savoey seafood, Patong beach Phuket

Top three food destinations of South-East Asia

Since the dawn of urbanization , street food remain an integral part of the growing city, a witness to the ever-changing urbanscape, a potential economy source for the migrants and in its truest sense it reflects the vast diversity exists in culture of the city, that reminds of the flavor and taste from land afar. Born in the narrow dingy lanes of Asian and Latin American cities, street food thrives on its sheer versatility, attractive visual display of sumptuous prepared food that is very hard to ignore, its affordability that can cut across the different strata of the society, freshness and local ingredients that adds life to the dish and the food that is hard to find even in the restaurants. The theatrical scene of lanes after lanes parked cozily with the number of food carts preparing the food right in front of you, the hot coals barbecuing the meat or the giant wok that is busy in tossing the noodles, where you share the table with the strangers,  the aroma and its unparalleled taste that will haunt you down, time and again. The magical formula that works every time, everywhere across the globe.

So how far will you travel for food? If you are like me, a street food aficionado then pack your bags and head to these South Asia’s top three food destinations and here is my bucket list for the year 2016.
savoey seafood, Patong beach Phuket

1) Penang ( Malaysia ) : When it comes to street food, Malaysia tops the list, a unanimous choice for the foodies, probably the best in South Asia. And in particular the tropical island of Penang. Penang is excitingly diverse in its culture, a cosmopolitan hub of expats, locals, migrants and travellers and that reflects in its multicultural ethnicity of the food.

What to taste :

a) Asam Laksa – a sour fish based noodle soup or broth flavoured with lemongrass, tamarind and shrimp paste.

b) Mee Goreng – has its roots in Chinese chow mein but the Malay version is different, it is spicy and savory.

c) Char koay teow – it is another popular noodle dish in Malaysia, flat rice noodles stir fried with eggs, shrimps, veggies over very high heat that gives it’s characteristic charred look.

2) Singapore : The street food scene in Singapore is really exhaustive, with hundreds of hawker center selling the foods all over the country in thousands of stalls that has peppered its streets.  Government initiatives has changed the early rustic food scenario in Singapore to more modern, safe and hygienic food courts.

What to taste :

a) Chili crab : It is so popular that it has become Singapore’s national dish. It is luxurious, rich and ever-so satisfying. Traditionally it is served with steamed or toasted buns called mantou. Chili crab and mantou buns are hit combo.

b) Hokkien mee – or fried hokkein mee, a noodle dish cooked in prawn rich stock, to which bee hoon or vermicelli noodles is also added along with bean sprouts, eggs, sliced sotong or squid and pork belly.

c) Katong Laksa : Laksa is popular noodle soup savoured throughout the entire region of South Asia, particularly in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesian cuisine. Katong laksa is rice noodle and shrimp soup in a rich and flavourful coconut based curry, served with scoop of sambal olek and slivers of laksa leaves.

3) Bangkok (Thailand): Of all the South Asian cuisine, Thai food is close to my heart, a complete celebration for the senses. The fragrance and vibrancy of Thai food is largely governed by these fragrant mix of Thai basil leaves, kaffir lime leaves, pandan leaves, galangal, lemongrass and shallots. Bangkok is home to one of the most exciting food scene, the Chatachuk weekend market, Suan lum night bazaar or Sukhumvit soi 38 are some of the best food streets of the country.

pad thai / Thai noodle dish

What to taste :

a) Pad Thai and Som Tam : Pad Thai is Thailand’s national dish. Pad Thai has all the flavors for which Thai cuisine is known for, hot and spicy, sweet and tangy and the unmistakable flavor of peanut which simply makes it irresistible along with young bean sprouts which makes it all the more delectable.

Som tam is freshly pounded papaya salad, an explosion of flavours with chilies, garlic, peanuts, fish sauce, tamarind juice and fresh squeeze of lime, rounded up by the dried shrimps.

b) Mango sticky rice : A classic Thai dessert and you will find number od stalls selling this sublime dessert sometimes wrapped in pandan leaves. Sticky and glutinous jasmine rice is flavoured with juicy mangoes and coconut cream.

c) Tom yam soup : You will find this soup everywhere, a clear broth with shrimps, veggies or chickens with lots of chillies and flavours and certainly not for faint hearted.

