Integrity, The right way

O_Said:   “We have our deadlines coming near

We must meet the timelines for sure

Let’s give all it takes and cut corners

Release the product with honor and earn some dollars”

[xxx_feels: Lets work with Integrity.  Avoid short term gain and long term pain] 

I_Said:   “This issue in hand is actually a mix

And it will surely need more time to fix

We don’t know the cause and its source

All we know is a probable work around”

[xxx_feels: Lets work with Integrity.  Avoid short term gain and long term pain] 

O_Said:   ” Put the patch or whatever that is

I don’t want to hear of a slip or a miss

Just stay mum so we don’t loss a dime

We will somehow handle it this time”

[xxx_feels: Lets work with Integrity.  Avoid short term gain and long term pain] 

I_Said: ” I do not agree and neither should any,

Generating money might matter to many

Reputation once lost can never recover,

No matter how you try, even if you try forever

[xxx_feels: Lets work with Integrity.  Avoid short term gain and long term pain] 

The Right way : Decision Taken in unity without integrity is guilty,

Corporate integrity is product of individual integrity

Integrity upturns the brand,

Dishonesty burns it to ground

All hands are required to make a Hero

But a single dishonesty can make it a Zero”

[xxx_feels: Lets work with Integrity.  Avoid short term gain and long term pain] 

Banana Fritters

Banana fritters or ripe plantain fritters is an awesome snack to munch on. You should have the ripest bananas possible. So if you have some bananas which seem overripe, you could use it for this recipe without wasting them.

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Well this is the ripeness I was talking about. So you take some 2-3 ripe plantains, cut both the tips using a knife and then peel off the skin. Why I mentioned to cut the tips is to avoid any deformation to the bananas while you use your fingers to remove it. Next step is to cut the bananas. Now there is no hard and fast rule as to how big each slice should be or how small it can be. I have cut my bananas into 4 pieces each.

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Next step is to make the batter. You can use an egg if required. If using an egg, beat it well before you add the other ingredients. If you go to any restaurant or tea shop, the banana fritters usually would be made using egg.

Now into this beaten egg (empty mixing dish, if not adding egg), add some sugar. The riper the bananas you are using, the lesser the sugar required. It is advised to keep the sugar less. The bananas are extremely sweet, so why to add more sweetness into it?

You have to add equal quantities of the following flours – rice, maida, rava and corn. You could skip anyone if you wish to or don’t have readily available.

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You could add a pinch of turmeric for colour.

Next step is to mix them well into a proper consistency by adding water. Do not add a lot of water all of a sudden. You need to add water step by step.

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Now this is the consistency we are looking for.

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In the meantime, heat a pan and add oil into it. Add enough oil. We are going to deep fry the plantains.

Add the cut slices into this batter. Ensure to coat both sides of the slices with enough batter.

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Into the heated oil, add the slices one by one. Let them fry until brown.

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Now turn them upside down and fry the other side too.

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When evenly fried, take them out of the oil using a slotted spoon to allow all the oil to drain off.

There you have it, banana fritters are ready to be served hot.

The Science That an Egg has to teach.

You might be wondering what the title means, what science can a thing as simple as an egg teach us. Read on to know more.

Majority of us like to consume eggs in one form or the other ranging from boiled to poached to fried to scrambled. The dramatic transformation an egg goes through from its liquid raw state to its solid cooked state has always captured my attention and has led me to explore the “whats”, “whys” and “hows” of it. So here I am, sharing with you, my new found knowledge.

An egg consists of 2 parts – the yolk and the albumen. When you crack open an egg, the translucent liquid that you see is the albumen (egg white) that surrounds the generally yellowish yolk. It’s not at all necessary for the yolk to be yellow in shade, it largely depends on the diet the hen is on while laying the egg.

egg structureYou could imagine these 2 parts to be just sacks of water dispersed with proteins. To completely imagine the structure, you need to know how the proteins look like. Now this is where the science stuff begins. Protein molecules are basically made up of long chains of amino acids bound to one another by fairly weak chemical bonds.

