Thursday, 29 November 2018

China through the eyes of Alibaba

 I got a chance (thanks to Alibaba) to spend more than 2 weeks in China recently and it started off with a BIG bang. Got to witness $30.8bn sale take place in 1 day (Double 11 Alibaba sale) and it was more than electrifying to start the trip. 
In comparison, this year the entire Black Friday weekend sale (both offline and online) is estimated to be close to $20bn, give or take. What was interesting to note about this event was not the infrastructure that Alibaba has put in place (which in itself is a different topic), but how this event has the entire population hooked one way or the other, either through online shopping or the offline entertainment or very smartly linking both the offline and online through gamification (of varied kinds) which actually blurs the line between the 2 worlds. And this is what Alibaba (including Amazon and others) are betting on. The marketing prowess that they have built truly comes to fore with this event which is a content heavy mashup executed with razorsharp focus. The varied businesses which seem disparate are brilliantly interwoven with a strong finance and data platform, and this event showcases it beautifully.
Over the next 2 weeks, we immersed ourselves into understanding not only the different businesses of Alibaba and how they started and are run today. But we also got a first hand account of how Alibaba as a group and business has grown into what is has become today. This is as close (not unless one can get hold of Jack for more than few hours) an outsider can get to understand the heart and soul of a business which has seen a stupendous rise in a matter of less than 2 decades. Thanks to Alibaba and UNCTAD's eFounders Fellowship program, 38 budding entrepreneurs from 11 countries came together to learn, share, gain and spread. It wouldnt have been possible if wasnt in existence, so a big shout out to all who have shaped Healthy Buddha.
Anurag Dalmia, Co Founder, Healthy Buddha
More from the trip to be followed...

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Mapillai Samba Rice "Bride Groom's Rice" - A Healthy Forgotten Rice from the Past

Mapillai Samba or “Bride Groom Rice” is a native variety of rice, which is red in colour and is grown predominantly in Tamil Nadu. It's well suited to organic farming because it is hardy and demands little or no fertilisers or pesticides. It is a 160 days crop. Unfortunately, along with other native varieties of rice, mapillai samba has all but disappeared from our farms and markets, making way instead for highly processed, nutritionally inferior white rice. Very few passionate traditional farmers still grow such rice now. This rice comes from Thiruvannamalai in Tamilnadu.

Origin of its Name 
The origins of its name can be found in Tamil forklore. In olden days, it is essential for a man to show his bravery through many traditional sports. These sports are conducted to test their physical as well as their mental strength. One such game was to lift a heavy rock, in which, the newlywed bridegroom is asked to lift the rock in front of everyone to display his physical power. In order to boost the energy and power of son-in-law to lift the rock successfully, mother in law wanted to cook and serve a rice which is high in nutritional value. Mappillai samba is one such native rice which has got a high nutritional value that will help him to stay focused while lifting the rock as well as gives him the power to lift. Hence, this red thick rice got its name as “Mappillai Samba” and was often cooked and served to newlywed bridegrooms.
Interesting Info - During Sangam period the kings served half-boiled mappillai sambarice to their guests and that seemed to be the practice then.

Even though the name of the rice is “Bride Groom's Rice”, it is meant for all who wants to get good energy and strength. Here are the benefits:

  • The high fibre content present in the rice eases digestion.
  • The vitamin B1 present in the rice aids in healing stomach and mouth ulcers.
  • Improves immunity and stamina
  • Strengthens muscles and nerves
  • Makes the blood flow faster so that our body gets instant energy
  • Increases hemoglobin content
  • Good for diabetics since it is has a low Glycemic Index.
  • Little ones will achieve better growth

