- Rose water or rose syrup is the by-product of the process of extraction of rose oil, which is obtained by steam-distilling the crushed petals of roses. This process was first developed in Persia and Bulgaria.
- Classically, rose water is made using damask roses, many-petaled and fragrant. These were first grown in Iran and Bulgaria, but are now frequently found in Spain, Italy, and France. However, the Middle Eastern countries remain some of the largest producers of rose water because of the availability of damasks.
- Rose water has a very distinctive flavor and is used heavily in South Asian, West Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines.
- Rose water is used to flavor food. It is sometimes used as a component in some cosmetics. Throughout Europe and Asia it is also used for religious purpose.
- Traditionally roses have also been used for medicinal purposes. With more vitamin C than oranges, they contain vitamins A, D, and E and many antioxidants.
- In Iran it is also added to tea, ice cream, cookies and other sweets in small quantities, and in the Arab world and India it is used to flavor milk and dairy-based dishes such as rice pudding etc. It is frequently used in Mughlai cuisines.
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
English Name: Jungle rice
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Bhagar/ Samo Seeds
- Samo seeds or Mario seeds popularly known as Bhagar in India are seeds of a grass Echinochloa Colonum .
- Echinochloa Colonum was described in 1833, as a type of wild grass which originated from tropical Asia. It was formerly classified as a type of panicum grass.
- It grows amongst the rice paddy as it requires damp and moisture laden soil.
- In Rajasthan in India the seeds are used as rice, hence its common name in English is jungle rice (wild rice).
- The wild rice is prepared in different styles across various states of India. It forms a heavy and a filling meal and used generally by Hindus on fast days.
- It forms one of the most essential Maratha cuisines and tastes excellent when prepared and accompanied with peanut curry.
- With digestible fibers, high nutritional content and excellent nourishment, bhagar is immensely popular amongst the Indian majority.
- Jungle rice is found in the Central Valley, San Francisco Bay region, western South Coast ranges, southern Sierra Nevada foothills, southwestern region inhabiting the summer-irrigated crop fields and other disturbed, moist sites. It germinates throughout the summer.
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
These Badiyan are made of Urad Dal (Black Gram). These are also known as Masale Wali Badiyan because lots of spices are mixed in urad dal to make these.
Badiyan are available in Indian Grocery Stores. These can be made at home also but they need good sun light for at least 2-3 days.
How to make Badiyan at home:
- 1 cup split and skinned black gram/Ivory white lentil (Dhuli urad ki dal)
- 1” Ginger piece
- 2-3 Green Chilies
- ¼ tsp of Asafetida
- 1tbsp coarsely crushed coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp red chili flakes
- salt to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper coarsely crushed
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 cup grated cabbage
- Soak urad dal overnight.
- Drain it and grind it with ginger and green chilies to a fine paste without adding water.
- Now add remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Grease a polythene sheet or a steel thali (plate).
- Pour 1 spoonful of the paste all over the sheet or thali and let it dry in the sun for a day or two.
- When dried store them in airtight jars.
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
- Salt is a dietary mineral essential for animal life, composed primarily of sodium chloride.
- Salt flavor is one of the basic tastes, and salt is the most popular food seasoning. Salt is also an important preservative.
- Salt for human consumption is produced in different forms: unrefined salt (such as sea salt), refined salt (table salt), and iodized salt.
- It is a crystalline solid, white, pale pink or light gray in color, normally obtained from sea water or rock deposits. Edible rock salts may be slightly grayish in color due to this mineral content.
- Chloride and sodium ions, the two major components of salt, are necessary for the survival of all known living creatures, including humans.
- Salt is involved in regulating the water content (fluid balance) of the body.
- Over consumption of salt increases the risk of health problems, including high blood pressure.
Here are some of the common types of salt:
Table salt: It is a fine-ground, refined rock salt with some additives to keep it free-flowing. This is the common salt normally found on every table.
Coarse salt: It has large crystals with jagged edges which make this a good choice for sprinkling on pretzels or corn on the cob because the edges tend to cling and the salt does not readily melt.
Iodized salt: Salt which has iodine (sodium iodide), added. Iodine is a mineral necessary to the body to prevent hypothyroidism and some countries actually require iodine added by law. For those who live in areas away from oceans, iodized salt is an easy way to get this necessary nutrient into the diet. Surprisingly, iodized salt contains a small amount of sugar (usually indicated as dextrose in the ingredients listing), without which the salt would turn yellow due to oxidation of the iodine.
