Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sajji - Baluchi dish

Sajji is a popular dish in Baluchistan province of Pakistan. It consists of whole lamb, in skewers (fat and meat intact), marinated only in salt, sometimes covered with green papaya paste, stuffed with rice, then roasted over coals. Sajji is considered done when it is at the 'rare' stage.

It is served with a special bread "Kaak", "roti" or "naan", which is baked in an oven, wrapped around a stone "tandoor". Sajji is favorite dish of Baloch people and is available in all regions of Pakistan. Regional varieties are found with subtle differences in flavoring notably in the urban centers of Karachi, Islamabad or Lahore, uses chicken instead of lamb, and is roasted until it is medium or well-done.

For making Sajji the meat is roasted to a delightful degree of tenderness and is not very spicy. It is a whole leg of lamb or whole chicken deliciously marinated in local herbs and salt, barbecued beside an open fire. It is very popular among the locals and is offered with great insistence to the guests. It is served with special bread “Kaak”, “roti” or “naan”, which is baked in an oven, wrapped around a stone.

Sajji is amongst the favorite delicacies of Baluchistan natives specially it is famous in Quetta. A spicier version is preferred in Karachi or Lahore, uses chicken instead of lamb. The chickens are on wooden rods and they are cooked slowly on the heat of smoldering fire. The urban people prefers to use Chat masala( spice) , lemon juice, Raito(yogurt) and salad with it. While originally it has been eaten with bread.

The process of making Sajji is divided into three parts: marinating, preparation and cooking. In all, the preparation time is about 2 to 2 1/2 hours and the cooking method is generally roasting. The lamb (or chicken) leg is first marinated and then prepared for roasting. Once the meat is done, it is ready to be served. It is worth mentioning that the meat for the dish is considered done and ready for consumption when it is 'rare'.

 Sajji Roasted Leg Of Lamb
 2.5 - 3 kg whole leg of lamb
 4 tbs. lemon juice
 1 tbsp. garlic paste
 3 tsp. salt
 2 tsp. black pepper
 1 tbs. ground coriander
 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
 1 tbs. ground cumin
 250 gm yogurt
 1/2 cup cooking oil

1. Trim all fat and silver skin from lamb. Prick lamb thoroughly with a sharp knife or large fork or cut small slits all over lamb with a sharp knife.
2. Place the lamb in a deep baking dish, spread lemon juice all over lamb and rub it into the slits. Cover and marinate for an hour.
3. Combine garlic paste, salt, black pepper, coriander, nutmeg, cumin and yogurt in a small bowl. mix well.
4. Pour the marinade over the lamb and coat well all over. Cover and place it back in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours or preferably over night.
5. Prepare the grill and grill lamb on an oiled rack set 5-6 inches over glowing coals for 10-15 minutes on each side. At the end of cooking time brush lamb with oil.
Serve it with Nan and Chutney.

Baluchistan Cuisine

Baloch cuisine refers to the food and cuisine of the Baloch people from the Baluchistan region, compromising the Pakistani Baluchistan province as well as Sistan and Baluchistan in Iran and Baluchistan, Afghanistan. Baloch food has a regional variance in contrast to many other cuisines of Pakistan.

 Sajji is a native dish of the desert province of Baluchistan and it is most popular in Balochi cuisine. It consists of whole lamb, in skewers (fat and meat intact), marinated only in salt, sometimes covered with green papaya paste, stuffed with rice, then roasted over coals. Sajji is favorite of Baluchistan natives, where most are nomads.  It is served with a special bread "Kaak", "roti" or "naan". Prominent Baloch dishes such as the lamb-skewd Sajji have gained massive popularity among different parts of Pakistan, including the food hubs of Karachi and Lahore. Regional varieties are found with subtle differences in flavoring  using chicken instead of lamb.

Kaak Roti 
Kaak is a native dish of the province of Baluchistan, Pakistan. Kaak is rock-hard prepared bread. It is also known as Pathhar ki roti (English: Stone bread). It is made by flattening the dough for the bread and rolling it over a preheated stone. The stone is then baked in a tandoor. Kaak is very hard once it has been baked.

Dampukht is also a Balochi cuisine which is prepared by meat and it is cooked in fats.

Khaddi Kebab
Khaddi Kebab is a lamb barbecue. It is a cuisine in which Baluchistan's cook a whole lamb or goat on fire. Usually there is raw rice in the stomach of the lamb and the rice is cooked by the fats of the lamb. The lamb is cooked on fire.

