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Top 7 Gourmet Gifts for Christmas & New Year 2018

Christmas is around the corner and like every festival the spirit is best celebrated by sharing & gifting food and goodies with your loved ones. 

So we thought we would put together a list of 7 gourmet products that you can gift to people you love cherish and appreciate. These products have been trending and super popular since their launch earlier this year and have received amazing feedback for their taste and ingenuity.

7. Pina Colada Jamalade

Its always great to start the list with some sunshine and little bit of tipple to keep the things right. Made from real pineapple, coconut and infused with rum this one is really going to keep your friends in right spirits. 

6. Chunky Peanut Butter

Friends who diet together, stay tight together. Ok.. cheesy line maybe, but hey our 100% Natural Peanut Butter is absolute gorgeous gift this X-mas and new year.. 😎🤩

5. Himalayan Honey & Garlic Murabba

A jar of honey & garlic Murabba would be appreciated by those who treat their bodies as temples. A clove of garlic and spoonful of this natural honey every morning is said to do wonders to the human body.. 🙂

4. Sweet Chilli Jam

This one is for a friend who is not afraid to experiment & play with flavors, because it takes a crazy mind to unleash our sweet chilli jam to its full potential.. 😉

3. Intensity – Chocolate & Rhum Spread

That intense poet and philosopher friend you got? yes! she is going to love a jar of Intensity with some Chocolate and Rum to set the mood right.. .. 🙃😉

2. Ammiji’s Winter Comfort

Because nothing says you care better than some love straight from Ammiji. This concoction made with finest quality of herbs and spices is going to keep your loved ones warm when you are not around.

Honorary Mention

Deserving of top honors in any list we compile, a special mention to Ammiji’s Chai Masala and its newly introduced variants. The classic one itself is something that can add lot of spice to a Christmas cake 🙂

1. Orange & Whiskey Marmalade

Our best selling table spread- Orange & Whiskey Marmalade is made for people who prefer life on ‘fun’ side..bet you got a friend or two are going to love this one .. 😚😁

Well that completes the list of gourmet & boutique products we feel that would be appreciated by your loved ones. Though we have tried to limit this to seven choices, however do explore our store which is full of wonderful the delicious goodies for yourselves and your loves ones.

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KISS THE COOKIE! Peanut Butter Blossoms by Manjula Vijh

Traditionally called as “Peanut Butter Blossoms”, these are soft, chewy peanut butter cookies, rolled in sugar and then topped with a Hershey’s Kiss Chocolate!

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It was during one lazy winter afternoon, while I was surfing the internet for some cookie recipes, that I came across these beauties. I had never worked with peanut butter as the main ingredient for cookies, but these looked so beautiful that I couldn’t resist giving them a try.

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The recipe for these lovely looking cookies was first developed in 1957, by Mrs. Freda F. Smith of Gibsonburg, Ohio for the Ninth Grand National Pillsbury Bake-off competition. It’s an American classic recipe and many versions of this recipe are available online. My recipe is inspired from the one given on Hershey’s website, but since I am a vegetarian, I have modified the recipe to be an eggless one. These are chewy from the center and crisp from outside, and since these are topped with Hershey’s Kisses, I have named these cookies as, “Kiss the Cookie!”

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When I first tried this recipe with one of my friends, I made them with store bought peanut butter. They came out nice but were little extra sweet. This time I tried them with the Natural Homemade Peanut Butter curated by Mr. Mohit Arora, which is available at Masala Monk. The peanut butter by Masala Monk has the right amount of salt and sugar unlike store bought peanut butter. The cookies came out to be perfect sweet and soft! They look lovely when presented and you can also gift them to your loved ones during festival time!

