How Do Different Instant Mixes Help in Quick Food Preparation?

In today’s jet set world when life is moving in the fast lane for everyone, people want to spend less and less time in the kitchen. With more women opting for a career, they have less time for dishing out complicated recipes for their family. And eating out daily is not an option they want for their children. The best option available is instant food, where they can open a packet or a tin and create a dish in a jiffy. This has resulted in the popularity of instant mixes in quick food preparations.

Indian Food industry, like any other industry is always changing as it has to keep up with the changing demands of the customers. The consumer today wants quick fix food. So, instant mixes are available for various kinds of food preparations like snacks, lunches and dinners, sauces, gravies, desserts etc.

There are many traditional dishes that Indians have grown up on and there is constant demand for them. The preparation of such dishes consumes a lot of time. Also one has to arrange for an array of ingredients to prepare these dishes. Fortunately, many such dishes are available in the market in ‘ready to eat’ forms. These convenient foods offer authentic taste in a package that can be opened and consumed whenever the need be.

One major change that has taken place in the eating habits of the consumers is the fact that people have become very conscious of the healthy eating habits. In order to prepare well balanced nutritious meals, one must have compete knowledge of the nutrients. Also it requires lot of effort and time to assemble all the required ingredients. It is easier to just go and buy a food item that is healthy with proper nutritive value and easy to use.

Another important influence is from our young ones. Today the purchases made by the parents are greatly influenced by the likes and dislikes of the children who are in turn influenced by the media, advertisements and peers. Their demands have changed due to their exposure to multi cuisines of the world. To meet their needs food industry has revamped its products.

Also a major change has taken place in the food preparations for infants and toddlers. Busy mothers are getting more dependent on ready made food items.

Instant food offers a lot of independence to latchkey children who don’t have to depend on maids and servants anymore for their meals. It is also a boon for students studying away from home and working girls and boys. For them food is available instantly, any time of the day or night.

Indian packaging Industry has become highly efficient and hi-tech which has helped in the fast growth of these changes in food industry.

Even though instant food mixtures are becoming very popular, one should be careful as many unscrupulous people are selling low grade food prepared in improper unhygienic conditions. There is lack of transparency as not enough information is supplied by the manufacturers. So it is very important to buy from strongly trusted brands.

Use Blended Spices to Prepare Tasty Indian Food

Indian cuisine has become greatly popular all over the world due to the variety in the number of dishes found in India. Even in India itself as you travel from one end to the other you come across entirely different dishes and methods of cooking which adds interesting variety to simple food items. One factor that greatly influences the difference in taste of various dishes is the use of various Indian spices.

Spices add flavour, taste colour and texture to the dish.These may be used fresh or dried. Some spices lose their flavour when dried so have to be used fresh only. Usually they are stronger when dried. In southern India fresh spices are used more as they are readily available. In North fresh spices are not readily available in winters so people depend more on the use of dry spices.

Spices are ground together in the pestle and mortar or a grinder to make a homogenous powder that can be stored in an air-tight jar. It should be used quickly and not stored for longer periods of time as the mixtures lose their flavour over a period of time.

It is judiciary to use the quality Indian spices in the right amount to get the authentic taste of a dish. No spice should be so overpowering as to hide the true taste of the main ingredient whether it is vegetable, pulse, meat, fish  or poultry that is cooked using the spice. Important point is to use the right amount of spices to get the proper balance.

Different blend of spices should be used in different dishes to highlight the taste of the dish. If the same combination is used in all the dishes, they will all taste same.

Most commonly used spices are red chillies, pepper, cayenne, cumin, coriander, aniseed, poppy seeds, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, caraway seeds, mustard seeds and saffron. The spices are blended in different ways to produce different effects.

Indian cuisine will be incomplete without garam masala, often referred to as magic masala, which is a combination of cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon, cumin, coriander seeds, peppercorn and bay leaves. Garam masala is used in a variety of Indian dishes.

Famous Five Spice Powder combination may vary, but usually it contains cinnamon, aniseed / anise, star seed, fennel and cloves.

Chaat masala used to spice up the salads consists of mango powdered, roasted powdered cumin seeds, black salt, salt, pepper, mint, a pinch of asafoetida, Some pomegranate seeds can be added if desired.

Essential ingredients of sambhar masala, used in the preparation of sambar, are mustard seeds, whole red chillies, asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, peppercorn, coconut, turmeric powder, chana dal ( split baby chickpea ,  urad dal ( split black gram), and a dash of asafoetida.

Some spices are blended together for tempering hot oil or ghee for which is then poured over a dish like dal tadka or raita. Most commonly used combination is cumin, mustard seeds and red whole chillies.