Lahndi, also known as dried meat, is a winter food popular in Baluchistan.  Consumption of Lahndi is common during the winter months. Sheep are specially fattened so that their flesh may be more suitable for preparing lahndi. Quetta is famous for Lahndi as its weather is suitable for making it.
Lahndi, also known as dried meat, is a winter food popular in Afghanistan and the Pashtun belt of Pakistan, situated across the Durand Line. Consumption of Lahndi is common during the winter months. Sheep are specially fattened so that their flesh may be more suitable for preparing Lahndi.
Lahndi is usually prepared from lamb and sheep, although it can also be made from beef. It is prepared as follows. First a lamb or sheep is slaughtered in the Islamic way, i.e. halal. Then the wool is separated in a proper and skilled way, leaving only the skin. After that, the remaining hairs on the skin are burned away with fire, after which the meat is wiped to get rid of the carbon deposits. Then the meat is cut into smaller pieces and rubbed with salt to avoid bacteria. It is also rubbed with pungent-smelling asafetida, which is a little like garlic and serves as a preservative, a much-needed additive in a part of the world where electricity and refrigerators are rare. After  preparation, the meat is strung on Lahndi poles.

The best time to prepare Lahndi is December, when the meat dries out within fifteen days if it is cold enough. It is commonly eaten in winter to keep a person warm and help him face the extreme weather. Sheep are specially fattened so that they may be more suitable for preparing "landi" Air-dried salted meat is a feature of Afghan cuisine developed by Afghans.

 How to cook Lahndi Palou:
Several dishes can be prepared by using Lahndi meat. The meat must be salted and exposed to air at least a couple of days before cooking.
1/2 lb. landi
3 c. rice
1/3 c. oil
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 1/2 c. dried orange peel
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/2 c. dried mint
3 medium onions
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper
8 c. water for rice
6 c. water for meat
Wash landi meat with warm water and place into pot with 6 c. water. let it boil for 1 hour over medium heat and take off all foam from the top of the water. Check meat for done. If it is not tender, let it boil for another 1/2 hour.

Fry chopped onions with 1/2 c. oil until brown. Remove meat from pot and set into onion pot. Add 1 c. water, stirring until onions dissolve. Set aside.

Wash rice and soak it in the water for 45 minutes. Boil water in a separate pot. Drain rice into a colander, then place it into meat mixture, and keep stirring. Add 2 c. water and salt. Cover with lid, then cook for 2 minutes.
remove the lid and add garlic, turmeric, orange peel, and red pepper. Heat remainder of oil, pour over rice with 1 c. warm water and cover like other dishes. Set on high heat for 2 minutes and over low heat for 40 minutes

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Star Ratings Explained

Five Star
These are hotels that offer only the highest level of accommodations and services. The properties offer a high degree of personal service. Although most five star hotels are large properties, sometimes the small independent (non-chain) property offers an elegant intimacy that cannot be achieved in the larger setting. The hotel locations can vary from the very exclusive locations of a suburban area, to the heart of downtown. The hotel lobbies are sumptuous, the rooms complete with stylish furnishing and quality linens. The amenities often include: VCRs, CD stereos, garden tubs or Jacuzzis, in-room video library, heated pools and more. The hotels feature up to three restaurants all with exquisite menus. Room service is usually available 24 hours a day. Fitness Centers and valet and/or garage parking are typically available. A concierge is also available to assist you.
Typical National Chains: Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons.

Four Star
Mostly large, formal hotels with smart reception areas, front desk service and bellhop service. The hotels are most often located near other hotels of the same caliber and are usually found near shopping, dining and other major attractions. The level of service is well above average and the rooms are well lit and well furnished. Restaurant dining is usually available and may include more than one choice. Some properties will offer continental breakfast and/or happy hour delicacies. Room service is usually available during most hours. Valet parking and/or garage service is also usually available. Concierge services, fitness centers and one or more pools are often provided.
Typical National Chains: Hyatt, Marriott.

Three Star
Typically these hotels offer more spacious accommodations that include well appointed rooms and decorated lobbies. Bellhop service is usually not available. They are often located near major expressways or business areas, convenient to shopping and moderate to high priced attractions. The hotels usually feature medium-sized restaurants that typically offer service breakfast through dinner. Room service availability may vary. Valet parking, fitness centers and pools are often provided.
Typical National Chains: Holiday Inn, Hilton.