Kosher salt: This is a coarser grind of salt with large, irregular crystals. It contains no additives. It is a favorite with not only Jewish cooks, but also professional and gourmet cooks who prefer its texture and brighter flavor. When substituting for table salt, you may need more to taste since it seems less salty.
English Name: Spinach
Common Hindi Name: Paalak
- Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is an edible flowering plant in the family of Amaranthaceae.
- It is native to central and southwestern Asia.
- Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled.
- It is a rich source of vitamin A (and especially high in lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Recently, opioid peptides called rubiscolins have also been found in spinach.
- It is a source of folic acids (Vitamin B9), and this vitamin was first purified from spinach. To benefit from the folate in spinach, it is better to steam it than to boil it. Boiling spinach for four minutes can halve the level of folate.
- The minerals in spinach are highly alkaline, making it helpful in regulating the body pH. It supplies the same amount of protein as you would get from the same quantity of meat (a cheaper and healthier alternative to getting protein).
- The high grade content of iron in spinach makes it a great blood builder. It regenerates and reactivates the red blood cells and supplies fresh oxygen to the body.
- The high fiber content in spinach makes it a remarkable intestinal tract scrubber. It cleans out the system by removing the accumulated wastes in the digestive tracts by its mildly laxative effect.
Saturday, 12 June 2010
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Parwal
- Trichosanthes dioica is also known as the Pointed gourd, parwal (Hindi), or potol (from Assamese, Oriya or Bengali).
- It is widely cultivated in the eastern part of India, particularly in Orissa, Bengal, Assam, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh.
- It is a dioecious (male and female plants) vine (creeper) plant. The plant remains dormant during the winter season and prefers a fertile, well-drained sandy loam soil due to its susceptibility to water-logging.
- The fruits are green with white or no stripes. Size can vary from small and round to thick and long — 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm)
- It is a good source of carbohydrate, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It also contains major nutrients and trace elements (magnesium, potassium, copper, sulfur, and chlorine) which are needed in small quantities, for playing essential roles in human physiology.
- Seeds are viewed as being a powerhouse of various nutrients.
- These seeds are said to feature essential fatty acids that are believed to be important for maintaining a healthy heart. Melon Seeds contain high amounts of antioxidants and are viewed as an excellent source of Folic acid, calcium, magnesium, zinc and protein.
- These help in supporting both the immune and cardiovascular systems.
- They are believed to help in regulating healthy blood- fat levels and provide vital nutrients that are thought to be essential for promoting wound healing.
- The properties featured in melon seeds are believed to help sustain healthy skin, nails and nerves.
English Name: Sesame Seeds
Common Indian (Hindi) Name: Til
- Sesame is an ancient spice, one of the first recorded plants used for its seeds.
- They are tiny, flat ovals, measuring about 3 mm (1/8 in) long. Seed color can vary, though they are usually beige or creamy white when husked.
- Sesame seeds are reported to help in strengthening the heart and cardiovascular system and to be good for the nervous system.
- Sesame seeds feature lignans, which are said to be strong antioxidants.
- They are believed to be an excellent source of Omega- 3 and Omega- 6 essential fatty acids, seen as good for sustaining a healthy heart.
- They are often a great source of Calcium, iron, magnesium and Vitamin E.
- They also contain selenium which is said to help in enhancing moods.
- Non-culinary uses include its use as an ingredient in soap, cosmetics, lubricants and medicines. In southern India it is used to anoint the body and hair.
- "Pecan" is a Native American word from the Algonquin language, which was used to describe "all nuts requiring a stone to crack."It is from the Hickory family.
- Pecans are available in a variety of sizes: mammoth, extra large, large, medium, small and midget. They are available in several forms including whole pecans, pecan halves, pieces, granules and meal.
- The buttery-rich kernel is golden-brown on the outside and beige inside.
- Pecans have a fat content of over 70 percent, which is more than any other nut.
- Pecans are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats. Pecans are rich in omega-6 fatty acids, although pecans contain about half as much omega-6 as walnuts.
- The antioxidants and plant sterols found in pecans reduce high cholesterol by reducing the "bad" LDL cholesterol levels.
- They’re a good source of potassium, thiamine, zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, niacin, folic acid, iron, and vitamin B6, and also a good source of fiber.
Friday, 11 June 2010
English Name: Walnuts
Common Indian (Hindi) Name: Akhroat
- Walnuts are technically drupes or drupaceous nuts, and thus not true botanical nuts.
