Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Tulsi - Holy Basil


What is Tulsi? 


Ocimum sanctum or holy basil, also known as ‘tulsi’ is a perennial plant, widely found in Indian subcontinent. It is considered as a sacred plant by the 'hindus' and planted in every 'hindu' household and temples. Tulsi is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb which helps to strengthen and balance the immune system. It has been used for thousand of years in ayurveda and is known for its religious and medicinal purposes. It also acts as a great air purifier by removing toxins and cleanses the air in the environment.


Types of Tulsi


There are mainly 3 types of tulsi - Rama tulsi, Krishna tulsi and Vana tulsi.

1. Rama tulsi has white stem and green leaves.

2. Krishna tulsi has purple stem and purple leaves.

3. Vana Tulsi or wild tulsi has green stem and green leaves. Vana tulsi is the most fragrant and hardest tulsi to grow. It is mostly found in the himalayas.



Holy basil or tulsi is a perennial plant widely found in Indian subcontinent. It's a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb which helps to strengthen and balance the immune system.



How to grow Tulsi


The best time to plant tulsi is in the spring or summer. It helps the plant to grow fast and become strong before winters. You can start growing the herb from the seeds or by using the cuttings. The tulsi plant can grow well in both pot or garden. It's a best culinary and medicinal herb to get your garden started. You just need to feed them with good soil and place it in a warm, sunny spot as it requires plenty of sunlight and air, and water it regularly.

How to grow tulsi from seeds

Sow the seeds, 1/4 inch apart, in a moist, well drained soil. Water it gently and keep the soil moist until the seedlings germinate. Place it in a warm, sunny pot that receives atleast 6 hours of sunlight and water the seeds twice a week. After two weeks, transfer the pot to the outdoors.

How to grow tulsi from cuttings

Cut 4-6 inches of tulsi stem with a sharp, clean scissors and place it in a glass filled with water. Keep it in a partial sunlight, till the roots are about 1 inch long. This process will going to take 7-10 days. Next, transfer the cutting in a potted soil, make sure to water them regularly for atleast 2-3 weeks then keep the plant outside.

How to harvest tulsi

Harvest the tulsi leaves after the plant reach the height of atleast 15-20 cms. Prune the plant by pinching off the top set of 2-3 leaves to extend the productiveness. Regular pruning encourages the tulsi plant to have a bushy growth. 


Medicinal value of Tulsi


It is used in the treatment of various diseases like skin disorders, diabetes, bronchitis, cardiac, stomach, chest and respiratory problems. It is also acts as a effective pain killer. Regular consumption of tulsi helps in relieving the joint pains.


Nutritional value of Tulsi


It’s a great source of vitamin A, C, K, manganese, copper, calcium, iron, folate and omega-3 fatty acids.



It's an excellent remedy for colds, flu, sore throat, headache, high blood pressure, diabetes and chest related problems. It also helps in building stamina and increasing metabolism.



Health benefits of Tulsi

Tulsi leaves are rich in antioxidants and are linked to multiple health benefits.

1. It's an excellent remedy for colds, flu, sore throat, headache, high blood pressure, diabetes and chest related problems.

2. It helps in reducing stress and uplifts mood.

3. Builds stamina and increases metabolism.

4. It helps to strengthen and balance the immune system.

5. It removes toxin from the blood and stimulates the digestive system.

6. It's great for skin as it's loaded with antioxidant and antiseptic properties.

7. Help prevent grey hair and hair loss.



How to enjoy Tulsi in recipes?


Tulsi is a staple herb used in Indian, Italian and Thai cuisines. You can add them in the soups, stews and stir-fry dishes to get a strong sweet flavour. Have a look at our top 5 recipes including tulsi leaves.

1. Make tulsi tea by infusing 2-3 tulsi leaves in hot boiling water for 5 minutes. It helps in detoxification.

2. Add tulsi leaves in stir fry dishes that includes eggplant, potato, tofu, asparagus or zucchini.

3. Add tulsi leaves in noodles, pasta or bruschetta for garnishing.

4. Prepare tulsi juice by blending tulsi leaves in a blender to prevent acidity.

5. Blend tulsi leaves and add them in your favourite soups to give it a nice sweet and strong flavor.


I hope you find this information useful. Let me know in the comments below.