Two Star
Typically smaller hotels managed by the proprietor. The hotel is often 2 - 4 stories high and usually has a more personal atmosphere. Its usually located near affordable attractions, major intersections and convenient to public transportation. Furnishings and facilities are clean but basic. Most will not have a restaurant on site but are usually within walking distance to some good low-priced dining. Public access, past certain hours, may be restricted.
Typical National Chains: Days Inn, LaQuinta Inn.

One Star

Usually denotes independent and name brand hotel chains with a reputation for offering consistent quality amenities. The hotel is usually small to medium-sized and conveniently located to moderately priced attractions. The facilities typically include telephones and TVs in the bedroom. Some hotels offer limited restaurant service; however, room service and bellhop service is usually not provided.

Aryan Cuisine

Aryan Cuisine

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Gourmet Girl: Louisiana Shrimp Creole with Garlic Grits

Gourmet Girl: Louisiana Shrimp Creole with Garlic Grits


Although we use it frequently in our everyday life, baking soda is still a mystery to a lot of people regarding its qualities. Besides it’s good for cooking, it provides numerous health benefits to the human health.
Baking soda is made of sodium bicarbonate and it is mostly used for boosting the dough, adding texture and flavor to it. It is also known as nahcolite, which is a derivative of mineral natron. Centuries back, people used it for cleaning their houses and yards. But, in 1920s , baking soda was firstly used for medical purposes.
Baking soda is inexpensive and you can easily find it in all markets. It is used for healing of injuries and as a cosmetic product, too. So, take a look how you can use baking soda in 11 other different ways.
Natural Deodorant
Antiperspirants have a lot of aluminum and parabens, so in case you want to get rid of the heavy compounds, baking soda is the right thing for you. Apply some soda under your armpits and the smell will disappear
Mix water and baking soda and apply the mixture directly on the insect bites to prevent from itching.
Mix ½ glass of water with ½ tsp. of baking soda and drink the mixture every second hour in order to treat stomach acid, indigestion, heartburn, and ulcer pain.
Mix warm water with 3 tbsp. of baking soda and soak your feet in it. Or, make a paste and scrub your feet with it in order to cleanse the skin
Mix ACV with baking soda and soak your body in it. You can afterward cleanse the bathtub with it.
Mix water and b.soda in ration 1:3 and use the mixture to clean your hands from unpleasant smells and dirt.
Mix water and 1 tbsp. of b.soda and apply the mixture on the affected area twice on a daily basis to eliminate splinters within 2 days.
Add half cup of b.soda in some warm water and soak yourself in it order to treat sunburns. Or, dip a cloth or a towel in the mixture and apply on the painful areas directly.
Study proved that stimulates plaque removal of teeth even better than a traditional toothpaste brushing. It eliminates bacteria in the mouth. Mix baking soda and salt in 6:1 ratio to get rid of the bacteria in your gums. Take small amount on your index finger and rub the gums.
Take a strawberry and mix it with ½ tsp. of baking soda. Then, apply on your teeth and leave it to stay for 5 minutes. Next, brush your teeth as you usually do and rinse well. Do this once a week.
It was used as a cleaning tool for a long time. Even the Statute of Liberty was cleaned with  during its 1986 restoration. You can cleanse your kitchen if you sprinkle some over the dirty surfaces.
Moreover, if you mix ACV, water, and baking soda, you can even cleanse your bathroom, the grill, and all of your pans, toys, cutlery, silverware, and etc. In addition, you can use baking soda as a fabric whitener and fabric softener. It can clean your carpets if you sprinkle some over them and leave it to act for 15 minutes.

Can be used for cleaning your veggies, too. Use it while you wash them in order to eliminate all the dirt from them.