- These are one of the best plant sources of protein.
- They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamins E.
- Nuts in general are also high in plant sterols and fat - but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 fatty acids - the good fats) that have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol.
- Walnuts, in particular, have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts.
- More than a decade of scientific evidence shows that incorporating walnuts in a healthy diet reduces the risk of heart disease by improving blood vessel elasticity and plaque accumulation.
- Walnuts have also been shown to aid in the lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and the C-Reactive Protein (CRP). CRP was recently recognized as an independent marker and predictor of heart disease.
Thursday, 10 June 2010
English Name: Buchanania lanzan Seeds
Common Indian (Hindi) Name: Chironji / Charoli
- Chironji are tiny almond flavored dried seeds of a bush called Buchanania lanzan, which is cultivated across North West India. After the hard shell is cracked, the stubby seed within is as soft as a pine nuts.
- They are commonly used in sweets in India. However, they are also ground into powders for thickening savory sauces and flavoring batters, and stewed into rich, meaty kormas.
- Chironji seeds are used in the Ayurveda and Unani System of Medicine. According to Ayurveda, it removes biliousness, and cures blood disorders, fevers, thirst, ulcers, burning sensation of body. According to Unani system of medicine they are tonic to body and brain and useful in treatment of gleet, urinary concretions, fevers etc.
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
English Name: Carambola / Star Fruit
Common Hindi Name: Kamarak
· Carambola fruits are produced by ornamental evergreen tree (Averrhoa carambola), which is native to southeast Asia.
· Fruits are ovate to ellipsoid in shape. They are 6 to 13 cm long and have 5 (sometimes 4 or 6) longitudinal ribs.
· The fruit has a golden-yellow to green color. When cut across it shows a 5-pointed star shape, which is why it is also called "star fruit".
· The crunchy fruits have a slightly tart, acidic, sweet taste.
· The fruit starts out with a green color. As it ripens the color turns to yellow. The fruit cab be eaten in both the green and yellow stages.
· Carambola is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and low in sugar, sodium and acid. It is also a potent source of both primary and secondary polyphenolic antioxidants.
· Like the grapefruit, carambola contains oxalic acid, which can be harmful to individuals suffering from kidney failure, kidney stones, or under kidney dialysis treatment. Consumption by those with kidney failure can produce hiccups, vomiting, nausea, and mental confusion. Fatal outcomes have been documented in some patients.
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Amrood / Jaam
- Its skin is thin, light yellow and blushed with pink. The flesh is white, red or salmon-colored and flavor ranges from strawberry to lemon to tropical. A ripe guava softens to the touch.
- Guavas emit a strong, sweet, pungent fragrance.
- Guavas are rich in vitamins A and C, and if the seeds are eaten too, omega-3 and omega-6 polysaturated fatty acids and especially high levels of dietary fiber.
- It also has good levels of the dietary minerals, potassium, magnesium, and generally a broad, low-calorie profile of essential nutrients.
- Guavas contain both carotenoids and polyphenols – the major classes of antioxidant pigment, giving them relatively high dietary antioxidant value among plant foods. As these pigments produce the fruit’s color, guavas that are red or orange in color have more potential value as antioxidants sources than yellowish-green ones. Green apple guavas are less rich in antioxidants.
- Guavas like other tropical fruits should not be refrigerated unless over ripe. They will continue to ripen after harvest and should be stored at room temperature.
Sunday, 6 June 2010
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Anjeer
- The Common fig (Ficus carica) is widely grown for its edible fruit throughout its natural range in Iran and Pakistan and also in the rest of the Mediterranean region.
- It is a large, deciduous shrub or small tree native to southwest Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region.
- The Common Fig is dried or semi-dried.
- Figs are good to increase energy and raise blood sugar levels quickly.
- They are also known for their laxative properties.
- It is thought that they also have cancer-discouraging action.
- Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber. According to USDA data for the
Missionvariety, dried figs are richest in fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K, relative to human needs. They have smaller amounts of many other nutrients.
- Figs have a laxative effect and contain many antioxidants.
Saturday, 5 June 2010
English Name: Strawberry
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Strawberry
· Garden strawberries are a common variety of strawberry cultivated worldwide. It belongs to the family Rosaceae.
· Strawberry fruits are aggregates made up of several small fruits, each with one seed called an achene.
