Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Mix vegetables soup

For this dish of mix vegetables soup I used only organic ones, all cultivated at home :) Plucked two long greens from the Chinese long greens plant about which I posted the other day. Some leaves were taken from the green amaranth and from the Moringa / muringa too. Moringa grows into a big tree but I have grown two in pots; pruned it to a manageable height. They both are supplying decent quantity of leaves.

Plucked leaves of Green amaranth when I noticed it is going to flower. Thereafter it started producing lot of leaves. The leaves were chopped into small pieces after thorough washing. Then the beans were cut about an inch long. Removed the leaves of moringa from the stem but kept the tender stems. Added a little vegetable masala powder, water and salt. No oil added. Simmered in low flame about five minutes to cook the tender vegetables in their own juices until ready. Garnished with a small piece of tomato ( Organic, but bought from store ).

That is my dish of tender mix vegetables soup without any fat added...yummy !

The vegetables being home grown organically were tender, tasty and juicy. No doubt, these taste different from the ones bought from shop. I tried eating raw the tender ladies finger that I have grown organically; believe me, they were awesome !

These are morina / muringa plants. They grow into big trees producing fruits. The fruits as well as the leaves are edible. We like the leaves so we tried to grow it in pots. The stout one was planted about two years ago. When it grew long it was pruned. The small one was planted about two months ago; it is a high yield variety. As far as the supply of leaves are concerned both are doing good and we are happy.

Moringa leaves are very nutritious. Wiki says...100 grams of moringa leaves contain about 9.3 g protein, 434 mg calcium, 404 mg potassium, 738 μg vitamin A, and 164 mg vitamin C.

The whole tree is said to be having medicinal properties. There are so many products available in health stores containing various parts of this beautiful tree claimed to be effective in a variety of ailments, all over the world. Leaves, seeds, bark, roots all are said to be having medicinal value. Moringa is said to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant, anti-rheumatic, antibiotic, cholesterol, anti-hypertensive, anti-cancerous, anti-ulcer, anti-pyretic, anti-asthmatic and anti-microbial activities. The seeds are said to possess aphrodisiac properties. This is a miracle plant.


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Fiber is important for digestive health

Wheat bran is the hard outer layer of wheat. Being rich in fiber it is considered as one of the best sources of dietary fiber that we all require daily for optimal digestive health. As you know, good quality fiber is essential to regulate digestive activity and as such it is effective in the prevention of cancer and other disorders of digestive tract. Wheat bran is also rich in Iron and some other micronutirents. It doesn't contain cholesterol, sugar or sodium. Wheat bran can be added to Atta for fiber betterment. 

Millets are now-a-days getting lot of attention. The widely grown varieties are:
  • Pearl millet
  • Foxtail millet
  • Finger millet ( Ragi )
  • Proso millet
  • Kodo millet
  • Little millet
Pristine organics product 'Refiber' is awesome. It contains Ragi which is rich in calcium. It helps in the management of cholesterol metabolism and fat absorption. It is purely organic. The ingredients include : Organic Finger Millet, Organic Foxtail Millet, Organic Little Millet, Organic Kodo Millet, Organic pearl millet and Organic Amaranth.

Finger millet ( Ragi ) is rich in Calcium and Iron. Including this daily in the diet is a sure way to provide us the daily requirement of these two very important nutrients very much needed for healthy bones and prevention of osteoporosis. Include Ragi in the daily diet of children especially girls for them to get strong bones. Always keep in mind 'prevention is better than cure'.

Quaker Oats plus, I like this variety of Oats introduced recently. This is a cool combination of :
  • Oats
  • Ragi ( Finger millet )
  • Wheat
  • Barley
Barley is said to be good for heart health. Rich in beta glucan it helps in reducing cholesterol levels. Moreover it lessens the risk of Type - 2 diabetes.  

I take a little of all the three every day; Wheat bran, millets and oats plus. Just a teaspoon full of all the three together with diluted low fat milk and sugar. Simmer on low heat for sometime until thoroughly cooked. Put a crushed almond, a speck of nutmeg and a small seed of cardamom. Cool it and enjoy with crushed ice or have it warm. It is yummy, both ways :)

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Monday, 30 March 2015

Chinese long beans, home cultivation

The other day I posted about growing ladies finger organically at home in Magical present, my blog. I have mentioned I put a sturdy plastic net to protect those plants, hope you all remember. Well, this net is now serving as a Trellis support for my Chinese long bean plants !

