Friday, 21 August 2020

Hibiscus as hair conditioner/ Hibiscus water (gel) after shower

This is not a food post!

Hibiscus or shoe flower (common name)/ Dasavala (Kannada) is an evergreen shrub grows easily in tropical climate. This medicinal plant is grown as show plant in many home gardens. Plant lovers like this plant for its beautiful large flowers with number of colours & varieties along with ease of growing. Plant does not need much water & care after it starts growing fine.  Hibiscus being referred as ‘Japa’ in Sanskrit & Hindi, it has importance in Ayurveda.  This edible flower has greater medicinal properties and has numerous health benefits when used orally or externally.

Hibiscus as hair conditioner/ Hibiscus water (gel) after shower

Hibiscus flower is used in cooking in various ways either in the form of tea or tambuli or salads to stew/rasam. It is well known in many countries and used  worldwide in various forms.

To highlight few benefits of hibiscus when used as food:

  • They are rich in many vitamins, minerals, fiber.. Hence it is useful in treating conditions like constipation/ piles, Anemia and even useful in cough & cold as it helps in expelling sputum.
  • These flowers or tender leaves have cooling property on body.
  • It helps in treating heavy menstrual bleeding and sleeplessness (insomnia).
  • It is believed to be good for heart health.

External (cosmetic) or religious uses:

When coming to religious activities/ Pooja, it is used to offer Hindu gods in many places of India.

Now let us focus on our today’s topic that is hibiscus used externally for improved hair & scalp health. In Indian system, postpartum care has high importance as this is the time for new mother to regain her energy & rejuvenate body. Bathing is a lengthy process for initial 30-40 days after childbirth. After oil massage, hot water bath is given and everyday showering with hot water and herbal conditioner for hair. It helps in growth of hair and stops hair fall which is very common in case of nursing mother. There are couple of wild plants used for this purpose; I will talk about them in other post. As hibiscus is easily available in Indian home gardens it is used commonly too.

Following are some of the benefits of hibiscus flower & leaves when used as shampoo/ conditioner or in the form of oil.

  • Hibiscus works as hair tonic. It helps in repairing damaged hair by using shampoo or conditioners having harmful chemicals. It helps in restoring natural oil/ moisture of scalp & hair.
  • It prevents dandruff or cures dandruff especially when it is due to dryness.
  • It is beneficial in new hair growth and stops hair fall.
  • When hibiscus conditioner (we call it as gompu in Kannada) is used after shower it helps in getting good sleep with its cooling property.
  • It works as eye tonic and helps in relieving burning sensation of eyes.
  • Though it is safe, be little observant if using for the first time as it may cause cold in few individuals.
Hibiscus as hair conditioner/ Hibiscus water (gel) after shower

Other uses:

  • Collecting these leaves & making of this conditioner is so therapeutic especially if making with kids involved.
  • It is safe to use for kids too as it is chemical free!
  • Grey water after using this for shower is again safe to use on garden plants.
Hibiscus as hair conditioner/ Hibiscus water (gel) after shower


Items Required:

Fresh hibiscus leaves – 12-15

Fresh hibiscus flower/ a day older flowers – 6-8 (optional)

Water – as required (2 mugs or more)


Method 1:

  • Check leaves & flowers carefully to remove any bugs if present.
  • Wash well couple of times with clean water.
  • Take 1 mug water (room temperature) in a wide vessel. Tear leaves and flowers with your finger and put into the water in vessel. Don’t use hot water here. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Squeeze well, sticky gel kind of substance will be released to water which is to be used as hair conditioner.
  • You can add 1 more mug of water either hot or cold. Strain or remove all the flower & leaves pieces carefully with fingers.

How to use?

  • Take regular head bath initially. After cleaning hair and scalp, pour little water with hibiscus gel. Apply properly on scalp with fingers. 
  • Pour remaining herbal conditioner/ gel too, so that it is applied on hair and scalp. 
  • Wipe gently to dry.
Hibiscus as hair conditioner/ Hibiscus water (gel) after shower

 

Method 2:

If the plant is not available at home, then you can make dry powder of the hibiscus leaves and use as and when required.

To make it:

  • Collect leaves when available.
  • Dry under sun for couple of days.
  • Powder dry leaves and store in air tight container.
  • Before using, Boil 2 tbsp powder in 1 mug water. Strain and use after cooling.

Notes:

  • It will be difficult to clean bathroom if not strained.
  • The hibiscus discards after straining water can be used for seasoning iron griddle too.
  • Warning: Pregnant women should not consume hibiscus orally in any form!
Hibiscus as hair conditioner/ Hibiscus water (gel) after shower

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Pumpkin core tumbuli/ Kumbalakai tirulu tambli

Pumpkin is one of the nutritious vegetables which is low in carbohydrates too when compared similar structured vegetables like potato, sweet potato. This vegetable is commonly found world-wide, agree?  My question here is what you do with the core/ tirulu called pumpkin gut which is combination of seeds & fibrous strands while using pumpkin in dishes like sambhar or pumpkin soup! I think a lot before discarding any part of a vegetable unless it cannot be consumed in any way. When it comes to the vegetables belonging to Cucurbitaceae such as cucumber, bottle gourd, pumpkin I will try to include whole vegetable in the dishes. Due to the texture, flavor or taste, all the parts of these vegetables will not go good in every dish. So possibility is making separate dish out of these parts such as core/ seed or skin instead blindly throwing them away.