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You might have this one doubt, i.e., if the composition of both yolk and albumen are the same, why does the raw yolk seem less runny than a raw egg white? I can say it is because the yolk contains some fat and this fat gets bound with the proteins and keeps them together. The runny nature of egg white can be attributed to the negative electrical charge of the proteins and as you know like charges repel each other. Hence we have the watery and loose egg white. Whereas in the yolk, the presence of fat is strong enough to withstand the repulsive force of the proteins.

Now as we start cooking, the egg gets heated up. All of its molecules start to move faster and collide with one another. As the temperature increases, the collisions become more intense resulting in the breaking apart of the weak chemical bonds holding the amino acid chains together. So now you will be having many short and loose protein strings. With further heat, these become entangled into some kind of a cobweb structure.

You might be wondering what happened to the water part of the egg during all this process? Well, the water has also got dispersed in the protein cobweb so it can no longer flow together, turning the liquid egg into a semi-solid. Continued heating causes more entanglement, leaving less space for the water. Eventually, much of the water is squeezed out (usually referred to as weeping) and evaporates, causing the egg protein to coagulate. When eggs are overcooked, the protein web becomes so tight and retains so little water that the egg white becomes rubbery and the yolk chalky. This difference is due to the fat interspersed with the protein web in the yolk.

So the story of conversion of a liquid to a solid in the presence of heat is the science which an egg has got to teach us all.

That is the end of this post. I would like to know how you feel about this post. Please do leave a comment below.

Making those Perfect Boiled Eggs

How hard is it to make some perfect boiled eggs? I have witnessed a lot of people complaining about the boiled eggs turning out to be either too runny or too firm. Right now I have the perfect solution to rectify this problem and am going to share it with you right away. But firstly, let’s see how to make boiled eggs – the basic procedure.

Take out ‘n’ (where n = any natural number) number of eggs from the fridge and keep it outside so that they warm up to the room temperatures.
Place the eggs in a saucepan and fill with normal tap water covering the eggs by about an inch which means the eggs should be absolutely immersed beneath the water.
Set the saucepan over high heat, uncovered.
Bring the water to a full, rolling boil. You can identify this when bubbles appears on the water surface.
As soon as the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from the stove (very important) and keep the pan covered.
Now you need a stopwatch or a timer to decide how long you need to leave the eggs in the covered pan.
To decide on the time span, you need to identify what type of egg you would like to consume.
If you want soft-boiled eggs, then you will have to take out the eggs quickly.
If you want hard-boiled eggs, then you will have to leave the eggs in water for a while longer.

See the image below of a small experiment on boiled eggs where the results at each minute is clearly indicated.

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The eggs change their texture from runny soft-boiled through to slightly runny soft-boiled through to firm soft-boiled through to creamy hard-boiled through to firm hard-boiled in minutes 1 to 18.

Now these minutes may vary depending on a number of factors like temperature, egg age, so on and so forth.
So you will have to determine the ideal minutes essential for obtaining what you desire for through repeated attempts and write it down.

Remove the eggs from the saucepan after the desired time has trickled away and place the eggs in a bowl of cold water.
Tap the shell using a spoon or hit it on a hard and smooth surface to crack open the shell.
Older eggs are actually easier to peel. This is because as an egg ages, its albumen shrinks and the space between the inner and outer shell membrane enlarges, which facilitates separating the membranes and removing the shell.
If you are using newer eggs, you should add salt in the boiling water while cooking.
Peel the egg shell off and enjoy the perfect boiled egg – the way you wanted it to be!

Tofu Masala

Tofu  might seem very similar to Paneer in looks but in no way are they similar. Tofu is a type of food that is formed by coagulating soy milk (which is a type of bean) whereas, Paneer is prepared by curdling milk with food acids such as lemon juice, vinegar. I had written an earlier post on how to make Paneer Masala and this dish is somewhat similar to that. So you could always refer to that or try a mix of this and that receipe.

I am not separating the ingredients list out. Will be explaining as we proceed.