How to Cook
It can be cooked as rice, or made as Idli, Dosa, upma, pongal etc. 
How to prepare a gluten free mapillai samba rice
1. Rinse the rice in water & soak it for 90 minutes.
2. Keep a pot shaped vessel on the stove add water (qty should be 3 times of the rice) and let it boil.
3. Add washed and soaked rice to boiling water, keep the stove in slow speed.
4. Optional - Add a pinch of salt
5. When it has almost absorbed all the water, check whether the rice is cooked, if not add little quantity of water.
6. Repeat step 5 of adding little quantity of water untill the rice is cooked. Usually it takes about 30 to 45 minutes for Mapillai samba rice to be cooked well, there will be some water still left over with the rice.
7. Drain the remaining water in a separate vessel, that's your Gruel - morning energy drink Mapillai samba's Gruel is so unique - known to provide high energy, a proven cure for ulcers, traditionally given to new mothers to regain strength.
·         For Idly & Dosa making it is as similar to any other rice
1. Take 4:1 ratio of rice & urud dhal, soak for 4 hrs.
2. Drain the water and Wet grid them individually to achieve a fine paste.
3. Mix the batters while adding 2 teaspoon of salt.
4. Allow it to ferment over night.
Now you are ready to make idly/dosas out of it.


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Sweet Potato

Often people belive that that Sweet Potato and Yams are the same thing , Well "know" they're not. Its a large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous root vegetable. The sweet potato was domesticated more than 5,000 years ago. These orange-fleshed potatoes are known to be a great source of beta-carotene.
Sweet potato is a perennial vine that covers the ground, a great crop to grow in warm to hot areas, where it can often be difficult to grow traditional potatoes.
Sweet potoes typically are baked, boiled, steamed or fried. Add it to curries and casseroles or use it as a substitute for pumpkin in cakes and pies.
You can make a delicious baked dish where you roast sweet potato with honey. All you need to do is to first Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Cut about 2 large or 3 small sweet potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Add 1/2 a cup of honey and 1/4 cup of olive oil together in a bowl and mix them up till the potatoes are completely coated. Spread potatoes out on a baking sheet and drizzle any remaining olive oil mixture over the top. Bake in the preheated oven until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet, 5 to 10 minutes; dust potatoes with 2 tbsp of cinnamon sweet potatoes and add 1 tbsp of honey and your Honey Roasted Sweet Potato is ready to be served.

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Parsley Fresh

Parsley is thought to have originated in Sardinia . Parsley is one of the most commonly used herbs in American Cuisine, used in soups,stocks, sauces and as a garnish. Ancient Greeks believed that Parsley sprung from the blood of the hero Archimedes after he splayed a dragon.

Native to the central Mediterranean region, naturalized elsewhere in Europe, and widely cultivated as an herb, a spice, and a vegetable. It does best in a cool and sunny area, although it will tolerate some light shade. Parsley is significantly more subtle and has a much milder flavor and scent as compared to other greens, where its midly bitter but gives a very fresh scent to any dish you add it to.
You can use it to make parsley and garlic dip with it, both very strong and dominant flavours. Fry 2 cloves of garlic whole and 1/2 tsp of pepper in 1/4 olive oil and keep it aside. Next in the blender, add 1 bunch of parsley, 1 tsp of dried oregano, 3 tsp of fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup of waster and 1 tsp of salt.

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Guava Halwa

Guavas are great when it comes to eating them fresh and sometimes making jams and juices from them. How many of you have tried making halwa from this fruit. If not , try out this recipe this Holiday Season.
Take 4 guavas of medium sizes and cut them into medium sized pieces and remove the seeds. Then steam the guavas till soft in the pressure cooker(cook it for 1 whistle).Remember the pieces should not be too soft. let it cool. Take the boiled guava water in a bowl .Now paste the guavas in the grinder. The Paste should be very smooth.
In a kadhai ( a vat ) add 7 tsp of sugar with 1/2 cup boiled guava water and cook till the sugar dissolves completely. Now add the guava paste in this sugar syrup. Cook on medium flame till it becomes thick. Stir it continuously.
Add 2 tbsp of milk powder and 1 tbsp ghee . Stir well. Cook 6-7 minutes more on medium flame .Add about 1/2 tsp of almonds finely chopped, 1/2 tsp of cashew and 1/2 tsp of raisins .Stir again. Then switch off the gas. Garnish with almond, Cashew nuts, raisins and serve. (Optional)