Monday, August 28, 2017


They are all natural and delicious, so including them into your everyday diet will offer you numerous benefits.
1-Rosemary:the rosemary is one of the most powerful ingredients to increase your memory and improve your concentration. It has been proved that its chemical composition increases the cerebral yield and its smell is very agreeable. Put a pot with rosemary in your home or use rosemary essential oilfor massages or spice up your meals!
2-Beet: it improves the blood flow in our body and brain.
3-Whole eggs: they sharpen your memory. The egg yolks contain colime that offers numerous benefits for the brainhealth.
4-Fish:they contain Omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for the cerebral health.
5-Avocado:they increase the blood flow to the brain.
6-Blueberries: this fruit has excellent antioxidants that protect the brain from aging.
7-Onion: they improve the memory. It is better to consume it raw.
8-Whole grains:they contain Omega-3, fiber and complex carbohydrates, which help our cerebral healthenormously.
9-Tomatoes: the tomatoes contain lycopene, which protects the brain cells from the damage caused by the free radicals.
10-Green tea: it improves the memory and increases the cerebral capacity. You need to drink 2 to 3 cups a day. It increases the concentration, the cognitive functions and the electrical connection of the brain.
11- Black chocolate: this rich food contains numerous antioxidants and caffeine, which increase your concentration and memory.
12-Acorn squash: because it is full of vitamin B12 and folic acid, which protect our brain from injuriesthis type of squash is a great ally that will increase your memory.
13-Walnuts: in addition to Omega-3, that reinforce the blood vessels of the brainthey increase the oxygen flow and possess numerous nutrients.
14-Curcuma: it contains curcumin that fights inflammation and increases the memory.
15-Apple:it is excellent to keep you in form and take care of your cerebral health.
These foods also help your overall health besides helping you improve the health of your brain, vision and bones. Use them every day. Include them into your everyday diet and you won’t regret it!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Basmati Rice

Basmati is one of the best known varieties of rice out there. The word "basmati" comes from the Sanskrit word "vasmati" which means "fragrant" or "aromatic." Long-grained, extremely aromatic, with a light nutty flavor, basmati is grown in the north of India and Pakistan, mainly using traditional growing methods.

In Pakistan

In Pakistan, 95 percent of the basmati rice cultivation takes place in the Punjab Province  where total production was 2.47 million tonnes in 2010.

Pakistani varieties

Basmati 370 (Pak Basmati), Super Basmati (Best Aroma), Basmati Pak (Kernal), 386 or 1121 basmati rice, Basmati 385, Basmati 515, Basmati 2000 and Basmati 198.

In India

The areas of basmati rice production in India are in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. India's total basmati production for the July 2011–June 2012 crop year was 5 million tones. In India, Haryana is the major basmati rice cultivating state, producing more than 60 percent of the total basmati rice produced in India.

Indian varieties

Bamsati, P3 Punjab, type III Uttar Pradesh, hbc -19 Safidon, 386 Haryana, Kasturi (Baran, Rajasthan), Basmati 198, Basmati 217, Basmati 370, Bihar, Kasturi, Mahi Suganda, Pusa (duplicate basmati), Pusa 1121.Basmati 386, Pusa Basmati – 1, Basmati 217. Pusa Basmati 112, Ranbir Basmati, Punjab Basmati, Karnal Local or Taraori Basmati, Haryana Basmati – 1, Basmati 370, Kasturi and Mahi Sugandha

