The Veggie Trio

Aloo_gobhi_aur_matar_ki_sabji

There is a triad of common everyday vegetables that Indians are very fond of: Potatoes (Aloo), Cauliflower (Gobi) and Peas (Matar). This combination of Aloo-Gobi-Matar is an all-time favourite, and there are many variations of the recipe across different regions of India.

Today’s post features one of the many versions of this ever-popular recipe from the Hindi hinterland. By themselves Potato, Cauliflower and Peas tend to be rather bland in taste. In this recipe, the “secret ingredient” that brings these vegetables to life is rich, pungent cold-pressed Mustard Oil.

Here is a list of the ingredients that you will be needing:

  • Potato: 1, medium-sized
  • Cauliflower: 300 gram
  • Green Peas (fresh): 200 gram
  • Onion: 1, medium-sized
  • Tomato: 2, medium-sized
  • Mustard Oil: 5 tablespoon
  • Ginger: One 1-inch piece
  • Garlic: 10 cloves
  • Cloves (Laung): 3
  • Cinnamon (Dalchini): One 1-inch stick
  • Bay Leaf (TejPatta): 1
  • Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: 2 teaspoon
  • Black Cardamom (Ilaichi): 1
  • Coriander (Dhania) Seeds: 2 teaspoon
  • Peppercorn (Kali Mirchi): 6
  • Dried Red Chillies (Whole): 6
  • Turmeric (Haldi) Powder: Just a pinch
  • Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: For garnishing
  • Fenugreek (Methi) Leaves: For garnishing
  • Salt: to taste 

    Preparation:

    Cut the potato into cubes. Separate the cauliflower into small florets. Slice the onion. Finely chop the tomatoes.

    Grind the ginger, garlic, dried red chillies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, black cardamom and cinnamon stick along with one tablespoon of Mustard Oil into a thick paste.

    Method:

    Heat two tablespoon of Mustard Oil in a pan. Add the potato cubes and cauliflower florets, and fry till they turn light brown in colour. Remove the pan from the flame and keep aside.

    In another pan, heat two tablespoon of Mustard Oil. Add the onion slices along with the bay leaf and fry till the onion slices take on a pearly brown texture.

    Next add the tomatoes and cook till they form a tender and thick gravy. Then add the ground spices paste, the turmeric powder and salt. Continue cooking for another three minutes or so.

    Now add the fried potatoes and cauliflower. Then add the green peas. Stir well ensuring that the vegetables get coated with the spices.

    Add around 300 ml of water; turn the heat down to low and place a lid on the pan. Allow the contents to simmer and cook for another 9 to 10 minutes.

    Remove the pan from the flame. Place the contents in a serving dish and garnish with coriander and fenugreek leaves. Serve hot with Roti or rice.

Advertisements

The Battle against Cholesterol

High-Cholesterol

The world continues to sit up and take notice of cold-pressed Mustard Oil and the mind-boggling array of health benefits that this wonder oil offers. In America, the Harvard School of Public Health and the American Heart Association have already acknowledged the value of Mustard Oil in reducing the risks associated with heart disease and hypertension. The National Cholesterol Education Programme (NCEP) also hops on this bandwagon, pointing out that Mustard Oil can go a long way in fighting the battle against Cholesterol.

The NCEP was initiated to reduce the spiralling rate of cardiovascular disease in the United States of America – in particular, heart disease arising from elevated cholesterol levels. The Programme recommends the use of cooking oils that have low levels of saturated fats, high levels of monounsaturated fats and a healthy ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3.

Mustard Oil in its cold-pressed meets all the NCEP parameters. Mustard Oil has the lowest levels of Saturated Fatty Acids among all edible oils. It is high in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA) and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA). And it has an ideal ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 – it is, in fact, closest to the ratio recommended by the World Health Organization.

As part of your daily diet, Mustard Oil can play a vital role in the battle against high cholesterol. Mustard Oil has the innate power to enhance good cholesterol (HDL) and control the build-up of bad cholesterol (LDL). In the process, it balances your Triglyceride levels.

So win the battle against Cholesterol – with Mustard Oil as your primary weapon.

India’s Flavour, India’s Oil

Banner

As India celebrates its Independence Day, it is also time to celebrate everything that is innately Indian… aspects of our rich and diverse art, culture, cuisines and traditions that have remained intact for thousands of years and continue to be powerful symbols of our ancient heritage even today. They arouse strong emotions along with an overwhelming sense of national pride.

