Being #vegetarian in #Japan

56371826If you are a vegetarian and heading to Japan, drop the ‘where will I find vegetarian food?’ question. Zip up people who tell you that in the Land of the Rising Sun, you might have to graze grass for meals. The ‘no-vegetarian- food-in- Japan’ myth has been busted. Japan has a million vegetarian, vegan, monk, temple, only-tofu options. True, things could get lost in translation here, so get ready to roll your tongue and learn one phrase: Watashi wa bejitarian des. This might still bring fish onto to your plate. So, roll again and utter: watashi wa niku toh sakana wo taberarimasen (I do not eat meat or fish). Or simply, to find all things vegetarian pick a handbook A Guide to Indian and Vegetarian Restaurants in Japan. Categorised under city heads, it lists Indian and vegetarian restaurants in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, and Sapporo.

Capital Cuisine

In Tokyo station, there’s Soraniro Nippon, a vegetarian ramen restaurant; Kushi Garden serves macrobiotic cuisine, or eat burritos in Frijoles. It’s Vegetable, a Taiwanese restaurant not only stays away from meat, it does not use any kind of onions, chives, garlic; Milan Nataraj, Japan’s first Indian restaurant has opened a branch in Shibuya and Vege Herb Saga that serves vegetarian South Indian food is a hit even with the locals. If you want to mix piety with spices, there’s Govinda’s, the Indian restaurant attached to Hare Rama Hare Krishna (ISKCON) temple. Their weekend dinner buffet brings the devout and foodie to their yard. If you are a vegan, check with the servers. At Govinda’s, milk and ghee flow.

Kyoto Binge

Kyoto wins hands-down as the vegetarian’s paradise. The ancient capital of Japan and one of the largest metropolises in Asia was the centre of Buddhism for nearly 1,000 years and not surprisingly developed its own vegetarian cuisine – shojin ryori. Literally translating into ‘zeal in progressing along the path of salvation’, shojin is a vegan meal, made using only vegetables, beans, seaweed and grains. Obanzai is also Kyoto family-style cuisine with dishes made from tofu, nama-fu (gluten), yuba (soy bean curd) and local vegetables. Before ordering an obanzai meal, check whether it is fish-free.

Onwards to Osaka

Osaka prides itself as Japan’s ‘national kitchen’ where the air is heavy with fried octopus balls and squid pancakes. But vegetarians needn’t sulk. Green Earth, one of the oldest vegetarian restaurants in Osaka, serves mock meat, hambaagu (hamburger patties), pizzas and cakes – all vegetarian. Craving to go raw? Step into Raw8 Cafe that lives up to its name by serving raw vegetarian food. Like a large count? Order veggies in Genmian restaurant – it has 39 varieties which add up to 600 calories.

Must-try Veggie Dishes

Tsukemono: Pickled vegetables

Zaru soba: Cold buckwheat noodles

Okonomiyaki: Japanese pancakes

Nasu dengaku: Grilled eggplant

Gohei mochi: Grilled rice dumplings

Oyaki : Veggie-stuffed wheat buns

Kabocha korroke: Pumpkin croquettes

Inarizushi: Vinegared rice stuffed in tofu pouches

Tempura donburi: Deep-fried vegetables

#Dosa gets a #McAvatar!

56558363Unmentionable things have been stuffed into the dosa over the years, so why the outrage over its McAvatar? McD made a mash of milagu mayo Packed a pickled potato patty Dosa’s done and dusted It’s McBreakfast’s Taste of India Challenge. All across the South, the Dosa Masters have raised their ladles in silence.On January the 13th, the alien hordes led by one well-known multinational company unleashed the challenge of the dosa burger.

Just as the Brits took the pepper, or milagu from the fiery Tamil milagu-tani into their watery soups and made it Mulligatawny, the Dosa Mcburger has taken the milagu from the traditional pepper powders and added it to a mayonnaise base and piped it onto a potato patty to create a taste of a masala dosa. The outer case is made of a soft French-style brioche.

Dosa Masters are the samurais of South Indian breakfast foods. They are alchemists who transform the frothing fermented batter of rice and lentils into golden discs that go by the name of dosa.

“It is wrong to call them crepes, or pancakes,” says one Dosa Master. “It suggests that dosas are just something to wrap around other ingredients. It’s much more than a wrap.” A seasoned dosa maker places a small amount of the fermented batter at the centre of a hot tawa and before it sticks, turns it around in circles all the way to the edge so that it forms a perfect circle.The swirls, when well made, resemble the outward spirals of a tightly wound fern leaf, or a spiral galaxy unfolding its gaseous arms. At this stage they do an abhishekam, a ritual splash of melted ghee or oil across the surface, while gently lifting the edges to make certain that the outside is enamelled to crisp golden perfection.

This is where new-age dosa masters pander to the market, by making their dosas crisp enough to fashion into shapes like the Topi Dosa (dunce cap dosa) or tubes, triangles and half-moons. The last two are ideal for making masala dosas, or those that include a lining of coconut chutney perhaps, or a mild spicy potato and onion mix, that in the Mangalore region goes by the name of sagu.

As traditional dosa makers know, the mix of rice and lentil, or starch and protein, with the addition of a tiny amount of fenugreek seeds, when ground to a soft grainy consistency and allowed to ferment, makes it a per fect combination of nutrients. This is true even when homemakers these days add quinoa, ragi, semolina, oats, or millet, to make the batter more nutritionally interesting.Semolina and wheat dosas are old variants.

