Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Cut Back On Salt

Why we should all cut back on salt
A sprinkle on a jacket potato, a pinch in the cooking water, a shake on salad.
Most of us use salt to flavour what we eat every single day. But, according to health experts, our soft spot for sodium chloride is making us ill.
From an increased risk of heart disease and stroke to the suggestion that too much salt may even lead to some cancers, osteoporosis, kidney disease and exacerbated symptoms of asthma and Alzheimer’s, the white stuff may taste good but it’s not doing us any favours.
While a small amount does no harm, on average we consume about two teaspoons (8.6g) a day. Yet the recommended intake is much lower than this – an absolute maximum of 6g daily for adults and much less for children.
Plus never mind the salt we add to our meals – what about the salt that food manufacturers sneak in?
As the British Dietetic Association (BDA) points out: “A lot of everyday foods are not obviously salty, but do contain high amounts of 'hidden salt'. About 75 per cent of the salt we eat is already added to the food we buy.”
The biggest culprits are meat products, ready meals, soups, pasta sauces, some pre-packaged breads and even certain breakfast cereals.
So what is it about salt that’s so bad for us?
UK charity the Blood Pressure Association explains: “Salt makes your body hold on to water. If you eat too much salt, the extra water stored in your body raises your blood pressure. So, the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.
“The higher your blood pressure, the greater the strain on your heart, arteries, kidneys and brain.”
Eating excessive amounts of salt wrecks the kidneys’ delicate balance of sodium and potassium, which helps to filter the blood. It reduces the organs’ ability to remove water, leading to higher blood pressure, extra strain on the blood vessels leading to the kidneys and, over time, kidney disease – which, if left untreated, can cause kidney failure.
The increase in blood pressure also puts extra strain on artery walls, which become stronger and thicker to cope. This raises blood pressure even higher and eventually leads to a greater risk of the arteries bursting or clogging up, and heart attack.
Other ill effects include angina (sharp pains in the chest due to obstruction or spasm of the coronary blood vessels) and damage to the arteries leading to the brain, which may lead to a type of dementia or a stroke.
There is even evidence to show that a high salt intake in children may predispose them to the development of a number of diseases in later life, including osteoporosis, stomach cancer and obesity.
So what can you do to cut down when it’s hidden in so many foods and, frankly, some things just don’t taste right without it?
For Salt Awareness Week (March 26-April 1), organised by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), experts point out some easy ways to reduce your sodium chloride intake and protect your health for years to come:

Choose lower salt options

Look out for foods containing 0.3g of salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium). For ready meals, which tend to contain more salt, pick ones with less than 1.25g salt or 0.5g sodium per dish. Be aware that foods that contain more than 1.5g salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium) are classed as “high salt” products. Remember there can be big differences between different brands of the same products, so shop around.

Don’t add it

Break the habit of a lifetime and try to use little or no salt in cooking and don’t add extra salt at the table. According to CASH “it will only take a couple of weeks for your taste buds to adjust to less salt - before you know it you'll be appreciating the real taste of food and won't miss salt at all.”

Cut down on the biggest culprits

The worst foods for high salt content include: processed meats such as ham, bacon, sausages, pate and salami; canned, packet and instant soups; condiments including ketchup, soy sauce, mayonnaise and pickles; stock cubes and gravy powder; smoked meats and fish; meat and yeast extracts such as Bovril and Marmite; cheese; salted snacks such as crisps and popcorn; ready meals and takeaways including Chinese, Indian and pizza; ready-made sandwiches; pre-made pasta sauces; some breads and some breakfast cereals.

Don’t be scared to ask

When eating out or ordering takeaways ask specifically for no salt.

Work at keeping your blood pressure down

Being active, keeping a healthy weight and not drinking too much alcohol are key to keeping blood pressure low

Cook from scratch

Cooking fresh fruit and vegetables rather than eating ready meals is the most surefire way to keep tabs on your salt intake.