  Quality factors
There are many different types of rice with many different qualities to suit different consumer preferences. Quality factors relate to grain length, stickiness, aroma, texture, and flavor. Nutritional content may also vary between different types of rice.
Oryza sativa, or Asian rice, contains two broad groups: indica (long-grain) and japonica (short-grain). Other types of Asian rice include glutinous rice and aromatic rice. Oryza glaberrima, or African rice, includes long- and short-grain varieties. All varieties of rice can be processed post-harvest as either white or brown rice, affecting flavor, texture and nutritive value. Milling of rice post-harvest always leads to some grains being broken; a higher proportion of broken grains decreases the price since the quality is generally acknowledged to be reduced. 
Indica varieties of Asian rice are long-grain and usually grown in hot climates, whereas japonica varieties of Asian rice are short-grain and include both temperate and tropical varieties. African rice and glutinous rice (a variety of Asian rice) also come in long- and short-grain varieties. 
In short-grain rice varieties, including japonica varieties of Asian rice, grains tend to stick together when cooked. This is not to be confused with glutinous (or ‘sticky’) rice, descibed later on this page. Japanese rice (uruchimai or ‘sushi rice’) is a short-grain variety. Another popular short-grain variety is Arborio. Short-grain rice refers to rice with grain length up to 5.2 mm. 
Long-grain rice does not stick together when cooked, but tends to remain separate and ‘fluffy’. Most of the rice produced in southern Asia, including India and Thailand, is Indica (long-grain) rice. Basmati rice (mainly grown in India and Pakistan) and Jasmine rice (only grown in Thailand) are two popular varieties of long-grain rice, and both are aromatic or fragrant, described in more detail later on this page. Long-grain rice refers to rice with grain length over 6.0 mm.
Medium-grain rice refers to rice with grain length above 5.2 mm up to 6.0 mm. 
Stickiness (glutinousness)
Glutinous rice varieties originate from Lao PDR and northeast Thailand, where they are the staple food (Almanac 2012; Chaudhary, 2003). Among glutinous rice varieties, physical characteristics, quality and environmental adaptations vary widely. Some glutinous rices are aromatic, colors include white, purple and black, and grain size varies. Glutinous rice is opaque when raw, unlike most non-glutinous rice varieties, which are somewhat translucent when raw. With regards to starch, amylose content is low, ranging from 2.6% to 4.8% (Chaudhary, 2003) compared to 10% to 30% in non-glutinous rice (, but amylopectic content is high, accounting for the glue-like stickiness of glutinous rice. Glutinous rice does not contain dietary gluten (i.e. it does not contain glutenin and gliadin), and is thus safe for gluten-free diets. See also information on cooking methods. Glutinous rice can be cooked as grains or ground into flour and cooked as a paste or gel.
Aromatic rice is another variety of Asian rice, with medium to long grains and a light, fluffy texture and nutty or popcorn-like aroma when cooked. Aromatic rice is also generally said to have a nutty flavor, which is more pronounced in brown (unpolished) aromatic rice. The most internationally well-known types of aromatic rice are basmati and jasmine. 
Basmati rice, grown mostly in India and Pakistan, is renowned for its long, slender shape that elongates rather than expands in width when it is cooked. The word ‘basmati’ means ‘queen of fragrance’, and the rice is distinguished by its aroma. There are hundreds of other aromatic varieties grown and consumed locally, but basmati is the only one that is exported (Chaudhary, 2003). 
Jasmine rice, grown only in Thailand, is distinguished by its fragrance and a water milling process that leaves the grains silken to the touch. The grains are similar in size to long-grain rice but cook moist and tender like a medium-grain rice. In Thailand there are many other aromatic rice varieties, but jasmine and KDML 105 are the only ones exported (Chaudhary, 2003).
In the United States, domestically grown aromatic rice varieties include Texmati (a cross between ‘American’ long-grain rice and basmati rice), Wehani (developed by Lundberg Family Farms in California, using basmati seeds), and wild pecan rice (another basmati hybrid developed in Louisiana). 
Aroma is detected when the volatile compounds of the rice enter the nasal passage. A good perfumer can reportedly differentiate 150–200 odorous qualities and rice aroma is typically described by trained panelists using a lexicon with 10–12 descriptors (Champagne, 2008). 
The aroma of rice is mainly caused by the presence of the chemical compound 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline. But it is likely that many oils, phenolics and organic compounds are involved, such that hundreds of unique varieties of aromatic rice exist, in addition to many hybrids (Chaudhary, 2003). 
Flavor of rice differs by type of rice (variety, grain length, stickiness, color, etc.) and also depends on whether or not it has been polished (i.e. brown or white rice) and, of course, cooking methods. Those considerations are obvious to most of us. But flavor may also vary by genetics, the growing environment, type of fertilizer and cultural practices (which affect amylose and protein content), the timing of draining and harvesting the field (affecting maturity and moisture content, and also amylose and protein content), harvest moisture content, rough rice drying conditions, final moisture content, storage conditions (temperature and length of time), degree of milling, and also finally also washing and soaking practices and serving temperature of the cooked rice (Champagne, 2008). 
As explained in a review by Champagne (2008): “Flavor is the impression perceived through the chemical senses from a product in the mouth (Caul 1957). According to Meilgaard et al (2007), when defined in this manner, flavor includes aromatics (olfactory perceptions caused by volatile substances released from a product in the mouth through the posterior nares); tastes (gustatory perceptions [salty, sweet, sour, bitter] caused by soluble substances in the mouth); chemical feeling factors that stimulate nerve ends in the soft membranes of the buccal and nasal cavities (astringency, spice heat, cooling, bite, metallic flavor, umami taste).”
“Descriptive sensory analysis has identified over a dozen different aromas and flavors in rice. Instrumental analyses have found over 200 volatile compounds present in rice. However, after over 30 years of research, little is known about the relationships between the numerous volatile compounds and aroma/flavor. A number of oxidation products have been tagged as likely causing stale flavor. However, the amounts of oxidation products, singly or collectively, that need to be present for rice to have stale or rancid flavor have not been established. Only one compound, 2- acetyl-l-pyrroline (2-AP; popcorn aroma) has been confirmed to contribute a characteristic aroma. Furthermore, 2-AP is the only volatile compound in which the relationship between its concentration in rice and sensory intensity has been established.” (Champagne, 2008).
Specialty rice types
In some parts of the world, especially in North America and Europe, rice is developing a new market niche as a staple and as a gourmet food. This trend appears to be related to the arrival of large numbers of immigrants from Southeast Asia, who introduced aromatic rice to markets where it was previously unknown. It has been adopted by a food-quality-conscious public over the past several years.
There are a number of ‘speciality’ rices available, including colored rice and aromatic rice (already described above) and wild rice. 

