Silken Splendour

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India has had a long and passionate love affair with Kebabs. They arrived around 1200 CE via warlords from ancient Afghanistan who introduced the concept into India’s culinary styles during their frequent incursions. Later, the chefs in the royal kitchens of Mughal emperors turned it into a fine art. Our post today looks at recreating one such Kebab – the Reshmi Kebab which derives its name from the silken texture of the meat.

Here are the ingredients that you will require:

  • Chicken, minced: 1 kilogram
  • Eggs: 2
  • Mustard Oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Onions, finely chopped: 2 tablespoon
  • Ginger, finely chopped: 2 tablespoon
  • Cashew Nuts: 50 grams
  • Coriander (Dhania), chopped: 1 tablespoon
  • Red Chilli Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Garam Masala: 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin (Jeera) Powder: 1 tablespoon
  • White Pepper Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Butter: for basting
  • Salt: to taste

Preparation:

Break the eggs in a bowl and whisk them.

Peel, wash and finely chop the onions.

Peel, wash and finely chop the ginger.

Wash and coarsely chop the coriander.

Coarsely grind the cashew nuts.

Pour the whisked eggs into a bowl; add the red chilli powder, cumin powder, white pepper powder, mustard oil and salt, and mix well. Now add the minced chicken and mix thoroughly so that the spices blend with the chicken. Keep aside for around 20 minutes.

Next, add the cashew nuts, onions, ginger and coriander along with the Garam Masala. Mix well. Use your hands to make palm-sized balls using this mixture.

Take a skewer. Spread some mustard oil on your left hand. Holding the skewer in your right hand, use your left hand to press each ball along the length of the skewer, squeezing gently and spreading to create kebabs that are around 4 to 5 inches in length.

Method:

In a heated Tandoor, roast the kebabs for around 6 minutes. After around 3 minutes baste with butter – and continue roasting till the kebabs take on a golden brown colour.

Next, place the skewer in a charcoal grill. Take the skewer out after around 3 minutes and baste with butter. Place the skewer back in the grill and continue roasting till the kebabs are done.

Your traditional Reshmi Kebabs are now ready to be served. This dish is usually eaten with Roti or Naan. Let the royal feast begin!

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Summer Shield

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It’s a scary world out there. The summer heat is gradually intensifying. At the same time, the air quality in urban areas is steadily getting worse, laden with pollutants, particulate matter and grime. All this is very bad for your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. The polluted air is full of free radicals that damage your skin cells, leaving your skin dry and flaky.

So what can you do? Here’s a simple solution… a home remedy that forms a protective shield on the surface of your skin, blocking free radicals and keeping your skin supple and healthy.

In a bowl, take two tablespoons of cold-pressed Mustard Oil. Add 300 grams of ground oatmeal along with two tablespoons of yogurt and mix well. Next, add two teaspoons of lemon juice. Mix these ingredients thoroughly to create a smooth paste.

Massage this paste onto the areas of your skin that are exposed to the sun and the atmosphere when you go out. Leave the paste on for around 15 minutes and then wash it away using warm water.

The high levels of Vitamin E in the cold-pressed Mustard Oil enrich and rehydrate your skin cells, offering protection from sunlight and airborne pollutants.

So go ahead – grab a bottle of cold-pressed Mustard Oil right away and create your very own Summer Shield.

Fish Swimming in a Yogurt Gravy

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Today’s recipe is a fish preparation that is typically made for celebrations… weddings, Sunday brunches, get-togethers and dinner parties. So let’s raise the Mood Quotient and let our taste buds do the celebrating.

The ingredients that you will require are:

  • Fish: 500 grams
  • Yogurt (Dahi): 250 grams
  • Onion Paste: 125 grams
  • Garlic (Lasan) Paste: 1 tablespoon
  • Ginger (Adrak) Paste: 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard Oil: 150 millilitres
  • Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: For coating the fish
  • Bay Leaves (Tej Patta): 2
  • Cinnamon (Dalchini): 1 one-inch stick
  • Cloves (Laung): 2
  • Cardamom (Elaichi): 2
  • Green Chillies: 6
  • Sugar: 1 teaspoon
  • Raisins (Kishmish): 125 grams
  • Salt: to taste

Preparation:

Wash and cut the fish into pieces. Smear each piece with turmeric powder and salt.

Slit and deseed the green chillies.

Beat the yogurt with a little sugar.

Method:

Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan till it reaches its smoking point. Quickly sauté the fish pieces and when they are lightly fried, remove them from the oil and keep aside.

Now add the bay leaves and spices to the pan. When the aroma of the spices wafts up add the onion paste and fry for around five minutes. Next, add the garlic paste, ginger paste and green chillies. Continue frying.

Add the fried fish pieces to the pan and keep turning each piece of fish till it gets coated in the spices and pastes. Next, pour the yogurt into the pan and reduce the flame to Low. Keep stirring.

Finally, add salt to taste along with the raisins. Stir and mix.

Your celebratory Fish in a Mustard and Yogurt Gravy is now ready to be served. In Bengal, this dish is usually eaten with steaming hot rice. In North India, it is eaten with Roti.

The “Super Oil”

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The term “Super Oil” was coined by doctors at Bel Marra Health who were carrying out a study on the comparative health benefits of Olive Oil versus Mustard Oil. In the Western world olive oil is widely considered to be the healthiest oil. However, these doctors eventually concluded that there was an oil that could surpass Olive Oil on all parameters – that oil was Mustard Oil, and the doctors called it a “Super Oil”.

