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Global Indulgence for the Ancient Indian Dish “Khichdi”

Khichdi, too, like in India is spread to other parts of the world

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Khichdi
Broken wheat and vegetable dish. A very healthy Gujarati meal served with pickle and papadum. Wikimedia

New Delhi, July 27, 2017:  Across South Asia, khichri, or khichdi as it is called is a popular comfort meal for all seasons. Colleen Taylor Sen, author of several books on Indian food culture and history says that the dish is pretty close to becoming a universal dish on the subcontinent.

The power of “Khichdi” is its versatility to different flavours and needs

In northern India, a bland version of khichdi (no veggies, no fragrant spices) is savouring food for many. It is also associated with sickness or upset stomach as it is a light food. In southern India, Karnataka, a seasoned version called bisi bele bath (hot lentil rice) is a famous dish. Moving ahead in the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, a rice and lentil dish called nombu kanji is a standard food during Ramadan.

Also Read: Here are 5 Indian Dishes that are Popular Across the Globe! 

The different versions of khichdi differ in texture as some are dry, watery or porridge-like. There are savoury and sweet khichdis alsoTo one’s surprise, there is a khichdi non-vegetarian variety also. For example, a recipe called khichra has five distinct variety of lentils, rice and lamb.

Most khichris have two common ingredients – rice and lentils, which have been a part of Indian cuisine since the ancient time. Archaeological records suggest people on the subcontinent were eating rice and legumes since 1200 B.C, as mentioned in NPR.

The Indian philosopher and politician Chanakya from 300 B.C., wrote that the well-balanced meal for a person should consist of one prastha (about 1.4 pounds) of rice, quarter prastha of lentils, 1/62 prastha of salt, and 1/16 prastha of ghee or oil.

The notable Moroccan explorer from 14th century A.D., Ibn Battuta wrote about poor people in South Asia eating khichri made with rice, mung bean and butter.

A recipe from the Akbar’s court, the 16th-century Mughal emperor, also calls for equal portions of lentils, rice and ghee.

Khichdi, too, like in India spread to other parts of the world. The British savoured it so much that they ended up creating their own version called “Kedgeree”, the popular breakfast dish made with rice, boiled egg and haddock.

An American food writer and author of several cookbooks, Clifford Wright cited, “The Indian khichri becomes the Anglo-Indian kedgeree in the 17th century.”

He added, “Then it jumps across the Atlantic to New England, where it’s made with rice, curry powder, and fresh cod”, reports NPR.

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Love Hot Served Food? Caution: These 10 Foods May Turn Toxic Upon Reheating

Here is the rundown of 10 foods that you ought to abstain from reheating to keep its supplements rich

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Reheating some food may be dangerous to health. Pixabay

Sep 01, 2017: Food function as the fuel for your body and you should put every effort to have a robust and healthy food. The foods you devour include supplements, vitamins, fiber, protein, and minerals, which combine to help your body keep going.

Many of us indulge in the practice of reheating the food while eating. But few nourishments could transform into dangerous components in the wake of reheating. The reality will astound you, however, don’t stress.

Here is the rundown of 10 foods that you ought to abstain from reheating to keep its nutrients rich.

1. Rice

Rice. Pixabay

Most of you store rice in the wrong way, which in turn, can be toxic. The spores available in the raw rice can turn into bacteria, which multiply at the room temperature and may induce diarrhea and vomiting.

2. Potatoes

Potatoes. Pixabay

Potatoes are the favorite for many of us, but shockingly, potatoes lose their nutritional value when reheated. Toxic potatoes can breed illness, nausea, and induce food poisoning.

3. Spinach

Spinach. Pixabay

Just like any other green leafy vegetable, Spinach is rich in iron and nitrates. Upon reheating it, the nitrates turn into nitrites which can lead to cancer in living tissue.

4. Oils

Olive Oil. Pixabay

Some oils such as grape seed oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil, hazelnut oil, and avocado oil have extremely low smoke limits.If you reheat them, they become unhealthy to devour.