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Carrot Raita | Carrot Yogurt Dip



Carrot raita is a yogurt dip, prepared with grated raw carrot, yogurt and seasoned with mint, pistachios, chaat masala and served alongside Indian meals.


Raita is a whipped yogurt condiment, mixed with vegetables or fruits and seasoned with cilantro, mint, chaat masala and other herbs and spices. It goes well with paratha, biryani, kabab or just as a dip with any spicy meal. Similarly, Carrot raita is a simple yogurt dip, prepared with grated raw carrot, yogurt and seasoned with mint, pistachios, chaat masala and served alongside Indian meals.

Raita has so many variations, you can add any vegetables or fruits into it. It can be sweet, salty or savoury. I added grated raw carrot but you can make raita of almost anything you like. To make a good raita use a full, fresh, thick yogurt. You can also use greek yogurt if you like. It totally depends on your choice.

I love to make carrot raita during the sizzling days of summer. It’s refreshing, looks super fancy and tastes great! The carrots make the raita lighter, healthier and fun to drink. There are more ingredients which you can add but they are totally optional. You can also use it as a spread on the bread or as a salad dressing.

The ingredients couldn’t be any simpler - yogurt, raw carrot, pistachios, mint, salt, and sugar. You could also use cilantro instead of mint for garnishing. It’s high in protein and get ready in just 10 minutes.

Did you know carrot is rich in vitamin A, B8, C and other nutrients like potassium, folate, iron, copper and manganese. There are several other nutrients that are found in yogurt as well like vitamin b2, b12, calcium, iron and magnesium. They are great for immunity, digestion and strong bones.


Carrot raita



Serves: 4-5 People
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Author: The Food Root


Ingredients


1 large carrot, peeled and grated
2 cups yogurt, thick
1/4 cup milk or water, to adjust the consistency
1-2 tsp of pistachios, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cumin, roasted
1/2 tsp chaat masala, optional
2-4 mint leaves, garnish



Method


1. In a big bowl, whisk yogurt till smooth. Add milk or little water to adjust the consistency. Give it a nice mix.

2. Add, grated raw carrot, some pistachios into the yogurt. Mix. Cover with a lid and refrigerate it for 1-2 hours.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl. Add salt, cumin, chaat masala and sugar. Garnish it with pistachios and mint. Serve!



Notes


1. You can use regular or greek yogurt in your raita, both will work well. I prefer using a thick and regular one.

2. Add 1/4 cup of milk or water to adjust the consistency of the raita.

3. I love adding salt and sugar in the same ratio. You can adjust the ratios, according to your preferences.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Herb Gardening For Beginners : Tips For Growing Herbs


There is no better reward than walking into your garden and picking up your own fresh, homegrown herbs. They are easy to grow and can add lots of flavors to your recipes without adding calories. You can use them in soups, salads, smoothies, sauces, stews, and dips. Herbs are mostly sown in spring in 2-3 intervals. You can grow them from seed or buy a baby plant from nursery or supermarket. They don't need much care and attention. You just need to feed them with good soil and place it somewhere where it can get plenty of sunlight and air, and water it regularly.



7 simple tips for growing herbs in pots

Beginner's guide for growing herbs in pots



While setting a herb garden first think and ask yourself what all herbs you want to grow? What are the climatic conditions of your place? Do you want to grow these herbs in a pot, container, garden or you want to set up your deck, patio or balcony. If you a growing them indoors, you should be able to control the environment in terms of humidity, sunlight and temperature. If you are a beginner, i would suggest try growing herbs in pots or containers.



Mint is a perennial herb, it's very easy to grow and doesn't require much care and attention. I like to plant mint separately in pots as it's spread all over the place.


Tips for growing herbs 



1. What Herbs Should I Grow


Make a list of what all herbs you want to grow. Do you want to grow them for culinary or medicinal purposes or both? There are so many herbs to choose from. You can grow whatever works for you. The purpose is to grow your own food. Just be creative and do a bit of research while growing your favorite herb. Below is the list of some of my favorite herbs;

Annual

Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Garlic, Carom and Parsley

Perennial

Mint, Oregano, Chives, Lemon Balm, Sage, Lavender, Ginger, Thyme and Rosemary


2. Find a suitable location for a herb garden


You don't always need a large space to begin. You can start planting your herbs in a smaller area as well. You will be surprise to see so much can be grown in smaller places as well but this hugely depends on your climate, weather and soil.

