Saturday, 10 March 2018

Dolma of Taro leaves or "Patroru"

Taro or Arbi was consumed by the early Romans in much the same way as the potatoes are being used today. They called this root vegetable colocasia. The Greek and the Roman historians described it as an important crop.
The plant of Colocasia esculenta or taro
Wikimedia Commons by Kahuroa
It is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants.
The plant has two species known as Colocasia esculenta and Colocasia antiquorum. In Latin the word esculenta, means edible. But these two varieties are considered to be the members of a single variable species namely Colocasia esculenta. 

The cultivated variety is known by several names like eddoes, dasheen, taro etc. This plant and its root are generally called taro, but it has different names in different countries. 

It is known as eddoe in Portugese, malangas in Spain, keladi or talas in Indonesia, Abi or Avi in Philipines. 

It is also native to Australia. In Turkey, it is known as Golevez and is mainly grown on the Mediterranean coast.
It is called Chinese eddoes in West Indies as it arrived there from China. It is widely used in Japan too.

But In South East USA the plant is termed to be an invasive species.

Nativity of Taro

It is probable that Taro was the first native to the lowland wetlands of Malaysia where they called it Taloes. 
As per records, Taro was cultivated in wet tropical India before 5000 BC, presumably after coming from Malaysia. From India, it was further transported to the west and reached in ancient Egypt. 

In India, it is known as "Gaderi", while the smaller ones are called "arbi" . The name "arvi" is more common and popular. 

As an Ornamental Plant
It is called "elephant ears" when grown as an ornamental plant like Xanthosoma and CaladiumIt is sold as an ornamental aquatic plant. 


The 100 gram of taro contains 42 gm calories which is much more than potato. Besides it contains 3.7 gm fiber, 5 gm protein, 648 gm potassium and other minerals like calcium and iron. It also contains rich amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C.

It is good for digestion and is easily digestible due to the presence of fiber in it. The presence of antioxidants makes it beneficial for healthy and supple skin.
The leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals. 


The cells of raw plant and corms are toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate, and the needle-shaped raphides. 
The acrid taste due to the toxin is reduced and made palatable by careful cooking or steeping it in cold water overnight.
The leaves lose their acrid taste in boiling and may be eaten as spinach after discarding the water. 

The juice of citrus fruits or vinegar can also be added to remove the acrid taste.

How to Grow Taro

The plant can be grown in the ground or in large containers throughout the year in subtropical and tropical areas.  

                    The corms of taro
           Wikimedia Commons by Forest & Kim Starr
It is planted in summers and dug up for the winters. It is stored in a dry place to save from fungal infection. 

It grows in all temperature zones. The growth is optimum between 20 to 30 °C, but if the temperature remains below 10 °C for few days, the plants get damaged and the corms do not develop fully.

The root tuber is typically planted close to the surface at a distance of one foot. The sprouts appear 2-3 weeks. The growth is the best in shade and moist compost-rich soil. Water the plants as the prolonged dryness wilt the leaves. Fortnightly use of regular plant fertilizer will increase the yield.

How to Eat Taro

As a root vegetable, this tropical plant is grown primarily for its edible corms. The thick and young leaves including the green stems are also very popular as a common diet and snacks. 

In Europe, the corms are taken quite hot preferably in roasted form.

The corms of the small round variety are peeled after boiling and are thereafter roasted.  
It is known as taro, eddoe, Chama Jhumpa, and dasheen in the South Pacific regions and is eaten like potatoes. 
An iron-rich soup is made by boiling the leaves in coconut milk.
In Hawai, a dish made by boiling the starchy underground plant stem is known as Poi.

Dolmathakia or Dolma 

Since old times the dishes were made by wrapping the cabbage or grape leaves around a filling. The ancient Greeks called them fyllas (leaf). At present these are called dolmadaki or yaprak dolma ('leaf dolma'), or simply dolma. Dolma is used to make sarma. Dolmathakia is a dish of stuffed grape leaves with rice, spices, and herbs.

Taro Dolma or Patroru

In Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh (a northern state in India), taro is known as ghandyali. In Shimla, a similar pancake-style dish, called patera or pater, is made.

Taro dolma locally called patrodu is made from the leaves of the taro.