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Banana Halwa

In Karnataka, there is a special Halwa preparation from Banana. It is important to note that this recipe requires constant stirring to maintain a kind of consistency in the dish.
To make this halwa, you need to first de-seed the cardamoms and make fine powder out of them. Keep it aside til us. Then break cashews into small pieces and keep aside . Peel 3 big pieces the bananas and slice them and grind them into a fine paste thought the help of a mixer. Try to make the paste as fine as possible witout any use of any water.
Pour the ground banana paste into a vessel in to same wok with 1/8 cup of ghee and keep stirring in low flame. When the paste starts thickening, add 1 cup of sugar, 3-4 cardamom and a few cashews with another 1/8 cup of ghee and keep stirring. Eventually you will see that the halwa will slowly start absorbing ghee and halwa texture changes little glossy.
Then keep stirring the mixture till you see it turn brown and then once the paste becomes dark brown, Transfer the ready halwa on the greased trey and use flat ladle to level the surface, let it cool
Use a sharp knife and make them into squares and your banana halwa

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Sapota/Chikoo Halwa

The season for Sapota is here. Typically its either eaten raw or had as chikko milkshake but how many of you have tried to make Halwa from it? This festival season, why not try making Halwa from this seasonal fruit !!
All you need to is first take about 3/4 cup of milk and boil it in a heavy bottomed pan and add 8 big or 10 small grated or mashed Chikoo and keep stirring the ingredients on medium heat. When the mixture start thickening, add about 200 gms of grated khoya and cook, stirring the same way. Add sugar according to your liking, 1/2 tbsp of cardamom powder and ghee, mix well and cook on low heat for 5 to 6 minutes turning the mixture constantly.
Switch off the gas, garnish with chopped almond and your Sapota Hawla is ready. 

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Making sugar free kheer with jaggery :

Kheer is a rice pudding or sweet fish, originating from the Indian subcontinent, made by boiling rice. There are many variations of this recipe that you will find all around the country. Here is our variant of making it below.
Take 4 tbsp of rice and try to crush them, Heat about 1 tbsp of ghee in a kadai. Don’t throw the water in which rice was soaked. Don't discard the water as it adds to the thinness of the final dish. Saute it for about 1 min and then add 2 Liters of milk. Let it cook on slow flame keep on stirring occasionally, remove seeds and add about 7-10 dates and chop them finely.
After about 45 mins add grated about 10-12 tbsp of jaggery, 8-10 cashews, 8-10 almonds, 10 raisins, 2tsp cardamom powder and a few pinches of edible camphor if you want to . Keep on stirring more frequently as kheer must have become thick by now.Turn off the flame when kheer reaches desired thickness. Kheer is ready to be served. If you want you can keep it in the refrigerator for some time. It tastes nice if its cold as well.

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Apple Kheer

Apples have a very subtle flavour when we eat them raw but used a flavour in other dishes, it usually comes out quiet dominating and strong. Typically used for making juices and jams . Here is our various of kheer using apple in it.
Take 4 cups of milk and Boil it and stir till it reduces to half .Take 2 to 3 grated apples, 1/2 tsp cardamom powder and Jaggery to taste and cook it in 1 cup water till it forms a thick paste. When you're planning to substitute jaggery for sugar, always add a little more than what you would do for sugar.
Now add the apple mixture with the thickened milk and then keep stirring it in a low flame. Add half a cup raisins and a few saffron strands and keep stirring. Pour in 2 tbsp of corn flour-milk mix along with a pinch of cinnamon and keep stirring on low flame till it becomes a thick paste.
Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Garnish with small pieces of nut if your choice and sliced apples and serve. 

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Monday, 12 November 2018

Coriander Seeds

Coriander is one of the oldest of herbs and spices, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in cooking. The fruit of the coriander plant contains two seeds which, when dried, are the portions used as the dried spice. When ripe, the seeds are yellowish-brown or tan in colour with longitudinal ridges.
The small, creamy brown seeds of the coriander plant give dishes a warm, aromatic and slightly citrus flavour totally different to fresh coriander leaves. They are commonly used in Indian cooking as well as featuring in Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes.
This spice is an important ingredient in Indian spice mixtures like subzi masala, sambar powder, rasam powder, etc. Internationally, coriander seed is best known as an ingredient in baked goods, but also goes well with a large variety of foods such as potatoes, cheese and even chutneys. Add coriander seeds to soups and broths. To make a healthy spinach preparation, sauté it with fresh garlic and coriander seeds, mix in garbanzo beans, and season with ginger and cumin.