Also Read: List of 8 Food Items to Battle Depression and Anxiety 

5. Egg

Egg. Pixabay

Reheating eggs at high temperature makes them poisonous and upon devouring them, your digestive system may fall sick.

6. Chicken

Fried Chicken. Pixabay

Chicken, the rich source of protein also create a negative impact after reheating. Eating such chicken may become a problem for you.

7. Turnips

Turnips. Pixabay

Turnips contain nitrates which can become toxic for health if reheated. Ordinarily, turnips are used in preparing soups.

8. Mushrooms

Mushrooms. Pixabay

Here is one thing about Mushroom, everyone should know: It should be utilized on the same day they are cooked, as they are a rich source of protein. Mushrooms upon reheating may change its structure which can be harmful to your body and causes severe heart problems.

9. Beets

Beetroot. Pixabay

Beets also include a high proportion of nitrates, which upon reheating can turn into nitrites and can prove to be problematic for your health.

10. Celery

Celery. Pixabay

Celery also carries a high rate of nitrate. It turns into nitrites after reheating, which increases the risk of methemoglobinemia, a blood disorder.


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10 Cooking Hacks and Tricks to remember while Cooking Indian Dishes

From the tandoori to South Indian food; these hacks are all you need to excel in cooking all those perfect Indian dishes in no time

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An Indian Cuisine, Wikimedia

April 19, 2017: The global culinary world is being taken over by Indian cuisine. In America and Europe, more and more Indian restaurants and Indian food outlets are opening up, food lovers all across the globe are falling in love with the taste of authentic Indian curries and flatbreads. This is probably because of the heavy use of nutritious vegetables and meats cooked in varied spices that bring out an array of beautiful flavours. But as delicious as Indian food is, cooking perfect Indian food is no piece of cake! Here are a few general tips and tricks for you if you love cooking Indian dishes at home:

1. For making fluffy, soft Chapatis

Chapatis or wheat flat cakes go with all curries and gravies, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian and can be eaten for both lunch and dinner. To make dough for softer chapatis, add a little warm water and then some warm milk and knead the dough. Let it rest for 15 minutes before rolling it out for the chapatis. To make round chapatis, keep rotating the rolled out dough while rolling it with a rolling pin. This ensures that the rolled out dough gets an even thickness all over and the shape becomes round. But if that’s one of your pet peeves, then just place a small, clean and round stainless steel plate on top of the rolled out dough and just cut out the sides that are exposed to get a perfect round shape.

2. For making Kheer

Kheer is a milk rice pudding made in a variety of ways across India. Preparing kheer is a tedious and time consuming task. A lot of times the pudding tends to thicken too much and sticks to the vessel. Just add a little water to the vessel, before putting the milk in to avoid that fro happening. While preparing kheer, use the deepest most heavy bottomed vessel you have to make sure that it doesn’t boil over and fall out of the vessel.

3. For making dal

To make the dal more flavorful, before cooking, roast the lentils. The same goes for rava. The excess dal water can be used for making rasam, to be eaten with appams and idlis. You can even add the water to chapati dough to make it flavorful. You can also use the leftover dal to make delicious dal parathas.

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4. For fried foods

Fried foods like pooris, bhaturas, potato patties and vadas are popular everywhere across the country. When cooking pakoras or vegetable fritters, add some warm oil and half a tablespoon baking soda in the batter. While making potato tikkis or patties, make sure to boil the potatoes well. The mashed potato mix can be refrigerated for some time, before frying the tikkis. This ensures that the patties are not gooey. To make the pooris more crispy add a little rice flour to the wheat flour, while kneading the dough for the pooris. To make sure that your subzi is flavorful, heat the oil properly, before adding vegetables and seasonings.

5. For making gravies and curries

Curries are a signature preparation of Indian cuisine. For a tomato based gravy, always use only ripe red tomatoes, so as to retain the bright red color of the fruit. Discard the green parts before pureeing the tomatoes. To ensure that the flavor is enhanced, always fry the masla on a reduced flame. The quality of spices and condiments can make or break gravies. Make sure that you have all the adequate spices, that they are from a well known brand and make sure you know them well.

