Thursday, 21 February 2013


I make masalas at home. My Mom used to make but now i do. People wonder what i keep doing at home and why do i make everything at home when everything is available in the market.
There are many small and big reasons but the most important ones for food are:

1. I get 4 times the quantity with less raw materials.
2. I know what is going into it.
3. I have access to internet which is a guru in its own right and many enterprising talented people share experiences, recipes and what not. So might as well make use of it.
4.And as with most homemade stuff, some of the ingredients are always at home so no need to run outside to get it.

Here I would like to reiterate that i get a major kick out of : researching,trying and perfecting the recipe for homemade stuff. I feel like an accomplished queen when i see the final product ,be it sewing or food !The day i stop getting the kick out of doing things at home i'll quit doing so.......because everything can be bought at the market !!

In that way, i think making stuff at home is for yourself because outsiders don't appreciate it and family members don't really care untill it starts pinching the pocket! Its not that your husband or inlaws or parents, sisters and brothers are going to give you a medal for it !

 If you are a normal indian upper class,well to do woman [why women? ....because men don't really care what is there in their masalas and most indian men can't differentiate between the spices because they don't cook] earning well,you'll probably snort at doing stuff with your hands and would believe in paying for it ,buying it ready made, or pay someone else to do it.There is nothing wrong in that especially if you couldn't be bothered and don't care about homemade stuff in general.

Chaat masala - My tweaked and tested recipe

  1.  100g coriander seeds
  2.  50-60g cumin seeds
  3. 1.5 teaspoon ajwain/carom seeds
  4. 50g black salt/kala namak
  5. 50g rock salt
  6. 5-7 kashmiri red chiles, stems removed
  7. 3 tbsp dried mango powder/amchur
  8. 1teaspoon dried ginger powder
  9. 1tbsp black peppercorns
  10. 3 tbsp dried mint
  11. 1tsp citric acid crystals
  12. 1" cinnamon stick,4-5 cloves 
I am an andaaza person- i eyeball everything. So i use andaaza in the above recipe too.

Roast coriander,cumin seeds peppercorns,cinnamon,cloves chillies . i prepare dried mint at home and store it in fridge in newspaper packet.To prepare dry mint ,take 1 bunch mint ,pick the leaves, wash it well, spread on the newspaper,dry it to crisp in sunlight in summers or very low setting in oven. I air dry for 24 hrs and then heat my dosa tawa and turn it off and spread the leaves on tawa. In few minutes it crisps up.

Another important aspect are salts- both black salts and rock should be equal in amounts. Grind everything together into fine powder and store in air tight container. This recipe will give more than 200g of chat masala at fraction of cost.

I use chaat masala everywhere: on cucumber slices, in chass[buttermilk],in cooking,on fruit, salads,boiled chana and practically everything.

Garam masala:
  • Star anise    1-2
  • Black cardamom   2
  • Black peppercorns    21/2 teaspoons
  • Cinnamon     5" inch stick
  • Cloves     1 tablespoon
  • Green cardamom     4-5
  • Mace     1 blade
  • Coriander seeds     4 tablespoons
  • Cumin seeds     3 tablespoons
  • bay leaves      3-4
  • red chillies     3-4   
Roast the spices lightly and grind it to fine powder and store in airtight containers.

Have fun !

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

TLC for feet

Feet bear the brunt of practically everything. It starts with bad tight footwear-open toe sandles makes them even more open to abuse.
Then comes the torture of being overweight. Very few people realise that being more than 5 kg overweight puts quite a bit of additional pressure on ankles ,heels of the feet and knees. When we walk our whole weight is borne by lower legs and feet.Being overweight and wearing high heels constantly is a recipe for disaster !

I am overweight and since the weight hasn't being going anywhere, relaxing tired feet seems to be the only option right now.I have always taken good care of my feet.I know many women take care only of their face and do nothing for their feet.I mean nothing..........not even plain scraping of heels and application of a plain moisturiser !

I have grown watching pretty ok looking women,rich and poor, with or without class having gaping,crack heels showing through their chappals,sandles and expensive footwear. Its always surprises me to see well- to-do rich women who don't do any housework nor walk on the roads since they travels in cars, bikes or ricks with ugly feet !
One of my aunt had bleeding crack heels which required medical intervention and prescription creams !

My mom like most of everyone's moms also had visibly cracked heels which turned painful in winters.I learnt pedicure from Mom among other things ! :-)
 My mom did pedicure at home regularly . She has used Krack cream,Vaseline pedicure kit [not available since ages- this kit is a classic e.g of discontinuing useful products]

Anyway, from Mom i learnt cracks on heels don't really go away for good ! They come back when you walk on dry potholed roads in open sandals,in winters, and when feet are dry and not moisturised regularly ! I started wearing plain chappals at home to prevent cracks because open feet got more dirty and more dry !

The great part about taking care of your feet is it doesn't have to be laborious, lengthy or fancy - it just has to be regular ! Its a habit like any other and in few days you'll have pretty,soft and even colored feet !

Those who think taking care of feet is not really required amongst other things in life then may be they need to think again - especially if they are diabetic ! Being diabetic,means healing of minor wounds and cuts on extremities like foot is slow which in turn means neglected feet can lead to deeper wounds and sometimes turn gangrenous ! So having a feet TLC routine in place is a good habit to consider !

A simple Pedicure plan 
A simple non time consuming routine means that you'll follow it often and be more regular. This pedicure routine requires only 15 minutes extra in shower once a week.I soak feet once in a while since i am not patient to sit soaking feet more than 5 minutes i have to force myself to stretch it to 15 minutes.

My short quick version:
  • Mix 1 tsp epsom salt [ or take cheap rock salt- khada namak] in a 1 tsp body wash or clear shampoo.You can add ambahalad,vetiver or mint oil or powder for more fancy pampering.Mix for one time use only.
  • Wet and scrub feet ardously with this mix till you get tired or bored or lose patience !:-)
  • Use a foot scraper to scrape heels.
  • Wash off with warm water.
  • Apply a thick lotion preferably non greasy quick absorbing one. If you do this routine at night i will suggest Kailesh Jeevan for tired nerves,feet and aches.You can wear socks if your lotion is greasy - i wear them because i can't sit still and long enough for the lotion to dry up.
  • You can use any body moisturiser if you don't have wounds on feet.
  • I recommend doing this procedure twice a week if you have a hectic lifestyle which includes abuse of feet and hands. Yep same thing for hands too !
 The longer version is nothing but washing feet with shampoo /body wash and soaking in warm salty [Epsom salts] water for 15 minutes and then doing the remaining steps.

Don't forget to enjoy the relaxation that massaging feet can bring. Its feels as good as a champi !
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