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Desi Girl: Nidhi Mahajan exists from Masterchef with some love and ‘Pranaams’

Nidhi Mahajan left a long-lasting impression on the judges for her "desi" gestures

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Nidhi Mahajan. IANS
  • Nidhi Mahajan’s exit from the globally-renowned TV cooking show was an emotional affair
  • She found her way into Season Eight of “MasterChef Australia”, which is aired in India for her expertise in traditional Indian cooking
  • She has already set up a home-catering business and is taking cooking classes

August 29, 2016: From her fellow contestants to judges, she made everyone on the sets of “MasterChef Australia” fall in love with “desi” spices. Nidhi Mahajan, whose exit from the globally-renowned TV cooking show was an emotional affair, says Indian cuisine goes way beyond the misconceptions that people across the world have about it.

“I would love to tell people that there is nothing as massive as Indian cuisine and each dish, each ingredient, has a history behind it and how it became a part of our cuisine,” Nidhi told IANS in an email interview from Adelaide.

“Indian food has made its place on the global platform. People around the world love Indian food for its flavours and versatility,” added the former call centre employee, whose roots are in Chandigarh.

She found her way into Season Eight of “MasterChef Australia”, which is aired in India on Star World and Star World HD, for her expertise in traditional Indian cooking. She entered the kitchen with a mission to put the “desi” style of cooking on the global map.

Thus, among the dishes she cooked on the show were creamy lemon pepper chicken with paratha and potato wafers; Aussie Classic Indian Way (one episode required the contestants to use Australian elements like meat and three vegetables and give it a twist — so she gave it an Indian twist); goat curry with fried bread, cucumber raita and pickled onions; and tea-infused parfait, cornflake and ginger wine crumble.

Indian food might be finding a spot on the global palette, but there are still many misconceptions attached to it, said Nidhi, and many believe it is “very fattening, hot, oily and time-consuming. It is nothing like that, apart from the rich cuisines, if we talk about our daily, routine food it is not at all oily, hot or time-consuming.

“Indian food is just not about curries and tikkas. We have so many other dishes which are fermented, pickled, baked, sautéed and steamed.”

She left a long-lasting impression on the judges — Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, and even world-renowned chef Marco Pierre White — for her “desi” gestures. Her decision to bow at the judges’ feet “as a mark of respect” after elimination brought everyone to tears.

“Doing a ‘Pranaam’ is what I have been taught by my parents. I have seen them bowing to their elders and people they respect. This is what I did,” she said.

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Nidhi, who shifted to South Australia’s Adelaide in 2013 with her husband, asserted that “desi” cuisine is quite popular on the show itself and that “people are crazy about Indian food and judges love Indian food”.

She first stepped into the kitchen to cook on her own when she was all of 12, and has been pursuing her love of cooking ever since. Nidhi looks up to chefs like Sanjeev Kapoor, Vikas Khanna, Jamie Oliver and the late Tarla Dalal.

Looking back at her culinary journey, Nidhi, who was called “The Curry Queen” on “MasterChef Australia”, said: “I was around 7 or 8 years old when I started helping my mother in the kitchen… the Kitchen has always been a place where I love to spend time.”

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Nidhi has degrees in commerce, accounting and finance; the TV show has given her a boost of positive energy. “My life has changed a lot. I feel more positive and confident in my abilities and I am living my dream life to have cooking as my profession.”

She has already set up a home-catering business and is taking cooking classes. A restaurant is in the pipeline and she hopes “to set it up by end of 2016 or start of 2017”.

She would also love to write a recipe book “but with a twist — the book will have recipes and also a story behind each recipe and my cooking journey”. (IANS)

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Jadav Molai Peyang: Forest Man of India

Jadav Molai Peyang, 'Forest Man of India' single-handedly plants 1360 acre of forest on a barren sandbar.

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Indian Forest Man
Jadav Peyang, Forest Man of India. Wikimedia Commons.

There are many international organizations that have been working to save our planet from many harms of deforestation but there is one Indian man who, single-handedly, gave rise to the forest in 1360 acre land and converted it into the man-made forest in India and that man is Jadav Molai Peyang.
Jadav Peyang’s story was first discovered by journalist Jitu Kalita when he was stalking the vultures on the other end of Arun Sapori, an over 1,000-hectare riverine island on the Brahmaputra when he saw the forested area and found Peyang’s story there.
The forest man has planted over 1500-saplings since 1980 which has grown into the famous, Molai Kathoni, the forest famously named after his maker. Peyang had started this initiative as a teenager who started planting bamboo in the woodland after he had witnessed deaths of several snakes at the shore when water had resided from the area after a flood. Following that horrifying scenario, he sought the advice from the village elders who asked him to grow a forest as only the forest can save the lives of birds and animals. Since then, Peyang’s Molai Forest has developed its own ecosystem as deer, rabbits, rhinoceros, Bengal tigers, birds, insects have inhabited the forest which consists of trees such as Bamboo, valcol, Arjun, Pride of India, silk trees, cotton trees, to name a few. But it was a herd of 100 elephants that brought the attention of Assam’s forest department on Peyang in 2008. The elephants pay a yearly visit to his forest and give birth to their calves in the comfort there.
But the journey of creating a barren sandbar in the middle of the river Brahmaputra of Assam into the thriving forest that it is today wasn’t easy.
In the initial stages, he found planting trees extremely difficult and time-consuming but now as he gets the seeds from the trees, the forest seems to live on itself.
The forest man was the first part of the 5-year project launched by the Assam Forestry Division in Aruna Chapori in 1980 with an aim to reforest two hundred hectares of land. Peyang enrolled for the job and started planting trees for the project though, the project was finished in five years, Peyang had stayed and spread his own project bigger than Central Park, NYC (842.6 acres). Since his first project, he has been invited to several environmental conferences, conferred many honors among which is Padam Shri, the highest civilian award and ‘Forest Man of India’ by JNU along with the recent honor bestowed on Jitu Kalita and Jadav Peyang by Taiwan Government for their efforts.
The forest man’s story is full of inspiration and compassion as he keeps providing shelter to various insects and animals while his family, which consists of two sons, a daughter, and his wife subsides on the income provided by their livestock, there is a lot to learn from him. He had braved several threats and all he has to say to them, ‘Kill me first, before you kill my forest,’ but his ideas for the world remains unknown among the several honors.