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KISS THE COOKIE

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves:  40-45 cookies

Ingredients

  • Condensed Milk: 1 Can (400 gm.)
  • Peanut Butter: ¾ cup
  • All Purpose Flour: 1.5 cup
  • Baking Powder: 1tsp.
  • Butter(softened): ½ cup
  • Vanilla extract: 1tsp
  • Caster sugar for rolling the cookies: ½ cup
  • Hershey’s kisses: 40-45

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together, flour and baking powder.
  2. In another bowl cream together, butter, peanut butter and vanilla to mix them well.
  3. Add the flour and make a dough. If, you are mixing with hands, and the dough sticks to your hand you can sprinkle some flour, apply butter to your hands and then again mix. You can taste the cookie dough too!! I did and it tastes great!
  4. Chill the dough to set. Cling wrap it and then keep it in the refrigerator for few hours.
  5. Preheat the oven at 190ºC.
  6. Shape dough into 1″-1.5″ balls, roll it in finely granulated caster sugar, and keep them into a baking tray.
  7. Bake the cookies at 190ºC for about 10-11 minutes, till cracks appear on sides. Do not over bake them. These cookies will not get brown in color.
  8. Meanwhile unwrap Hershey’s Kisses.
  9. After the cookies are baked, take out the baking tray, and gently press one kiss on each cookie. The warm cookies will melt the chocolate a little, but it will set after a while.
  10. Transfer the cookie onto a wire rack for cooling
  11. Store it in an airtight container.

Notes:

** Please check your oven temperature for baking.

** You can use a small ice-cream scoop, or a melon ball scoop to take out equally sized dough balls. I used one of my measuring spoons.

** You can keep the cookie dough cling wrapped for 2-3 days.

** If you want to cut down the recipe to half, you can do so. It works fine! I suggest to start with half the recipe if you are baking them for the first time.

** Use softened butter and not melted butter. I made this mistake and result was flat cookies.

** Chill the cookie dough before baking.

** If the chocolate falls of the cookie, you can dab little peanut butter on the bottom of the chocolate and press it back.

References:

http://www.post-gazette.com/life/food/2012/09/06/Cookies-Tracking-the-tale-of-a-favorite-the-Peanut-Blossom/stories/201209060264

https://abountifulkitchen.com/peanut-butter-blossoms/

http://americanheritagecooking.com/2014/12/peanut-butter-blossoms/

https://www.hersheys.com/kitchens/en_us/recipes/chewy-peanut-butter-blossoms.html

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14 Reasons to have Raw Turmeric in your daily diet

While turmeric has long been part of Indian Diet and culture, the raw turmeric itself is considered super therapeutic in nature and some research on google will throw the following benefits..

  1. Boosts Digestion : the most famous component of raw turmeric, curcumin is said to trigger bile production, which then aids smoother movement through the tracts.
  2. Stomach Issues : As per Ayurveda a lot of our issues start from stomach, and curcumin is said to work in situations like indigestion, heartburn, irritable bowl syndrome, stomach ulcers and general irritation.
  3. Anti-inflammatory properties : Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis – raw turmeric is said to help with both, white they say it also is used to treat inflammation due to eye infection.
  4. Skin friendly: It’s been used since ages to cure a variety of skin issues.  It also boosts general skin health.
  5. Excellent Antiseptic : Though we are sure that our pickle would serve this purpose however it’s traditionally been used as ointment for cuts and injuries. Just in case you know 😛
  6. Pain Reliever : Yes it is consumed as a pain reliever as well, however it is recommended to with warm milk for best affects. Can also be applied as paste on affected area.
  7. Blood Purifier : Raw turmeric regulates blood clot formation, several studies and experts have vouched for its blood cleansing abilities.
  8. Studies Show That Curcumin Has Incredible Benefits Against Depression

    Curcumin has shown some promise in treating depression.

    In a controlled trial, 60 patients were randomized into three groups (45).

    One group took prozac, another group took a gram of curcumin and the third group took both prozac and curcumin.

    After 6 weeks, curcumin had led to improvements that were similar to prozac. The group that took both prozac and curcumin fared best.

    According to this (small) study, curcumin is as effective as an antidepressant.

    Depression is also linked to reduced levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and a shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory.

    Curcumin boosts BNDF levels, potentially reversing some of these changes (46).

    There is also some evidence that curcumin can boost the brain neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine

    Source : HeathLine

  9. Curcumin May be Useful in Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

    Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia.