Sources : › Home › Handy Hints › Household › ... › Seed Spices › Coriander Seed

Fried Zucchini

Zucchini in the culinary would is used for making soups and salads, but how many of you have tried frying these delicious vegetables with breadcrumbs ? Well here is a recipe that you can try out.
First Heat oil to medium heat. Slice 2 zucchini into several circles of 14 to 15 pieces. Add these slices to a bowl with about 2-3 cups of milk and then add about 3 cups of flour (Can use Amaranth Flour instead of maida as well) . Make sure that the slices get wet with the mixture.
Put slices back into the milk and make sure it gets all wet again. After that add the breadcrumbs and then shake all the ingredients and make sure that the breadcrumbs stick well on the zucchini slices. Fry them in a pan till they and golden brown and then its ready to be served.

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The pomegranate is widely grown throughout the Middle East, India, southeast Asia, and parts of Africa. In Greek mythology, Persephone is condemned to spend every winter in the underworld after the god Hades tricks her into eating pomegranate seeds.Pomegranate is an important fruit crop grown in the dry regions of India. It is also cultivated to a large extent in the northern dry districts of Karnataka state.
It thrives well under hot, dry summer and cold winter provided irrigation facilities are available. The tree requires hot and dry climate during fruit development and ripening. Pomegranate tree is deciduous in areas of low winter temperature and an evergreen or partially deciduous in tropical and sub-tropical conditions.
It may be used in sour chutneys or as a sprinkling over salads. In the Middle East, it is used often to garnish dishes such as hummus, salads etc. You can use this fruit to make juice at your own home but it needs to be done with a lot of caution or else the juice is prone to becoming bitter.
Pour 1/2 cup water. Take 1 cup pomegranate seeds in the blender jar. Pulse it a few times in a blender until the outer layer of seeds broke and release the juice Don’t blend it, just pulse it because if the seeds break completely, the juice turns bitter. Take a large bowl and place the metal strainer over it to sieve the juice. Pour prepared juice over it. If metal strainer is not available, you can use the nut milk bag or a clean muslin cloth to strain the juice. Press pulp using the backside of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Pour the prepared juice into a serving glass and serve immediately to get more vitamins, antioxidants and other nutritional elements.

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Banana Flower Pakodas

Bananflower is widely used all over india for making curries, stews and sabji's. You can use the flowers of the banana to make pakodas. Its super easy to make and delicious !!
Take 50 gm rava, 50 gm rice flour, 50 gm gram flour, 10 gm chilli powder, 5 gm dhaniya powder, Salt to taste, 5 gm ginger garlic paste and 1 tsp asafoetida and mix the ingredients well. Take 2 banana flowers, Wash and Chop them finely and then add it to the pakoda batter. Once the banana flowers are well mixed into the ingredients, make them into ball shapes of your preferred size. Heat oil and fry like crispy pakodis. Serve hot garnished with coriander and curry leaves.

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Raw Papaya

Papaya is known to be a fruit that's really good for your digestion and must be a regular part of your diet, however have you ever considered eating raw papaya? Green papayas have a higher amount of potassium than ripe papayas. Potassium is one of the major electrolytes in the blood (the others are sodium and chloride), carrying a positive electrical charge. Green papayas are not that popular when compared to the ripe ones because they do not contain as much sugar. Raw Papaya is supposed to had cooked.
It is mainly used for making fried dishes, sabzi's and sometimes Dal, especially in West Bengal where its better know an Pepe Dal. It will add a great flavour to your regular sabzi's. You can also use raw papaya to make kebabs from it.
Take 1 papaya medium sized and thick grate it and take 2 small potatoes and fat grated. Mix both potatoes and Papaya with salt according to taste preferences and make sure they are in separate containers. After this, extract extra water and put some pressure on the mixture with your hands. Now add about 1 tbsp of oil and add 1 tsp of red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp of cumin powder, 2 tsp of coriander seeds, 2 tsp of grated ginger, 1/2 cup of gram flour, 1 tbsp of lime juice and fry all the ingredients till they are semi brown. Make a rounded round of prepared mixture and press the palm to apply kebabs. Heat a non-stick tawa. Add oil to each kebab and fry it well on both sides.

