Goodness ki shuruat, masalon ke saath!

Can you imagine Indian food without spices? I am sure Indian cuisine best understands the goodness of using spices in cooking and the wellness that these spices bring home. Almost every dish in Indian cuisine is enhanced by the aroma, flavour and healing properties of spices. In Northern cooking we see stress on the use of cumin, coriander and ginger. Whereas in the cuisine from the hot desert land of Rajasthan we see asafoetida, ginger, red chilli powder. Gujaratis will not cook a dish without mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida and in the Southern states, the dominating spices are mustard seeds, asafoetida and aromatic curry leaves. Towards the east and Bengal side, we can taste the unique goodness of paanch phoron, which is a flavourful mix of cumin, mustard, onion, fennel and fenugreek seeds.
Whether it is single ingredient pure spices like turmeric and red chilli powder or blended spice mixes like a garam masala, chole masala or a meat masala – cooking and eating without these would definitely make an Indian kitchen seem lackluster!

While we often use the spices for flavouring food, they are not really thought of as nutritive and most often the ones available in the market aren’t. In most cases of processing them causes the spice oils to get extracted making the spice mass less potent, inferior and cheap. In case of masala the expertise lies in selecting the right ingredient from the right sources and processing in a manner that keeps the natural goodness of it intact – which is the best way to bring out the purity and superior quality of the product.

The all new Tata Sampann range of spices carries the brand values of purity and quality of ingredients as nature intended it to be. The brand celebrates the extra in the ordinary, thus, intends to add the extra joy in everyday meals through its offering. Better known for its unpolished dals which deliver higher nutrition (protein) and purity, spices were test launched with the same brand in limited markets last year.

This was the beginning of all good things or ‘Goodness ki Shuruat’ as the brand ideology swore by. Celebrating the small things in everyday life – like the aroma of fresh turmeric, the lovely smoky spice of red chilli powder or that perfect plate of a robust chole bhature lunch – these are the little joys in life. With Tata Sampann range of masalas you can begin the balanced approach to life with a simple everyday activity of cooking!

It’s a beginning of a balanced approach to life and celebrating the small things in everyday life by adding a pinch of nutrition and purity along with all the love to the food you cook for your family and friends. Tata Sampann masalas are a range of packaged spices which flavour food the way nature intended it to be – full of flavour, aroma and benefits to health.

Enough said, here are a few reasons that I would suggest for you all to switch onto using Tata Sampann range of masalas:

  • Tata Sampann range of masalas are made using superior varieties of whole spices from the best sources from Gods own country – Kerala. So you can be sure of the source.
  • They use ‘unspent’ masalas which are superior quality and full of natural spice oils. Thus, deliver superior flavour and aroma. ‘Spent’ masalas are the ones from which the spice oils have been extracted making them inferior in quality and health reasons. Tata Sampann delivers fresh and ‘naturally rich’ masalas.
  • It is delivered with a 5 pouch packing, which ensures the masalas remain fresh, fragrant and pure from the first to the last pinch.

So, go ahead and add the best of nutrition and taste to your food with Tata Sampann’s range of pure and blended spices. Whether you are making chole, dal tadka or just need to add that extra punch to a recipe you are trying, Tata Sampann masalas are perfect for all your cooking chronicles.

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Nutralite vs. Refined Oil – the healthier one?

Fats and oils are energy giving nutrients, thus are the easiest sources of energy. But there’s much of a talk in the market about the ill effects of the refined oils that form a part of our daily diets. The bottom line is we can run from it, we can hide from it but its not exactly possible for us to avoid it. Isn’t it? So, why not use a product which is healthier and even tastes better? Yes, the Nutralite with Omega 3 table spread is just that!

Just to begin, besides the highly useful Omega 3 fatty acid in it (super for brain, eyes and the heart!), Nutralite is also free of cholesterol and trans fats, low in calories, rich in Vitamin A, D and E and also contains MUFA & PUFA(Cholesterol Fighter). Yes, zero cholesterol is true that makes your heart healthy and removes junk from your arteries! The Nutralite spread definitely acts as a healthier alternative over any other refined oils because of this reason. So, instead of frying your dry fruits in refined oils, just shallow-fry them in Nutralite. In this way, you add the health factor alongwith making them taste all the more better and yummier! When craving for popcorn, try in the healthier version by using Nutralite instead of any other fats. It will be cool, for sure! Or toss up those spinach leaves, kale leaves, asparagus, broccoli or any other greens of your choice and seafood in the Nutralite table spread for that lovely, flavourful yet nutritious lunch or dinner options!

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Also, what exactly makes Nutralite a better choice over other refined oils is quite obvious when we give you the reasons. Read on to know what happens during the processes to extract oils out of seeds, and in what stage the oil is when it is finally refined.