The list is really exhaustive and I have chosen most popular street foods, though every one has their preferences and crazes when it comes to select their most favoured street food. Two special mention is reserved for dish like Nasi Lemak and Satay that you will find throughout the entire region of South Asia and flavours varies as you travel from one region to another.

Let me know your favourite picks from these cities.

Until next

Sukanya

 

chocolate fudge cake

X Factors That Contribute To Obesity among School and College Students

Guest blogger Reece Higgins documents some of the factors that contributes to obesity among children and teenagers. Food holds a central stage where every other product available in the market are laced by trans fat, hydrogenated oils, added sugar and high fructose corn syrup and other kind of preservatives and additives. Besides food other factors also play together to make it a complex situation.

At the individual level, childhood obesity is the result of an imbalance between the calories a child consumes as food and beverages and the calories a child uses to support normal growth and development, metabolism, and physical activity. In other words, obesity results when a child consumes more calories than the child uses. The imbalance between calories consumed and calories used can result from the influences and interactions of a number of factors, including genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. It is the interactions among these factors – rather than any single factor – that is thought to cause obesity.

Genetic Factors: Studies indicate that certain genetic characteristics may increase an individual’s susceptibility to excess body weight. However, this genetic susceptibility may need to exist in conjunction with contributing environmental and behavioral factors (such as a high-calorie food supply and minimal physical activity) to have a significant effect on weight. Genetic factors alone can play a role in specific cases of obesity. For example, obesity is a clinical feature for rare genetic disorders such as Prader-Willi syndrome. However, the rapid rise in the rates of overweight and obesity in the general population in recent years cannot be attributed solely to genetic factors. The genetic characteristics of the human population have not changed in the last three decades, but the prevalence of obesity has tripled among school-aged children during that time.

Behavioral Factors: Because the factors that contribute to childhood obesity interact with each other, it is not possible to specify one behavior as the “cause” of obesity. However, certain behaviors can be identified as potentially contributing to an energy imbalance and, consequently, to obesity.

Energy intake: Evidence is limited on specific foods or dietary patterns that contribute to excessive energy intake in children and teens. However, large portions of food and beverages, eating meals away from home, frequent snacking on energy-dense foods and consuming beverages with added sugar are often hypothesized as contributing to excess energy intake of children and teens. In the area of consuming sugar-sweetened drinks, evidence is growing to suggest an association with weight gain in children and adolescents. Consuming sugar-sweetened drinks may be associated with obesity because these drinks are high in calories. Children may not compensate at meals for the calories they have consumed in sugar-sweetened drinks, although this may vary by age. Also, liquid forms of energy may be less satiating than solid forms and lead to higher caloric intake.

Physical activity: Participating in physical activity is important for children and teens as it may have beneficial effects not only on body weight, but also on blood pressure and bone strength. Physically active children are also more likely to remain physically active throughout adolescence and possibly into adulthood.

Children may be spending less time engaged in physical activity during school. Daily participation in school physical education among adolescents dropped 14 percentage points over the last 13 years – from 42% in 1991 to 28% in 2003. In addition, less than one-third (28%) of high school students meet currently recommended levels of physical activity.

Sedentary behavior: Children spend a considerable amount of time with media. One study found that time spent watching TV, videos, DVDs, and movies averaged slightly over 3 hours per day among children aged 8–18 years. Several studies have found a positive association between the time spent viewing television and increased prevalence of obesity in children. Media use, and specifically television viewing, may

Displace time children spend in physical activities,

Contribute to increased energy consumption through excessive snacking and eating meals in front of the TV,

Influence children to make unhealthy food choices through exposure to food advertisements, and

Lower children’s metabolic rate.

Environmental Factors: Home, child care, school, and community environments can influence children’s behaviors related to food intake and physical activity.

Within the home: Parent-child interactions and the home environment can affect the behaviors of children and youth related to calorie intake and physical activity. Parents are role models for their children who are likely to develop habits similar to their parents.

Within child care: Almost 80% of children aged 5 years and younger with working mothers are in child care for 40 hours a week on an average. Child care providers are sharing responsibility with parents for children during important developmental years. Child care can be a setting in which healthy eating and physical activity habits are developed.

Within schools: Because the majority of young people aged 5–17 years are enrolled in schools and because of the amount of time that children spend at school each day, schools provide an ideal setting for teaching children and teens to adopt healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), schools and school districts are, increasingly, implementing innovative programs that focus on improving the nutrition and increasing physical activity of students.