Samridhi Nain. Samridhi is a student of Philosophy (Hons.) from University of Delhi.

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Researchers found a new Drug to Reduce Alcohol Addiction in Teenagers

The drug is (+)-Naltrexone can reduce the drinking habit in teenagers.

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A new drug can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers
A new drug can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers. Pixabay
  • Researchers have found a new drug that may eventually help to reduce alcohol addiction in adults who used to binge during their adolescent years.

A new drug found which can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers

“During our teen years, the brain is still in a relatively immature state. Binge drinking worsens this situation, as alcohol undermines the normal developmental processes that affect how our brain matures,” said lead author Jon Jacobsen, a Ph.D. student at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

“Therefore, when an adolescent who has been binge drinking becomes an adult, they’re often left with an immature brain, which assists in the development of alcohol dependence,” Jacobsen added.

For the study, published in the Journal Neuropharmacology, researchers observed that adolescent mice involved in binge drinking behavior developed an increased sensitivity to alcohol as adults and engaged in further binge drinking.

The researchers were able to prevent some of these detrimental behaviors observed in adulthood, by giving mice a drug that blocks a specific response from the immune system in the brain.

The drug is (+)-Naltrexone, known to block the immune receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4).

“This drug effectively switched off the impulse in mice to binge drink. The mice were given this drug still sought out alcohol, but their level of drinking was greatly reduced,” says senior author Professor Mark Hutchinson, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics at the University of Adelaide.

“We’re excited by the finding that we can potentially block binge drinking in an adult after they have experienced such behavior during adolescence, by stopping the activation of the brain’s immune system. It’s the first time this has been shown and gives us hope that our work has implications for the eventual treatment of alcohol addiction in adults,” Hutchinson noted.(IANS)

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5 Beautiful Indian Sportswomen you Want to Know About

These eight women with their talent and achievements have set a benchmark for the meaning of true beauty.

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Indian
Akanksha Singh. Instagram.
  • Indian sports personalities like Saina Nehwal and Smriti Mandhana have shown us the true meaning of being bold and beautiful.
  • There achievements have been an inspiration for women to rise.

Beauty and style have always corresponded with looks, but these Indian sportswomen have shunned such critics. With their style and achievements, they have told us that beauty is about the way you embody confidence and lead in life. Their accomplishments have inspired many Indian women to be like her.

1. Smriti Mandhana:

She is one the beautiful indian sportswomen

Smriti Mandhana is a 21-year-old Indian cricketer who currently plays for the Indian women’s cricket team. She made her Test debut in against England August 2014 and helped her team in winning the match by scoring 22 and 51 runs in her first and second innings, respectively. The sports personality came into the limelight after she scored a 90 against England in the group matches in World Cup 2017.

2. Babita Phogat

She is one the beautiful indian sportswomen

Babita Kumari Phogat, the younger sister of Geeta Phogat, is a 27-year-old Indian female wrestler and a gold medal recipient in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The Haryana girl has won a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi, and a bronze medal at the 2012 World Wrestling Championships.

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3. Deepika Pallikal

Deepika Pallikal is an Indian squash player, and the first one to break into the top 10 WSA rankings. She was honored with Arjuna Award in 2012 and Padma Shri in 2014. Her highest ranking has been World no. 10. Her current ranking is World no. 19. Apart from all her achievements, She is one the beautiful indian sportswomen.

 

4. Saina Nehwal

Indian
Saina Nehwal

Saina Nehwal is an Indian badminton singles player, who is currently the World No. 12. She became the World no. 1 in 2015. Nehwal has won over twenty-one international titles. She after, Prakash Padukone became the only Indian player to achieve this ranking. Nehwal has represented India three times in the Olympics and won a bronze medal in her second appearance.

5. Akanksha Singh

Indian
Akanksha Singh.                                                                                                                                            Instagram.

Akanksha Singh is a 28-year-old Indian Basketball player and the current captain of the country’s Women’s National Basketball Team. She has been a member of the national women team since 2004 to till date. She has been accoladed with the best player in many national and state championships. During her captaincy at Delhi University, she won a gold medal in All India University basketball championship at Nallor.

 

by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. 


 

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