each other’s strengths for mutual benefit.” She also highlighted that good bilateral relationship exists between India and Netherlands and this is another step forward.

Netherlands has invested close to US $6 billion into India in the last couple of years. India is also doing good business with over 200 companies from Netherlands. However, there is still so much more potential of development.


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Here is a List of Food to Counter Depression and Stress: Try them out!

If your depression doesn't take a backseat, here are some nutrient dense food which can help you in your fight

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  • Depression is still the most overlooked and underrated issue in the World constituting one of the major reason for suicides in the recent years
  • Research proves a major role of nutrition or the effect of the food we consume in combating depression biologically
  • Eating healthy and balanced can be the first step towards self-treatment prior to seeking help

Ahmedabad, July 30, 2017: Sadness and loneliness have become rampant in the urban lifestyle but it can be dodged with few simple tricks. Depression is much more than momentary grief or sadness.

There are 7 stages of depression and the symptoms of depression are visible prominently. Many of us remain clueless when it comes to dealing with depression.  It is a state of low mood and abhorrence to activity that can contribute to a person’s inner bliss, contentment and sense of well-being.

People with a depressed mood may also feel particularly hopeless, helpless, despondent, self-persecuted or worthless. To many, it may sound like a fancy term with no meaning. Mental health, one of the most important things in life is the least talked about issue.

ALSO READ: What not to say to a grieving person in depression

According to WHO, more than 300 million people are suffering from depression globally. It is the root cause of distress, disability, and suicide all around the world. Unfortunately, India ranks first in unipolar depressive disorders.

Depression has been linked to problems or imbalances in the brain, specifically with the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. In the 1960s, the “catecholamine hypothesis” was a popular explanation for depression. According to this hypothesis, a deficiency of the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine in certain regions of the brain was responsible for depression.

Lack of support of people from society combined with a fear of social stigma; prevent many from seeking the treatment they need, to live a happy, healthy and productive lives. The effective treatments include therapies, medications and lifestyle changes. Nutrition forms an inevitable part of our lifestyle.

The relationship between food, mind and soul and its effect on Vedic Chakra System, the seven energy centers or chakras within our body is well reported. The Root Chakra is majorly associated with mental health and an imbalance can cause depression and anxiety attacks. Feeding our chakras is the sole most priority for a happy life. Healthy foods are natural anti-depressants and can boost mental health by releasing GABA, serotonin, and dopamine.

Here are 8 foods which can boost your mood and help you fight depression and give it a backseat:

  1. FISH

Grilled Fish. Pixabay

Countries with high fish consumption such as Japan, China, and Peru have the lowest depression rate in comparison to countries with lower fish consumption such as North America. Depression has been linked to suboptimal levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Cold-water fatty fishes like salmon and sardines are the best dietary source of Omega-3. Deficiency of omega-3, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is linked to depression and mental disorder. Vegetarians can replace fish or fish oil with flax (Alsi) seeds in fruits and salads as an alternative source.

2. TURKEY

Roasted Turkey. Pixabay

The reason behind that delicious and sleep stealer Thanksgiving dinner is due to the presence of tryptophan in the Turkey which happens to be the precursor of serotonin in our brain which in turn produces melatonin responsible for the post-Thanksgiving coma and uplift our mood. However, vegans can find better alternatives to turkey in soy, pumpkin, walnuts, tomato, potato, mushrooms, cucumber and leafy greens.

3. MUSHROOMS

Pixabay

Tryptophan is a magical amino acid (building blocks of protein) having multiple benefits such as relieving depression, anxiety, irritability, stress, behavioral problems and premenstrual syndrome. It can be found in tofu, cheese, mushrooms, and potatoes as well.

 

3. QUINOA

A food item made form Quinona. Pixabay

 

Quinoa is the seed of Chenopodium plant (Bathua) but as it is not an indigenous crop, it is not found in India. Indians then can use similar substitutes such as millets, brown rice, and buckwheat. Quinoa is a gluten-free replacement. It is rich in protein, magnesium, B vitamins, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and Omega-3 which helps in the release of serotonin and can make you sleep faster. The high magnesium content of quinoa controls blood pressure, mood disorders, and PMS. A happy mood is all which comes with a pack of Quinoa seeds.

4. GREEN TEA

 

Green tea. Pixabay

 

Good news for the tea drinkers! Not only the antioxidants present in the tea but also the presence of an amino acid known as theanine having depression fighting properties makes them euphonious negating the effect of caffeine. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is another active component present in green tea which is proven to combat depression.

5. SWEET POTATO

Sweet Potato. Pixabay

Gluten and mental health are associated. The theory suggests that the damage from gluten in the digestive system allows substances to leak out from the stomach and migrate to the brain, which some could call depression. Foods like sweet potatoes, eggs, rice, fruits, vegetables, and beans are naturally gluten-free and great sources of nutrition. Sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of complex carbohydrate, high in vitamin B6 that contains L-tryptophan.

Rather than munching on sweets and simple carbohydrates, choose complex carbohydrates, such as those found in fruits and vegetables, whole-grain foods and legumes must be consumed. The body converts carbohydrates into glucose more slowly than simple carbohydrates which result in less of blood sugar rise.

6. GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES

    Pixabay

Moms were always right when they said, “Hari sabzia khaao!” (Eat green vegetables)  and Popeye’s  love for spinach was not unreasonable.  Green vegetables are a rich source of Vitamin C and B. Vitamin plays a key role in your brain health. Vitamins that are particularly important for brain include Vitamin C, Vitamin D and B Complex Vitamins. They are high in magnesium, B vitamins and they promote a happy mood naturally because they contain soul and mind enriching properties by nature.

7. CHOCOLATES

Chocolates. Pixabay

Chocolates are always the answers to everything irrespective of the question! Chocolates have the best mood boosting effects! All the chocoholics tend to eat more of them as a part of self-treatment when feeling depressed. Moreover, depression stimulates chocolate cravings for unrelated reasons, without a treatment benefit of chocolate. While chocolate itself might cause a mood boost, certain ingredients added during manufacturing, such as trans fats, could nullify or even reverse the mood benefits, according to a research.

A healthy mind gives rise to a healthy body. Want to make this your mantra?


– by Harshi Jaiswal of NewsGram