It isn’t only olive oil that loses in a contest against Mustard Oil. Most of today’s cooking oils fail to deliver the enormous health and nutrition benefits that Mustard Oil does.

For starters, Mustard Oil has a profound protective, preventive and regenerative effect on the heart – in fact, it’s not just the heart but on the entire cardiovascular system. It protects blood vessels; it repairs damaged blood vessels; and it improves both the quality of blood as well as blood flow.

Mustard Oil contains a unique nutrient called allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) which gives the oil its characteristic pungency. It also bestows upon Mustard Oil powerful cancer-fighting capabilities. This is why Mustard Oil is currently being used in the treatment of cancer – especially colon, stomach, intestinal and colorectal cancer.

Unlike any of the other regular oils in use across India, Mustard Oil is the only one that is proven to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. These attributes go a long way in preventing infections and other diseases. Mustard Oil also has a favourable effect on blood pressure and blood lipids, preventing hypertension and controlling cholesterol.

So embrace Mustard Oil with pride and trust – for it is a Super-Oil with amazing health benefits.

Mustard Oil and Indian Spices – an Awesome Combination!

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The reason why many chefs love Mustard Oil is that it enhances, heightens and reinforces the flavour of the other spices that are used in a recipe. To demonstrate this, here is a recipe in which simple everyday spices like coriander, red chilli powder and asafoetida are brought alive by Mustard Oil.

The ingredients that you will require are:

  • Potatoes: 500 grams
  • Yogurt (Dahi): 250 grams
  • Mustard Oil: 2 tablespoon
  • Coriander (Dhania) Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Red Chilli Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Asafoetida (Heeng): Just a pinch
  • Salt: to taste
  • Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: For garnishing

Preparation:

Wash, peel and boil the potatoes and cut them into medium-sized pieces.

Wash and coarsely chop the coriander leaves.

Method:

In a bowl mix the boiled potato pieces, yogurt, coriander powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well.

Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on a Medium flame. When the oil reaches its smoking point add the asafoetida. Once the aroma of the asafoetida wafts up, add the mixture of potatoes, yogurt and spices.

Fry for around five minutes till the potatoes are well done.

Remove the pan from the flame and transfer the contents to a serving dish. Garnish with the chopped coriander leaves.

This dish is usually eaten with Roti or Puri. As you enjoy your meal be sure to notice how the flavour of the Mustard Oil accentuates and heightens the effect of the spices on your taste buds.

The Mustard Oil Experience

The Nobel Laureate… and his Mustard OilIt’s quite a common story these days – consumers who have used Mustard Oil for decades are suddenly finding that some of their recipes do not have quite the same taste as before. The kids say: “Mom, there’s something wrong with your Dam Alu. It doesn’t taste the same. What’s the matter?”

So… what exactly is the matter? The answer could lie in the mustard oil that you are using… because all mustard oil is not mustard oil in the true sense of the word.

The healthiest form of mustard oil is cold-pressed; not filtered, not refined… only cold-pressed – which is traditionally called Kachi Ghani Mustard Oil across North India. In cold pressing, mustard oil is extracted by crushing mustard seeds in a rotary press known as Kolhu. The extraction takes place at low temperatures, which ensures that the nutritional value in terms of nutrients and natural antioxidants remains intact. This method also ensures that the oil retains its characteristic pungency – and remember: pungency is, and has always been, an indicator of the genuineness and purity of mustard oil.

What’s going wrong nowadays is that some unscrupulous manufacturers, keen to ride on the growing popularity of Mustard Oil, have started using other manufacturing methods – like solvent extraction which is a chemicals-intensive process; expellers that cause heating resulting in loss of nutrients; and the worst of them all: blending cold-pressed mustard oil with refined oil. All this is done to reduce costs and increase profits. Sadly, there’s only one loser – the consumer.

So if your traditional recipes don’t have the magical flavour they used to, maybe it’s time to take a long hard look at the mustard oil that you are using.

Fish and Mustard Oil – Inseparable!

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The fish-loving foodies of Bengal have hundreds of extremely creative ways of using Mustard Oil to bring out the flavours of their fish recipes. In some cases, they don’t need a host of spices to enhance the flavour. In fact, this recipe uses only turmeric powder and green chillies as basic spices. The mustard seeds and mustard oil are the real flavour-boosters!

The ingredients that you will require are simple – and few:

  • Fish (Hilsa): 500 grams
  • Mustard Oil: 4 tablespoon
  • Mustard Seeds: 50 grams
  • Green Chillies: 5
  • Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: 1 tablespoon
  • Salt: to taste

Preparation:

Cut the fish into pieces. Smear each piece with turmeric powder and salt.

Grind the mustard seeds into a coarse paste along with one green chilli and a bit of salt.

Slit and deseed the remaining green chillies.

Method:

Pour around 200 millilitres of water into a pan and heat it on a High flame. When the water comes to a boil, add the fish pieces to the pan. Add the mustard paste, ensuring that it covers each of the fish pieces. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to Medium and cook till the water dries up.

Add the Mustard Oil and green chillies. Stir the contents for a minute or so – then remove the pan from the heat.

Your traditional Bengali Fish and Mustard dish is now ready to be served. This is usually eaten with steaming hot rice. Simple, isn’t it? Just fish and mustard with a few ordinary, everyday spices.