Kumbalakai tirulu tambli

Last week we received a large tender pumpkin from a friend’s farm, which was organically grown. So I didn’t want to waste any bit of it! I prepared regular sambhar/ curry, soup, Olan from the vegetable with its skin while stored the core in refrigerator to make chutney which I know. Then I came to know tambuli can also be prepared with it (same family who gave this pumpkin shared this information to me) & tried it yesterday for lunch. It tastes good & soothing on tummy with less spice & added buttermilk. I am sharing my recipe of this #zerowaste preparation with you in this post.

Pumpkin core/ Pumpkin gut

Also check similar other recipes here

Bottle gourd peel chutney

Cucumber core tambuli

Pumpkin Core / tirulu chutney

Ridge gourd peel chutney


Preparation time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4


Ingredients:

Core of pumpkin/ pumpkin tirulu (with seeds) – ¼ cup

Grated fresh coconut – ¼ cup

Cumin seeds or jeera – ¼ tsp

Pepper – ¼ tsp or green chilli -1 (I prefer pepper), one can use dry red chilli too

Butter milk or curds – 1 cup

Salt

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Dry Red chilli – 1

Oil/ butter – 2 tsp

Curry leaves – 1 sprig


Method:

  • Scoop out the core of the pumpkin while cutting it for other recipes. Keep it separately. It can be stored for one or two days if refrigerated in air tight container.
  • Now in a pan, add 1 tsp oil. Heat it. Add roughly chopped pumpkin core/ tirulu with seeds. Add cumin seeds & pepper.
  • Fry them until the vegetable turn soft. Switch off the stove and let it cool down.
  • Take grated coconut in a mixer jar. Add the fried pumpkin core, cumin, pepper and salt. If you are using green chilli, don’t fry it. It using red chilli use fried.
  • Grind them to smooth paste.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl. Add butter milk or curds. Adjust the consistency as per your need by adding water.
  • Prepare a seasoning of mustard, red chilli, curry leaves in oil. Add it to the tambli.
  • Serve the fresh tambuli with rice & vegetables.

Notes:

  • You can increase the spice level and use dry red chilli or green chilli or pepper for spiciness.
  • Tambuli can also be made with cucumber core, ash gourd core…

Pumpkin core tumbuli



Thursday, 6 August 2020

Carissa carandas Jelly/ Karonda Jelly/ Raja karande jam

Have you ever seen these berries in market or have you tried growing this thorny plant in the garden? We basically planted it in our garden when it was delivered as cherry plant about 5 years back by an old man who supplied some rare plants to us. It was the time we have started our gardening journey in Bangalore.

Last year we harvested about a cup of Karondas (Karomcha in Bengali as told by my friend), which we finished eating. I learnt that, sweetened cherries which we see on bakeries are made using these berries by processing them in colored sugar syrup. I tried making them which was not success as I haven’t followed a proper process.

This year we had good harvest again. First harvest went into brine which tastes great as it is or one can make spicy pickles with it. Then I happened to come across a post of Karonda jelly in Instagram and I thought I will be making it next season thinking I will not get more fruits this year again. But to my surprise within 2 weeks, I got another set of harvest of 1 cup karonda berries. I did not wait anymore and made this jelly/ jam which is not only tasty but also has a attractive color which I never imagined. I browsed a bit for a recipe as I could not find one on instagram. Every recipe which I saw suggested sieving the puree of berry to get smooth consistency. I did not want to waste any portion of this home grown goodies and I discarded seeds before pureeing and used that pulp completely in jam.

 

Coming to this fruit, it is known to be nutritious and having number of medicinal properties. It is great source of vitamin A, C and I also read as iron rich. These fruits are used in Ayurveda & folk medicines in the treatment of fever, cough, diarrhea, and believed to be good for heart health.

Now, let us go to the recipe of Karonda jelly or jam.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 – 30 minutes

Serves: 1 cup

Ingredients:

Karonda/ Carissa carandas (unripe) – 1 cup

Sugar – 1.25 – 1.5 cups

Cumin powder – ¼ tsp (optional)

Pepper powder – ¼ tsp (optional)

Water – ½ cup

 

Method:

  • Wash berries thoroughly. I used only unripe fruits.
  • Cut them lengthwise remove the seeds with the help of a sharp knife. 4-5 thin seeds are found in a single fruit.
  • You can rinse once with water if you wish as it has gummy latex. It will not go completely even on washing.
  • Now take deseeded berries in a pan. Pour half cup of water. Boil until the berries are soft & water is absorbed. Switch off the stove.
  • Allow cooling. When it comes to room temperature, blend in a mixer coarsely.  This helps in getting proper texture to the jam as the skin remains fibrous/ harder even after cooking.
  • Transfer it to the pan again. Switch on the stove.
  • Add sugar, pepper powder, cumin powder and salt.
  • Stir occasionally and continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until whole mixture turns little thicker (consistency of tomato sauce).
  • Switch off the stove before it thickens like jam as on cooling it turns to be thicker.
  • Beautiful colored jam or jelly is ready to be served.
  • On cooling transfer to a glass jar and store in refrigerator for long shelf life.
  • It goes great with bread, chapathi, dosa…

Notes:  

  • Spice powders are optional here. You can add cardamom powder instead cumin powder too.
  • It is easy to clean the vessel/ pan used to make the jam by applying little oil as the latex sticks to it on cooking.