Tuesday, 27 June 2023

What Is Tukh malanga? Basil Seeds Health Benefits And Uses:

 What Is Tukh malanga? Basil Seeds Health Benefits And Uses!

Tukh malanga called in Pakistan and India also known as basil seeds (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil seeds, also have another name as Sabja

seeds or Tukmaria seeds.

Basil seeds are tiny black seeds derived from the basil plant . While basil leaves are commonly used as a culinary herb, the seeds have gained popularity for their nutritional benefits and their use in certain dishes and beverages.

Basil seeds are small, round, and black. When soaked in water, they swell and develop a gelatinous outer layer.

Basil seeds are used in various culinary preparations. They are often added to desserts, drinks, and smoothies, as they can provide a unique texture and visual appeal. In some recipes, they are used as a thickening agent or as an egg substitute in vegan recipes.

 Basil seeds are a rich source of dietary fiber, which can aid digestion and promote a feeling of fullness. They also contain essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. Additionally, they are low in calories and carbohydrates.

In some Asian countries like Pakistan,India and

Bangladesh basil seeds are used in drinks for their cooling properties. They are believed to have a cooling effect on the body, making them a popular addition to beverages during hot weather.

Basil seeds have a high fiber content, which aids in digestion and helps prevent constipation. They can also provide relief from acidity and heartburn.

The high fiber content in Basil seeds helps promote a feeling of fullness and can aid in weight management by curbing overeating and reducing cravings.


When soaked in water, tukhmalanga seeds develop a gelatinous outer layer. Consuming this gel-like substance helps to keep the body hydrated and can be particularly beneficial during hot weather.

Basil  seeds may help regulate blood sugar levels due to their fiber content and ability to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates in the body.

Basil  seeds are a good source of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They contain calcium, magnesium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.

The antioxidants present in Basil seeds help in

protecting the skin from damage caused by free radicals. They also aid in maintaining healthy skin by promoting collagen production.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in Basil seeds are beneficial for heart health. They help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Basil  seeds may have a calming effect on the body and can help reduce stress and anxiety. They contain compounds that promote relaxation and improve mood.

       HOW TO USE :

Soaking and consumption: Before consuming basil seeds, they are typically soaked in water for about 15-20 minutes until they develop a gel-like coating. The soaked seeds can then be added to various dishes or drinks. It's important to note that the soaked seeds should not be consumed dry, as they can swell and potentially cause choking.

As with any food or supplement, it's always

recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist to understand how basil seeds can fit into your specific dietary needs and goals.

It's important to note that while basil seeds offer potential health benefits, individual results may vary. It's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist before making any significant changes to your diet or incorporating new ingredients.

Tuesday, 20 June 2023

Harnessing the Power of Herbs for Health and Beauty:

 Harnessing the Power of Herbs for Health and Beauty: 

A Natural Approach

In today's fast-paced world, where stress, pollution, and synthetic products are rampant, there is a growing inclination towards embracing natural alternatives for health and beauty. Herbs, with their centuries-old reputation as potent healers, are gaining popularity as people seek to enhance their well-being using nature's bounty. This article explores the fascinating world of herbal remedies and their transformative effects on both health and beauty. From soothing lavender to rejuvenating aloe vera, we delve into the wonders of herbs and discover their remarkable potential in nourishing and revitalizing our bodies inside and out.


Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful compound that can alleviate various health conditions, including arthritis and digestive disorders. Incorporating turmeric into your diet can promote a healthy immune system and improve overall well-being.


This aromatic root is widely recognized for its digestive benefits. Ginger helps relieve nausea, reduces inflammation, and aids in digestion. Enjoy a cup of ginger tea or include it in your cooking to reap its health-enhancing qualities.

Holy Basil: 

Also known as tulsi, holy basil is revered in Ayurvedic medicine for its numerous health benefits. It has adaptogenic properties that help combat stress, boost immunity, and support respiratory health. Consuming holy basil tea or incorporating it into your diet can be beneficial.


Beyond its delicious flavor, cinnamon has been linked to various health benefits. It may help regulate blood sugar levels, improve heart health, and possess antimicrobial properties. Sprinkle cinnamon on your morning oatmeal or blend it into your smoothies for a wholesome kick.