There have been experiments with all manner of newer fillings. For instance, you can have cheese dosas, or mince chicken dosas, or for those who fancy broccoli and baby corn, both these diced and sliced into the parcel. It’s in the markets and street corners of Asian cities that the culinary crossroads find their finest expression. Long before Tarla Dalal gave her blessing to the schezwan chop suey dosa filled with noodles, Mumbai’s streetside vendors were stuffing their dosa bundles with illicit left-overs and frying them for good measure to create dosa spring rolls.

“Do you want it sweet or salty?” ask the Thai-style dosa makers at Bangkok’s Chatuchak market.

They use a triangu lar blade with a short handle to cre ate an even disc of the rice batter and spray it with oil before add ing the fillings. If it’s sweet, it gets a lashing of condensed milk, if salty then egg noodles and dried shrimps and a quick glaze of beaten egg to seal it all in. The Thai egg dosa is served like an ice-cream in a paper cone with additional toppings from a squeeze bottle.

For some of us, however, a dosa will always bring memories of the fabled MTR, (Mavalli Tiffin Room) dosa near Lalbaug at Bengaluru. It’s been called the headquarters of dosa making. Once you’ve tasted an MTR dosa, crisp on the outside, spongy-soft inside, a tiny sliver of banana leaf with ghee nestled in its folds, potato filling diced small, with a helping of the green coriander chutney, you know that all the rest are imposters.

One thing’s for sure, with French brioche meeting South Indian dosa at McDonald’s, the taste of India is about to change.

Ways to restore #tea #kettles

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-3-57-39-pmEvery object can be used in several ways. And that’s one mantra to brighten up your home. Do away with the regular decor items that you get off the internet and restore some of your old things to liven up your home. Tea kettles have their own charm, and if you are wondering what to do with your old stainless steel kettle that you have not been using for a long time, we tell you ways you can use it in several ways, with a little tinkering…

Flower vase

Tea kettle has a vintage charm, so you can use it as a flower vase. All you have to do is pick some fresh flowers every day and fill the vase. Place it on your dining table or in your garden as it is sure to brighten up your decor.

Paint them

You can choose to go with a single, bright-coloured paint (like the one shown in the picture), or choose to paint it entirely using various patterns. Place it on the side table in your rooms or on your centre table in your living room. It will be great focal point for your overall decor, we promise.

Watering cans

If your old tea kettle is in a shape that can’t be restored to a great degree, here’s an idea. Colour it up in bright hues of yellow or orange and use it as a watering can. The best part is that you need not hide such a watering can inside a cupboard, as keeping this by the side of your pots itself gives your balcony a unique look.

Piggy bank

Bored of using animal-inspired piggy banks? Convert your old tea kettle into a piggy bank. On the plus side, there’s no additional work required… you can use your kettle just the way it was. Cool, no

Hang them

If you have brass tea kettles that you no longer use, hang them on your walls artistically. Do up the decor in one corner of the room with objects that go well with brass. Then, decide on a place to hang the kettle. You don’t have to do any polishing or colouring, as the worn-out kettle itself would add a rustic touch.


Kettle chimes are for people who want to add a bit of quirk to their decor. This requires some work, but you will be happy with the end product. Drill small holes beneath the kettle and put a wire through the opening. Then, take a few old spoons and drill a hole on each of them. Now, insert the wire into the hole in the spoons and make a simple knot. Hang it in your balcony and your kettle chimes are ready!

5 easy beauty resolutions you can follow in 2017

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-3-05-24-pmWant to make 2017 the best year for your skin? Then, you do need to step up your beauty game! From removing your make-up to pampering yourself, you can easily follow these resolutions for the New Year and a new you!

1. Don’t skip your sunscreen

One of the most important skincare habits to follow is applying a sunscreen. Be it winters or summers, your skin can be prone to damage in any weather. Wearing sunscreen on a daily basis can prevent premature aging, tanning, and even skin cancer. It’s always good to apply the sunscreen 15 minutes before stepping out. By doing this, the cream will absorb and protect better.

2. Always moisturise

With the harsh weather, pollution, and daily make-up your skin demands some TLC. Make sure you apply a moisturiser (suiting your skin type), during the night and in the morning. And never forget your eyes—the skin around your eyes is the thinnest and is more prone to dryness and ageing. To address these issues, do apply an eye cream in a circular motion to improve skin’s elasticity.

3. Never sleep with your make-up on

The worst thing you can do to your skin is sleeping with your make-up on. And don’t we do that a lot of times? Well, this can ruin your skin! From skin allergies to breakouts, your skin can suffer a lot when you don’t remove your make-up. So, next time make sure you remove your layers of foundation and eye make-up before sleeping. For the days, you’re too lazy to hit the washroom, just keep a pack of make-up removing wipes near your bed.

4. Always clean your make-up brushes

Your make-up brushes can have more bacteria than you can even think of. According to experts, you should clean your brushes once a month, while eye brushes should be cleaned twice a month. This easy resolution will always keep your skin healthy and breakout free.

5. And don’t forget to pamper yourself!

If you’re the busy one, try to keep at least one day a week for yourself. Indulge in deep-cleansing facials, hair massages, pedicure, etc. This ‘me time’ will surely pamper you and enhance your beauty.