· Technically, it is not a true fruit but a false fruit, meaning the fleshy part is derived not from the plant's ovaries but from the peg at the bottom of the bowl-shaped hypanthium (non reproductive part) that holds the ovaries.
· Strawberries not only provide flavor to food but are also good for us.They are rich in vitamin C which is a water soluble antioxidant.
· Strawberries are low in sugar (lowest among the top-selling fruits like apple, banana etc.) They are low in calories (Only about 45 calories in 8 medium sized strawberries).
· Strawberries contain folic acid (also known as Vitamin B9). Folic acid or folate is necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells.
· Strawberries provide dietary fibres.
· They contain large amounts of potassium, which is said to be vital for maintaining healthy cells and is reported to reduce high blood pressure.
· Strawberries feature flavonoids, said to help combat cancer.
English Name: Papaya
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Papita
- The papaya, also known botanically as Carica papaya, is native to South America and is currently grown in several regions with tropical and sub-tropical climates. Its names vary depending on the geographical region, being called, for example, tree melon in Brazil or Paw Paw in certain American zones.
- Carica papaya is a small unbranched tree, the single stem growing to 5-10 m tall, with the spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk; the lower trunk is conspicuously scarred with the leaf scars of older leaves.
- Papaya plants come in three genders: male, female and bisexual, and their flowers are different, with male flowers being made by several small blooms, while females have one big bloom.
- The papaya fruit has an orange color when ripe. It resembles in flavor with that of a summer squash. Green papaya is often used as an ingredient in chutney or relishes. It is also cooked as vegetable.
- The fruits contain both hydrosoluble and liposoluble vitamins such as vitamin A, C and E.
- Papayas also contain several carotenoids, flavonoids, folates and trace minerals that react synergistically to provide DNA-protecting effects, which are directly linked to decreased risks of developing cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Khajoor
- Dates are the sweet fruits of Palm tree (
Phoenixdactylifera) which is commonly known as the Date Palm, in the genus . The fruit is a drupe. Phoenix
- Dates contain 3 times the amount of potassium in comparison to bananas and they also have high amounts of magnesium, iron and Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B3. They are enriched in fiber and are fairly low in calories. Eating dates is said to provide vast amounts of energy.
- Dates have high tannin content and are used medicinally as a detersive (having cleansing power) and astringent in intestinal troubles.
- One traditional belief is that it can counteract alcohol intoxication. The seed powder is also used in some traditional medicines.
- A gum that exudes from the wounded trunk is employed in
for treating diarrhea and genito-urinary ailments. The roots are used against toothache. India
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Khubani
in about 3000 BC. India
- Apricots are seen as a cancer fighter, especially within regards to smoking related illnesses, such as lung cancer.
- They are said to be a great fruit for people suffering from constipation, high blood pressure, anemia and all skin and respiratory conditions.
- Apricots contain vast amounts of the antioxidant beta- carotene, which is a form of Vitamin A that is successful by preventing specific cancers including lung and skin. In general the brighter the fruit, the more beta-carotene is contained in it.
- Apricots are enriched with both magnesium and calcium; these minerals are thought to help prevent the bone disease osteoporosis.
- Apricots are reported to be useful as they create antibodies, stabilize sugar levels and improve the transportation of oxygen in the blood.
- Apricots are also a great source of iron, especially for women who are trying to have a baby.
- Apricots are high in soluble fiber, which helps maintain regular bowel function.
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Kharbooja
- The cantaloupe originated in
- It has been reported that Cantaloupe contains the most beta-carotene out of all melons. Beta- carotene is an essential nutrient for aiding excellent vision.
- Cantaloupe melon is a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, folate (folic acid), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), and potassium.
- Cantaloupe is a source of polyphenol antioxidants, chemicals which are known to provide certain health benefits to the cardiovascular system and immune system. These chemicals are known to up regulate the formation of nitric oxide, a key chemical in promoting health of the endothelium and prevention of heart attacks
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Cherries
- Cherry refers to a fleshy fruit (drupe) that contains a single stony seed.
- It belongs to the family Rosaceae, genus Prunus, along with almonds, peaches, plums, etc.
- Cherries are rich in Vitamin C and contain high amounts of bioflavonoids, which, it is said, makes them a fantastic antioxidant food.
- Cherries also contain ellagic acid, which is valued as a cancer protector, and inhibits the development of cancer causing cells.
- Cherries are said to help in boosting energy levels and to be good for the heart, muscles and nerves.
- Eating cherries is reported to lower platelet stickiness of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. It has been known that eating cherries may also help combat tooth decay.