I bought seeds of Chinese long beans / yard long beans / asparagus bean / pea bean / achingapayar / sitaw / butong from a local vendor at the market. It was an impulsive buy; normally I go for high yield variety from reputed seed suppliers only. Moreover, the guy told me this is bush variety and will not need a support since it is not a climbing vine. Anyway, the two seeds I planted sprouted quickly and stems began elongating day-by-day. I was confused what to do because I have very limited outdoor space at home being in a metro city so I do not go for any climbers. I bought it from the vendor only because he told me this is a bush variety. Well, it wasn't ! I watered it too daily when I go there to water ladies fingers. The plant began clutching to the plastic net that I kept for protecting my ladies finger plants. I was about to pluck away these two but decided to keep it there anyway. As days went by these two began growing vigorously entwining the net crisscross. I was in dilemma again. A week ago, that is after almost 45 days since planting seeds these two began flowering. The flowers were colored bluish-white. Two days ago I noticed bean sprouting from these buds and today I found it has elongated to about 15 cm ! I do not know if it will reach a yard or so but I will have to pluck those to cook, may be after a few days, otherwise it will become fibrous.

The potting mixture was the same I used for planting ladies finger. Good quality organic soil, cowdung powder, vermicompost, cocopeat and a handful of neemcake powder. I was so excited to see these beans coolly dangling from the stems. It was totally unexpected ! I read online it will take at least 60 days for it to fruit and will need lot of space for a climber like this. Nothing like that here, it occupies only a limited space and seems happy growing crisscross, up and down.

Pesticide usage and other harmful cultivation practices are big problems here. It has become almost impossible to find pesticide free items. Our State has assumed the status of a consumer over a period of time depending on the neighboring States for almost everything including vegetables. Being a small State the availability of land for cultivation has become less. Labour has become costly with limited manpower. Certified organic products are expensive. There is widespread coverage in the media in Kerala about the harmful health problems associated with toxic pesticide, fertilizer and hormonal use. Incidence of serious diseases like cancer are on the rise like never before. This has prompted people to grow whatever possible at their homes even if it is very limited in quantity. Organic vegetable gardens have become popular here. There are training classes on organic cultivation; agencies are supplying seeds and other planting materials. People are sharing their experiences online and through other forums. Organic vegetable farming movement in Kerala has picked up in a big way.

Urban farming in Kerala is challenging but things are possible. That is my experience :)

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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Chinese potato ( Koorkka )

Chinese potato is a common edible tuberous crop in India. It is very popular among people over here. This yummy tuber is known as 'Koorkka' in malayalam, our mother tongue.

Chinese potato / country potato / hausa potato is cultivated in Africa, India and many parts of Asia. The botanical name is Plectranthus rotundifolius  / Solenostemon rotundifolius.

The crop looks smaller than potatoes and comes in bizarre shapes and sizes. It has a dark brown skin that can be scraped off easily. The sweet taste and unique aroma is undoubtedly the plus point of this cool tuber that makes it stand out among the innumerable edible roots and tubers available for culinary use.

The above dish is called 'mezhukkupuratty' ( a dish that is a little oily ) that is made of Koorkka. The cut pieces of Koorkka mixed with vegetable masala powder, a little red chilli powder, water and salt is sauteed with a little oil in a saucepan. That's it... Yummy dish :)

Well, this is my recipe :), nothing elaborate. No claims this is an authentic Keralite mezhukkupuratti ( Upperi ) recipe for which there are plenty of culinary sites and blogs online :), if interested, readers may kindly browse.

Koorkka is a rich source of Calcium and Iron.

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Friday, 20 March 2015

Don't worry, be happy...International day of happiness

March 20 has been recognized as the International day of happiness by the UN.

Happiness is a fundamental right and pursuing it is serious business. Happiness for all the human beings on this planet and let us all try to make each other happy.

These photos were taken in Dubai during Dubai shopping festival some years ago. It was wonderful, festive season over there and the weather was cool ! These drummers were awesome; we all felt thrilled. People were dancing and even they invited many to join them drumming on stage. You don't need any special training for playing those drums, they will tell you what to do and we are in sync with them ! So simple !

During the height of frenzy a guy would shout with the microphone in hand 'forget the past, be happy, live in the present'

Well, not so easy to forget all the bitterness of the past but why can't we give it a try, at the least?

You are all familiar with the Burj Al Arab, the iconic structure on the Jumeriah beach in Dubai. I never tire taking pictures of this magnificent artistic structure ! I have blogged a lot about this awesome hotel. What a beautiful building !

I have a happiness group on my Google plus page; ' Find happiness here', kindly join :)

Live happily, spread happiness :)

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