Read more... - World Diabetes Day 2...
If you think that Diabetes only affects the obese and old, you are sadly mistaken. I was 36 years old, 63-65 kgs in weight when I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I am from the Indian sub-continent and diabetes runs in my family and most of the males have got it at an early age. Going by that I knew that diabetes would be in my life as well.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are over 366 million people with diabetes around the world and over 50 million reside in India. Based on the circle of family, friends and colleagues, it appears to me that Indians have a higher risk of being diabetic, often at younger ages. 14th November is World Diabetes Day and I wanted to spread the word about the disease and help raise awareness.
Growing up, I knew my father had diabetes and that he took medicine but he never really educated me on what the disease was, how I could help him and hopefully use that knowledge to delay the onset of my diabetes. It was a different time and perhaps he did not realize the importance of educating me. He eventually passed away from a heart attack, probably a result of his diabetes. I never really learned much from all that and continued to make mistakes of drinking soda, having sweets and having too much food especially rice. I oddly never gained much weight despite these bad habits. Eventually at age 35, I started showing signs of diabetes and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at age 36. It changed everything and now I had to watch everything I ate and can no longer eat like I did before and that will be the case for the rest of my life and will get worse as I get older.
Over the last few years, I see many around me, who are at the risk of diabetes but just don't care (like I was a few years ago) and I feel the least I can do is educate them. I have a 6-year old son who knows about diabetes and what he should avoid. He stays away from soda completely, he limits how much sweet stuff he has every day. If he is offered a 2nd piece of cake at a birthday, he asks us if he can have it. The best thing he does is remind me to stay away from things that are bad for me. I know I must do that so I can be in his life for as long as I can and that he can delay the onset of diabetes in his life (or hopefully never get it or perhaps a cure will be found in the next 30-40 years).
Read more... - Diwali Snack - Masal...
Its Diwali once again and our kitchen gets busier than usual with the preparation of snacks and sweets. We try and make at least 5 items every Diwali and it's a lot of fun. It helps bring in the energy and memories of being in India. This year, the first snack that we made was the Masala Puri. Masala Puri is a crispy and mildly spicy puri that is created by deep frying some dough.
Masala puri can be made in many different ways but the basic recipe is the same. Masala puri is made using wheat flour, turmeric and ajwain or cumin seeds. The dough is rolled into small balls, flattened using a rolling pin and deep fried in oil. Take a look at the pictures below to get an idea for the steps.
You can find the recipe for Masala Puri in our recipes section. Masala Puri is really easy to make and you should consider it on your Diwali snack list. You can get a pretty big batch done rather quickly. We were able to get a box of 50 puris completed in less than an hour. If you store them in a nice air tight container, they will stay nice and crisp for a few days. We had a lot of fun making them today and now the air is filled with smell of fresh crisp puris. Next on our list, some Besan Ladoos.
Read more... - British Curry Awards...
The awards, now in their eighth year, have become the country’s main showcase for the £3.5bn a year curry industry. The winners of the British Curry Awards 2012 will be announced at the Battersea Evolution, London, on Monday 26th November at a black tie gala dinner. Be prepared to be amazed.
This year again the event will be packed with celebrities, MPs and high profiles guests amongst others and will be more spectacular and celebrating the industry’s involvement with the Olympics. The Awards dinner itself is the biggest event of the year in the hospitality industry calendar.
On a more positive note, the nomination process for the 2012 British Curry Awards is now open and anyone can put forward a restaurant for consideration. With around 10,000 restaurants, 80,000 employees and a turnover of £3.5 billion, the curry restaurant industry is not only an important part of the UK economy but also of its social fabric.
This year, the UK audience will be swelled by the over 2.5 million curry lovers with the help of our partners and associates. It will be first time ever record breaking number of nominations expected to be received. The British Curry Awards is the pioneer in this industry and even our Prime Minister David Cameron dubbed the ‘Curry Oscars’ and ‘uplifting & “inspiring evening the British Curry Awards really is’ in his video message and when he attended the awards dinner in 2009 remained the gold standard, and the biggest night of the year for the near 100,000 people involved in the industry.
Alongside the usual categories, there will be one new one this year - Best Delivery Restaurant/Takeaway. This will be open to restaurants that are takeaways only and also those restaurants that offer a home delivery service. This category will be judged on a nation-wide basis. There will also be the usual high level guests and presenters and a quality programme of entertainment.