How to Make Patroru

Prepare a paste of gram flour and add salt, black pepper, cumin seeds and freshly chopped onions to it. 
Wash the leaves with clean water. Put the leaves upside down and apply the paste apply the paste to the taro leaves.   Put another leaf and apply the paste again.

The process of making the taro dolma or patroru is explained stepwise in the following pictures.

Step 1- Wash the taro leaves
with clean water
Step 2- Put it upside down and
apply the paste
Step 3- Put another leaf and
apply the paste again

Step 4- Fold the leaves in half and
 apply the paste again

Step 5- Fold another side of
the leaves and apply the paste 

Step 6- Roll on the leaves and
put it in the steamer to be
cooked for 10-15 minutes.
Step 7- Remove from the steamer and cut into
pieces to be eaten as such or in fried form

Monday, 12 February 2018

Hibiscus Tea- The Several Health Benefits

Along with a well-balanced diet, we need certain other things like fruits, salads, drinks etc. 

The hibiscus tea is one of them. Even Egyptian pharaohs found it to be the most important beverage of the royal pedigree. It could be consumed either hot or cold. 

It is made from deep red calyxes of the hibiscus flower that is rich in anthocyanins, fruit acids, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and bioflavonoids. 
Hibiscus Flower
Wikimedia Commons by B.navez

Health Benefits

1. It prevents bladder infections.

2. It gives relief in constipation. 

3. It provides health and improves vitality, and fights off with infections. 
Add a little raw honey for taste and to turn it into a powerful immune-strengthening drink. 

4. It contains the same antioxidants like red wine which have positive effects on cardiac health to lower the levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides. 

5. The powerful anti-cancer properties of the antioxidants in it protect the cancer cells and keep them healthy and free from further damage.
6. It helps in weight loss, depression, sleep disorders, hypertension, and mood swings. 

7. It helps in the proper functioning of the liver. It could be taken in liver disorders like fatty liver and jaundice. 

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Ajinomoto MSG or is a Slow Poison

Ajinomoto, in reality, is a sodium salt known as monosodium glutamate or MSG, which comes in the form of white crystals.
Crystals of Food AdditiveMSG
Wikimedia Commons by Ragesoss

It is generally used in Chinese foods in the form of spice. Some manufacturers are using it in sauces and ketchup.

This flavor enhancer is a slow poison and instead of giving flavor to foods it suppresses the taste buds and we fail to ascertain the taste of the food we eat. 
It is actually used to camouflage the cheap quality of food and poor preparation. It is very harmful for health and causes addiction to the foods in which it is added. That is why the people become crazy for Chinese food. The production of MSG is also controversial and it believes to be synthesized from the body of animals. 

The intake of MSG causes several health problems.

1. It causes excess sweating, headache,  and giddiness.
2. It damages the brain cells of those who are given to excessive use of it and have become addicted to it.
3. It causes dehydration or the water loss in the body.
4. The facial swelling and the stretching feeling in the skin are some of its side effects.
5. The excessive use of MSG slowly causes the problems of chest pain, respiratory problems or loss of breath and indolence.
7. The presence of an acidic chemical in MSG causes the inflammation of stomach and throat. 
8. It causes pain in lower part of the abdomen and leads to nausea or vomiting together with diarrhea.
9. It may cause pain in the muscles of feet and knees.
10. It weakens the bones and reduces the levels of calcium in the body.
11. The people having the problem of high blood pressure should desist from the intake of MSG, as it suddenly increases or decreases the blood pressure.
12. It causes a severe migraine and in case of a headache, it is better to stop eating the foods containing MSG.
13. Excessive intake if MSG leads to the decay or degeneration of intestines.
14. It may cause heart problem or stroke.

Children are the Worst Hit 

Chemical structure of MSG
Wikimedia Commons by 
It is very dangerous for the children as they report a headache and a loss of appetite. The regular intake of MSG-containing foodstuff or junk and processed foods badly affects their physical and mental health. Several pieces of research have confirmed that MSG is the chief cause of obesity among children. It also makes the children oversensitive towards foods. The child may become allergic to other food items due to the excessive intake of MSG. It has also led to the behavioral changes among the children. 

