Breathe Easy – with Mustard Oil

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Across most Indian cities, the quality of air is degenerating rapidly because of worsening pollution. Here is a natural home remedy that can be very useful in decongesting our lungs, preventing the build-up of phlegm in the respiratory tract and keeping colds and coughs at bay.

Take a large pan of water and heat it till it begins to boil. Next add two tablespoons of Mustard Oil and mix it thoroughly with the boiling water – then add one tablespoon of caraway seeds (Black Jeera).

Take the pan off the flame with the liquid still boiling. Place it on a table mat. Cover your head with a towel and place your face over the pan (be careful). Close your eyes and inhale the steam through your nostrils in large deep breaths.

Almost immediately you will feel your nasal cavity opening up; and in a few minutes you can feel a clear, soothing sensation in your respiratory tract. This means that the good old-fashioned home remedy is working!

You can repeat this treatment as often as you like. There are no side-effects.

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Arbi – with a Special Aroma

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Here’s a preparation of Arbi (also known as Taro Root) in which the entire recipe is brought alive by the delicious flavour and aroma of Mustard Oil.

The ingredients you will require are:

  • Arbi: 500 grams cut like French Fries
  • Black Cumin Seeds: Half teaspoon
  • White Cumin: 1 teaspoon
  • Fenugreek Seeds: Half teaspoon
  • Carom Seeds: 1 teaspoon
  • Dried Mango slices: 6
  • Green Chillies: 4
  • Red Chillies: 8
  • Mustard Oil: 250 ml
  • Salt to taste

Heat a little mustard oil in a pan and sauté the fenugreek seeds. Add the rest of the mustard oil to the pan, place the Arbi in the oil and fry till the Arbi turns light brown. The lustre of the mustard oil will give it a light golden colour.

Now add the black cumin seeds, white cumin, carom seeds, green chillies and red chillies. Add salt to taste. Cook on a low flame, stirring slowly till the Arbi becomes tender. Add the dried mango slices and allow the mixture to simmer for a round 5 minutes on a low flame.

Your delicious Arbi is now ready to serve; it is best eaten with hot rotis or parathas.

Mustard Oil – The Winner!

 

In their health-conscious frenzy for chasing Zero-Fat and Fat-Free products, people tend to forget that fats are an essential part of one’s diet. The body converts fats into energy and you use that energy to get your work done. A totally fat-free diet isn’t a very healthy idea.

The National Institute of Nutrition recommends that for Indians one-fifth of one’s daily diet should be made up of fats. That’s significant. It means 20 percent of what you eat regularly should comprise fats. At the same time it is important to acknowledge that not all fats are healthy. For instance, trans fats are bad for health – they lead to clogged arteries and are known to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The best fats to add to your diet are Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated Fatty Acids and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

By this measure, the best edible oil would definitely be Mustard Oil. It has the lowest levels of saturated fats among all edible oils, and is rich in essential fatty acids like Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated Fatty Acids and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.

It is also important to balance the ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. Our ancestors started out with diets that delivered an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of 1:1 and as we all know, they didn’t suffer from heart disease, hypertension or stroke! Today’s Western diets and eating habits have pushed the ratio to 20:1 or more – and we all know what havoc that’s creating on the health front.

The World Health Organisation recommends an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of 5:4 which comes quite close to the ancient 1:1 ratio. And the edible oil with the ratio closest to the WHO recommendation is Mustard Oil.

No surprises! We have known it all along – Mustard Oil is a winner all the way!

The Mustard Oil Lamp

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Do you remember the old days when earthen lamps filled with mustard oil were lit as Diwali decorations? It was quite a ritual and it brought the entire family together. Some painted the earthen vessels. Some rolled the cotton wicks. Some filled the vessels with mustard oil. And then everyone got together to light the lamps. How pretty they looked!

Ever since these environmental-friendly lamps were replaced by paraffin and foil imitations or worse still, those LED monstrosities, the old-world charm of earthen mustard oil lamps has, sadly, faded.

There was a powerful rationale underlying the traditional mustard oil lamps. The smoke from these lamps had a purifying effect on the surrounding air. This smoke had no polluting effect – on the contrary, it had a pleasant smoky aroma that acted as a deodorizer in addition to keeping mosquitoes and other insects away.

Also remember that Diwali marks a change of season… the transition to the winter months. As such, the smoke from mustard oil lamps helped in preventing the outbreak of disease and also kept germ-carrying pests away from the house. That’s ancient Indian wisdom for you!

This Diwali, it might be a good idea to return to the charming old tradition of using mustard oil lamps in all their earthy glory. Forget the Made in China twinkling lights and instead, illuminate your home with good old-fashioned Made in India mustard oil lamps.

A Chutney from Bengal

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The Bengalis create some truly unique culinary delights using Mustard Oil – and that includes a dazzling array of curries, pickles and chutneys.