- Cherries contain the powerful antioxidant anthocyanins, the red pigment in berries. Cherry anthocyanins have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation in rats. Anthocyanins are also potent antioxidants under active research for a variety of potential health benefits.
- Cherries are believed to relieve gout if at least 225 g are eaten daily. They are also thought to have a mild laxative action.
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Seb
- Apple (Malus domestica) is the pomaceous fruit from rose family Rosaceae.
- There is evidence that in vitro apples possess phenolic compounds, which may be cancer-protective and demonstrate antioxidant activity. The predominant phenolic phytochemicals in apples are quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidin B2.
- Compared to many other fruits and vegetables, apples contain relatively low amounts of vitamin C as well as several other antioxidant compounds.
- The fiber content, while less than in most other fruits, helps regulate bowel movements and may thus reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- Research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of colon cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer.
- They may also help with heart disease, weight loss and controlling cholesterol as they do not have any cholesterol, have fiber, which reduces cholesterol by preventing reabsorption, and are bulky for their caloric content like most fruits and vegetables.
- Their pectin content may help lower cholesterol levels and treat diarrhea. They feature chlorogenic acid, which may help fight against cancer.
- Eating apples is said to be useful for people on weight loss programmes, as they have a lower glycemic index than other fruits.
Friday, 4 June 2010
English Name: Indian Gooseberry
Common Hindi Name: Amla
- Amla (Emblica officinalis) or Indian Gooseberry belongs to family Euphorbiecae.
- There are two varieties of amla - cultivated (gramya) and wild (vanya). The wild amla is small, hard and has lots of fiber while the cultivated amla is big, smooth and juicy.
- The fruit is nearly spherical, light greenish yellow, quite smooth and hard on appearance, with 6 vertical stripes or furrows.
- The amla fruit contains more than 80% of water. It also has protein, carbohydrate, fibre, minerals and vitamins. It also contains Gallic acid which is a potent polyphenol.
- The taste of Indian gooseberry is sour, bitter and astringent.
- In India, it is common to eat gooseberries steeped in salt water and turmeric to make the sour fruits palatable.
- Amla is known as ‘amritphala’ in Sanskrit, which literally means the ‘fruit of heaven’ or nectar fruit. It is so called because it is rich in many desirable properties.
- It may be used as a rasayana (rejuvenative) to promote longevity, and traditionally to enhance digestion, treat constipation, reduce fever, purify the blood, reduce cough, alleviate asthma, strengthen the heart, benefit the eyes, stimulate hair growth, enliven the body, and enhance intellect.
- According to Unani System of Medicine the Mizaj of Amla is Sard Khushk so that it is very good remedy for Haar Amraz (Hot Diseases).
- The amla fruits can be used fresh or dried. Dried Amlas are sometimes ground into a powder and are also available stoned and chopped. The dried pieces or powder can be stored in an airtight container for up to a year.
Thursday, 3 June 2010
English Name:Spring onion / Green Onion / Scallion
Common Hindi Name: Hari Pyaz
- Scallions or green onions or spring onions are very young onions, harvested before the bulb has had a chance to swell.
- They have long, slender green tops and the small white bulb. Both are edible, and are good either raw or cooked. They are similar in flavor to onions, but are much milder.
- Spring onions have larger more defined bulbs. Just like regular green onions, the bulbs of spring onions have a concentrated onion flavor and are often sold with their roots attached.
- The scallions have a small tender white bulb at one end. From the bulb, dark green tubular sections extend vertically. Both the bulb and the tubular sections are usually tender and have a milder taste than other varieties of onions.
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
English Name: Sweet potato
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Shakarkand
- The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a large, starchy, sweet tasting, tuberous root vegetable, belonging to the family Convolvulaceae (same family of plants as the morning glory).
- Sweet potato varieties exist in many colors of skin and flesh, ranging from white to deep purple.
- White and yellow-orange variety of sweet potatoes is most common.
- White variety of sweet potato is firm while the orange variety is softer.
- The orange variety of sweet potato is commonly marketed as a ‘yam’ in parts of North America. But the sweet potato is very distinct from the actual yam, which is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae. To prevent confusion, the United States Department of Agriculture requires that sweet potatoes labeled as ‘yams’ also be labeled as ‘sweet potatoes’.
- Nutritionally, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of potassium and vitamin C, B6, riboflavin, copper, pantothetic acid and folic acid.