Throughout the world, the children are passionate towards noodles or chow-minThe secret is the addiction to MSG. Another reason is the presence of hydrolyzed groundnut protein and taste enhancer 635 Di-sodium ribonucleotides. 

The manufacturers claim that their products do not contain MSG. But after cooking the hydrolyzed groundnut protein turns into MSG and the Di-sodium ribonucleotides act as a catalyst. 

Saturday, 16 July 2016

The Right Way to Drink Water

It is advisable that everyone should take water in empty stomach after getting up in the morning. It will control obesity, stomach disorders, skin problems and regulate the digestive system

A glass of Water
Wikimedia Commons by Jean Fortunet
1. The water should be taken in small droughts as it helps the saliva to enter the stomach with water.

2. The acid oozes out from the stomach, while the saliva is a base and it is a well known chemical formula that Acid + Base = Salt + Water. So the pH value of digestive system gets neutralized.

3. Therefore it is advisable to take small droughts to send antacid to the stomach. It will regulate the digestive system and the stomach will remain soft and loose like water.

4. Always drink water in sitting position. The blood supply to the brain becomes low due to gravity in standing position and may further lead to the risks of brain haemorrhage.

5. The saliva has medicinal properties and helps in internal healing too.

6. The temperature of the drinking water should be that of the body. The water should neither be too hot nor too cold. The chilled water puts extra stress on the stomach and the working capacity of different organs including heart, brain etc. starts becoming slow.

Monday, 25 April 2016

The Health Benefits of Rice Water

In an effort to make the food delicious the people throw away the healthy and nutritious things. One of such thing is the thick rice water, which is left after the cooking of rice. This water is generally left when the rice is not cooked in the pressure cooker. Everyone relishes the rice but the intake of the boiled rice water is very beneficial for health.
The Rice Water
Wikimedia Commons by gran

This rice water is rich in several vitamins, proteins and minerals which are very beneficial for health, skin and even the hair.

Rice is the chief food in several regions and cultures. It is a lighter and easily digestible food and is equally preferable to the healthy and the sick people. The rice which is two or three years old is very delicious.
Here are some of the benefits of rice water.

1. The intake of the rice water is very effective for the people with digestive problem. It helps in the digestion of food. It is better to give cooked rice soaked for half an hour in milk to those with weak digestion. 

2. The rice cooked with green gram whole or split and ginger, turmeric, aesfidita in butter oil is a very nutritious diet. It is good for digestion, mind and health.

3. The rice water gives instant energy due to the rich amounts of carbohydrates in it.  

4. The rice water is very good for the mind and the body. It is best for Alzeihmer’s and improves the memory.

5. Prepare the paste of cooked rice in rice water or take rice with curd for diarrohea.

6. The rice water is also helpful for constipation. It cleans the digestive system in diarohea, if taken with brown sugar.

7. The intake of the water in which the rice has been washed with baking soda and brown sugar improves the functions of kidneys and regulates the urine.

8. The application of thick rice water as a face pack makes the skin shiny, supple and soft.

9. The rice water controls the blood pressure as it has least amount of sodium in it.

10. For thick, black, shiny and long hair, wash them with rice water. Apply the rice water on hair and let it remain for half an hour and then wash with clean water.

11. It gives relief in cancer too. According to researches, the rice has been found to contain the tumor suppressing compounds. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Dangers of Cooking in Tap Water

The food cooked in chlorinated water can prove to be dangerous for the health. The recent researches have proved that the reactions of chlorinated water and iodised salt form dangerous chemicals which could lead to hospitalization.

Tap Water
Wikimedia Commons by Matthew Bowden
The researches discovered several new molecules formed due to the chemical reaction of chlorinated water and iodised salt.
The water is generally purified by adding the molecules of chlorine or chloramines
The chlorine and chloramine molecules in tap water react with iodised salt and form hypoiodic acid which nor harmful in ordinary conditions.

But when this acid reacts with other chlorinated molecules in water, food and other carbonic matter during the cooking process, it forms a dangerous iodised insecticide known as I-DPP. 
This insecticide is a new and unknown thing even for the environmentalists and chemical engineers. The scientists have discovered and identified 14 new molecules which are 50 to 200 times more dangerous than other known harmful chemicals.  