    Unfortunately, no good treatment is available for Alzheimer’s yet.

    Therefore, preventing it from showing up in the first place is of utmost importance.

    There may be good news on the horizon, because curcumin has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier (39).

    It is known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. As we know, curcumin has beneficial effects on both (40).

    But one key feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup of protein tangles called Amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin can help clear these plaques (41).

    Whether curcumin can really slow down or even reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s disease needs to be studied properly.

    Source : HeathLine

  10. Curcumin Leads to Various Improvements That Should Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

    Heart disease is the biggest killer in the world (27).

    It has been studied for many decades and researchers have learned a lot about why it happens.

    It turns out that heart disease is incredibly complicated and there are various things that contribute to it.

    Curcumin may help reverse many steps in the heart disease process (28).

    Perhaps the main benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart disease, is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels.

    It is well known that endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves an inability of the endothelium to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors (29).

    Several studies suggest that curcumin leads to improvements in endothelial function. One study shows that is as effective as exercise, another shows that it works as well as the drug Atorvastatin (3031).

    But curcumin also reduces inflammation and oxidation (as discussed above), which are also important in heart disease.

    In one study, 121 patients who were undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery were randomized to either placebo or 4 grams of curcumin per day, a few days before and after the surgery.

    The curcumin group had a 65% decreased risk of experiencing a heart attack in the hospital (32).

    Source : HeathLine

  11. Reduces Menstrual PainAccording to one Iranian study, curcumin in turmeric was found to reduce the severity of PMS symptoms. This effect could be attributed to its anti-inflammatory effects (57).As per a report by the Evergreen State College, turmeric can be used to treat menstrual pains – as was used by the ancient Chinese and Indian healers (58).Source : Stylecraze
    Raw Turmeric Pickle is consumed for medicinal purposes.
  12. Other Possibilities : The University of Maryland Medical Center says that turmeric stimulates the gallbladder to release bile, helping your digestive tract digest fatty nutrients. Because of this effect, it may be beneficial for indigestion and other types of gastric upset. The legislative body in Germany that regulates herbal remedies, called Commission E, has approved turmeric as a general digestive aid. UMMC also reports that turmeric might lower your risk of heart disease, possibly through its ability to prevent clumping of platelets, involved in clot formation. It also says that laboratory studies suggest turmeric might kill bacteria and viruses, but these possibilities still need confirmation in clinical research.Source : SF Gate
  13. Boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, Linked to Improved Brain Function and a Lower Risk of Brain Diseases

    Back in the day, it was believed that neurons weren’t able to divide and multiply after early childhood.

    However, it is now known that this does happen.

    The neurons are capable of forming new connections, but in certain areas of the brain, they can also multiply and increase in number.

    One of the main drivers of this process is Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in the brain (20).

    Many common brain disorders have been linked to decreased levels of this hormone. This includes depression and Alzheimer’s disease (2122).

    Interestingly, curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF (2324).

    By doing this, it may be effective at delaying or even reversing many brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function (25).

    There is also the possibility that it could help improve memory and make you smarter. Makes sense given its effects on BDNF levels, but this definitely needs to be tested in human controlled trials (26).

    Source : HeathLine

  14.  Preventing Cancer : Curcumin from turmeric is an antioxidant, helping your body rid itself of free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage cellular membranes and DNA and raise your long-term risk of cancer. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that, based on laboratory research, turmeric might help prevent or treat several types of cancer, including cancer of the prostate, breast, skin and colon. For example, a 2015 study published in Cancer Letters found that curcumin helped inhibit cancer stem cells in cells taken from people with colorectal cancer that had metastasized to the liver. The researchers further concluded that curcumin supplementation was safe when combined with chemotherapy. Although large clinical studies of turmeric and cancer are still lacking, the National Institutes of Health had several active clinical trials involving curcumin as of 2014, including one involving women at high risk of breast cancer.Source : SF Gate

How much raw turmeric to take?

If you want to include raw turmeric as part of your diet on a daily basis then 6-7 gms is a good.

This in grated form turns out to be around 1.5 tsp. There should be no harm even if you take 2 tsp.

