Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday's Tip- How to include Flax Seeds In The Indian diet?

Thank you all for reading and sharing my article about How to reduce salt intake form Indian diet. After that I got an email from the reader Vaishanvi who requested to write if there are more ways that one can include flax seeds in the diet, other than just using as the eggs replacer in the bakes. Well, if you ever struggle to make eggless bakes then you must try using flax seeds-Read more about here.

Just 5 years back, flax seeds became the hero and were in the major limelight due to its health benefits. Everyone seemed to talk about it, write about it and yes consume it. Flaxseeds (also called linseeds) are a rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3. The seeds come from flax, one of the oldest fiber crops in the world - known to have been cultivated in ancient Egypt and China. To know more about flax seeds, its type, history please head on to Wikipedia –here

So, why is it important to eat flax seeds?
Because it is a rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, flaxseeds protect your body from bacteria and viruses, improving your system's immunity. It reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol content. Including flaxseeds in your diet can help in reducing the risk of cardiovascular issues. Daily intake of flaxseeds improves the blood sugar of people suffering from diabetes. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil act as natural laxatives and give you relief from constipation without having any harmful side effects.  Still not convinced??? Then Google and you will be stunned to know how important it is to have flax seeds.

So, what amount is okay per day? What it taste like?
To get the full health benefits of flax, one to two tablespoons (16g) of ground or milled flax is okay. When using ground flax, because of its high fiber content, add it slowly, starting with about a tablespoon a day and working up to two or more per day. If you are a vegetarian, take 2 tablespoons a day. If you are eating fish regularly, then one tablespoon of flaxseeds will do(source: Live Strong). Taste wise- it is nutty and doesn’t have any strong flavour or smell.

How to use flax seeds- whole or milled?
Although they’re small, flaxseeds have strong outer shells that are hard to crack just through chewing. You’ll derive more of the nutritional benefits by grinding them and then adding them to foods. I buy the milled ones- but do check the label, you must buy good quality ones. I use this organic Linwoods Organic Flax.

Moving on to the request.  How to include flax seeds in the Indian diet?
  • Main course: I add 1 teaspoon of it in dough- be it for chapattis, kulchas or even stuffed parathas. I also add in my chillas, dosa and idli batter. I have also use in cooked rice/pulav and even in pasta.
  • Drinks: Oh yes, that’s the best way. Sprinkle teaspoon or so in lassi, buttermilk, juice, smoothies, milk-oh you name it.
  • Breakfast: I always include a dash of it in the breakfast cereals with fruits and milk or yogurt. My husband also sprinkles a lit on cooked upma or poha. Why not add a little in pancakes batter or in the stuffing’s for sandwiches or parathas.
  • Sides:  You can add in the subjis, chutneys, patties, tikkis or even on salads. I have also used in soups and riata.
  • Desserts: Sprinkle a little in the halwa/sheera-it will give you that extra nutty flavour. On Janmasthmi I made kheer and I added 1 teaspoon it it, the kheer was not only tasty and but became thick as well.
Other tips:
  • Ground flaxseeds will lose the nutritive value if exposed to air or sunlight. Therefore, it should be stored in an airtight container and kept in a dark cool place. It is best to buy whole flaxseeds and grind a little at a time, say whatever amount is needed for a week and then store it in the fridge.
  • When initially starting to use flaxseeds, use small amounts to make sure you are not allergic to it. Pregnant and lactating ladies and children should consult a physician before opting to include flaxseeds in their diet.
  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day when you take flaxseeds is essential, because of its fibre content.
  • Flaxseeds absorb water 10 to 14 times its weight because of its high fibre content- this makes it great choice for thickening the soups or gravies.
  • If you dont like the taste, just roast it on pan on a low heat.
  • I always buy the milled ones, as I am too lazy to grind it myself at home. You go ahead an buy whichever one you want.
  • Put a note in kitchen to remind you to use flaxseeds. I always stick up a note near the stove.
  • Flaxseed is commonly known as Alsi (Gujrati, Hindi Punjabi), Jawas (Marathi), Tishi (Bengali) and Agasi (Kannada). You can buy flaxseeds in India from HERE

Hope you like this article. If you have questions or requests email me. Do you have any other ideas to include flax seeds? 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Spring Onion And Cheese Cakes, With Shloer Pink Fizz To Celebrate

What’s your definition of celebration? Do you wait for some occasion to celebrate or you like partying anytime? But hey, don’t you think that no celebration is complete without some fizz? That’s our definition of celebration- some friends, a comic movie, shots on dartboard, something spicy to nibble and ofcourse a bottle of fizz.

On weekend we had friends over at our place and it was more like a potluck party; and as always I was responsible to make starter and drinks. Oh well, I had to keep in mind the kids and one pregnant friend of ours before I decide about the drinks. Plain old lemonade or ice tea was sounding boring and dull; suddenly something perfect happened- the postman delivered a bottle of Shloer Pink Fizz from their celebration range. The elegant looking glass bottle with the touch of silver warp and party style popping cork- I knew it was going to be the star of the day.

My pregnant friend was so excited and thrilled to have a drink that tasted like champagne but was not alcoholic or contained any artificial flavours. Pink Fizz is bubbly, fruity and sparkling drink that can be paired with any spicy snack, but you won’t regret sipping it all alone too. And by the way, if you are planning to throw a baby shower party or need to celebrate without alcohol please look at their wide collection of drinks here http://www.shloer.com/-. It won’t disappoint you.

For starter it had to be spicy and summery- so I concluded to prepare Spring Onion And Cheese Cakes.  Some handful of spices, sharp flavours of spring onion and oozy cheese, all when combined is very delightful in taste and lovely to look at. What more, have it with a dollop of green chutney or sprinkle of lime juice and a fizzy drink-ah such a perfect way to enjoy summers.
Here is the recipe

2 large potatoes boiled
1/2 cup of spring onions chopped
1 green chilli chopped
2 tablespoon coriander leaves chopped
1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese grated
1 teaspoon of black pepper powder
1 tablespoon corn flour
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons butter for roasting

Mix everything together (except butter) in a bowl. With the help of a fork keep mashing the potatoes.
When everything is combined, divide the dough in 10 equal balls and flatten into disc shapes.
Heat a non stick pan on low flame and spread one tablespoon of butter. Put the cakes on the pan and let it roast on one side till golden brown in colour. Turn the cakes, spread the butter and cook again the other side till golden.
Serve hot.

For better results, deep fry the cakes. I prefer this healthier way.
If roasting, make sure that flame is on low heat. On high heat you will get the golden colour but spring onion, cheese and corn flour will be raw.
Shape the balls and keep in the fridge, start roasting 10 minutes before serving.
You can also form cylindrical, oval or heart shaped cakes.

Serving ideas:
Serve with yogurt, chutney or ketchup.
You can also use these cakes in tortilla wraps or pita pockets with some salad and dressing

Disclaimer: I was not paid or told to write positive review. The post is based on my experience and is unbiased. Thanking Shloer for sending Pink Fizz Bottle  for review.