Sunday, 20 March 2016

How to Keep vegetables fresh and cooking art

Here are few tips to keep the kitchen items fresh and cook the foods. 
Women in Kitchen
Photo Credit Wikimedia Commons by Nemracc

1. Keep an apple in the basket of potatoes to save them from getting rotten and to keep them fresh.

2. Wrap the bananas in newspaper and put them in the fridge so that they may remain fresh and do not turn black.

3. Do not put the milk directly on gas stove after taking it out from the refrigerator as the temperature variation may split it. 

4. Put few leaves of guava into the frying oil for fried loaves or puris to avoid froth formation and to make the puris white. 

5. Add a teaspoon of butter oil or lemon in case the excess chilies had been added to the cooked food. It will lighten up the effect of chilies. 

6. Before washing the water bottle add few grains of rice and little water and shake it. It will completely clean the bottle. 

7. Add few grains of rice into the potatoes during frying to keep them free from moisture.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

How to Avoid Food Poisioning

Food poisoning may occur in any season due to the intake of infected foods and drinks. But it commonly appears during the rainy season. The chief reasons of food poisoning are bacteria and unhygienic conditions.
Salmonella bacteria, a common cause of food poisoning
Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by National Institutes of Health
The problem occurs due to a desire to have spicy, tasty and colorful foods.
The first symptom of food poisoning is the stomache pain. Medicines and medical treatment is needed if the problem aggravates.
The stomach pain, loose motions, acidity, red eyes and fever are the symptoms of food poisoning.
The diseases spreading bacterias are generally found in meat, seafood and dairy products. The list includes lettuce, fruits and vegetables too.
But there are some easy home remedies which help provide relief if taken in time.

Properly Clean the Hands
It is the best and the easiest way to avoid food poisoning and stop the the harmful bacteria from getting into the body.
Make a habit to clean the hands while entering the house or before and after the meals.
Wash the hands before cooking anything.
Wash the hands with warm water and soap.
The non vegetarians should wash the hands after touching the raw meat or raw egg.

Raw Eatables
Keep the raw eatables aside. The raw food soon becomes spoiked when it comes in contact with cooked food and cause health problems.
The food which is to be eaten in raw form should not be kept in touch eith the cooked food.

Eating Out
Make sure that a hotel or a restaurant or a place where you are eating is clean and hygienic. Watch that the people or the workers working there are in clean dress or not. Try to find out that the staff at the place may not be trying to hide something. The information about health code could be found online.

Safety Measures
The following measures help in food poisoning.

Ginger is being used since ancient times to cure several diseases. It provides necessary nutrients for the digestive system and gives instant relief in vomiting and nausea.  
Rub a piece of garlic on stone in water and let it boil for some time. Add a little honey or sugar to it for taste.
In another way drink the juice of ginger with honey to get relief in pain and swelling.

Apple Vinegar
It contains acid and its alkaline factor balances the pH factor in the digestive system. It also helps to get rid of the problem of food poisoning and is good for digestion. It use has been found to give instant relief in the problems of gas and acidity.  
Add two teaspoons of apple vinegar in warm water and take it before the meals. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Add Beans to regular Diet

The beans are green legumes available in fresh dry or packed forms. They are rich in soluble fiber, proteins and nutrients but have fewer fats. They are free from saturated fats and are best source of several nutritious elements especially the vitamins and minerals.

Any nutrient diet containing beans is best for heart and overall health on one hand and weight loss on the other.
Fresh Beans
Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by 
Thamizhpparithi Maari

For Heart and Health
The rich contents of nutrients in beans strengthen the heart. The soluble fiber present in beans balances the levels of blood sugar and reduces the blood cholesterol.
Balance the Body Weight
Go for green vegan diet containing beans if the measures to reduce weight bring no results. The intake of the products containing beans help in weight loss. The beans could be used in any form. They contain rich amounts of proteins.
The weight of obese people or those with a habit of overeating and taking high protein, high fiber and fewer calories containing food, is less than those taking regulated amount of calories, high carbohydrates and less fats in regular diet.  

Nutrient Diet
Like other green vegetables and fruits, the beans are also full of nutrients needed for the normal functioning of the body.  They contain fewer calories. The copper in beans interacts with iron to form red blood corpuscles. The copper regulated the blood flow, boosts immune system and strengthens the bones.  The presence of phosphorus and magnesium in beans further strengthen the bones. The potassium and magnesium regulate the pressure of blood.