All the standard precautions we take with turmeric powder apply here too e.g. – stop 2 weeks before surgeries, do not take too much during pregnancy, consult doctor in case of confusion, etc. etc.

Lastly, start low and increase gradually.

Source : Turmeric for Health

Why Raw Turmeric is Better than Powdered one

Firstly, it is made using raw turmeric. Now the processing of turmeric into powder does take away some of its constituents. Thus raw turmeric is indeed the “best package” if you are looking for turmeric benefits.

Secondly, when you use raw turmeric you eliminate the processing cycle of making a powder. That means you also eliminate things which can go wrong there like adulteration, irradiation, additives, artificial colour, etc.

Source : Turmeric for Health

How much turmeric pickle can I eat?

As we are using raw turmeric and not powder you can easily include 10-15 gms of turmeric pickle. Great thing is as it is “pickle” you will actually make it part of your diet.

It is integral part of lunch and dinner of so many people in India. I am sure after you make this one, it will become at your house too

So what are you waiting for, try it today!

Source : Turmeric for Health

Shot by : Simon A. Eugster

Once again to remind you – we use Organic Raw Turmeric grown in Himalayas using high quality water and away from pollution. While eating the turmeric in different forms is said to have different benefits, however its key component is fat soluble and eating it in pickled for ensures some fat goes with the turmeric as well.

We julienne the turmeric, air dry it, then use it in the pickle, which preserves the natural oil inside this precious herb as well.

Delivery – Our usual delivery time is 2 to 3 weeks. Thanks for patience.

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Hardneck Garlic vs Softneck Garlic – Why Hardneck Garlic is Better?

With a smell that’s so appetizing and strong flavor, there’s no wonder that garlic has been a good kitchen companion for ages. However, some don’t know that there are 2 primary types of garlic and these include softneck and hardneck. There’s a significant difference between these two and its important to know their differences first before you choose any of these garlic.

Hardneck Garlic

It also renowned as a top-selling garlic and got its name because it has hard neck literally. The neck also refers to the flowering stalk or stem, which grows through the bulb’s center. Its firm stalk makes it a bit impossible for the harvesters to braid the hardneck garlic. In addition to that, this kind of garlic has distinct spicy flavor and it’s easy to peel due to its large cloves and thick skin. It also grows well in places with cold climates. It has a short shelf life of four to ten months.

Softneck Garlic

Artichoke garlic or softneck garlic has soft stalk that makes it simple to braid and cut. It has mild flavor that’s why this variety is used commonly for processed products like the seasonings. It’s also the same kind of garlic sold in the grocery stores. Moreover, this type of garlic thrives in warmer places. Upon maturity, a bulb could hold up to 20 cloves. This is why it is typically irregular and big in shape. Softneck garlic has also tight, thin skin around every clove. This is why it’s an ordeal to peel one. When compared to hardneck garlic, softneckk has long shelf life.

How Beneficial Hardneck Garlic Over Softneck Garlic?

The potential advantages of taking hardneck garlic include reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. It has been studied in different conditions such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, CAD or coronary artery disease, and heart attack. The daily flexibility of blood vessels has shown to enhance with intake of hardneck garlic. The likelihood of damage in blood vessels because of chronic inflammation has been shown to reduce when this vegetable is taken regularly.

Hardneck garlic has also a rejuvenating effect on one’s blood circulation and support the defenses of the body against flu or cold virus. It could be due to the reason that it has high concentration of vitamin B6, allicin, and vitamin C, which helps boost immunity and improve circulation. Research also indicated that some qualities of hardneck garlic can help in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, which will keep your heart healthy.

Hardneck garlic’s anti-fungal properties makes it useful for people that suffer from the fungal infections. It can also useful for skin blemishes because it helps purify blood.

We have sourced Organic Himalayan Hardneck (red) garlic, which is grown using spring water, better quality air and much cleaner environment in general. Its a garlic hard to come by and is generally sold at high premium in commercial market. There is a distinct difference in taste as well as the size of the cloves compared to what we see in the normal garlic. We are currently accepting orders for Chutney as well as Pickle made out of the same. While we dispatch a batch of chutneys almost every week, the pickling process of Garlic takes a while and do see the expected delivery date range before ordering.