Black, purple and red rice
Wild rice (not really rice!)
Twenty-two wild species of rice are found in Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Only a few are closely related to Oryza sativa (Asian rice) and Oryza glaberrima (African rice). However, ‘wild rice’ is usually used to refer to the grain harvested from four species of grass that form the genus Zizania, including both wild and domesticated varieties. Historically, wild rice was gathered and eaten in North America and China. Currently it is a delicacy in North America, due to it’s taste and nutritional value, and it is now cultivated there, mainly in California, Minnesota and Saskatchewan. It is also produced in Hungary and Australia. In China, although Manchurian wild rice was once an important grain, now the plant’s stem is used as a vegetable and the grain is less commonly eaten. 

The Basmati Controversy
A well known Company in USA had applied for the Patent of Basmati Rice i.e. it could label its product as Basmati Rice and in turn nobody else could use this nomenclature for its product. It is like somebody, say in Pakistan, gets a patent registered for Champagne and then nobody, even people in France (where Champagne originated from) would be allowed to call its product as Champagne. Though the authorities in USA have rejected the claim however they have allowed their three strains of rice to be called basmati rice. This is also against the principles as basmati rice is only grown in Punjab, Haryana and J&K in India and Punjab in Pakistan since decades. Any rice grown elsewhere other than the above regions cannot be called Basmati, as it cannot have the combined characteristic of aroma and elongation post cooking because of the soil and weather conditions.

What are the difference kinds of Non Basmati rice
Any rice other than basmati rice is called non- basmati rice. In the world it has been reported that there are 10000 varieties of rice, the maximum number being in India. In fact, basmati rice equals to only 1% production of the total rice grown in Pakistan/India.
Non- basmati rice comes in all kinds of different shapes and sizes. Some are long and slender, some are short and thick, some are like beads, and some may be round. None have the same characteristics as basmati rice i.e. they do not have both the aroma and post cooking elongation. Only some of the long slender rice is shaped like basmati rice and may have either the aroma or the elongation but not both.

The difference between ordinary and sella rice
Any rice other than basmati rice is called non- basmati rice. In the world it has been reported that there are 10000 varieties of rice, the maximum number being in India. In fact, basmati rice equals to only 1% production of the total rice grown in India.
Non- basmati rice comes in all kinds of different shapes and sizes. Some are long and slender, some are short and thick, some are like beads, and some may be round. None have the same characteristics as basmati rice i.e. they do not have both the aroma and post cooking elongation. Only some of the long slender rice is shaped like basmati rice and may have either the aroma or the elongation but not both.

What`s the difference between basmati and Non basmati rice
As mentioned, basmati rice has both and elongation post cooking and no other rice in the world has these characteristics in combination. The taste is also different. Once the taste buds get used to basmati rice no other rice will be likened. But since the yield of basmati rice, per acre of land, is less than half of that of non- basmati rice and because of higher inputs - basmati rice has become unaffordable for most people. Basmati Associates has made basmati rice affordable for people of various income brackets- with its different varieties of basmati rice, starting with Rs.115 per kg to Rs.188 per kg.

What are the advantages of being basmati rice 
Each grain of matured old basmati rice on cooking, separates out and with its unique characteristics of aroma and elongation post cooking, it is a treat for the diner. Also its elongation requirement on weight basis will be less than any other rice per meal.

How to recognize the various varieties

It is true that recognizing pure basmati rice is as difficult as recognizing a diamond. Like a diamond, the cut of the grain indicates whether it is basmati or any other rice. A basmati grain is shaped like a sword and post cooking each grain elongates at least twice that of its original size. The rich aroma is another way by which one can recognize basmati rice. All other varieties do not match the above qualities, and non - basmati is recognized only by its various sizes and shapes.