3. Pick the right containers and ensure the drainage


Pick the garden containers with drainage holes to keep the sufficient place for the roots when they grow. There are varieties of pots to choose from. They are made of terracotta, metal, clay etc. I prefer choosing clay pots as they help in drainage and tend to dry out quickly.

Most of the herbs like Basil, Cilantro, Lavender etc. grow well in containers but herbs like Mint, Lemon Balm should be planted separately in pots or garden as they bushy and spread all over.


4. Pair herbs in same planter or plant them individually


You can group as many as herbs in one big planter or in several other small pots. This of course depends, if your herbs enjoy the similar climatic conditions. So, be careful and pick out the plants with similar growing requirements to grow in the same planter.

For example, Parsley and Basil enjoy the similar growing requirements, they love more water, you can pair them together in a same planter whereas, Rosemary and Thyme likes it dry, so you need to keep them separate in other planters.


5. Planting


If you are growing the herbs from seedlings than remember to read the packet instructions carefully. It will tell you about how to sow the seeds. You can also choose to purchase young healthy plants from the nearest nursery store or supermarket and then transfer the entire plant into the container, making sure that the roots are well planted.


6. Feed your plants


Feed them with good soil and place it somewhere where it can get plenty of sunlight and air, and water it regularly.

Soil

Herbs can thrive in garden soil but I prefer to use organic potting soil mix while planting them in pots or containers. Avoid using soil from the outside as it may be contaminated.

Sunlight

While planning your herb garden, choose a location where the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. The herb plants needs plenty of sunlight so keep your plants in a sunny location to grow well. You need at-least 4 to 6 hours of good sunlight until your herbs are ready to harvest.

For example, herbs like Rosemary, Thyme and Lavender, Oregano, Dill and Garlic perform best in full sun, whereas, herbs like Parsley, Mint, Chives and Lemon Balm requires partial sunlight and requires shade.

Water

Provide them with plenty of fresh water but be careful not to over water them. Certain herbs like Oregano and Rosemary prefer well drained soil. And, some herbs like Mint and Parsley like more moisture.


7. Harvesting


Harvest your herbs on time to ensure fresh growth and prune your plants regularly to keep them growing well. Good pruning keeps the plant bushy, green and healthy.

Like in case of Basil or Mint plants, you need to pinch off the top set of 2-3 leaves, this encourages them to have a bushy growth.


So, what are your favorite herbs? Do you grow your herbs in containers or do you set up your deck, patio or your balcony garden. How do you use herbs in your recipes? There are varieties of recipes you can try with your favorite herbs. Have you tried our mint-cilantro dip recipe yet? It's a tangy and exciting combination of mint, cilantro and raw mango along with a kick of green chilli. It pairs well with salads, chips and taste great when spread on sandwich and wraps. You are going to love it!

I hope you've enjoyed our first post in herb-gardening series and are inspired to create one!
Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Most Popular Blog Topics 2018


Most Popular Blog Topics 2018 : Delicious recipes, Gardening tips, Restaurant reviews, Food health trends & so much more...



Most Popular Blog Topics 2018 : Delicious recipes, Gardening tips, Restaurant reviews, Food health trends & so much more...


A major shoutout to all the lovely people out there! I want to express deep gratitude to everyone who liked my work and joined me in my journey all these years. I am forever grateful for the love, joy and friendship you have bring to my life. Thank you for your love and kindness. I appreciate it hugely, it spurs me on to create more better content for you!

As the new year begins, I thought I'd share 10 Most Popular Blog Topics 2018 based on number of views, social media shares, etc.

Here's a look on the Top 10 Blog Posts of 2018 



1. Stuffed Japanese Aubergine : These beautiful Japanese aubergines are stuffed with the delicious mixture of ginger, garlic, tomatoes, aubergine and a host of spices! This dish not only look beautiful but taste amazingly good! You can serve them as an appetizer or as a side dish.
Full story, recipe and more images


These beautiful Japanese aubergine are baked at 350 degress F for 15 minutes and filled with delicious stuffing of ginger, garlic, sauteed tomatoes, aubergine and a host of spices!


2. 10 Superfoods You Should Be Eating Right Now : Superfoods are the special category of foods that contain wide variety of antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins. These are great for your nervous system, offer protection against heart diseases, help in reduce inflammation, and support the immune system. Find out more about the best superfoods in this post.
Check out our top 10 superfoods here.