In this post we are going to look at one such unique creation – a delicious chutney that uses banana peels! Yes, that’s right! One normally relishes the banana and throws the peel away. Well, don’t – if you want to make this delightful chutney!

This age-old recipe uses the peels of raw bananas. Take the peels and grind them along with garlic and peppercorns. Next, it’s time to add the secret ingredient – Mustard Oil! The trick is to use cold-pressed Mustard Oil, known as Kachchi Ghani Mustard Oil in North India. You won’t get the same flavour if you use refined or filtered mustard oil, so be careful.

Take the mixture of raw banana peels, garlic and peppercorns and garnish it generously with Mustard Oil – and add a dash of lemon. And your chutney is ready.

But there’s a twist in this tale. What you have created isn’t just a mouth-watering chutney. It is also a great home remedy with medicinal properties that aid digestion and soothe upset tummies.

Go ahead – add a tangy flavour of Bengal to your meals!

Colds and Coughs… Vanquished!

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The onset of the festive season also means a slight nip in the air; gentle signs that winter’s on its way. However, this change of season can also bring some undesirable elements: coughs, colds, sniffles and fever.

Here’s a relaxing and invigorating way to keep such problems far, far away. Try a Mustard Foot Bath.

Take a bowl that is large enough for you to dip both your feet into. Crush a handful of mustard seeds into pulp and mix it with around 100 ml of Mustard Oil. Alternatively, you could also mix two tablespoons of dried mustard powder in Mustard Oil. Now add hot water… not too hot; just hot enough for you to comfortably dip your feet into it.

Now sit comfortably. Place both your feet in the bowl and relax. Read a magazine or watch some television. Keep your feet in the Mustard Foot Bath till the water becomes lukewarm.

Now towel your feet dry and enjoy the warm, soothing sensation of total relaxation, especially after a hard day’s work.

You could also heighten the efficacy of your Mustard Foot Bath by giving your feet a vigorous Mustard Oil rub once you are done with the foot bath.

Goodbye Colds and Coughs!

Let’s Celebrate!

The festive season is on – and it is time to bring on those special menus that give you a chance to indulge your taste buds… even if it means not sticking to your diet for a dew days!

For today’s celebration, we have picked a traditional delicacy from Kashmir: Gushtaba, a part of Kashmir’s famed Wazwan cuisine. P Mark Mustard Oil is proud to be included in this rich culinary tradition, having been an integral part of Kashmiri cooking for decades – since 1933.

Here’s what you will need for this recipe:

• Mutton: 800 grams, boneless and minced

• Mutton fat: 200 grams

• Fennel Powder: 2 tablespoons

• Coriander Powder: 1 teaspoon

• Dry Fenugreek leaves: powdered to 1 tablespoon

• Cumin powder: 1 tablespoon

• Cumin: 1 teaspoon

• Black Cardamom: 2, crushed

• Green Cardamom: 2, crushed

• Black Cardamom seeds: 2 tablespoons

• Cinnamon: 2 large pieces

• Bay leaves: 2

• Cloves: 5, crushed

• Onions: 3, medium sized chopped

• Egg: 1

• Yoghurt: 300 grams

• Mustard Oil: 150 ml

• Ghee: 1 tablespoon

• Salt: 1 tablespoon

• Coriander or Mint: for garnishing

Alright, so now that you have all your ingredients let’s get started!

First, place the mutton mince in a mixing bowl and add the black cardamom seeds, half a tablespoon of salt, 2 tablespoon of mustard oil and egg white – and mix thoroughly.

Take a piece of clean thin white cotton cloth (with no starch in it) around 3 inches by 3 inches; place the remaining salt along with cumin powder, cinnamon powder, fennel powder, coriander powder, fenugreek powder, black cardamoms, green cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves in the cloth and tie it into a little bundle. Keep aside.

Take the minced mutton mixture and form it into small balls – around 30 grams each. Keep aside.

Take a large pan and pour in one litre of water. Add the bay leaves along with the spice bundle and heat on full flame. As soon as the water begins to boil add the mutton balls and continue boiling on medium flame till most of the liquid evaporates.

Take another bowl and pour in around 200 ml of water. Remove the spice bundle from the pan place it in the bowl and squeeze it thoroughly. You can now throw the spice bundle away – its job is done.

Now pour the water in the bowl into the pan and boil once again for around 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the flame.

Pour the remaining mustard oil into a frying pan; add the chopped onions and fry them till they take on a golden brown texture. Once the onions are done, grind them and put them back in the frying pan. Now add the yoghurt and the cumin seeds and boil on a medium flame; keep stirring the mixture to ensure that the yoghurt does not curdle.

Take this mixture and pour it into the pan containing the mutton balls and the spiced gravy. Add the ghee and cook on a low flame for around five minutes.

Pour your Gushtaba into a suitable serving dish, garnish it with coriander leaves or mint leaves and serve it hot. Traditionally, Gushtaba is served with steaming hot Basmati rice.

Enjoy your celebration!