Serve the prepared kebab with lemon and onion. How do you make it? Do share your recipes with us.

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Chia Seeds Health Benefits

If you’re one to curate your meals based on the health properties they provide, you will absolutely love this little seed.
1. Chia is among the healthiest foods on the planet! It provides you with essential nutrients such as protein, calcium and Omega-3. In the long run, this promotes bone health, helps built muscle and could even prevent breast and cervical cancer!
�2. It promotes heart health with its ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
3. It’s high in fiber which helps you stay fuller for longer, and also feeds your intestines with healthy bacteria.
4. Can Chia help you lose weight? Well, this claim is a little debatable because no one ate their way to skinniness, now did they? But if a portion of Chia keeps you from stuffing your face with unhealthy snacks between tea time and dinner, then that’s half the battle won, right there, isn’t it?
5. The seeds have the propensity to improve boost energy and metabolic health!
�6. Studies have shown that a diet that includes chia can also help reduce Type 2 diabetes.

7. It's high in antioxidants, one of the benefits of which is speeding up skin repair systems, keeping you looking (and feeling) younger for longer.

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Using Pineapple in Pizza ?

Most of you must be eating pineapple either raw, in fruit salads or in juices/ mocktails. Well how many of you have tried to make pizza with it? Also known as the Hawaiian Pizza, here is a simple recipe you can try out to give your taste buds a change from the regular pizza toppings. You'll be surprised how pizza can compliment the flavours of cheese and tomato.
Preheat oven to 450F. Take 1 large pizza crust and Spread the pizza crust with about 1 cup of tomato sauce. Next add by sprinkling about 1 cup of shredded cheese. Cut Onions into small fine pieces and place on top of the crust. Finally add medium sized pineapple chunks of about one cup on top. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese has melted and your delicious Hawaiin Pizza Ready.

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Millet - Saamai (Little Millet)

Predominantly grown in tamil nadu, this millet is often a substitute for rice. This cereal is predominantly grown in India but is also consumed in other parts of the world such as Caucasus, China, East Asia and also Indochina and Malaysia.
The leaves are linear, with the sometimes hairy laminae and membranous hairy ligules. Usually, it is planted using a seed drill. It can also if necessary be planted spoiled. The green plant can also be used in part as cattle feed. The straw can be mixed with clay or cement be used in construction. It can withstand both drought and water logging. It can be cultivated up to 2000 m above sea level.

Little Millet is cooked like rice. Sometimes the millet is also milled and baked. In Tamil Nadu, this millet has a very special rice preparation made from it, also known as Saamai Biryani.
To make this , First you need to chop 1 carrot, 1 big potato and keep aside. Heat a cooker base with oil and temper 1 cinnamon,2 cloves, cardamom, and 1 bayleaf . Add 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds and immediately put 1 onion chopped to medium size and saute until transparent.Add 1/22 tsp of Ginger Garlic paste and saute until raw smell goes away. Add half a handful of mint leaves and mix well. Add the chopped vegetables that were kept aside and then add a handful of green peas, 1 tsp of red chilli powder, 1/2 tsp of Garam masala powder and salt to taste and fry saute for a minute.
Add water, again half a bunch of mint leaves more, 1 tsp of curd and 1 cup of washed saamai/millet. Mix well and pressure cook in low flame for one whistle.Remove after the steam is released. Check if its cooked well else add 1/4 cup of water,mix well and cook for one whistle in high flame. Do not add more water for samai as it may become mushy quickly.
Fluff the rice with a fork and enjoy with raita !

