Pinch of Amchur that Creates a Tangy Taste to Dishes

Amchur is the dried or dehydrated product prepared from unripe mangoes to be mostly used in curries. The unripe fruits are peeled and the flesh is cut into thin slices. The slices are then dried in the sun and packed in gunny bags for sale. Amchur is also marketed in the form of powder by crushing or powdering the dried peeled mango slices. Amchur is used as an accidulant or souring agent for curries. It is also used in chutneys, soups and certain specific curries. The rind is astringent, stimulating, tonic in debility of stomach. Also it is one of the most flavoured and popular masala used in Indian dishes. Amchur is the best substitute of tamarind and lemon.

A pinch of amchur can enhance the taste and flavour of chicken, fish, meat, prawns, pork, etc. It improves the taste of paneer, biryani, pulao, kachumber, salads and several dry vegetables and vegetables with the gravy. It is good for digestion and has a cooling effect. It is acidic and astringent and has high Vitamin A and Vitamin C content. It has high iron content and so is beneficial to people suffering from anaemia and pregnant women. It aids digestion and eases acidity. Amchur lends a citrusy acidic taste that is somewhat sweet to spicy.

It improves the taste of curries, chutneys, marinades, dipping sauces, soups, stews, fish, poultry, and meats. Formerly, the spice was rarely used outside of Indian cooking. Now, it has grown in popularity as an addition to vegetarian dishes both in the whole or powdered forms for its tart, sharp spiciness.  In India, mangoes are used fresh or preserved. As Amchur is highly concentrated and has a very potent flavour, it can be used instead of lemon in recipes. You can also substitute amchur for tamarind as amchur won’t change the colour of a lighter dish the way tamarind does. It is a natural foodstuff and thus scores much above the synthetic additives. In India, the mango is known as king of fruits due to the delicious fruit as well as being rich in vitamins and minerals. Amchur has a high citric acid content that is integral to the prevention of scurvy.

It has a high concentration of phenols, and phenolic compound have powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer abilities. Mangoes are low in carbohydrates and rich in anti-oxidants. Mangoes provide a pharmacologically active flavonoid, a natural xanthine, which has a number of pharmacological actions and possible health benefits. These include ant diabetic, antioxidant, antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, hepatic-protective, hypoglycaemic, anti-allergic and anticancer activity. It is also an excellent tenderizer and mainly used in Indian cooking as a souring agent in many curries and other dishes.  Try adding a pinch of amchur on steamed vegetables and fold in for a tangy taste. Sprinkle it on fresh cucumbers and fresh slices of onions. It is an excellent seasoning for grilled dishes. It is difficult to imagine many dishes without their distinctive spices and seasonings. Spices lend magical flavours to the dishes they are added to.

Cumin – Cumin Seeds, Cuminum Cyminum

CUMIN

Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. Cumin seeds resemble caraway seeds, being oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in colour. Cumin’s distinctive flavour and strong, warm aroma are due to its essential oil content. Its main constituent and important aroma compound is cuminaldehyde. Cumin is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to India. The seeds are used in the cuisines of many different cultures, in both whole and ground form. It is a key component of curry powder. Both whole and ground cumin are available year-round. One teaspoon of cumin approximately contains 15.5% iron, 7% manganese, 3.9% calcium. When it comes to health benefits, the cumin seeds are great. Cumin seeds, whose scientific name is Cuminum cyminum, are an excellent source of iron. Iron is an integral component of haemoglobin. Research has shown that cumin may stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, compounds necessary for proper digestion and nutrient assimilation. Cumin’s unique flavour complexity has made it an integral spice in the cuisines of Mexico, India and the Middle East. Continue reading

Ajwain – Strongly Pungent, Assertive and Aromatic Spice

AJWAIN….

Ajwain, commonly known as ajowan, bishop’s weed, ajowan caraway, carom seeds, or thymol seeds, is a plant of India, Pakistan and the Near East whose seeds are used as a spice. This beneficial herb is used in culinary process as spice as well as a major ingredient of different kind of medicines. Ajwain seeds are small in size but taste hot, penchant and bitter. It acts as good appetizer, laxative and stomachic. It is used as effective remedy in managing ailments like vomiting, mouth diseases, pile, treatment of ascites, abdominal tumor, abdominal pain etc. They are strongly pungent and aromatic. Ajwain seeds are rich in fibre, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. Ajwain seeds consist of moisture, protein, fat, minerals, fibre, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. The active principles in the ajwain may help increase the digestive function of the intestinal tract by increasing gut juices. Continue reading

Indian Sweets – Shrikhand, Puranpoli, Kaju Barfi, Sooji Ladoo

Indian Sweets (MITHAAS…)

SHRIKHAND…

Ingredients:

1/2 kg. Curds/yoghurt

300grams sugar

1/2 tsp. cardamom powder

A few strands of saffron

1/2 tbsp. Pistachios & almonds crushed

Method:

Tie curd in a clean muslin cloth overnight. (6-7 hours).

Take into a bowl, add sugar, and mix.

Keep aside for 30 minutes to allow sugar to dissolve.