Rich Iron Contents
A cup of cooked beans gives 32% of the amount or iron needed per day for men and 14% for women. The right amount of iron is badly needed by the body to synthesise red blood cells and its cellular energy source called ATP iron.     

Calcium Contents
Beans contain rich amounts of calcium. The calcium is necessary for the development and management of the bones and teeth. It is also helps in proper functioning of the heart.

Immune System
The vitamin C in beans removes the deficiencies of immune system. The vitamin C is an effective antioxidant which reduces the cancer causing free radicals in the body.

Friday, 17 April 2015

The Benefits of Vegetable Juice in Skin Care

Fresh Vegetables
Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by TSgt Samuel Morse

The trend of vegetable juie is increasing and those who do not relish them in cooked form could take the vegetable juice.
A glass of vegetable juice contains plenty of proteins and provides sufficient energy which gives enough nourishment to the body. There is enough fiber in the vegetables which is very beneficial for the body and digestion.
The intake of vegetable juice thrice a week is very good for health. Every vegetable has its own taste and benefit.
The vegetable and fruit juices are different. The fruit juice is extracted through juicer, while the vegetables are ground in mixer and then the juice taken out.
The juice of several vegetables like broccoli, spinach, bitter gourd, cucumber, and green coriander leaves could be extracted. It keeps us healthy and gives extra glow to the skin.

Bitter Gourd
The juice of bitter juice is good for diabetes and reduces the accumulated fats from the body. Add little lemon to the juice if it seems to be bitterer.

The juice of spinach is good for those on dieting. It contains enough vitamins and proteins which make it beneficial for the overall health of skin, hair and vision.

The kiwi juice is full of several vitamins and minerals and is very good for the health. \

It contains iron, protein, calcium, carbohydrate, chromium, vitamin A and vitamin C. It provides glowing skin and helps the body to fight against cancer.

Bottle Gourd
The juice of bottle gourd helps in alleviating obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol,heart diseases etc, It should not be taken if it is bitter.

Coriander Leaves
 The juice of green coriander leaves helps in the metabolism and removes the toxic substances from the body. It also helps in anemia.

The sour juice of mangoes in summer rehydrates the body and helps the body to cope with the scorching heat of the sun.

The daily intake of cucumvber juice helps in obesity and provides skin glow. It is easily digestable and removes the toxins from the body.

The cabbage juice contains calcium, iron and omega 3 fatty acids. Its juice is very beneficial for skin and body.

It contains the elements beneficial for the helath of the skin. The daily intake of avocado juice will provide the glowing skin.  

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Anti Ageing Wheat Grass

                                                                         Wheat Grass
                                                Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by Malyadri

The wheatgrass is one of the most nutritious superfoods as it has rich amounts of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients needed by the body.

The wheat sprouts or the wheat grass is a baby wheat plant and has wonderful health benefits. There is no disease in which it is not beneficial. Like all superfoods, wheat grass has a long list of health claims and it is the best anti aging food.

It contains several nutrients. The main constituent in it is chlorophyll. It helps in purification of the blood, anemia, high blood pressure, cold, asthma, sinus, digestion, stomach ulcers, swelling in intestines, tooth problems, weak gums, eczema, pyorrhoea, kidney problems, ear ailments, thyroid etc.
                                                                        Wheat Grass Juice
                                              Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by Malyadri
Haemoglobin is the main constituent of blood and it is mainly composed of heamen which is chemically similar to chlorophyll. Both have the same structure and number of atoms of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. The only difference is that magnesium is situated in the atomic centre of chlorophyll, while in haeman it is iron. So chlorophyll and hemoglobin are almost similar and that is why the green sprouts of wheat are called green blood.   
It improves digestion, strengthens the lever functions by removing the toxins from the body.
It gives energy to the body and gives protection against cancer and diabetes.


The wheatgrass could be grown at home in a kitchen garden and it takes about two weeks from planting to harvesting. It is harvested at a time when it has the highest nutritional value.

The wheatgrass could be taken either directly in juice form or mixed in with a smoothie or shake or juices. It could be made into a powder too.

The wheatgrass juice and dried wheatgrass powder or pills are available in the market.