Some ginger and garlic cut into small pieces along with 2 green chillies slit in center.

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2 medium sized onions sliced into small pieces.

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That’s 3 tomatoes sliced into small pieces.

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In a pan, you add oil and put the ginger and garlic.

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To it you add the sliced onions and green chillies and allow it to saute.

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Once saute, add in the tomatoes along with the masala. I have added turmeric powder, chilly powder, garam masala and salt. Mix it well.

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Now to the main ingredient – tofu. Tofu comes like this, unsliced.

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Slice the tofu pieces. I have done it like how I do Paneer pieces but its good to slice it into little more smaller pieces. Smaller pieces will aid in more masala absorption.

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Add a bit of pepper and turmeric in a pan of oil and add the tofu to it and mix well over fire. 

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By this time, the onions and tomatoes and the masala has blended very nicely.

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Add the tofu pieces into the masala mixture.

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Stir well and allow it to cook. Let the masala get thoroughly absorbed into the tofu pieces. There you have it – tofu masala.

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Can be served with poori, roti or naan.

Making Crispy French Fries at Home

Who doesn’t like to munch on those Fries offered at KFCs’ or MCDs’ – the ones which are crispy on the outside, fluffy in the center and delicious through and through? The taste lingers on the tongue and makes me crave for more and more. But who can keep on going to KFCs’ or MCDs’ for Fries on a daily basis, isn’t it?

The other day I was trying to make the McCain French Fries at home and I should say it was extra crisp and extra delicious. So this is the pack I bought, it’s a party pack, i.e. 1.25 kg. It is available in 200 g, 420 g, 750 g & 1.25 kg packs. Now I had kept it in freezer. Take it only when you are ready to fry. Do not thaw, even the packet says the same. (Cook from Frozen). Do you know why? Because the frost will soak into the french fries and make them mushy and then your crispy Fries are gone for ever. Another thing to note is, when you are buying, ensure that you buy it in good frozen condition and then you transfer it immediately to a freezer.

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This is the nutritional content mentioned on the pack.

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Now I have taken some fresh oil in a vessel and allowing it to heat. You should make sure the oil is heated enough before you put in the French Fries. Preheat oil(recommended maximum temperature: 175°C). Hot oil does not soak into the fries, because when the oil is hot the food immediately gets a skin on it that prevents the oil from soaking in.

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Looking inside the pack, this is how the Fries look – long and it is crisp to touch too.

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Put a handful into the heated oil. It’s always good to fry in small batches because throwing a large batch in will bring the oil temperature down. You should be hearing the oil sizzle when the Fries touch the oil. Stir once or twice. Do not cover.

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Cook well till it starts turning light golden brown. (Deep fry frozen McCain French Fries for about 3 minutes to a light golden colour.). The room will be filled with Fries aroma.

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Take it out of the oil and allow the Fries to be free of all oil content. You can use a wire rack or wire mesh for the same or even lay them on towels or something absorptive.

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In another vessel, add some salt and/ or pepper.

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Toss your Fries with the pepper-salt mixture and there you have it – extra crisp, extra delicious French Fries – homemade.

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Munch into it straightaway or dip it into some tomato ketchup and enjoy.

Cooking Rice – The perfect way

Cooking rice might seem very easy theoretically but when you do it practically, you are in for a toss if you don’t know how to make rice that’s fluffy and tender. You don’t want your rice to be mushy. This post is applicable for cooking any variant of rice. Earlier I had written a post on making Fried Rice, so this post is applicable there too.

So the first step in making basic, fluffy rice, with each grain distinct and not mushy is soaking and rinsing rice. I usually rinse my rice in a few changes (maybe 4-5) of tap water. Why I do this is, it will remove any dirt and dust present in the rice and also removes loose starch, making the rice less sticky. Soaking also makes the grains less brittle and helps the rice to expand to its maximum length (in case of basmati rice). After that you should drain the rice thoroughly.