6. For cooking meats

When cooking meats for mutton curry or in biryani, make sure to slow cook it under reduced flame to seal the flavor and the juices in and then increase the heat. Cook it till it’s tender. If you have to store fish for over a day, rub it with salt, turmeric and just a dash of vinegar and then freeze it, to ensure that it stays fresh. Frozen meats are partially easier to cut and slice. But make sure you allow the meat to stand for some time before cooking. This ensures that the meat cooks faster.

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7. For cooking rice

Before cooking add a little bit of oil to the rice to prevent the rice from getting sticky. A few drops of lemon can also do the trick and the grains separate beautifully when cooked. You can always use the leftover rice for the meals next day. All you have to do is add a little bit of stir fried vegetables with some spices and fried onions, and you can make yourself a plate of delicious pulav.

8. For South Indian food

Idlis and Dosas are the most popular South Indian foods, and are enjoyed with spicy cooked lentil curry or sambhar and coconut chutney. For making softer idlis, add a little sago or sabudana or cooked rice while making the batter. A lot of coconut is used in South Indian food dishes, so store a good amount of grated coconut in the refrigerator, if you have to cook a lot of this particular cuisine. Make sure to use good quality sambhar powder for making the delicious curry. Stock up on common condiments used in South Indian foods, like curry leaves and asfoetida or heeng. Also ensure that the asfoetida is good in quality and potent.

9. For cooking with tandoor oven

The tandoor might be an archaic oven now, but it’s still very popular in North Indian villages, particularly in Punjab. The tandoori roti is an indispensable part of the Punjabi cuisine. The key to cooking with tandoor is marinating the breads or meats well. Add a little gram flour or besan to the marinade, before dipping your cottage cheese, vegetables or meats that you want to grill on the tandoor. The flour makes the marinade bind to the meat, making it more flavorful.

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10. For using leftovers

The best leftover fix is to use the mashed potatoes you used to make potato parathas or tikkis the night before, in making a vegetable toast for breakfast the next morning. You can also mix the brown discard left after making ghee at home, for making soft parathas by mixing it in the dough.

So get your ingredients ready and start cooking.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

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UN food agency Pushes ‘Smart Crops’ as Rice Alternative to defeat Hunger in Asia

Soaring rice prices, slowing economic expansion and poorer growth in agricultural productivity have been blamed for the slowdown in efforts to tackle hunger

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FILE - A worker carries a bale of dry millet at a field on the outskirts of the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, Nov. 17, 2011. VOA

Asia needs to make extra efforts to defeat hunger after progress has slowed in the last five years, including promoting so-called “smart crops” as an alternative to rice, the head of the U.N. food agency in the region said.

Kundhavi Kadiresan, representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Asia, said the region needs to focus on reaching the most marginalized people, such as the very poor or those living in mountainous areas.

The Asia-Pacific region halved the number of hungry people from 1990 to 2015 but the rate of progress slowed in many countries – such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Cambodia – in the last five years, according to a December FAO report.

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“The last mile is always difficult.. so extra efforts, extra resources and more targeted interventions are needed,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of a business forum on food security in Jakarta on Tuesday.

She said government and businesses needed to develop policies to help make food more affordable, while changing Asians’ diets that rely heavily on rice.

“We have focused so much on rice that we haven’t really looked at some of those crops like millets, sorghum and beans,” she said.

A campaign is underway to promote these alternatives as “smart crops” to make them more attractive, Kadiresan said.

“We are calling them smart crops to get people not to think about them as poor people’s food but smart people’s food,” she said, adding that they are not only nutritious but also more adaptable to climate change.

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Soaring rice prices, slowing economic expansion and poorer growth in agricultural productivity have been blamed for the slowdown in efforts to tackle hunger.

More than 60 percent of the world’s hungry are in Asia-Pacific, while nearly one out of three children in the region suffers from stunting, according to the FAO.

Achieving zero hunger by 2030 is one of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals adopted by member states in 2015. (VOA)