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Quinoa is a flowering plant in the amaranth family. It is a herbaceous annual plant grown as a grain crop primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa is not a grass, but rather a pseudocereal botanically related to spinach and amaranth Quinoa, which is said to be pseudo millet, is considered to be the staple food for the people which has been carried forward from Andes region from the days of the Inca civilization.
Quinoa seedlings have a low tolerance for cold,Direct sow in late April to the end of May, while night temperatures are still cool. Optimal soil temperature for germination: 18-24°C. Quinoa greens are packed with vitamins and minerals, and have a nice, mild taste. The seeds can be ground into a flour that is gluten free, or simply cooked like rice. Since this is Glut free as well as low on carbohydrates. It can be a healthy addition to your kitchen. You can use it as a substitute for rice in your kitchen and make dishes such as palao and khichidi with this pseudocereal.

If you're looking for a healthy Breakfast, you could start off your day by making Upma from Quinoa.
Rinse about 1 cup of quinoa several times and then keep it aside. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds and let them pop. Add a pinch of asafeotida and stir.Add 1/2 an inch of chopped ginger, 1 green chili, 1 tbsp of cashews and 1 tsp of peanuts. Saute for a minute or two or till the ginger, cashews and peanuts turn light golden brown in color.
Add 1 medium sized onions chopped finely and add about 8-10 curry leaves to it and cook for 2 minutes till onions are soft and translucent.
Add 1/3 cup of frozen green peas and cook for another 30 seconds. Then add the rinsed quinoa and cook the quinoa with all the veggies and spices for 2 minutes.

Add water, salt, red chili powder and mix. Increase the heat to high and bring it all to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat to minimum (lowest) setting, cover the pan and let it cook for 15 minutes.After 15 minutes, remove pan from heat and let it sit covered for another 5 minutes. Open the pan, fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add cilantro to garnish , lemon juice to taste and serve quinoa upma hot with chai!


How to make Desi Mustard Sauce

Mustard Sauce a quiet common accompanyment when you have having burgers, hot-dogs and other sandwiches and fired items. However have you ever tasted desi mustard sauce. Coming to you to you from West Bengal, also known as Kasundi, this desi mustard sauce goes well with any dry snack item where you the pure taste of mustard as well as the spices within it come out.

Making this sauce should not take you more than 15-20 mins. In a food processor or grinder jar, take 1/2 cup of mustard seeds . Add 1 inch ginger, 2-3 green chilies based on your preferred amount of spice , 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder, 1 tbsp of sugar and salt to taste . Pulse it 2-3 times to get a coarse powder. After that add 1/4 cup water and pulse it again to get a smooth paste. Next add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and pulse again. Lastly add lemon juice from one lemon and blend well. Do a taste test and adjust the seasonings if required and your desi mustard sauce is ready!! You can store this in the refrigerator and use as per your convenience.

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Flax Seeds

A super food, these small, brown, tan colored seeds are one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that is high in fiber but low on carbs. The Flax crop generally grows well in a cool and humid climate. It if it grown in temperatures to high or low will reduce the yield.

Flax is grown for its seeds, which can be ground into a meal or turned into linseed oil, a product used as a nutritional supplement. Whole flaxseed adds colour and crunch to foods. You can sprinkle flaxseeds on top of home baking or mix them into dough. However, to obtain maximal benefits from flaxseed, you should grind them first because whole seeds will pass through your body undigested. Milled flaxseed can be sprinkled on cereal, or add it to doughs, batters, casseroles, and other cooked foods. You can also add these seeds to paratha dough, roti's, sabzi's and even make sweets from them such as laddu and burfi.

Using flax oil for frying is not recommended as once the oil is extracted from the seed, the polyunsaturated fatty acids may undergo thermal oxidation (they “break down”) when exposed to high temperatures used in food preparation. While flaxseed provides numerous health benefits, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Cooking or baking with flaxseed is a perfectly safe practice. However, when raw flaxseed is added in large quantities to diets that do not contain a healthy mix of foods, health problems can develop.

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