Aloe Vera:

Known as the "plant of immortality," aloe vera is a versatile herb that promotes skin health. It has soothing and moisturizing properties, making it ideal for sunburn relief, reducing acne, and nourishing the skin. Extract the gel from an aloe vera leaf and apply it topically for optimal results.


This fragrant herb not only calms the mind but also offers numerous beauty benefits. Lavender essential oil can help alleviate skin irritations, reduce anxiety, and promote restful sleep. Incorporate lavender-infused products into your skincare routine or create your own DIY beauty recipes.


 Rich in antioxidants, rosemary has anti-aging properties that can help combat skin damage caused by free radicals. It also stimulates hair growth and enhances scalp health. Add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to your shampoo or create a DIY facial toner for a refreshing boost.


With its vibrant orange petals, calendula is a gentle herb that possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It is excellent for soothing irritated skin, promoting wound healing, and reducing skin redness. Look for skincare products containing calendula or create your own herbal-infused oil for topical us.

Incorporating herbs into our lives can be a transformative journey towards holistic well-being. Whether it's enhancing internal health or enhancing external beauty, herbs offer a natural and sustainable approach. However, it is important to remember that individual experiences may vary, and it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional or an herbalist before starting any herbal regimen.

By embracing the power of herbs, we can tap into the rich traditions of ancient healing and experience the wonders of nature firsthand. From the vibrant hues of turmeric to the delicate fragrance of lavender, herbs have the potential to rejuvenate our bodies, nourish our skin, and promote overall vitality. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2023




Samosas are very popular street food in Pakistan and you can buy them almost anywhere, in special samosa shops where you can sit and eat them, covered with a delicious imli (tamarind) sauce, or with a different sauce (called ‘chutney’ here) such as a mint sauce.. They are one of the foods served to break the fast during Ramadan and are frequently served with pakoras.
  What are samosas? They are stuffed savoury pastries and may be stuffed with potatoes, which is most common and the recipe given here, or they can be stuffed with minced (ground) beef and peas, or with chicken, or a mixture of vegetables.
2 cups fine flour (maida), sifted
2 tsps oil
1 tsp ajwain or thyme
warm water to mix
salt to taste

1 egg, beaten to seal pastry

3-4 potatoes depending on size
3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 onion chopped into small pieces
½ tsp ginger root, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, shredded finely
1 tbsp mint leaves, finely shredded
1 tbsp anar dana (dried pomegranate seeds), soaked for 15 mins before using
1 tsp cumin seeds
chilli powder and salt to taste
oil for deep frying

Mix flour with salt ajwain or thyme and the oil then add water slowly as needed to make a dough. Shape into 4 balls of equal size, cover in cling film and leave to chill for ½ an hour as this makes it easier to roll out the pastry.
Now roll them into rounds of 6 inches and cut in the middle.
Filling: -
Boil the potatoes peeled and whole then leave them to cool and mash them with all the other ingredients.
Beat the egg and use to seal two sides of each cone of pastry. Fill the cone with the filling and seal the end with the egg again.
Heat the oil for deep-frying and when hot enough to fry chips or French fries, lower the samosas into it a batch at a time so that they cook evenly.
Fry until the pastry is golden brown, remove from the oil and drain on absorbent paper.
Serve with chutney (sauce).
This has Taste and is a Treat.

Sunday, 12 February 2023




If you have ever had a cold or flu in Greece, and have Greek friends, then you will know all about Greek mountain tea, which comes from this plant. It is called “malotira”  (better) in Crete, and is served in small cups or glasses in Turkey, with sugar or honey and  lemon to flavour it. Sideritis plants grow throughout the Balkan region and can be found in temperate Asia and Central Europe, but Sideritis syriaca comes fro the Mediterranean region as the name syriaca, from Syria might suggest.

  The genus name Sideritis means he who has iron, which is a reference to those who had been wounded in ballet by iron weapons. The plants were used as a wound healer although other suggest that the plant got its name because the flowers or sepals, look rather like spear tips.