Stock your kitchen with these superfood staples. You can easily incorporate them into your everyday meals. They are easy to consume, relatively available in every supermarket and grocery store.



3. How to Plant, Grow and Care for Dahlia flowers : Dahlia are incredibly beautiful and vibrant flowers, comes in exciting array of colors, adding spectacular beauty throughout summer. It's surprising, how many people think that Dahlia is hard to grow, but it's absolutely not, you just need to know the basics.
Full story, tips and more images..


Dahlias are grown from seeds or tubers. They need to be planted in spring season, after the threat of frost has passed. They grow up to 5-6 feet and bloom with flowers of 10-12 inches across. You can also place these beautiful flowers by making floral centerpieces to brighten up your home.



4. Vibrant Vegan Buddha Bowl : This vibrant vegan buddha bowl is packed with grains, nutrients and tons of veggies to fuel your body and mind. This fast and easy salad come together in just 10 minutes. It's exciting blend of flavors, textures and colors will keep you wanting more! This recipe is completely vegan and gluten-free. This colorful buddha bowl makes a perfect lunch or light dinner!! Also, my most liked photo on instagram.
Full story, recipe and more images..


This vibrant vegan buddha bowl is filled with veggies like broccoli, peas, corns, tomatoes, served with brown rice and combined with a delicious, simple ginger and lime dressing.



5. 5 Best Food Places In Shimla You Must Visit : Breathtaking landscapes, colossal mountains, luxurious valleys, quirky, fun, eccentric, cafes and restaurants, Shimla has everything to charm you with it's timeless beauty and delightful culinary experience. Here's our take on the Shimla's 5 best food places!
Full story, review and more images..


 Highlighting the best of these lively eateries, here is our take on the Shimla's 5 best food places!




6. Paneer Nugget Casserole : A healthy, quick and easy side dish that combines the meaty texture of soya nuggets and paneer, studded with capsicum, tomatoes and peas, and, flavored with a medley of aromatic herbs and spices.
Full story, recipe and more images..





7. Paneer Tikka : Paneer Tikka is an authentic Indian dish made from chunks of paneer and vegetables marinated in yogurt and spices, skewered and grilled to perfection! It's a perfect starter for any barbecue or theme parties.
Full story, recipe and more images..


Delicate Paneer chunks and vegetables marinated in yogurt and spices, skewered and grilled to perfection!



8. 8 Mindful Eating Tips To Help You Eat Better : Eating mindfully is the practice of being aware of all your senses in the present moment. It helps us to develop a positive and a truly healthy relationship with the food. Make peace with your mind and try these 8 simple mindful eating tips and get results.
Full story and more images..


Mindful eating is the practice of being aware of all your senses in the present moment. It helps us to develop a positive and a truly healthy relationship with the food.



9. Mint Coriander Chutney : Mint Coriander Chutney is a delicious appetizer with lots of of tangy and exciting flavors to it. They are perfect accompaniment to any meals. It pairs well with salads, chips, and taste great when spread on sandwich and wraps.
Full story, recipe and more images..


Mint Coriander Chutney is a tangy and exciting combination of mint, coriander, raw mango along with a kick of green chilli.




10. Shahi Tukda Recipe : A rich and creamy Indian dessert, where fried bread pieces are dipped in cardamom flavored milk syrup, layered and finished off with some crushed almonds, cashews and pistachios. Be it adult or kid no one can resist this irresistibly dish rich yet light simple dessert.. Also, my most liked tweet and most liked post on facebook.
Full story, recipe and more images..


 Shahi Tukda is a rich and creamy Indian dessert, where fried bread pieces are dipped in cardamom flavored milk syrup, layered and finished off with some crushed almonds, cashews and pistachios.



Which is your favorite blog topic? Which is your favorite category?
I hope you enjoy this post.. Happy 2019!

Sending an abundance of love to you all!
X
Anshika


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Masala Khichdi | Vegetable Khichdi Recipe | Makar Sankranti Khichdi

What could be more wholesome and comforting than a big bowl of masala khichdi. A full meal on it's own and super easy to make! If you are looking for something hearty and warm, make this dish immediately.



Masala khichdi is a fulfilling meal where rice and lentils are cooked with vegetables and fragrant spices.



Khichdi is a common delicacy to eat during Makar Sankranti. It’s a comfort food as it is quick to prepare and light on stomach. 