Read more... - WTF What Texas Fried...
The Texas State Fair is an annual event held in Dallas during the Fall, usually held some time in September and October. The Texas State Fair is the largest state fair in the US with over 2 million attendees in2010. The fair has a number of things that people of all ages can do such as see new auto products, learn about wine, learn about farming, enjoy of few rides and of course sample some great food, not just anyfood but "Fried Food". One of the biggest things at the fair over the last few years has been the various types of fried foods. We had only heard about the various fried foods but were quite amazed to see thatthey fry anything.
The fried food is available all over the place but if you want to sample something specific, you may have to figure out where exactly that is being sold. We took pictures of the food stands and came up with all thefried products we could find. Turns out, you can have a complete fried meal - from drinks to desserts. We found so many fried things but no Fried Rice. :-)
Warning - your cholesterol and blood sugar levels may go up just by reading the list below.
- Fried Beer
- Fried Lemonade
- Deep Fried Frozen Margarita
- Fried Pork Wings - See pigs can fly
- Nachos Fried Chicken
- Deep Fried Chicken Waffle
- Fried Butter
- Chicken Fried Cactus Bites
- Picnic on a Stick
- Fried Jambalaya - Winner of Best Taste 2012
- Deep Fried Mac and Cheese Sliders
- Fried BBQ Ribs
- Fried Cheese Burger Balls
- Fried Mexican Firecrackers
- Fried Burger
Last but not the Least
- Fried Bacon Cinnamon Roll - Winner Most Creative 2012
- Deep-Fried Divine Chocolate Tres Leches Cake
- Funnel Cake Fries
- Fried PB & J - Fried Bread Pudding
- Fried S'mores
- Red Velvet Fried Cup Cake
- Fried Pecan Pie
- Fried Moonpie
- Fried Autumn Pumpkin Pie
- Fried Cheesecake
- Texas Fried Frito Pie
- Fried Bubblegum - almost tempted to buy this just to see what this could be.
What did we sample you ask? Well, we stayed away from the fried food and found a nice truck called the Good Karma Kitchen that served some good vegan and organic food (who let these guys in?). It was very tasty.
Unfortunately on the final weekend, the biggest fried thing at the state fair was Big Tex. Big Tex was a 52 ft statue and marketing icon of the state fair. Unfortunately, he caught fire and burned down.
Read more... - Tips and Lessons Lea...
|| ||Okra (or Bhindi as its called in India) is a very popular vegetable in India. This year decided to grow Okra again because we had a good yield last year. I asked a few friends and they recommended some herbs like basil & mint and also Okra. They said Okra is easy to grow and requires little maintenance overhead. Since we love Okra I decided to give it a shot and for the most part I was successful in growing it and also cooked a couple of dishes but not before we learnt a few lessons which I thought would make for some good reading. |
1. Spacing of the Okra Plants - The instructions said to plant the seeds about 12-24 inches apart (but who reads instructions) and I must have planted them 6-8 inches apart. Not a big deal, or so it looked like for the first few weeks but once they grew big, I realized my mistake. You can see from the pictures the all of plants are bunched close together and its quite messy. Plant your seeds about 18 inches apart or better yet, read the instructions.
2. Harvest / Pick Everyday - After about 7-8 weeks, you will start seeing the first signs of the Okra pods (which was super exciting) but I had no idea when to pick them and so we let them grow and grow (and grow they did). Some got to about 6-7 inches and I decided to read instructions (you are seeing a pattern here) and realized that its probably best to pick them when they are between 2-3 inches long. You will be surprised how fast they grow so you have to look at your plants everyday or 2 days at the very max. I have probably lost half my harvest because I was too late.
You need to go look at your Okra plant everyday.
3. Okra plants are very itchy - I wish this was in the instructions (which I would have read after 2 lessons learnt). Yes, Okra plants are very very itchy. Sometimes just touching one leaf can give you a pretty strong itch. Given how close our plants were, I had to move some leaves and dig in to pick the Okra and I got a strong itch which lasted a few hours (a little Cortizone cream and a wash helped). Given that its summer time, most of us would not wear long sleeves, but please wear long sleeved shirts or gloves and make sure your face does not touch it. This is probably the most important tip. Okra plants are very itchy, so make sure you are well covered.