  This mountain tea plant is in the mint family, the Lamiaceae or Labiatae family which means it has a whole host of relatives, which include, purple, yellow and white dead nettles, marsh woundwort, the teak tree, marjoram, basil, Holy basil, oregano, savory, thyme, lavender, lemon balm, Scarlet bee balm as well as bugle, motherwort, self-heal, catnip, the chaste tree, the small-flowered chaste tree, sage, ground ivy, Jupiter’s sage, wall germander, horsemint, Fragrant premna and hyssop.

  The plant can grow to heights of more than a foot, and is best gathered in July when it is in full bloom and then dried for later use. In Greece, you can buy it in street markets in bundles, or in supermarkets in jars.

The essential oil has anti-microbial, antibacterial and antifungal properties and can be used for such ailments as candida in the same way as you would use Australian tea tree oil.

  In clinical trials this plant has been found to have antioxidant properties and to prevent and / or inhibit the growth of cancerous tumours. It also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions as indicated in “Preliminary evaluation on anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of Sideritis syriaca L. herbal extracts.” Menghini L, et al. 2005 Summer; Vol.8 (2):pp. 227-31. Journal of Medicinal Food. They conclude: -                                                                                          “The data from this preliminary study reveal interesting pharmacological properties of S. syriaca L. herbal extracts related to the marked analgesic activity and the absence of gastric ulcerogenic activity. The same is for anti-inflammatory activity, but in this case it seems to be related only to the apolar fraction.”

  In Turkey the tisane is used for coughs and as a diuretic to rid the body of excess fluid.

  So far the plant has only attracted researchers from the areas in which it grows naturally, although the tea is sold in Germany as “Bergtee” and is becoming ever more popular. I can vouch for the fact that it helps in colds and flu and scientists say that it can do this because it has immune system boosting properties. It tastes fine, so is good to try if you have a cold, cough or flu.


MOUNTAIN TEA RECIPE                                                                      

Take some sprigs of the dried herb (about 3 per cup) and pour boiling water over them.

Leaves for 10 minutes and add honey (or sugar) and a slice of lemon, or squeeze fresh lemon juice into the cup.

This has Taste and is a Treat(ment).

Tuesday, 7 February 2023



JUNE 12, 2011


Chong or perhaps chonga is used as a vegetable where we are in Pakistan, although it is not well known in other places it would appear. It is a strange-looking thing when you first see it sitting in a greengrocers, or at leas, we thought so. Neither of us had any idea what it was, so the vegetable seller kindly informed us that this was chong (in Urdu). Apparently it is called danda thor in Punjabi. I wanted to taste it, whatever it was, so my husband spoke with the greengrocer, who called his wife to ask her how to cook it. Her recipe is given below.
  We have been trying to find out what it is called in English for about a year, and finally discovered that it is a succulent cactus, having found photographs online. We know what it is used for here in this part of Pakistan, but were surprised when we discovered that it is used for weight loss in the West. A friend told us that when he was younger he would pick this plant and eat it raw as he was walking as it stopped his hunger and quenched his thirst too. I later found that tribal people have used it for centuries to quell hunger on a day’s hunt.
  Our greengrocer says that it is good to purify the blood when it is eaten as a green vegetable (although it is bitter like karella or bitter melon, so the juice needs to be removed prior to cooking) and it is also good for skin problems and diabetes. It can be made into a pickle or chutney, but we have only eaten it cooked, as the juice is very bitter.
  It is a member of the Asclepiadaceae family, so is a relative of Indian sarsaparilla, and has star-shaped flowers which are unpleasantly pungent, but which are very attractive as they can be purple, black, yellow, tan maroon, red or black. Here they grow on the mountains although in India they grow more freely it would seem, on any patch of waste land. We didn’t see them in other parts of the Punjab, but that may be because the people of Lahore think they are too sophisticated to eat what other websites say is “famine” food. Here it is sold at the greengrocer’s when it is in season and it is expensive as, like kachnar buds and falsa it is picked by hand and those that pick it might have to spend a long time looking for spots in which it grows.
  Studies have been done which seem to prove that little chong is a great aid to weight loss diets, as it contains HCA10 (hydroxyaltrate) which has been proved to contribute to weight loss without stimulating the central nervous system as some weight loss drugs do.
It contains pregnane glycosides which appear to block the activity of citratelyase which is an enzyme that builds fat in the body and also it may block the activity of Melonyl Coenzyme A which means that fat formulation and build up is also blocked, so the body is compelled to burn off the fat reserves it has accumulated so speeding up the body’s fat loss. Furthermore these glycosides may inhibit the hunger sensory mechanism which is found in the hypothalamus, a “primitive” part of the brain.
  Chong also combats fatigue, so you can use it without feeling a loss of energy and you get lean muscle mass by eating it regularly. Trials reported weight loss after 1 month of taking capsules containing Caralluma fimbriata. Hopefully, when this is proved, people will start growing their own chong as I wouldn’t want to be deprived of this vegetable because it is a weight loss product for obese Westerners.