Within the community: The built environment within communities influences access to physical activity opportunities and access to affordable and healthy foods. For example, a lack of sidewalks, safe bike paths, and parks in neighborhoods can discourage children from walking or biking to school as well as from participating in physical activity. Additionally, lack of access to affordable, healthy food choices in neighborhood food markets can be a barrier to purchasing healthy foods.

Author Bio: 

I am Reece Higgins involving in moderations and continuance writing services. It is an online community and many people buy essays us especially students are approaching this company to interact and clarify their doubts regarding their academic related assignment works.

 

 

agra angoori petha

Sacred fudge, an ode to Indian mithais and Diwali celebration

Saffronstreaks wishes Happy & Prosperous Diwali to all, may you have safe, glowing and beautiful year ahead !

All I have this Diwali is a box full of Agre ka Angoori petha / crystallized white pumpkins or candy and a delightful book on history of sweet inventions or dessert by Michael Krondl  as you would love to frame it. This post is not about the book review or a new recipe to cherish this Diwali, it’s all about tracing our roots back to our heritage and traditions.

agra angoori petha

As I reflect back on my growing up years in another century (pre-internet), where the festivities were always marked by homemade sweets or mithais, the house was always brimming up with same old flavours and the first bite was shared by Gods and then offered to us mortals, thus purifying one’s soul in return. Nope we were not a religious or orthodox family, but such customs seeped so deep in our genes that it becomes part of our lives, beyond the comprehension of any logic or reasonings that may explained this.

Diwali greetings

Shubh Deepawali

From growing sugarcane in the fields to producing the first refined sugar ever, the Indian mithais has accomplished centuries of journey to reach its zenith today and thanks to our Gods who inspired us at every step. The vast array of Indian sweets or mithais, that would be more appropriate word for it, is beyond the vocabulary of any European langauge and a literal translation would dilute the essence of these ancient sweets.

Indian sweets were always focussed around milk and milk products. This holy trinity of milk, curd and ghee is as ancient as the human civilization itself, from the land of milk and honey the first milk fudge or humble peda evolved that was holy and sacred , an offering to the deity. Yes Hindu Gods are known for their sweet tooth and are food connoisseurs in their own right.

Kheer or payesh or payasam is perhaps the most ancient sweet that was ever made, a milk and rice porridge with some scented spices or flower perhaps, the porridge was then offered to Lord Krishna as bhog kheer on his birthday or janmashtami. And this unfold the tradition of celebrating birthday with kheer or payesh as opposed to birthday cakes and is still practised in almost every Indian homes. New mommies nowadays however makes both kheer and cake to declare peace with their child, thus keeping live the tradition and accepting the change, both at same pace.

Sweetener like honey and gur or jaggery extracted from date palm even predates the sugar rich sweets. Kheer made with fruits like basundi or kheer komola, wheat, semolina and semiya / vermicelli  were introduced at later centuries perhaps under the influence of Mughal rulers, thus adding new dimension in the taste.

Sugar was premium at earlier historic times, so does the mithais that were prepared in those days. As the sugar losses its gloss and become readily available to every section of the society, we found ways to curdle the milk to extract cheese or chhena and this goes for miles in our tradition to produce beautiful array of sweet delicacies that we known today as rossogolla, sandesh, and several other new variants like rasmalai, chamcham etc.

Some will argue that early portuguese settlers in India showed us the way to extract chhena from milk, as they bought vinegar with them , the souring agent which is widely used now a days to curdle the milk. But historians and sacred text would love to differ, as since time immemorial we used curd to curdle the milk and not vinegar. The age-old tradition of offering Rosgollas to Lord Jagannath at Puri in Odisha will attest to that fact.

Interestingly chhena remain restricted within its geographic realm and was never travelled beyond its boundaries and so its origin and later inventions becomes synonymous to eastern part of the country only. In Northern part of the country, another milk product called mawa or khowa is used widely to make mithais. Mawa or khowa is reduced milk or evaporated milk. Milk is first boiled and then reduced to evaporate all its moisture content till it becomes dry like powder. This is called  mawa and it is then used to make variety of mithais, and every year some new inventions being added to this huge and growing army of mithais. Another mithai that evolved from this process of reducing the milk is called kalakand or Indian milk fudge. When milk is simply reduced to one fourth of its volume and then sweetened with sugar is called rabdi – the delicious accompaniement with our sweet jalebis and malpuas

Halvas were introduced to India by the Arab traders and settlers who settled at the western coast of India, precisely on the Malabar coast. The fruits, flour, and vegetables were primarily used to make halwa and being cheap, longer shelf life and its ready availablity makes it to secure a favourite place at common man’s dining table. Anjeer halwa is another varaint made with dried figs and spices, when married with chocolates it takes the humble halwa to another level.