Spices have been used in India down the ages for their medicinal, preservative properties as well as for seasoning. Use of spices set Indian cuisine apart from the cuisine of the rest of the world.

From Where to Buy Home Made Style Pickles and Chutneys?

Chutneys and pickles, oh wow! Your mouth starts watering at the very thought of these. They form an integral part of a meal in an Indian home. We can all remember our mothers and grandmothers preparing pickles during the season, like mango pickle, for the entire year. Pickles of different regions have different taste and flavor as the spices used are different.

The diverse Indian cuisine, with different colours and flavours, is prepared with ingredients / spices of high quality and is cooked with minimum oil which makes it tasty and healthy.

When you go away from home for a long period, to study or for a job, you like to carry homemade pickles and chutneys with you. These add a taste and flavor to the food. In India the main course meal is accompanied by these tasty and delicious preparations.

With the change of time and lifestyle, most of the women working outside their homes, people prefer buying readymade home made style chutneys and pickles. As the demand increased so did the availability.  Today the market is flooded with the vast range of pickles and chutneys. They are available in a wide variety of flavours and sizes and are packed in airtight packets or bottles so that they retain the freshness, flavor and the taste.

Your local grocery shop or the super market has the shelves lined up with a large array of pickles to choose from. You can compare the different sizes and the price of various companies and buy the product of your choice. In India, home made style pickles and chutneys of different brands are easily available in all towns in the grocery shops. Pickles of diverse regions can be bought all over the country.

Not only in India, today pickles and chutneys from India are available in other countries as well, thanks to ‘one world’ created due to globalization. Even if you are living in Dubai or the United States or in any other country, these are available in the Indian stores all over the world. The global food market is flush with all kinds of branded pickles and chutneys in consumer packs.

All the companies maintain their web sites where the details about the company and the products are given. They also inform you about the stores where these products are available and their location as well. So if you will surf the net and check these sites you will be able to get the information needed and be able to buy your favourite pickles and chutneys which taste like home made.

Internet is a wonderful creation of man. The world has become so ‘small’ with it. You name a thing and you can get information about it on line. You can buy any and every product on line. Pickles and chutneys of different brands are also available on line. You place your order and the parcel will reach your home within two to three days.

So go ahead, buy your favourite home made like pickles and chutneys and enjoy your meal.

Significance of Quality Spices in Indian Food

Indian cuisine has made an entry into almost all the countries world wide. Whether it is masala dosa from Kerala , makki ki roti and saag from Punjab or Chicken biryani from Hyderabad, you can find them all in many countries abroad. In fact more and more foreigners have started relishing and appreciating Indian cuisine. Spices have a great role to play in attracting people to Indian cuisine.

Spices have been used since ancient times. They have even been mentioned in Holy Scriptures like Vedas. Western countries discovered their culinary possibilities only after Roman conquests. In fact spice trade and spice routes have been an integral part of the history of mankind. Many a traders were attracted to Indian sub continent due to the spices found there.

Spices have been recognized for their ability to add flavour, taste and texture to food. The use of the correct spice, in correct amount and to a correct dish shows the finesse and expertise of the chef. A humble brinjal can be turned into exotic moussaka with the correct spices and cooking procedure.

Spices come from various parts of the plants like bark of the trees, roots, stems, leaves, flowers, buds, fruits, seeds etc. Frequently used spices in Indian homes are pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace etc.

In fact, by using different spices, the taste of a dish can be completely altered. Not only  that, from the spices used in a dish, one can make a quick guess at the region of the origin of the dish. A dish of sambar from Kannada, for example, tastes very different from sambar from Tamil Nadu due to the difference in spices used.

A point to keep in mind while using quality spices in cooking is to know the best time to introduce the spice into the dish. Stronger spices should be added first and milder ones later. Some spices are cooked with the rest of the ingredients so that the flavour may penetrate and infuse the whole dish while some spices are added only at the time of serving.

Spices can be used fresh or in their dried form. Some spices like curry pattas / leaves have to be used only fresh as they lose their flavour when dried.

The original whole spices generally last for a long time whereas once powdered, their flavour reduces gradually over the time. Best option is to buy spices whole and grind them when required. One should buy ground spices from reputed manufacturers. Powdered spices available in lose form may be adulterated or may contain chemicals harmful for health.

Besides adding flavour to the food, they also offer many health benefits. Turmeric, for example, which is used in every Indian house-hold, is known to improve blood circulation and the condition of the heart. Garlic helps to fight cholesterol. Besides, spices are also good antioxidants and help the body to get rid of the toxins

As spices play such an important role in our diet, it’s imperative that we pay sufficient attention to their quality to lead to happy diet and happy life.