Real picture of Garlic we source

 

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7 Proven Health Benefits of Garlic

Himalayan Hard-neck Garlic

If you think that garlic is perfect to add a zing to your mashed potatoes, bread or pasta, you better think again. The truth is that this pungent vegetable offers a lengthy list of health benefits that will surely convince you to eat more garlic every day. Its has been recognized all over the world and in various healing systems as one of the best natural healers known to mankind and after reading these benefits, you definitely would want to add more of this super food in your diet. Research shows that processing and eating garlic in different ways has different benefits to the body as its compounds change their properties according to the way they are processed. 

1. Garlic is Rich Anti-inflammatory Properties .

Garlic contains four compounds which can make a significant difference in fighting off inflammation. Some of the compounds found in garlic may even reduce irritation and pain the natural way through mimicking how pain medications work as revealed by studies that looked into the effects of garlic consumption.

2. Keep the Colds Away with Garlic

A certain study has tracked 146 adults who were healthy enough during the flu season to see if garlic will be able to keep those sniffles at bay. The participants were then divided to two groups, the first half being administered with a garlic supplement while the other half received a placebo pill. The second group that was given the placebo pill suffered from 65 colds during the period of the study while the other group that takes garlic supplements just came down with 24 cases of cold. Even though this sounds promising, there is still a need for further research before garlic can be hailed as the all around cure for colds.  

3. Fight Off Certain Types of Bacteria and Fungus

If you belong to 15 to 25% of humans suffering from athlete’s foot, you can get rid of this smelly problem by having your feet soaked in the bath with some crushed cloves of garlic.

4. Avoid Food Poisoning with Garlic

A certain study has revealed that a garlic compound is 100 times more effective compared to common antibiotics as far as fighting off Campylobacter is concerned. This is a kind of bacteria that often thrives in raw chicken which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. While it is not a guarantee that you will not get sick when you eat garlic, this compound can be very useful when it comes to clean areas where food is prepared and even help in preserving packaged foods such as coleslaw, deli meats, pasta, and potato salads.

5. Preventative Measure for Heart Disease

It has been revealed that consuming garlic every day can help with heart diseases and even lower cholesterol levels. Garlic contains a lot of antioxidant properties which can also be useful in cleansing the different systems of the body.

Garlic contains allicin which can regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels. To make the most out of the allicin content of garlic, it is best to consume it semi-raw or raw. Once cooked, allicin tends to lose its medicinal properties so going raw is more advisable.  

6. Garlic May Help in Cancer Prevention

There are some studies that reveal the relationship between consuming garlic and lowered risks of specific kinds of cancer. This vegetable can help prevent colon and stomach cancer. One more study discovered that middle-aged ladies have 35% lesser risks of developing colon cancer when they ate vegetables, fruit, and garlic as part of their well-balanced diet.

7. Garlic can help detoxify heavy metals in Body

When consumed in high doses, it has show to prevent organ damage due to heavy metal toxicity.

A 28 day study in workers of a battery plant (major exposure to lead) found that garlic reduced lead levels in the blood by 19%. It also reduced many clinical signs of toxicity, including headaches and blood pressure amongst many others.

Three doses of garlic each day even outperformed the drug D-penicillamine in symptom reduction.

Conclusion

Though it has been used as a common ingredient in cuisines and dishes all over the world, it seems our ancestors knew how magical properties of this humble vegetable produced when consumed in different methods and styles. Its just that modern research is now agreeing with what mankind has known for a lifetime. So its a great idea to include more garlic in your diet in whatever shape, form or size as it would definitely have some benefit or the other to our body.

We now have available Chutney and Pickle made from Hardneck garlic, grown in Himalayas, which we are shipping all over India. While the chutney is cooked on almost weekly basis and is shipped out in 7-10 days of your order, the garlic pickle might take 40 days to get ready. Do check the expected delivery date of pickle before you order.