These are aspects that have not changed with the passage of time; they have not changed with the advent of technology; and they have not changed even in the face of widespread urbanization, modernization and globalization.

One such aspect is our very own Kachchi Ghani Mustard Oil – cold-pressed Mustard Oil manufactured using the traditional Kolhu method of extraction. Mustard is known to have originated in the foothills of the Himalayas more than 5000 years ago and since then Mustard Oil has been one of India’s staple cooking oils. In this sense, Mustard Oil truly is “India’s Oil”.

In this short film, well known character actor Boman Irani, who is also the brand ambassador for P Mark Mustard Oil, talks about why we should celebrate Mustard Oil as India’s Oil – and what better day to do this than our very own Independence Day!

 

The Wazwan Legacy

Cauliflower_Paneer_Kofta_Curry

The legendary Wazwan cuisine of Kashmir is difficult to create in its authentic form. It needs discipline, it takes time to prepare and it needs a chef who is well-versed in the Art of Wazwan. However, across generations numerous variations of Wazwan recipes have been handed down from mother-to-daughter and father-to-son; some of these variations look at simplifying the recipes without sacrificing the authentic flavour. In today’s post, we present one such recipe: the Kashmiri Kofta.

Let’s begin by gathering all the ingredients that you would need:

  • Mutton: 750 gram, minced
  • Onions: 2 large, grated
  • Mustard Oil: 3 tablespoon
  • Yogurt: 500 gram
  • Chicken broth: 400 ml
  • Red Chilli Powder: Half a teaspoon
  • Fennel (Saunf) seeds: 2 tablespoon, ground
  • Ginger, ground: 2 tablespoon
  • Garam Masala: 1 tablespoon
  • Asafoetida (Heeng) Powder: Half a teaspoon
  • Cloves (Laung): 5
  • Cinnamon (Dalchini): One stick (1-inch)
  • Cinnamon (Dalchini) Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Black Cardamoms (Ilaichi): 2 (with seeds taken out and crushed)
  • Coriander (Dhania) Leaves, chopped: 3 tablespoon
  • Salt: 3 teaspoon

Preparation:

Take the minced meat and put it in a bowl. Add the fennel, ginger, yogurt, Garam Masala and 2 tablespoon of the chopped coriander. Add 2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of Mustard Oil. Mix thoroughly and let the meat marinate for at least two hours. In Kashmir, they let it marinate overnight.

Take around 200 ml of water in a small cup. Add the asafoetida, mix and keep aside.

Method:

Once the meat has been marinated, use your hands to shape the minced meat into palm-sized meatballs (a meatball is called “Kofta”, hence the name Kashmiri Kofta). Dip each meatball in the water-asafoetida mixture. When you are done, pour or sprinkle the remaining water-asafoetida mixture over the meatballs. Keep aside.

Heat the remaining Mustard Oil in a pan with the flame set on Low. Add the cloves and the cinnamon stick and sauté quickly for a minute or less. Add the onions, increase the heat to High and continue to sauté for around 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and stir vigorously to mix well. Reduce the flame to Low heat and add the yogurt. This is a tricky bit. Make sure the yogurt is at room temperature; pour it slowly, whisking to ensure that the gravy doesn’t curdle. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.

Reduce the heat. Add the meatballs one by one. Add the remaining salt along with the red chilli powder. Let the mixture simmer for around 20 minutes.

Place the mixture in a serving dish, sprinkle the cinnamon powder and the black cardamoms, and garnish with the remaining coriander leaves.

Your homemade version of the famous Kashmiri Kofta is now ready to be served. This delectable dish can be eaten with roti or with steaming hot rice.

 

Smile – with Mustard Oil

dental-and-oral-health-ways-to-keep-gums-healthy_thumb

For thousands of years, Mustard Oil has been a part of Indian dental care and home remedies for toothaches. Back in those days, there was no concept of toothpaste in the modern sense of the word. Instead a mixture of Mustard Oil and salt was rubbed on the teeth and massaged on the gums as a part of everyday oral hygiene.