An eclectic blend of inspiring ideas from ancient and modern cuisines rooted deep into the culture, traditions across the globe is perhpas the answer to satiate the minds of gourmet lovers who seek new and exciting changes and welcomes new trends in cuisine with open arms. This halwa tarts was created by “yours truly” is the first step in this direction.

carrot almond tart

Sugar dipped fried doughs are another Mughal influence that nestled now in our customs and becomes a part of tradition too. Gulab jamuns, jalebis, boondi, motichur laddoos, gujiya, balushahi, chandrapuli and malpuas earned rave appreciations from the sweet conneisuer of the country. Several other variants does exist which is more region and culture specific.

No eulogy of Indian sweets or mithais is complete without the mention of candy. Before we invented this huge family of mithais, there exist one ancient sweet that we overlook now and it is called candy. Not the westernised version, but our very own Indian candies, that evolved centuries back not as a sweet or mithai to offer to our Gods but as a preservation practices to preserve sugar. From khand in Sanskrit to candy in modern languages, the humble sugar has seen an epoch of changes and from the love and passion a new art form born called sugar crafting, an art which every sweet tooth worth its sugar would love to master !

Happy Diwali

Sukanya

 

delhi street food

Best street foods of Delhi – a review

When in ” Rome do as the Romans do “ and when in Delhi eat like a Delhite, right on its streets –  a variety of delectable dishes which you may not find elsewhere in the city’s restaurants, and some of the stalls are there for generations. For a connoisseur of local cuisines, perhaps it will be the best dining experience you will ever enjoy !

But before venturing out, read what our Guest blogger Shivangi Rajendran has to say !

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Best Street Foods of Delhi – A Review

The rustic walls and the never-ending gullies of the old city, the quintessential hub for authentic Delhi street food might seem a little daunting on your first visit, especially if you don’t know or understand the language very well. But don’t let that bother you. And no, it is so not over-rated!
delhi street food
Cold winter mornings are the best time. Not much else can get you out of bed at 7 in the morning like the thought of succulent, tender, juicy mutton nihari. The word Nihar originated from the Arabic word “Nahar” which means “morning” after sunrise Fajr prayers. You don’t have to pray or anything, but this meat cooked overnight in the bylanes of the Jama Masjid will definitely invoke something deep within. Try the paya too since you’re already there.

There’s also the famous paranthe wali galli where you will find everything from the normal aloo and gobhi to the crazy bhindi and karela to the exotic meva and rabdi filled ones. Please note that these paranthas are deep-fried in ghee for that heavenly taste. Chole bhature and jalebi with warm milk are also breakfast favourites around these parts.
paranthe wali galli
The chaat bandaars around the Chandni Chowk and Chawri bazaar areas is definitely some of the best you’ll ever find. Hira Lal Chaat corner, Ashok Chaat, Natraj ke bhalle, Shree Balaji Chaat Bhandar; everyone has their favourites and you’ll pick one too. The unique to Old Delhi favourites are Kulle (an unusual chaat made by scooping out the centre of either a tomato, a banana, sweet potato or cucumber and filling it with chick peas, pomegranate seeds, spices and lemon juice), fruit sandwiches and Daulat ki Chaat; the preparation of this desert chaat is the stuff of legend and it’s only available in winter.  You will of course find the regular tikkis, samosas, kachoris papri chaat and golgappas.
street foods of delhi
Head back to the Jama masjid area for dinner. The kebabs will literally melt in your mouth. Try authentic khameeri roti and biryani Mughal style. Karims is one of the most popular but walk around and take your pick from a number of other places. The thing with the Old City is that most of these places have been around for at least a century, with recipes and secret ingredients being handed down through generations. For dessert, an amazing varieties of kulfi is availale from regular kesar and badam to the exotic gulkhand and stuffed fruit ones. Or you can have the best kheer and jalebi with rabdi.
delhi street foods
And there are the underdogs of Delhi street food. The newer ones that have cropped up more recently but still have the city a strong firm hold. Momos, you’ll find these stuffed dumplings around every street corner. The juiciest, most tender ones, steamed and fried, you’ll find in the Chanakyapuri area. Shawarmas, meat grilled for as long as a day wrapped in pita with hummus, have also established their popularity in Delhi. The most popular shawarmas in Delhi are served up at Al-Bake. Khan Chacha’s rolls have also carved a pretty big niche for themselves in the stomach of the dilliwallah.
delhi chaat
Oh! The torture of writing this on a hungry stomach!