  1. The first stage is that of ‘oil milling’ where the ‘copra,’ which is about 64% of the oil content, gets cleaned both manually and by machines, is reduced in size to about ⅛” and dried on conveyors. Following this, mechanical pressing extracts the oil, where it is washed with hexane for better extraction, and finally reach the storage tanks for purification. Hexane has some serious health hazards including anaemia and it also gets concentrated in the food.

  2. Next, in order to refine the oil and reduce the Free Fatty Acids in it, it gets treated with a lye (sodium hydroxide) solution. This also adds to the shelf-life of the oil and can reduce the chances of oil damage. Further the oil is treated with bleaching earth and activated carbon that lessens the colour as it undergoes polishing by filter presses.

  3. The final step is deodourising of the oil wherein the ‘taste giving’ compounds of the oils are removed to make it as neutral on the palette as possible. This is the most destructive stage as it includes high temperatures. These temperatures also form a small amount of trans fatty acids, which all of us know, is not good for our health.

All this results in an ‘oil’ that is basically tasteless, colourless and odourless, is not susceptible to spoilage and can last very long. It will be more apt if we call this so called refined oil as ‘plastic oil’ as none of the benefits that occurred in the natural seeds are present in it. Too harmful for human consumption for sure!

Now that an intro has been given about ‘Refined Oils’ and the ‘Healthier Choice,’ here are some of the other reasons why we feel that it’s actually better to substitute the oils with Nutralite:

  • As a cooking medium: Though it’s a universally accepted fact that oils are better as a cooking medium than butter, it is always a good thing to include something new with added benefits in your routine. Nutralite will not only reduce the chances of being obese, but the dishes will also turn out quite delicious!

  • For a healthy heart: Use of Nutralite can actually be beneficial if you are at a higher risk for heart diseases. As already said, the Omega 3 fatty acids do the trick! Not all refined oils possess these.

  • Flavour ‘em: That burst of flavour in your foods like salads, while retaining the nutrients can be achieved by flavouring Nutralite with your choice of add-ons. Add a herb, chilli, saffron or any other such ingredient to the Nutralite table spread and voila! your food creations will reach another level!

10 most expensive ingredients in the world – #8 – Moose Milk Cheese

Say cheese!

So what’s our eighth expensive ingredient after Kopi Luwak, Matsutake Mushroom, Yubari Melon, Caviar, Truffles, Coffin Bay King Oysters and Hop Shoots? It is Moose Milk Cheese. Brought to you from Bjursholm, in north Sweden, and not any other major cheese producing nations like France! This Swedish cheese is at the high end of high-end. Why? Because it can only be made from the milk of three moose cows named Gullan, Haelga, and Juna. These three cows happily reside at the “Moose House” which is a 59 acre farm and is a part of The Elk House (Älgens Hus) farm in Bjurholm run by Christer and Ulla Johansson. Something as exciting as this can definitely attract visitors too – about 25,000 a year is what the Moose House does!

Talking about the price – the Moose Milk Cheese is outrageously priced at $455 per pound! Would you really want to spend this much on some cheese? Well, we leave that totally on you!

#8 – Moose Milk Cheese

Also known as one of the rarest kinds of cheese, the Moose Milk Cheese’s priciness is a result of many other attributes. It is strenuous, when to milk a single one, it takes somewhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours and each cow would only produce one gallon of milk in one day. Like this wasn’t enough, when the only time that is suitable for milking this trio is between May-September, when they are in heat and are calving. And that’s not all – the milk (containing 12% each of fats and proteins), then undergoes refrigeration and is curdled three times in a year. All this to annually produce 660 pounds of cheese!

And not to forget, the availability ain’t that easy as well. After the Moose House makes these three cheeses, they either reach the posh kitchens of upscale Swedish restaurants/hotels or are available for sampling or buying from the farm’s tasting room! So, now you know where to head for if you want to savour this expensive cheese.

With a sublime flavour, unlike cow’s milk cheese, the Moose Milk Cheese is tasty and healthy. It contains a high quantity of solids and butterfat alongwith good levels of zinc, selenium, aluminium and iron. Probably the reason why nutritionists highly recommend it and the patients of Ivan Susanin Sanitorium in Russia are served. Justifies the price as well!

So, wherever you are on this planet, if you get your hands on some of this exotic cheese or a dish that uses this cheese – do not miss the chance to try it! The entire experience will definitely be priceless!

As we move towards the final two ingredients on this list, let the ‘foodie’ in you share the thrilling stories and recipes that you end-up dishing or eating! We absolutely love receiving them and then reading and trying them in our kitchens!