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Step two is the cooking method. Rice is cooked in a measured amount of water so that by the time the rice is cooked, all the water has been absorbed (refer my previous post). As the water level drops, trapped steam finishes the cooking. The key to this method is figuring out the correct amount of water. As a general rule, use 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups of water per cup of long-grain white rice, but you may need to experiment a little to find the amount you like best. Brown rices require more water, while shorter-grain rices require less. Keep in mind that more water gives you softer, stickier rice—great for stir-fries. Less water results in firmer rice, a good style for rice salads.

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The other important element is a heavy-based pot (to prevent scorching on the bottom) with a tight-fitting lid that keeps the steam in. If your lid fits loosely, put a clean kitchen cloth between the lid and the pot. In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine 1-3/4 cups water, the rice, and a bit of butter or oil and salt, if you like. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook at a gentle simmer until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender, about 12 minutes (it’s okay to lift the lid to make sure the rice is fully cooked and the water is absorbed—just replace the lid quickly).

The third and final step is allowing rice to rest. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, undisturbed with the lid on, for at least 5 minutes and for as long as 30 minutes. This lets the moisture redistribute, resulting in a more uniform texture, with the bottom layers as fluffy as the top.Remove the lid, fluff the rice gently with a fork or chopstick, and serve.

A glass of Ginger Lime Juice please!

It has been very cold in Bengaluru and for the past one week, my friend has been winter sick. Sick as in fever, cold, headache etc. and she was taking in loads and loads of tablets. First I thought not to interfere into it. She was popping tablets one after the other, one for cold, one for fever, one for headache, and then some random tablets, God knows for what all reasons and that’s when I decided to intervene, ‘taking so many tablets is not so good, not safe‘, I told her. ‘Then what should I do?, I am sick, I need something to atleast stay put.’ She said in her usual bossy tone but I wasn’t in a mood to let it go that soon. I don’t like tablets, let alone taking them in large quantities. Then I thought about my Grandma’s home remedies for cold, sneezes, and other winter woes. And the first thing that came to my mind was ginger. The health benefits of Ginger have been well known to Indians for a very long time. Ginger contains many vitamins and also manganese & copper, all of which are very essential for proper functioning of the body.

So I took her to our office cafeteria and ordered for both of us a glass of ginger lime juice each. So while they were preparing the juice which takes around 5-10 minutes, we sat down and waited for the drink and she started asking what’s so great about this drink. I knew some benefits of ginger but I didn’t know well enough to explain to her in detail. So I just blabbered something to her to save the scene and thought about conveying the benefits through a post.

Ginger Benefits:

Next to the benefits offered by ginger, I have listed some popular tablets (in brackets) which also claim to provide the same benefits when consumed.

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1. Anti Inflammatory: Ginger contains antioxidants which help to increase the flow of fresh blood by removing harmful impurities in the body, reducing joint inflammation and thereby acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. (NUROFEN PLUS)

2. Prevents Cancer: Ginger acts excellently for preventing cancer and also killing the cancer causing cells by slowing down its growth. (Tamoxifen and raloxifene)

3. Blood Pressure: Ginger acts as a blood thinner and reduces blood pressure in people instantly. (lisinopril oral)

4. Reduce Pain: Ginger helps prevent all kinds of aches such as tooth ache and it also helps cure migraines that are becoming more common each passing day. (hydrocodone-acetaminophen oral)

5. Digestion: Ginger acts as an active agent for digestion. It speeds up the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestines. By consuming ginger, one can be less prone to getting stomach pains or any other digestive problems. It clears the stomach of all impurities thereby helping the people who suffer from motion sickness. (Probiotics)

6. Arthritis: Ginger helps cure arthritis as it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that helps reduce swelling and inflammation in people suffering from thyroid or arthritis. (prednisone oral)

7. Lowers Cholesterol: Ginger is a great agent for reducing cholesterol as it as it helps to remove the blockages in the flow of blood vessels which could lead to heart attacks. (Niacin)

8. Cold: Ginger is one of the oldest cures for cold, nausea and flu as it has anti-viral and anti fungal properties. It cures cold and provides instant relief and also kills the bacteria that causes cold and ensures that it doesn’t return. (Coricidin)