Rub saffron into 1 tbsp. milk till well broken and dissolved. Keep aside.

Beat the sugar-curd mixture.

Pass through a big holed sieve, pressing with hand or spatula.

Mix in cardamom powder and dissolved saffron and half of the nuts.

Empty the shrikhand into a glass serving bowl, top with remaining nuts.

Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.

Variations: To make fruit flavoured shrikhand, eg. Mango, strawberry, etc., add pulp at the stage of adding cardamom and saffron.

  Continue reading

Cooking Glossary – All About You Need for Cooking in Kitchen

COOKING GLOSSARY….

Au gratin………. dish topped with breadcrumbs or grated cheese, cooked in the oven and/or finished off under the grill until golden brown and toasted.

Beat……….to beat with a rotary beater, fork or a spoon any liquid or semi-liquid food with the purpose of mixing that particular item of food thoroughly and making it smooth and free of any lumps.

Blend………..to combine several ingredients together till smooth.

Boil…………to heat liquid until bubbles appear on the surface and vapour starts rising.

Blanch………cover nuts or tomatoes or whatever you want  to blanch with boiling water  and then after some time put it in cold water so the skin breaks. Then peel off the skin.

Batter………..is a mixture of flour and liquid. The consistency of the batter is such that it can be stirred with a spoon and is thin enough to pour or drop from the spoon.

Chill………to cool food by placing it either in the fridge or on the ice.

Chop……..to cut food into pieces.

Combine………..to mix two or more ingredients together.

Dissolve……..to melt required ingredients in liquid.

Drain……..to free the food completely from liquid

Deep fry…………to fry in plenty of oil or fat

Dough……… a mixture of flour and liquid and other ingredients as required. A dough is thick is thick enough to knead or roll, but it is too stiff to stir or pour. Continue reading

How to Make Murabbas from Mango, Apple, Gooseberry & Carrot

MURABBAS

  1. The syrup must cover the Murabba.
  2. Within one of preparation, boil the Murabba three to four times.
  3. Cool and again put it in an airtight jar.
  4. The jar should be narrow so that the syrup will cover the Murabba completely.
  5. Murabba can be taken with any meal except with tea.
  6. It is also served as dessert with plain cream.
  7. Put cut apples, pears and raw mangoes in salted water as this prevents them from discolouring.

MANGO MURABBA…

Ingredients:

1 kg firm and under-ripe mangoes (peeled and de-seeded)

750 grams sugar

3 cups water

¼ teaspoon citric acid

A pinch of saffron

3 big cardamoms

Method:

Cut mangoes into big even pieces. Put them in a muslin cloth and dip the in boiling water for 10 minutes till they are soft. Put them in a basket to drain water completely. Prick the pieces with a fork. Make syrup of sugar, water and citric acid. Cook the mango slices in the syrup until the syrup is 3 or 4 threads when it is drawn between the two fingers. Remove from the fire. Cool the mango murabba and pour in a sterilised jar. Continue reading

Spices to Cook Indian Dishes, Chinese, Thai Food, Mexican Food & European Dishes

Spices in the kitchen…….

Throughout the world, the cooking of every country is distinguished by the way in which spices are used to give it a unique character. With so many spices now readily available, cooking can be a great adventure that will transport you to any part of the world that takes your fancy.

Imagine the smoky scent of grilled potatoes infused with cumin and garlic or the fragrance of coriander and garlic from a gently simmering curry. Even before you taste the food the evocative aroma of spices stimulates the appetite and heightens the anticipation of what is to come. Indian cooking, though not necessarily hot, is distinctively spicy and is characterized by the use of a greater range of dried spices than any other cuisine in the world. Up to 15 spices may be blended to flavour one dish. India is a vast country and the style of cooking varies enormously from region to region, but the spices most often used include coriander, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves, garlic and ginger. Chillies are valued for both fire and flavour, some Indian dishes extremely hot, but in others spices are used with rare subtlety. Continue reading

Avoid Junk Food – Homemade Food from Fresh Ingredients for Healthy Life

A TALK WITH KITCHEN…

Just what is junk food?

Junk food is everywhere ….in shops and supermarkets and fast-food restaurants. It’s fairly cheap and all of us love eating it. Most people would describe junk food as…

Food you get from many fast-food restaurants and takeaways such as burgers, French-fries, pastries, pies, pizza and doughnuts.

Snack foods such as crisps, sweets, chocolates, some biscuits and cakes and fizzy drinks.

Some of the processed foods that have been made or put together in a factory, which you buy from the supermarket, such as frozen pizza or ready meals.

Most people agree that eating this kind of food isn’t healthy. Continue reading

Kitchen Care – Handy Tips for Cooking

Kitchen Care – Handy Tips for Cooking

  • Keep your cottage cheese fresh by immersing it in a bowl of water and keeping it refrigerated. Change the water every day.
  • Wrap the sandwiches in a moist cloth, and then wrap cling film or aluminum foil over it and place it in the fridge. They will remain soft and fresh.
  • Dry orange peels in the sun and grind them in the grinder to a fine powder. They will come in handy while preparing face masks and delicious cakes. Continue reading