4. Okra plants are very generous - Once the plants grow and the pods start to form, you will be amazed how much Okra you will get. With about 4 plants, we could harvest enough in a week to make something with it.
Lesser known facts about Okra :
- Gumbo is Swahili for okra.
- It also also called Lady's finger in some countries.
- Okra seeds may be roasted and ground to form a caffeinate-free substitute for coffee.
Overall, its been fun growing Okra this summer. I never had a Green thumb but I certainly do have an itchy thumb now.
Disclaimer : I am not a farmer or claim to be any expert on growing Okra or any other vegetables for that matter.
Read more... - An alternate approac...
|When you think of Indian food, the first thing that comes to most people's mind is the buffet. People love the Indian buffet because they get to eat till to their heart's content. As a diabetic, buffets are something I try and avoid but its often hard to avoid them, because your friends and family members like to enjoy a good buffet. Also, many restaurants sometimes do not offer you food from their regular menu when they serve buffets. Its a dilemma that I often face. In general, buffets are a problem for the following situations and reasons|
- Diabetics - If you are a diabetic like me, or have family members who have diabetes, you know that diabetics have to control their portions. The buffet is not the right place for that. Its like taking an recovering alcoholic to a pub for a celebration. Most buffets are priced with the expectations that their patrons will probably eat at least 2-3 rounds. If you are a disciplined diabetic, you will probably eat much less than what you paid for.
- Individuals on a diet - While you may not be diabetic, you may be pre-diabetic or on a weight loss program and again buffets are not the place to be.
- Wastage of Food - Buffets encourage people to waste food. If you don't like it, ditch it (for fans of the movie Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron - "Thoda Khao, Thoda Phenko"). I have seen many plates go to the trash can with the food having been barely eaten. For a country with a high poverty level, its a criminal waste to throw away such food.
Can something be done to perhaps change the way the buffet system works in India? Perhaps...This is a thought from how food is served in my office cafeteria. A lot of the food such as salads and pastas are served by weight. You pick what you want on your plate, they weigh it and you pay by the ounce. The maximum price you pay per plate is capped, so if you take more, you don't have to pay extra for it. It works great for someone like me as I need to control my portions. Perhaps with a little help from technology, we could be take this concept to the buffets. Patrons will be provided bar codes when we opt for the buffet. Every time they go for a helping, their plates are weighed and go against the bar code. The patron know where they stand every time they refill. The restaurant can keep a couple of pricing options at 60%, 75% and 100% of the buffet value so people can decide what band they want to eat at. For those who want to go flat out, they can and for those who want to be more careful also have an option.
It may sound crazy and we wanted to see what our readers think of this. Thoughts welcome. Please leave your comments below.
Read more... - Mate - Infusion Tea ...
Mate (pronounced Maa-tey) is a traditional South American infused drink that is very popular in Uruguay and neighboring countries, particularly in Argentina, Paraguay, southern states of Brazil, south of Chile and the Bolivian Chaco. During my stay in Uruguay, I have seen everyone drinking Mate. People have it at their homes, at the office and even walking around the city.
It is prepared from steeping dried leaves of yerba (pronounced sherba) mate in hot water. As with other brewed herbs, yerba mate leaves are dried, chopped, and ground into a powdery mixture called yerba.Mate is served in a shared hollow calabash gourd and is served with a metal straw. The dried calabash gourd is dried to make it hard and then the outside is wrapped with a leather shell. The straw is called a bombilla in some Latin American countries.
The straw is traditionally made of silver. Modern, commercially available straws are typically made of nickel silver, called Alpaca; stainless steel, or hollow-stemmed cane. The bombilla acts as both a straw and a sieve. The submerged end is flared, with small holes or slots that allow the brewed liquid in, but block the chunky matter that makes up much of the mixture.
To make the mate, the calabash gourd is filled with the dried leaves of the yerba and then filled with hot water from a thermos. In the workplace, a thermos or kettle is shared among the employees. Using the bombilla straw, mate is slowly sipped and enjoyed. You can see how it looks in the pictures below. I will buy a Mate set this weekend and taste it next week.
Read more... - Chivito - Sandwich S...