Sankranti also known as Pongal, is the ‘harvest festival’, falls on the 14th of January each year. This festival marks the beginning of spring season and is celebrated with lots of pomp and fervour. Making Khichdi is just a part of the celebration.

Khichdi is traditionally made with rice and lentils, tempered with Indian spices. It’s a nutritious meal for both kids and adults, and mostly considered as a sick food. 

Masala khichdi is a delicious take on the famous traditional Indian khichdi. It's a fulfilling meal where rice and lentils are cooked with vegetables and fragrant spices. Not only it’s healthy, it’s a soul satisfying meal with versions that are so different depending on the regional influences. 

Unlike other traditional simple khichdi recipe you’ve seen, this recipe is made with lots of veggies and flavourful spices. It’s a satisfying dish, perfect for lunch or dinner. 

Vegetable masala khichdi can be cooked in one pan but I like to cook the dish in two. I pressure cooked rice and lentils for 2-3 whistles, and cooked vegetables in a separate pan. This also retained the texture of rice and lentils and saved lot of my time. 

It’s an open end recipe and it’s variations are endless. I added moong lentils you can use any lentil of your choice. You can add veggies of your choice and add brightness to your dish. I added loads of seasonal vegetables like; potatoes, onions, fresh green peas, capsicum, cauliflower and carrots, and, tempered with fragrant whole spices - cardamom, cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, cumin seeds and pinch of asafoetida, along with some ginger, garlic, green chilis.

Top it with ghee and accompany these delicious dish with yoghurt, pickle or papad. You can also make this dish without onion and garlic on the eve on Sankranti. And, if you want to make this dish vegan, than substitute clarified butter with your choice of vegan oil. 

Do try this recipe, I'd love to hear how it turns out for you?

Masala Khichdi



Yield: 4-6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes 
Cooking time: 30 minutes 
Author: The Food Root



Ingredients 


1/2 cup rice,
1/2 cup moong lentils
2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 inch ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
2 green chillies, finely chopped 
1 onion, chopped 
1 tomato, chopped
1 tsp salt or as per required
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder 
3/4 tsp coriander powder
1/2 garam masala
1 carrot, chopped
1 potato, chopped
1 capsicum or bell pepper, desseeded, chopped
1/2 cauliflower florets, chopped
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
5 cups water
handful of coriander leaves


Directions 


1. Wash rice and moong lentils together. Allow them to soak for atleast 15 minutes.

2. Drain the excess water and transfer them into the pressure cooker. Add some salt, turmeric powder, bay leaf and 5 cups of water and pressure cook it for 2 whistles on medium flame. When done, keep it aside.

3. Meanwhile, chop all the veggies; potatoes, onions, tomatoes, capsicum, cauliflower, carrots and keep it aside.

4. Heat a pan over a medium flame, add cumin seeds, cinnamon and cloves. When the seeds starts spluttering, add pinch of asafoetida.

5. Add ginger, garlic, green chillies, onion and some salt. Sauté everything together and let them turn golden in colour on medium heat for at least 3 minutes.

6. Next add chopped tomatoes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, till the tomatoes starts to soften. Add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder and mix it well. Let the mixture cook till the oil separates.

7. Add all the chopped veggies; potato, fresh peas, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower in the pan and give it nice mix. Cover with a lid and lower the heat from medium to low and cook for 4 minutes.

8. Remove the lid and cook the mixture for next 5 minutes, on a medium flame. Stir it occasionally.

9. Add add cooked rice and lentils in the pan and toss it with the vegetables mixture and continue to mix together for 3-4 minutes on a medium flame. 

10. Now, add some garam masala at the end and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
and turn off the flame.

11. Now, transfer the Masala Khichdi to a serving bowl and and garnish it with fresh coriander leaves.

12. Serve it with yogurt, pickle or papad and enjoy!


Notes


1. Soak rice and lentils for atleast 15 minutes .

2. You can use any type of lentils, but I prefer using moong lentils as it taste the best and it’s light on stomach.

3. To make this dish vegan, substitute clarified butter with your choice of vegan oil.

4. You can add your favorite veggies of your choice.

5. You can add more water later to adjust the consistency of the khichdi.

6. You can cook this dish in a instapot or a pressure cooker. 

7. Spices like cumin seeds, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf can be avoided. You can make it according to your taste and requirements.