Find out the facts

Don’t guess at how much salt you and your family should be eating – the CASH website athttp://www.actiononsalt.org.uk/less/ shows exactly the levels of salt we need. For instance, children aged between six and 12 months should eat no more than 1g a day, while one to three-year-olds should consume no more than 2g.
According to CASH, reducing the UK’s average daily salt intake could prevent as many as 17,500 deaths from heart attacks and strokes every year.
Adds CASH: “The good news is that it's never too late. Any reductions that you make to your salt intake can be beneficial to your health by reducing your blood pressure and therefore reducing your risk of heart attacks, heart failure and stroke later in life.”
Source@Yahoo Lifestyle

Monday, 26 March 2012

Frozen Berries with White Chocolate


500 g mixed berries, including blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and redcurrants 
For the sauce: 
1 x 142ml pot double cream 
140 g white chocolate 
1 tbsp white rum (optional)  

1. Put the berries on a tray with greaseproof paper and place in the freezer for a couple of hours until semi-frozen. 

2. Melt the white chocolate together with the double cream in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir in the rum, if using. Make sure the base of the bowl does not come into contact with the water as this may curdle the cream. 

3. When ready to serve, scatter the frozen fruits on four plates or in shallow bowls. Pour over the hot chocolate sauce and serve immediately, as the fruits start to defrost.. 

Usal (Misal) Pav

Preparation Time: 15 mins + Cooking Time: 15 mins + Makes 4 plates


For The Usal / Misal:

1 1/2 tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 tsp ginger - garlic paste
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/4 tsp clove powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp coriander - cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp misal masala
Salt to taste
1 cup boiled mixed sprouts
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 cup Farsan (chivda, sev etc) – dry snacks (optional)

For Serving:

8 tbsp finely chopped onions 
4 lemon wedges
8 pieces bread


1. Heat the oil in a pan (kadhai) and add the cumin seeds.

2. When the seeds crackle, add the onions and ginger-garlic paste and sauté on a medium flame for 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Add the tomato purée, clove powder, cinnamon powder, turmeric powder, coriander-cumin seeds powder, chilli powder, misal masala, salt and ¼ cup of water mix well and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or till the oil separates, while stirring continuously.

4. Add the mixed sprouts, ¾ cup of water and coriander, mix well and simmer for another 2 minutes, while stirring continuously.

How to serve:

1.       Place ¼th of the masala on a small plate, top with ¼th of the misal, ¼ cup farsan and ¼ cup of onions evenly over it.
2.      Serve immediately with 2 pieces of bread and a lemon wedge.
3.       Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 3 more plates

To make the Usal / Misal spice powder:

1)  Dry roast the following ingredients in a pan without oil till their fragrance comes out (don't burn it): coriander seeds, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, black pepper corns, cinnamon stick, cloves and fennel seeds. Keep the ingredients aside in order to cool down. 
2)  Now roast the onion, garlic and coriander leaves in a hot pan with oil till they get browned colored and crispy. Keep them also aside for cooling
3)  Take a mixer and add both the mixtures into it for grinding. After making them into fine powder, add the red chilli powder and mix them well. The powder must be cool down, before the storing. 
4)  Keep the powder in an air tight container for refrigeration. 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Palak Paneer (Spinach + Cottage Cheese) - Vegetarian Recipe


Paneer - 1 cup
Onion - 2, finely chopped
Spinach Purée - 2 cups
Ginger and Garlic Paste - 2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp
Green Chilli - 1 tsp, chopped
Lemon Juice - 3 tbsp
Tomato - 1 - roughly chopped
Water - 1 cup
Cinnamon - 3 sticks
Salt to taste

For Garnish:

    Grated Cheese
    Cream - 1/4 cup


1. Sauté onions, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, green chillies and dry powders in a cup of water for 10 minutes.
2. When cool grind to a smooth paste.
3. Fry the onion paste in 2 tblsp oil for 3 minutes.
4. Add the spinach puree and mix well.
5. Add the paneer cubes and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Add lemon juice.
7. Adjust seasonings as desired.
8. Garnish with cream, onions and grated cheese.
9. Serve hot.

Friday, 16 March 2012


For 6-8 Kebabs

• 500gms lamb – Cut into half inch cubes
• 2 red onions peeled and quartered 
• 1-2 red/green/yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm/1 inch pieces
·      Skewers / Sticks
·      5-6 cherry tomatoes.

For the marinade:
• 1 tablespoon smoked paprika 
• 2 cloves 
• ½ teaspoon cumin seeds 
• 2 teaspoons coriander seeds 
• Sea salt
·      Freshly ground black pepper 
• Olive oil
·      1 tbsp ginger paste
·      1 tbsp garlic paste
·      2 – 3 green chillies
·      ½ cup yogurt
·      ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
·      ¼ tsp ground cloves

1)  First mix up all the spices, chillies in a grinder until fine. Mix it with the ginger – garlic paste.

2)  Now add this mixture to the yogurt and stir it thoroughly.