9. Ginger juice for hair care: Ginger acts as a good conditioner to your hair; it also helps to reduce dandruff and speeds up hair growth. When ginger juice is applied to your hair, it creates irritation on your scalp which stimulates the flow of blood. (Vitamin B tabs)

10. Acne: Ginger juice when consumed helps reduce acne or pimples and it also prevents occurrence of acne in the future as it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. (isotretinoin)

Simple Fried Rice – My style

There might be times when you don’t want to have plain rice but you don’t have enough ingredients to make a full fledged fried rice with a lot of vegetables. That’s when this receipe will come handy, it doesn’t use any vegetables as such and it is pretty simple. So let’s begin.

I have used 2 glass of Charminar rice here.

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You will have to wash the rice grains 3-4 times in running water. Washing rice actually helps to get rid of the surface starches, prevents clumping, and yields a clean, fresh taste. Use plenty of water and always start by stirring the rice in circles with your fingers. Its fun to do this part. After you finish the washing process, allow the rice to drain itself on a sieve.

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If you have taken 2 cups of rice, take around 4.5 glass of water and allow it to boil in a pan. That’s like providing enough water for the rice to cook well.

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In the meantime, in the cooker, put some 4-5 elachi/cardamom, cloves and bay leaf in ghee and heat them slightly.

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Now put the drained rice into the cooker along with some salt to taste.

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Fry the rice in the cooker by stirring it.

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By this time, the water would have been boiled.

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Pour the water over the rice and allow it to cook by covering.

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You will have to cook it till all the water gets evaporated. You should also check in between whether the rice has been cooked enough by taking a grain out and trying to eat it. The rice would have elongated by now and increased in size.

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If you want to garnish the rice, take some cashew-nuts and break them into pieces. Take some raisins, wash them, dry them and put them together with the cashews in ghee.

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Let them cook well. You can see that the cashews turn a bit brown and raisins get swollen up when it is cooked.

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Add the cashew-raisin mixture to the cooked rice.

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Mix well and turn off the fire and serve hot.

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You could serve with any curry, even with the Paneer Masala that I have shown in a previous post.

Thanks a lot for stopping by to read this post.
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Paneer Masala – My style

I couldn’t come up with any innovative name for the dish that I prepared using Paneer as the key ingredient so am settling with a more common name. As the title rightly points out, this is my style of making panner masala and hence this is not the only style available to make it. With that said, let’s begin.

Ingredients list:

I have used 200 grams of Creamy Paneer, the packet shown below. This paneer is very soft and comes uncut.

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Two medium sized onions sliced into small pieces. I have made it small because I have no plans to grind it later like what is called out in most receipes.

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4-5 cloves of garlic, again sliced into very small pieces.

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Some cilantro/ coriander leaves which will be used in the end for garnishing

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Two medium sized tomatoes cut into very small pieces.

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So these are the main ingredients. The masala’s used and other details, I will be explaining below.

Now to cooking.

In a pan, take some ghee. I have used ghee here but it can be substituted with cooking oil or butter. Into it put the garlic first and allow it to fry.

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Add the onions and saute it.

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During this time, you can cut the paneer into cubes.

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Add a bit of salt so that the onions get turned to brown quickly. The salt acts as the catalyst to speed up the browning process.

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Now add the tomatoes.

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Mix well until the tomatoes blend really well.

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It should resemble a thick paste like texture.

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Now add some water. This will help in making the tomatoes into a paste and aid in further cooking.

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Now is masala time. Add coriander powder, red chilly powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well. From now on, ensure the pan is on low fire because the masala should not get burnt.

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I add a bit of tomato ketchup and some sugar at this stage to give a tangy and sweet taste to the curry.

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Mix it well.

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Add the paneer cubes into the prepared curry/ sauce.

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Mix well.

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Allow the paneer pieces to cook really well. It should take roughly 4-5 minutes.

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Garnish it with cilantro leaves and serve hot.

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Can be served with poori, roti or naan.