Now contemporary medical research shows that this ancient concoction was indeed an ideal way to keep one’s teeth and gums healthy. One study published in the Journal of the Indian Society of Periodontology shows that massaging the teeth and gums with 0.32 gram of salt in 5 millilitres of Mustard Oil preceded by scalar and root planing (SRP) with ultrasonic scalar led to a significant reduction in the risks associated with Periodontal disease – a chronic inflammation that destroys the Peridontium and sometimes results in the loss of teeth.

Mustard Oil is known to have powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. All these go a long way in fighting infections inside the mouth, maintaining oral hygiene and keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

Both Mustard Oil and salt are common items found in almost every Indian kitchen. So go ahead and make your own oral healthcare formulation at home. Use it to massage your teeth and gums regularly – and smile!

 

Baingan with a Bang!

baingan_bharta

In places like Bengal and Bihar, certain recipes that have evolved across hundreds of years use two key ingredients for creating their unique flavours: cold-pressed Mustard Oil and a quintessentially Indian mixture of five spices known as Paanch Phoron (‘Paanch’ means five; ‘Phoron’ means spices). You can buy Paanch Phoron in packs or you can make it at home by mixing Fenugreek (Methi) seeds, Nigella (Kalonji) seeds, Cumin (Jeera) seeds, Black Mustard (Sarson) seeds and Fennel (Saunf) seeds in equal portions.

Here’s a traditional Eggplant (Baingan) recipe that makes excellent use of these two ingredients. Eggplant is also known as Aubergine or Brinjal.

The ingredients that you will need are:

  • Eggplant (Baingan): 1, large
  • Mustard Oil: 3 tablespoon
  • Onion: 1, small (chopped)
  • Tomato: 1, small (chopped)
  • Green Chilli: 1, chopped
  • Garlic Cloves: 3, chopped
  • Paanch Phoron: one-and-a-half teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste

Preparation:

Wash the Eggplant and then roast it by placing it directly over a low flame. Continue roasting till the outer surface of the Eggplant becomes charred – make sure that you roast it long enough for the insides to also get cooked. Once this is done, carefully take the Eggplant off the flame (use tongs) and dunk it in a bowl of cold water. When the burnt Eggplant returns to room temperature, take it out of the bowl and peel off the charred outer skin. Mash the Eggplant to a pulp (in India, this is called a Bhartha) and keep aside.

Method:

Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan. Add the Paanch Phoron. Once the spice starts spluttering, add the garlic, onion, green chilli and salt. Sauté for a few minutes till the onion takes on a pearly, translucent texture. Add the tomato and continue to sauté till the tomato is cooked (but make sure it doesn’t turn mushy).

In a separate bowl, place the cooked spices, garlic, onion, green chilli and tomato mixture. Add the mashed Eggplant and mix thoroughly.

Your traditional Baingan Bhartha is now ready. It is usually eaten with roti or rice.

Mustard Oil and Matters of the Mind

Mind

A new dangerous epidemic is sweeping across the world – Depression. Across the globe men, women, teenagers and senior citizens alike are becoming victims of this serious condition that doesn’t merely degrade the quality of life but can also turn out to be life-threatening in its advanced stages. Doctors from various fields of specialization are rolling their sleeves up and getting to work… because research has consistently been revealing that Depression is rooted in many physical health issues – not just mental ones.

A study published in the Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cardiology found that depression and hypertension shared the same pathways. In essence, these two conditions were closely related to each other. The study put a set of patients through the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale survey. The patients exhibiting symptoms of chronic depression were checked for a history of hypertension – and it was found that the overwhelming majority of these patients had poor control of their blood pressure.

Here’s where the Mustard Oil angle comes in. One of the best ways to control blood pressure using natural methods is to include Mustard Oil in one’s daily diet. For starters, the nutrients in Mustard Oil keep the overall cardiovascular system healthy and functioning efficiently. Mustard Oil is very good for your heart, your blood vessels and your blood circulation system. It rectifies the balance of good and bad cholesterol (HDL and LDL) and keeps your triglyceride levels in check. Multiple research studies have shown that a regular intake of Mustard Oil can significantly reduce the risks of hypertension and Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD).

Thus, the dangers of sliding towards depression are lowered if one’s blood pressure is under control – and using natural cold-pressed Mustard Oil is a great way to do this. Do remember: in ancient India there is no known record of the existence of heart disease, hypertension or depression. Think about it.