Friday, December 2, 2016

What is Xanthan Gum

is a food additive that is primarily used to thicken, emulsify, and stabilize water-based foods. It helps things like salad dressings stay mixed, for instance. As a general rule, oil will try to pull away from other ingredients, particularly water, and the gum helps prevent this from happening. The additive also helps lend a smoother, creamier texture to certain foods, particularly ice cream. Fresh ice cream often has a really custard-like smooth taste, but this can be hard to maintain after a lot of time in a deep freeze; the gum can help preserve a lot of the smoothness and can help the ingredients resist becoming crumbly or dry. The additive is also effective as a general binding agent, and is often a really popular choice for gluten-free foods like breads that might be prone to disintegrating without the stickiness of gluten molecules to hold them together. Most food safety organizations and oversight committees have found the additive to be safe, particularly if used only in small quantities. There are some people who are allergic to it, though, and in rare cases there have been some adverse reactions.

As an Emulsifier
One of the gum’s most common uses is as an emulsifier, which basically means that it helps keep liquids from separating and pulling apart. In salad dressings, sauces, and condiments, for instance, it helps decrease the separation of oils, keeping the product well mixed while in the jar or bottle. As a result, all of the ingredients are held in a sort of suspension, and the customer doesn’t have to re-blend or shake things before use.
As a Thickening and Smoothing Agent
The same qualities that make xanthan gum a good emulsifier also make it a good thickener, of liquids and solids both. When something like salad dressing is shaken or agitated, it tends to thin out, making it easier to pour. This process is called pseudoplasticity. After the product has been poured and is allowed to rest, the gum helps it begins to thicken again slightly. Among other things, this helps it adhere to the food on which it’s been poured.
In frozen foods, xanthan gum creates the palatable feel of the food to the mouth. Along with guar gum and locust bean gum, it helps create the smooth texture of ice creams. It is also used to replace the fatty texture of egg yolks in many egg substitutes.
Improving Dough Cohesion
The additive is frequently also used as an addition to gluten-free flour, and can improve the overall quality of baked goods that are used with it. Gluten is a molecule most commonly found in wheat, and it is by nature a strong binding agent — it’s what gives most breads and baked goods their springy, chewy texture. Omitting gluten, which is all but essential for people who are allergic to wheat or prefer gluten-free products for dietary reasons, can leave many baked goods tasting dry and cooking poorly. Adding the gum to make up for the lost gluten can make a big difference.
How It’s Made
From a chemical perspective, the gum is a polysaccharide gum, or three-chain sugar compound, and it is created through the fermentation of the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris with glucoseand, in some cases, sucrose, both of which are naturally occurring sugars. It is also sometimes called corn sugar, particularly on ingredient labels. This additive is very stable at a wide variety of temperatures and pH levels.
It was discovered by chemist Allene Rosalind Jeanes at the United States Department of Agriculture, and was first approved for use in foods in 1968 after going through rigorous testing for toxicity. In the United States, Canada, Europe, and many other countries, it is considered to be safe for human consumption, and it is permitted as an “approved” additive in a range of different foods. It is very effective in small quantities and usually makes up only 0.5% to 1% of the total ingredients in any given product.
Safety Concerns
Xanthan gum is a natural carbohydrate that is not absorbed into the body, so it often raises less controversy than other more chemically-based food additives. Many people still want to avoid this and other additives as a way of returning to natural foods or looking for more nature-based alternatives, though. Some people with food allergies may also be sensitive to the product, and in rare cases it has been linked to headaches, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Other "gums," such as guar gum, carrageenan, and locust bean gum, can often be substituted, though these usually come with their own sets of pros and cons.
Xanthan gum is a common food binder available for purchase at grocery stores in the form of an inconspicuous white powder. As the term “gum” implies, xanthan gum gives items such as gluten free bread some of the texture and consistency that we’re all familiar with from our non-gluten free days. It provides some of that natural gumminess inherent to gluten in products without it.
This ingredient becomes even more important when you remove other binders, such as eggs, when making gluten free products vegan. Sounds like xanthan gum is a good thing, right? Not so fast…
The Dark Side of Xanthan Gum
Most people have no idea what xanthan gum is made from. Granted, the pure white powder doesn’t sound any alarms. It’s easy to confuse it with some of the other “white powders” we’re used to adding to baking mixes. And frankly, when I ate a lot of gluten free baked goods and breads, I didn’t necessarily care in the beginning what each ingredient was and where it came from. I just wanted to eat something similar to what I was used to before going gluten free.
To be clear, xanthan gum is a food additive approved for use in the USA in 1968 and is pervasive in the gluten free food category. It’s actually pretty difficult to find products without it (and that includes items outside of food such as shampoos and other beauty products). When mixed with some of the other gums, such as locust or guar gum, the result is an even better binder which explains why they are often used together in products.

