Mukhwas – Nature’s Mouth Freshener!

mukhwas

Do you suffer from bloating, indigestion, acid, heartburn, wind/gas, constipation ulcers etc? Many of these are common complaints at this time of year! But here is a remedy…

Every meal in an Indian home, cafe or restaurant is completed with a mixture
of seeds, herbs and spices to chew after meals and designed to kick start the digestion process.

The mixture is called “Mukhwas” – a mouth freshener made up of coriander seeds, fennel seeds, ajwain (carom seeds) sesame seeds and Indian bitter leaf, which is traditionally chewed after dinner. Ayurvedic research suggests that chewing activates a process that assists the digestive system and supports the absorption of goodness from our food. By eating Mukhwas after every meal you are assisting the digestive system back into good habits!

Mukhwas is readily available in local Indian shops across London. Try it and I really think that you will notice the changes!

Daksha

 

A Taste of History – My Discovery in India

From the British, the Anglo-India population learned the roasting process and acquired a taste for stews and exotic fare like oxtail soup and braised lamb or beef tongue. Though curries of all kinds made it to the table in the Anglo-Indian home, they took special pride in English dishes that had an Indian touch.

Few communities in India use organ food such as the tongue. But Christians in Goa are known for delicacies made from cured tongues. Over the decades the food the British enjoyed in India became more Indian than Anglo. Stews became spicier and the British made their version of Rasam, a watery soup of lentils and spices – even adding meat to it and calling it Mulligatawny Soup.

From their British ancestors, Anglo-Indians learned to make a variety of hybrid dishes. Fish was a popular breakfast item, a trait probably learnt from Bengalis. One of the culinary inventions of the 18th century was kedgeree. The following recipe is from Edward Palmer’s INDIAN COOKERY published in the 1930s. Palmer was the founder of the famous Veeraswamy restaurant in London.

KEDGREE INGREDIENTS
Ingredients
Cold cooked fish (flaky fish preferred)
Cooked Basmati rice
Butter
A finely sliced clove of garlic
Ground turmeric
Hard boiled eggs
Pepper
Salt Green or red chillies

METHOD
Cook in sufficient butter for a few minutes (but do not brown) the onions and garlic. Add a teaspoonful of ground turmeric and cook this mixture for a few minutes longer. The rice and flaked fish is then added and the mixture should be very lightly tossed together until warmed through. Add pepper and salt to taste.
Serve piled on a dish garnished with slices of hard boiled eggs and green and red chilies cut lengthwise.

Enjoy! Daksha

DIWALI – Festival of Lights

Happy Dipawali Wishes Greetings

Here comes Diwali… the most important festival for Hindus all over the world. On this day, special prayers are offered to Lakshmi – Goddess of Wealth. The goddess embarks on a tour of each and every house at night. Homes are kept spick and span and decorated to please the Goddess and ensure prosperity.

The cleaning of homes begins few days before Diwali. At sunrise, the house is swept clean, lime wash and red ochre are applied on a wall and a figure of the Goddess of Lakshmi is drawn on it. A clay idol of Lord Ganesh, the ‘good luck’ God (the elephant-headed god) and remover of obstacles is also displayed. The idols are worshiped with water, red powder, rice, fruit, camphor and jaggery.

Decorations are made around the home with an array of coloured lights, candles, paper lanterns and religious symbols formed out of coloured rice and chalk (known as rangoli).

The Festival of Lights involves the lighting of small lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. These lamps are kept on during the night- in order to make Goddess of Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) feel welcome. Firecrackers are burst to drive away evil spirits. Children run around with great enthusiasm and excitement for the fireworks that begin a few days before Diwali.

Family, friends and neighbours welcome one another. Women dress up in the most glorious silk sarees, colourful silk garments and jewellery – gold, silver, pearls galore!!

Crowds gather in temples for the Diwali/Lakshmi puja. Traders, shopkeepers, hawkers and street vendors all perform Lakshmi puja. Financial brokers collect all their accounting books and ledgers and perform a dignified puja to thank Lakshmi for all that she has given to them in the past and to respect her wishes for the future! Gold and silver coins are offered in the puja.

Legend story tells us that Goddess of Wealth was served 36 varieties of food on a gold plate – and women today follow this legend in preparing the most exciting fare of snacks and sweets for the festive season. Traditional recipes and innovative foods are prepared and great networking takes place on the phone amongst women friends and relatives, to find who has the best recipe!

The day after Diwali people visit the homes of their loved ones. The younger lot seek the blessings of their elders by bowing to them.

On this day one also ignores old enmity and greets one’s foes.

Let us join in the celebrations – let us embrace this pious occasion to the fullest. Let us spread happiness, friendship, kindness, forgiveness, respect and love for all.

HAPPY DIWALI AND SAAL MUBARAK (Happy New Near)

Daksha

 

Stolen Inspiration from the Chor Bazaar

Chor Bizarre

Even today, India evokes visions of elephants on the streets, snake charmers, palaces
and other such clichés.

To really understand India in all its hues, one need only to walk through its bazaars and none is more representative of India in all its dimensions as the ‘Chor Bazaar’ – which translates literally as ‘Thieves Market’. Every major city in India has a ‘Chor Bazaar’. All kinds of wares find their way here – with or without the consent of their owners! Antiques, furniture, pearls, cutlery, carpets, fabrics, old jewellery, grandfather clocks…

A long line of colourful street food vendors also reside at the Chor Bazaar, with morsels partly ‘stolen’ from original recipes that create a fusion of tangy tongue teasers – ready for the crowds to snack upon as they wander through the bazaar. No great effort is made to soften the blow of aromatic Indian chillies – the food is red hot! Forget half the British population who pride themselves on being able to down a brazen vindaloo in one, this is the ultimate in chilli taste. The spiciness of the food is dimmed with a cool, long drink. Limboo Pani (lime drink) – a refreshing fusion of fresh lime muddled with water, sugar syrup, a pinch of rock salt and a dash of mixed spice. Others enjoy a healthy Lassi, served sweet, salted or flavoured with mango fruit.

Snacking before, during and after meals is the national pastime of India, if not the national sport! They say that you could travel the length and breadth of India and not repeat the same dish at any meal. So for me to make claim to the representation of Indian cuisine in all its diversity would be a formidable challenge. I have ‘stolen’ (sorry… ‘collected’) the most interesting recipes from the different parts of this magnificent country to make your gastronomic journey complete. I have tried to stay true to the actual origin of each regional dish, honestly creating flavours that one can associate with home cooked food.

Come, tell me of your experiences of street food in India, Pakistan, Morocco – let us make a fusion of our ideas and create an exotic taste sensation.

Keep smiling!

Daksha

 

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

INDIAN WOMEN PARTICIPATE IN A LAUGHING SESSION IN BHOPAL

In today’s world there is unhappiness, wars, crime, injustice, torture, and sadness – it can feel that happiness is scarce, but we should always try to make time for laughter… keep smiling, it’s good for you! Here is my favourite joke of the moment…

A newcomer from a small village goes into a store and sees a shiny object.
He asks the shop assistant, “What is that shiny object?”
The assistant replies, “That is a thermos”.
The customer then asks “What does it do?”
The shop assistant responds “It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold”.
The customer says, “I’ll take it!”
The next day, he walks into work with his new thermos.
His boss sees him and asks, “What is that shiny object you have?”
He said, “It’s a thermos”.
The boss then says, “What does it do?”
He replies, “It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold”
The boss said, “Wow, What do you have in it?”
He replies, “Two cups of coffee and a coke”

Share your favourite joke with me on our Facebook page, and help us find that Friday feeling, today!