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The year 2016 is being observed as “Year of Pulses” by the United Nation.
NewsGram view: Pulses, legumes and cereals are a great source of protein. In India, they form part of the staple diet. However, in the rapid rush of urban life and attraction towards non-vegetarianism, let us recapitulate the benefits of pulses and legumes.
Pulse: Called daal in Hindi.
Legumes: examples include- peas, soy, peanut.
By Clarissa Hyman (Zester Daily) –
The great food writer Waverley Root condemned “pulse” as a “picturesque little word” used to describe the diet of ancient hermits — all gas and gruel, one imagines.
Yet, as he pointed out, it simply refers to beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas and the like. Or, to be strictly correct, the edible seeds of legumes, which have been a major staple food since earliest times.
The United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. I don’t know who thinks up such things, but it’s a splendid promotion of these great little ingredients full of protein, fiber, and micronutrients. Although their fresh season is short, drying is a simple way to preserve them so they retain all their goodness and flavor.
Legumes pack nutritional punch
As well as their nutritional importance in potentially tackling chronic health conditions such as obesity and diabetes, legumes also play a major role in agriculture through their nitrogen-fixing capability and water efficiency — improving soil quality and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has created a short video highlighting the way pulses can contribute to the future of food and reduce the environmental footprint of food production.
Pulses are usually stored and cooked in the whole form, although some are ground into flour. Their diversity comes from the variety that exists, sold both whole and split. The taste and texture of pulses vary enormously as well, from creamy to mealy, nutty to meaty, subtle to sweet, smooth to earthy. The assortment of shapes and colors — shiny black, tobacco brown, ecru, sage green and orange-yellow — offer a multitude of options in the kitchen. They can be served as simply as you like or as part of a complex, slow-cooked casserole, gently simmered, baked with a crisp topping or mashed to a velvet puree.
And, if all else fails, I can recommend eating ready-baked beans straight from the can. I think you know what I mean.
For ideas on how to celebrate the International Year of Pulses, visit Food Tank online.
Puy Lentils, Apricots, and Walnuts
Prep time: 15 minutes (not including soaking time)
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Yield: Makes 6 side servings
2/3 cup dried apricots (soak for 15 minutes if not ready to eat)
Half a stick unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful chopped walnuts
2 cups cooked Puy lentils
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish
Diced feta for garnish (optional)
1. Cut the apricots in half and gently fry in the butter with the onions until both are softened. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the mixture of apricots and onions plus the walnuts to the cooked lentils and heat very gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the lentils do not dry out.
3. Add chunks of feta if you wish and serve at room temperature sprinkled with chopped coriander.
Buttery Saffron Beans
Prep time: 10 minutes (not including soaking time)
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 side servings
1 cup dried beans, soaked and drained
1 large onion, finely chopped
Large pinch of saffron strands
Half a stick unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley for garnish
1. Place the beans in a pan with the onions, saffron, and butter.
2. Cover with water, brings to the boil and simmer, covered, for about two hours. Check the sauce level: If it’s too thick, add a little more water; if it’s too liquidy, remove the lid until it reduces.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot sprinkled with parsley.
Kashmiri Rice and Chickpeas
Prep time: 10 minutes, not including soaking time
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 cups Basmati rice
2 onions, finely sliced
4 tablespoons oil or ghee
1 cup flaked almonds
2 tablespoons currants or raisins
2 whole cloves
2 green cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
6 whole black peppercorns
1-inch cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Salt to taste
5 cups water
2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked and boiled until soft
1. Wash and soak the rice for about 30 minutes. Drain.
2. Fry the onion in the oil until it starts to turn golden. Add the almonds and currants or raisins and fry, stirring frequently, until the onions and nuts are crisp and dark gold. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary and add all the cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, peppercorns and cinnamon stick. Fry for a few minutes then add the rice, chili powder, salt, and water. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Mix in the chickpeas, preferably with a wooden fork. Cover with a clean cloth and lid and let sit for 15 minutes.
5. Serve garnished with the fried onions, nuts and currants or raisins.
Copyright 2016 Clarissa Hyman via Zester Daily and Reuters Media Express
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India's digital public infrastructure solutions can improve the lives of citizens around the world.
Speaking at the InFinity Forum organised by Bloomberg and IFSCA, he said via video link: "We believe in sharing our experiences and expertise with the world and learning from them as well."
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"Tools like 'UPI' and 'RuPay' provide an unparalleled opportunity for every country. An opportunity to provide a low cost and reliable 'real time payment system' as well as a 'domestic card scheme' and 'fund remittance system'."
According to the Prime Minister, India has proved to the world that it is second to none when it comes to adopting technology or innovating around it.
Also Read : Payment Modernization
"Transformational initiatives under Digital India have opened doors for innovative Fintech solutions to be applied in governance.
PM Modi cited successes achieved with 'Jan Dhan' Accounts, 'Rupay', 'FastTag', and other such initiatives taken by the Centre. He mentioned that last year, in India, mobile payments exceeded ATM cash withdrawals for the first time.
The Prime Minister said that fully digital banks, without any physical branch offices, are already a reality and may become commonplace in less than a decade.
In India, mobile payments exceeded ATM cash withdrawals for the first time.Unsplash
Besides, he said the time has come to convert these "FinTech initiatives into a FinTech revolution". "A revolution that helps to achieve financial empowerment of every single citizen of the country."
Furthermore, he emphasized on FinTech security. "Common Indian has shown immense trust in our FinTech ecosystem by embracing digital payments and such technologies," he said.
"This trust is a responsibility. Trust means that you need to ensure that the interests of the people are secured."
In addition, PM Modi said that finance combined with technology would be an important part of India's future development. "Our aim is to provide the best international financial services not just for Indians, but for the world," he added. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : digital, India, prime minister, Narendra Modi, finances, digital payments, technology)
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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India. Speaking at an event to celebrate DRI's 64th foundation day, Sitharaman lauded DRI's compact strength of about 800 officers for their relentless efforts despite the imminent risks. The Finance Minister stated that the officers may be keeping a low profile, but they are acting like the frontline defence forces, doing spectacular work in safeguarding the economic frontiers of the country. "The recent smuggling attempts of huge quantities of narcotics, gold, red sanders, ivory, cigarettes etc. unearthed by DRI were appreciated by the Finance Minister," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
"Sitharaman said that the message through such enforcement actions should be such that these acts of brazen attempts at smuggling are nipped in the bud," the statement added. The Finance Minister also said that better coordination among the law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies and sharing of actionable intelligence are the way forward in protecting the frontiers of the country more efficiently. "Sitharaman also asked the DRI to focus on interdicting dual use technology items as well as preventing the dumping of toxic wastes in our country," the statement said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Nirmala Sitharaman, India, Toxic Wastes)
Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features. Alexa can now identify the sounds of running water and appliances beeping, reports Android Central. This means users can set up an Alexa routine to notify themselves when the washer beeps to indicate that laundry is finished, the report said.
When Alexa detects that the faucet has been left open, it will send users a notification as well so they can take appropriate action, it added. Amazon previously said at its event in September that it would add the ability to programme Alexa to recognise custom sounds, but that feature has yet to arrive. Having said that, the two new sound detection capabilities not only help users save energy, but they also make it easier to avoid paying for unnecessary charges on your home utilities, the report said.
The retail giant has also announced ultrasound motion detection, which will allow you to set up "Occupancy Routines" on additional Echo devices. This feature allows your smart speaker to detect nearby motion and initiate a routine, such as turning on the lights. It is compatible with many of the best Alexa speakers including the 4th-gen Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: laundry, appliances, beeping, running water, Sound, Alexa , Amazon)