Monday, July 12, 2010

INDUS ORGANICS BLOG: Sesame Seed: Keeps Arthritis Pain Away

INDUS ORGANICS BLOG: Sesame Seed: Keeps Arthritis Pain Away

Sesame Seed: Keeps Arthritis Pain Away

Sesame seeds have been used by people around the world for many centuries. Women of ancient Babylon would eat halva, a mixture of honey and sesame seeds to prolong youth and beauty, while Roman soldiers ate the mixture for strength and energy. Unhulled or natural seeds have more calcium than hulled seeds available in most of the grocery stores. We sell unhulled seeds due to their health benefits.

Cooking Usage: Sesame seeds are sometimes added to breads, including bagels and the tops of burger buns. Sesame seeds may be baked into crackers, often in the form of sticks. Sesame seeds are also sprinkled onto some sushi style foods. Whole seeds are found in many salads and baked snacks as well in Japan. Ground and processed, the seeds can also be used in sweet confections. Sesame seeds can be made into a paste called tahini.

East Asian cuisines, like Chinese cuisine use sesame seeds and oil in some dishes, such as dim sum sesame seed balls and the Vietnamese bánh rán. Sesame flavour (through oil and roasted or raw seeds) is also very popular in Korean cuisine used to marinate meat and vegetables. Chefs in tempura restaurants blend sesame and cottonseed oil for deep-frying.

In Cuban cuisine, sugar and white sesame seeds are combined into a bar resembling peanut brittleand sold in stores and street corners.

Medicinal Usage: The seeds are exceptionally rich in iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, and calcium (90 mg per tablespoon for unhulled seeds, 10 mg for hulled), and contain vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin E (tocopherol). They contain lignans, including unique content of sesamin, which are phytoestrogens with antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Sesame seeds are used due to high calcium content by people who are suffering from arthritis pain.

Sesame oil is used for massage and health treatments of the body in the ancient Indian ayurvedic system. Ayurveda views sesame oil as the most viscous of the plant oils and believes it may pacify the health problems associated with Vata aggravation. Regular massage of Oil also reduces wrinkles. Sesame seeds produce an allergic reaction in a small percentage of the general population

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How to make curries ?

Many people have asked me whether "curry" is a westernized dish that does not exist in India or Asia ?. I have to say that hardly any Indian meal is complete without a curry.

There are many type of curries in India. Let me explain them in the following:

In southern India, curries are based on blend of coconut and tamarind. While in north, it is made from range of mild spices. There is no such thing as Madras curry or even Madras curry powder as the term "curry" refers to hundreds of variations.

A good curry made with vegetables or meat should be fairly thick. A thin curry will not support a blend of spices where as too thick will not moisten the accompanying rice or bread sufficiently.

Curries are colorful and use turmeric, red chili pepper, tamarind, cumin and coriander as ingredients. These spices add flavor and aroma in any preparation.

Generally, curries can have white (yogurt based), red, yellow and green color. The curries from southern India are green while from northern and central India are white, red or yellow. The oil used also varies from region to region giving each curry a unique taste and fragrance.

Peanut and coconut oil is used in many parts of southern India. Coconut is widely grown in southern Indian coastal regions. Mustard oil is used in Bengal region. Clarified butter or ghee is used over most of the country.

A good curry preparation requires time and patience. In north, a basic curry starts with heating the oil or Ghee. Seed spices (cumin, coriander, red chili pepper, mustard, fenugreek, fennel) are added to the heated oil for releasing their aromatic oils.

Onion, Garlic, Ginger and tomatoes are added in the second step for moisture.
Powdered spices are added in the third step so that they don't get burnt. Main ingredient (vegetable or lentil or meat) and salt with little water are added next to obtain the right consistency.

Controlled heat and an eye for right texture and color are equally important for delicious curry.
Thus curries are made in steps and almost like building blocks. Think of curries as toy building blocks where they can be moved around and re-arranged in countless ways.

Curry recipes can be never ending as every one has their way of preparation. You can have your own recipe for many curry preparations if you follow the basic steps mentioned above. Beware, curries are addicting and once your taste buds are exposed, it is very hard to go back !. Are you ready ?.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Panch Phoran (Bengal five spices)- A magical blend

Panch Phoran blend has been used by people in Asia for ages. It is a very popular blend as it can be used in many dishes. We recently started offering this blend due to market demand and medicinal impact of this magical blend.

The distinct aroma of Bengali cuisine is mostly due to the blend of spices known as panch phoron. Panch means "five" and phoron is "flavor" or "spice", hence the common translation Bengali Five-Spice". Panch phoron is a colorful blend of flavorful seeds: the green of Fennel seed, Black mustard and Nigella seeds (black seed), golden Fenugreek and buff-brown colored Cumin seeds.

Five seeds used in panch phoran are colorful and have very unique medicinal properties:

1) Fennel Seeds - helps digestion and colic
2) Fenugreek seeds - reduces blood sugar
3) Black Mustard - considered a cure for colds and fevers
4) Black Seed (Nigella Sativa) - reduces blood sugar, helps body Neuro system, enhances stamina and combat allergies.
5) Cumin - has also been used in ancient medicine of Ayurveda as an ingredient for many digestive formulations.