2) Then mix with the oil to make a thick marinade paste.

3) Put the lamb pieces into a bowl and cover with the marinade.

4) Let them sit there for half an hour to an hour.

5) Arrange each piece of meat on the pan / skewers alternately with red onion and peppers.

6) Grill for around 5 minutes, turning regularly, to give you nicely charred meat on the outside with juicy pink on the inside.

7) Allow to rest for a few minutes. Serve with coriander chutney, cherry tomatoes or ketchup.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Spicy Ramen Noodle Soup Recipe

Spicy Ramen Noodle Soup Recipe (Serves 2)

Main Ingredients:

·       2 sirloin steaks / chicken / seafood / vegetables (any option) 
·       300g fresh ramen / egg noodles 
·       2-3 fresh red chillies
·       4 spring onions 
·       Half red onion 
·       Handful coriander
·       Handful bean sprouts 
·       1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
·       2 tbsp Soy Sauce
·       1 tbsp chopped garlic
·       1 tbsp chopped ginger
·       1 tsp sesame oil
·       2 tbsp chilli pepper flakes
·       4 cups chicken / vegetable stock (any) 
·       3 tablespoons chilli sauce 
·       Salt to taste


1.   Finely chop the spring onions and the chilli into fine strips. Finely cut the red onion into   semi-circles
2.   Heat the stock in a pan and bring it to boil. Reduce to simmer. Stir in the chilli sauce and the chilli pepper flakes.
3.   Lightly coat the steaks / vegetables / chicken / seafood in oil. In a pot, stir – fry on medium heat for 2 minutes on both sides, along with the chopped ginger and garlic. Baste with the teriyaki sauce. Then cover and rest for 2 minutes
4.   Slice the steaks / vegetables / chicken / seafood into thin strips or small pieces and top with the chopped spring onions.
5.   Quickly ladle the soup over.
6.   After about 10 minutes, add in the noodles, and cook for another 5 – 7 minutes.
7.   Add salt to taste and garnish with coriander, and serve hot.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Rasam Recipe (Vegetarian)


    • Tomato – 4 no
    • Tamarind –  marble size (adjust as per your need)
    • Turmeric powder – pinch
    • Coriander leaves – few strings
    • Salt – as per taste
  • To grind
    • Red chilli – 2 no
    • Green chilli – 2 no
    • Coriander Seeds – 1 table spoon
    • Black Pepper– 1 tea spoon
    • Cumin seeds – 1 tea spoon
    • Garlic – 6 cloves
    • Curry leaves – few
  • For seasoning
    • Mustard – ½ tea spoon
    • Cumin seeds – ½ tea spoon
    • Fenugreek seeds – few
    • Red chilli – 2 no
    • Curry leaves – few
    • Asafoetida – generous pinch
  • Method
    • Soak tamarind for 10 minutes, extract juice and keep.
    • In a blender add red chilli, pepper, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and grind partially.
    • Then add green chilli, garlic, curry leaves and run the mixer once or twice to grind partially.
    • Mash tomatoes and mix with salt and turmeric powder; add the ground spices, tamarind juice, 3 cups of water; mix and adjust the taste now.
    • Do the seasoning in a pan, add the already prepared spices-tomato-water mix; let it get hot and remove the rasam just before boiling (this can be easily identified by the light yellow foam and air bubbles on the surface); add coriander leaves and mix well.
    • Serve hot with rice or serve as soup or appetizer.

Turmeric - The Many Uses of It!!

Regarded as a potent herb in combating various disorders and diseases – ranging from Alzheimer’s to cancer, arthritis to inflammations – Turmeric is no stranger to Indian cooking.
  • Sprinkle turmeric powder on egg salads to lend it an even stronger yellow tinge.
  • Blend brown rice with raisins and toasted almonds or cashews and flavour with turmeric, cumin seed powder and fresh chopped coriander leaves.
  • Sprinkle turmeric on nutritious steamed cauliflower and/or string beans and shallots.
  • For a smooth, savoury-rich, low-calorie dressing, you can make a unique blend with a pinch of turmeric, dried onion powder, teaspoon of mayo, all whipped with salt and pepper. Serve with lightly steamed cauliflower, celery sticks, red and yellow capsicum, steamed yam and broccoli.
  • An easy to make salad/vegetable abundant in nutrients, chop cauliflower florets in half and add a teaspoon of turmeric. Sauté for five minutes, remove from heat and mix well with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
(Courtesy: Khana Khazana)