About Author:

As the newest member of the content team at WeAreHolidays, Shivangi Rajendran comes from the world of professional dancing. With a passion for travel and a flair for writing, the Masters in Mass Communication is just an added advantage. A gypsy at heart, she doesn’t believe in planning and is always ready to pack her bags and leave.

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Hope you have enjoyed reading the article as much as we did. Thanks Shivangi for presenting us such a beautiful review.
Are you too a street food connoisseur, if yes then do share us your favourite ones !

Have Happy weekend

Sukanya

hidden treasure inside the baked alaska for masterchef

I love you more than anybody can…so kiss me and smile for me..” as the voice of Denver works as a soothing elixir on you and the last drop of molten chocolate glides silkily over your lips making you close your eyes in ecstasy, the sweet luscious juices of ruby-red strawberries dipped in chocolate fondue planted the last kiss on your lips…you wished time stood still there…those precious moments froze forever…and your heart desires … let me indulge in something sinful today…Such are the magic that food creates, overwhelmed you in its intoxicating aromas.

When life gives you chocolate, make fondue and earn brownies !

Life is precious and the people close to your heart makes it all the more special. It should be celebrated, each day, every moment and be thanked for a happy, sad or an uninspiring day. As I walked down the memory lane on a moody autumn morning, many things crossed my minds, moments that were filled with giggles and laughter, happiness and sorrows weaved together, moments when we used to sit together around a large table sharing our monologues over scrumptious food, when food is not motivator but brings people close to each other, my mind searched for the best and unique thing I ever had.

The best and unique must have a surprise element too !

Surprises fills you with amazement and the uniqueness follows the path of dare to be different, so no wonder that global gourmet table wears a (con) fusion look where diverse cultures melt, embracing each others flavors, ethnicity wears a contemporary look and modernization rooted in traditions, culinary and cultural boundaries has dissolved long ago into oblivion.

So rasgullas are dressed up with strawberry foam, gulabjamuns sweating in chocolate fondue, rasmalais lost their way in mascarpone cheese cakes, futomaki (sushi) goes lyrical with mango salsa, lasagna are on a vegan diet, rice noodles are dating with basil pesto sauce and spaghetti finally find its soul mate in chicken tikka masala.

baked alaska : image courtsey - http://www.bbcgoodfood.com

The last to join the league (with many more aspirants queuing up) is baked alaska, the dying decadent dessert which found a new leash of life in a chef’s hand who brilliantly dressed it up with flambeed meringue and hide the treasure deep inside in its core. Baked alaska also known as omelette á la norvégienne, where an ice cream sits snugly over a layer of sponge cake and then cased in meringue, tucked in a very hot oven until the meringue absorbs a burnt or brown hue.

Sitting in the eclectic ambiance of Pink Poppadom in Bangalore, as my fork dig further into the chocolaty sponge with mountain of creamy meringue parted its way to reach deep, down to the core, I hit gold…lying there was something which I am so fond of, something which is so familiar to me but have never expected it to be there.

Purist will shout “ what the heck a rasmalai is doing inside a baked alaska” ? But aren’t you surprised, me too. The soft and spongy rasmalai teaming up with rich and creamy ice cream which slowly melts in your mouth with light and fluffy meringue creates wonderful experiences and weaves magical moments that last forever with a spongy chocolate which was delicious to its last crumb.

Some food brings a smile to your face, some gives comfort and some makes you jump out of your seat and speaks to you ” hey, look at me “. Flambeed rasmalai baked alaska did just that. The best and unique thing I ever had on this planet.

One bite and you will melt !

This is my official entry to MasterChef India 2 contest @ Indiblogger.

masterchef indiblogger

Have a wonderful day

Sukanya