We are currently visiting Uruguay and will be sharing some of the popular recipes and dishes from this country. Uruguayan cuisine is traditionally based on its European roots, in particular, Mediterranean food from Italy, Spain, Portugal and France, but also from countries such as Germany and Britain, along with African and indigenous mixtures. The first dish we are featuring is a local sandwich-like dish called the Chivito.
As you can see in the picture, the Chivito consists primarily of a thin slice of filet mignon (churrasco beef), with mayonnaise, black or green olives, mozzarella, tomatoes and commonly also bacon, fried or hardboiled eggs and ham. It is served in a bun, often with a side of French fries. Other ingredients might be added into the sandwich such as red beets, peas, grilled or pan-fried red peppers and slices of cucumber.
The Chivito I had was made of chicken and had lettuce and peppers as well. The chicken and bacon seemed to be grilled with the egg making the flavors quite interesting.
The word Chivito literally means "little goat" or "baby goat". It is claimed the name arose at a restaurant in Uruguay, when a patron who was from the northern part of Argentina (Cordoba) ordered baby goat meat ("chivito") like one that she had ordered in Argentina. She was looking for a special taste, something similar to what she had experienced in her region. But since the restaurant owner Mr. Cabrera did not have this specialty, he served his toasted bread with ham, sliced filet mignon and seasoned it with different ingredients.
If you are like me from India, then you may fine the Chivito just about OK as its not very spicy or contain any spices. I personally do not like the taste of olives so probably the next time, I will try it without the olives and with beef. If you do end up visiting Uruguay, don't miss this national treat. Stay tuned for some more dishes from Uruguay.
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chivito_(sandwich)
Read more... - Indian Food Map
We have been asked the question, "What is Indian Food like?" many times and I have always struggled to answer this question because there is no easy answer. India is a vast and diverse country and each state is a country in itself in terms of its food, dress, language etc. You can eat Momo's from the North East, Sambhar in the South, Dhokla in the East and Dum Aloo in the North and they are all unique and fascinating. The North has Mughal influences while the East has Chinese influences, all making for a great dining experience. With the recent economic growth in India, many of these dishes are now available in the big cities. However, its probably best to travel to the respective states to savour the real taste.
We recently came across this India Food Map that lists some of the Must Try dishes in each of India's states and it answers tha question "What is Indian Food like?". Now I can send anyone who has this question to this map. Click on the Read More link below to see a larger image of the map.
Read more... - Indians, Buffets and...
According to the World Diabetes Foundation, India has the most diabetics in the world with roughly 50 million. The number is expected to grow to over 70 million by 2015. With the recent growth in the middle class wealth, there are certain elements and trends that I see that will make this situation even worse over the next few years.
Genetics - I cannot say this based on any proven scientific evidence but as I look around, I feel that there is something genetically different among Indians that make us prone to diabetes. Diabetes is normally associated with overweight and people who are closer to 50. However, I was 36 years old when I was diagnosed with diabetes. I am 5'11 and was about 63 kgs at the time. My father was the same age when he was diagnosed. I know a few others now who are young, not overweight and diabetic. Is there something genetically different among Indians, that makes more prone to diabetes?
Buffets and Mega Buffets - Indians are eating out more these days, especially feasting at the buffets. Almost all the major hotels and popular restaurants now offer a buffet during the week and also have the weekend brunch buffets that have a larger spread. An even scarier trend is the mega buffets that some restaurants have started where they have a separate buffet for each type of cuisine. An example of this is the Gobal Fusion in Mumbai which offers Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Pan-Asian and Indian food along with a special dessert bar.
Paisa Vasool Attitude - We also have the "Paisa Vasool (Value for Money)" attitude which means most of us will over-stuff ourselves just one bite short of having the trouser button snap. It would seem as if this is the last meal for many.
- No Indian meal is complete without a sampling (did I say sampling?) of desserts. Gulab Jamun with ice-cream, Jalebis, Kheer etc are great way to end a wonderful buffet. Of course, this must be followed by a Sunday siesta.
India is the diabetic capital of the world and will continue to have more diabetics if people do not pay attention to their diets. I hope that anyone reading this article will be a little more careful with what they eat at the next buffet, it may just give you a slightly longer and healthier life to enjoy. I think the combination of our genetics, eating habits, lack of exercise, India is heading for a diabetic nightmare.