The question few ask though is how xanthan gum is produced so that this common white powder has the power to make ingredients bind together as effectively as it does. The journey to your plate all starts with a lovely strain of bacteria known as Xanthomonas Campestris which in the world of Botany is responsible for producing what’s known as Black Rot on vegetables of the cruciferous family (ie. cauliflower, broccoli, kale).
Yes, Black Rot… it sounds awful and it is for plants that become infected. As you can see here in a picture that I personally took of of my cauliflower plants attacked by Black Rot during the summer of 2013. I couldn’t save them and lost the entire crop after a summer’s worth of hard work.
But What’s Xanthan Gum Made From?
To be clear, xanthan gum isn’t black rot. However I’ll leave it up to you whether you feel comfortable eating it from here on out.
The action of the bacteria produces black rot or a slimy gel depending on where it is applied. In the case of producing xanthan gum, Xanthomonas campestris is applied to some sort of starchy material (ie. corn, wheat, dairy or soy) and ferments it to produce a slimy, indigestible polysaccaride (a string of multiple glucose molecules) substance. This slimy material is then further refined, dried and milled into the white powder we know as xanthan gum.
Before we go further, you may have questions about whether the original starch would cause any reactivity in humans who are sensitive to those particular foods — corn, soy, dairy or wheat (which is most important to all of us here). It appears that there have been very few studies conducted on humans about the safety of xanthan gum according to the research provide by Chris Kresser.
Another question is whether xanthan gum is made from source materials (ie. corn and soy) that are GMO (genetically modified organisms). For those who do their best to avoid consuming those GMO crops, that would mean nixing xanthan gum off your list unless it’s certified as organic.
However it’s been noted on several sites, including that of Bob’s Red Mill, that folks with a corn or soy allergy may want to avoid xanthan gum produced from those starches since there’s no guarantee that it’s free from those allergens. Their particular product is produced on wheat starch which lacks the portion of wheat containing gluten (but makes me wonder about safety for those with an actual wheat allergy). With the FDA regulations now, I would assume they actually test their gluten free products to fall under 20 ppm.
Side Effects of Xanthan Gum
As you may already know, everything in nature can cause side effects that vary from person to person. Xanthan gum is no different and can cause issues for people. According to WebMD, it’s contraindicated to consume it in large quantities (over 15 grams per day) which is difficult considering how little one uses in a large recipe. It may also interfere with diabetic medication, causing blood sugar levels to drop too low. And xanthan gum is listed as a “bulk-forming laxative” which can cause problems such as nausea, vomiting and hard stools to name a few.
And it is possible to develop a sensitivity to xanthan gum just as you would to other foods. If you find that you’re still reacting to food that’s labeled gluten free, remember that other food intolerances are possible and can sometime mimic the symptoms of getting glutened. Leaky Gut Syndrome is a big reason why folks may find themselves adding more foods to the “NO” list. There is plenty of anecdotal accounts all over the web from people who react to xanthan gum.
What To Do…
If you follow my work here at Gluten Free School, you know I’m a fan of eating real food. By doing so, you reduce your exposure to wacky ingredients such as xanthan gum. It’s not to say that you can’t ever indulge in a gluten free baked good or a slice of gluten free bread, but ask yourself if you feel comfortable doing so all the time now that you know what it is.
I recognize that some people may not care while others, like me, absolutely will. We are each responsible for tending to our own health. The decision you make rests entirely on your shoulders.
If you bake, you can replace xanthan gum with guar gum which is derived from the guar bean. And you could also search on Google for the paleo version of the baked good you’re hoping to make. Even if you don’t eat paleo, you’ll at least end up with a recipe that’s focused solely on real food over a gluten free recipe comprised of 20+ ingredients (like xanthan gum).
I’d also suggest contacting companies with products you love and let them know that you’re not comfortable with their choice of binder. If they receive enough complaints, they may very well reformulate the product without it.
I’ll certainly follow up with another article looking at some of the other gums in the future, so please stay tuned!