½ kilo chong
1 tbsp salt
½ kilo minced beef
onions, finely chopped
tomatoes, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely shredded
6 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp ajwain or thyme
1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
salt to taste
1 cup oil
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To prepare the chong: -
Wash the chong very well and separate the pieces, discarding the root. Pound it a little but not too much, then put one tablespoon of salt over it and rub it into the pieces of chong with you hands, so that it is well mixed into it. Leave this for half an hour to remove the bitter juices.
After half an hour, squeeze the chong to remove the excess juices. Then wash it in cold water two or three times so that all the bitter juices are removed. Put it in a strainer or sieve and leave to drip.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic, ginger, black peppercorns and cumin seeds, and fry them for 30 seconds then stir in the onion and fry this for 1 minute. Add the minced beef and green chillies, stir and fry for 5 minutes.
Pour in 1 cup of water the turmeric, ajwain or thyme, chilli powder, coriander seeds and salt to taste. (Remember that some salt will have remained on the chong, however well you washed it.)
Cook this until the water is gone, then add the chong and tomatoes, stirring well to mix. Cook this still stirring for 5 – 7 minutes.
Add 2 glasses of water the lemon juice and the garam masala, stirring to mix.
Cover the pan and let it cook for ½ hour over a low heat or until all the water has gone and the oil floats to the top.
Remove from the heat, and then add the fresh coriander, cover for a few minutes so that the flavours mingle and settle and serve with naan or chapattis.
To get the best out of this dish, serve with natural yoghurt.
This has Taste and is a Treat.

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

How to make pakoray!


PAKORA:what is pakora?

These are popular snacks in Pakistan and northern India, and are easy to make. People serve them to unexpected guests washed down with cups of tea, as the ingredients are readily available in subcontinental kitchens. You can make them with aubergines (eggplants), or potatoes, but the most important ingredient is the chickpea flour, or besan as it is called. You can grind your own from dried chickpeas if you can’t buy it at your local supermarket.
People enjoy eating these while sitting on their verandahs or balconies, and watching the rain in the monsoon season.

250 gr chickpea flour (besan)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
100 gr spinach, washed thoroughly, dried and finely shredded
6 green chillies, very finely chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala (see our recipe)
1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried mint
1 handful fresh coriander leaves, finely shredded
1 tbsp dried pomegranate seeds, soaked in water for 5 mins before using
¾ cup water
salt and pepper
oil for deep frying

Put the chickpea flour along with the vegetables, spices and herbs into a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the water and knead until everything is evenly mixed. If you feel you need a little more water add some, but not too much.
Heat the oil in a frying pan or deep-fryer and when it starts to bubble, take a tbsp of the mixture and drop it into the pan. Continue doing this until you have a layer of Pakora and fry until they are lightly browned on all sides. Remove from the pan and drain on absorbent paper while cooking the next batch. Keep warm (in a preheated oven) until they are all cooked.
Serve with our mint and yoghurt sauce and the traditional cup of tea.

What Is Tukh malanga? Basil Seeds Health Benefits And Uses:

 What Is Tukh malanga? Basil Seeds Health Benefits And Uses! Tukh malanga called in Pakistan and India also known as basil seeds (Ocimum bas...