Chamomile Strawberry Orange Cold-Brewed Tea

The most-fuss free, refreshing drink you could serve to your guests! Amazing for parties, morning refreshment, and also great with a splash of vodka.

Prep Time: 10 mins | Total Time: 12 hrs | Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 8 chamomile tea bags
  • 12 cups filtered water, at room temperature
  • 2 small juice oranges (thin-skinned), peeled, cut into slices, and seeded
  • 24 large strawberries, halved
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons hot water

Method

  1. Place the tea bags in the water in a jarge jar with a lid. Place orange slices, strawberry halves and cover with lid. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours. (Longer the better).
  2. Remove tea bags from jar.  Combine honey and 4 teaspoons hot water. Add the honey to the mixture divide into glasses to serve. Garnish with fresh mint and fruits.

5 Tips To Stay Healthy This Diwali

Ah Diwali! The festival of lights that ushers in a period of merriment – a time to revel in the company of loved ones, dress up in finery and of course gorge on delicious dishes! With an envious spread of Diwali sweets, snacks, and other indulgent recipes all week , it is perfectly normal for the average person to pack in an extra few in unwanted places.

But don’t fret! There is relief on hand because we are rolling out valuable nuggets of Diwali information. With a little bit of planning we can ensure healthy eating during the festive season for your families and for yourself.

Here are a few important tips to enjoy the festival without compromising on your health –

  1. Exercise early on: With evenings being the most hectic time of the day, it’s good to get in your stretching and exercise early on. Begin the day with a walk in the park or by doing few asanas. Suryanamaskar is the best way to fight exhaustion.

 

  1. A healthy breakfast is important: Having a healthy, high fiber breakfast is essential to ensure high energy throughout the day. There’s always last-minute things to do, people to meet and arrangements to make. Get your energy boost first thing with muesli, fruits, eggs, seeds or a superfood smoothie.

 

  1. Water is your best friend: Truly! Drink a minimum of 3 liters water everyday. It keeps you hydrated and avoids unnecessary snacking and food cravings. A lot of the time when you think you’re hungry, your body is actually craving hydration. And of course, if there’s alcohol involved, it’ll help keep away those dreaded hangovers.

 

  1. Eat before you leave: This is a pro-tip that we use for the endless Diwali parties. Eat a healthy salad, fruits or soup before you leave for the night. This will keep you fuller, and less prone to gorge on the delicious, but unhealthy stuff later on.

 

  1. Buddy system: Rope in a friend, partner or anyone who has the same health goals as you and make a pact to keep the other in check. It’s always easier to stick to your resolve when there’s someone else doing it too, and looking out for you.

 

We hope these simple tricks help you have a more energetic, fun and healthy festive week! Coming up next on our blog – healthy recipes for parties and entertaining guests. Stay tuned.

“Devi” – A Celebration of Women & Food

“Here’s to all the strong women – may we know them, may we raise them, may we be them.”

The upcoming Durga Pujo festivities got us here at Foodstree thinking about the strong women that have influenced our lives, and inspired our journeys – the ‘devis’ who have moulded us . Foodstree as a company was built on woman power and when we looked to our suppliers we found so many more examples of amazing women entrepreneurs. The more stories we heard, the more we were motivated to celebrate these infallible women and their achievements. Here are some short excerpts from our conversations with them – about the challenges they faced, their paths and advice for us all.

  

  

  

 

Matcha Chia Pudding

Never scramble about for a healthy breakfast again, or end up reaching for that croissant! This Matcha Chia Pudding can be prepared the night before, or even a few nights in advance and stored in batches too. Superfoods + fresh fruits – that’s your breakfast sorted! Though in our opinion, this works just as well as a dessert or day time snack.

Serves: 1 | Prep Time: 5 mins

Ingredients

1 cup almond milk (or any milk)

1/3 cup chia seeds

2 tbsp maple syrup or honey

1 tsp matcha

1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional toppings: shredded coconut, berries, fruits

 

Combine the matcha and chia seeds in the final container in which you want the pudding (we recommend making individual portions).

Mix the milk, maple syrup/honey and vanilla together in a separate container. Once combined pour over the chia-matcha mixture and stir thoroughly.

Let the mixture rest for 5-6 hours in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.

Before serving, top off with seasonal berries or fruits of your choice, and even nuts or dried coconut!

Mythbuster 3.0 – Caffeine Edition

This month, since we’re on the topic of matcha, tea and caffeine in general let’s look at some common sayings about this chemical and how true they are.

  1. Caffeine is dehydrating: Sort of.

Caffeine itself is a mild diuretic (i.e. it makes you run to the restroom more), that’s a proven fact. However, since most of the caffeine you consume tends to be in liquid form (tea, coffee, colas), the water used to make them generally makes up for any slight dip in hydration the caffeine may cause. So while your cuppa will make you pee more, it probably won’t dehydrate you. We say probably however, because while the amounts of caffeine in a cup or two of coffee won’t cause any negative effects, having more than 3 cups may cause dehydration as the effects of caffeine are compounded. TL;DR – Caffeine can cause dehydration of your intake is too high.

  1. Coffee can stain teeth: True.

Our tooth enamel has lots of tiny ridges and cracks, and the dark pigments from caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea or sodas can become embedded in them. However, this happens over a prolonged period and is easy to avoid! Try rinsing your mouth with water after drinking such beverages, or drink through a straw. If nothing else, a quick visit to the dentist, or using DIY teeth whitening methods can also do the trick.

  1. Decaf means no caffeine: False

Decaf doesn’t mean totally caffeine free! For example, decaf coffee still contains about 20mg of caffeine. This is much less than a regular cup of coffee that tends to have about 100mg of caffeine. But still, about 5 cups of decaf would add up to a regular drink.

  1. Caffeine is bad for health: False

In fact, intake of caffeine has been linked to lowered risks of various diseases and cancers, like skin cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, Alzhimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression and many more. However, as is true of most things, moderation is key! A cup a day is no miracle cure, but will probably do no harm either.

  1. Caffeine is addictive: Sort of.

Caffeine is mildly addictive in the sense that it’s a stimulant for the nervous system that your body can learn to depend on. Due to this physical dependence, giving up high doses of caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms like headaches and difficulty concentrating, as your body has become used to certain chemical reactions. However, there are no long term negative effects of giving it up, and the body is generally able to adapt to normal caffeine-free levels soon. This is why most experts don’t qualify caffeine as an addictive substance on the level of drugs or alcohol.

Miso Matcha Eggplant Rice

Matcha and miso are a match made in Japanese heaven! This recipe brings together classic ingredients from there into a more modern dish. Also a great twist to use that ‘baigan’ that nobody seems to like. (Very unfair, if you ask us! Maybe we’ll discuss the versatility of the eggplant in an upcoming article..? Let us know your thoughts on this.)

Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants (aubergine/baingan)
  • 1 bunch cilantro (dhaniya)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small piece ginger
  • ¾ cup rice
  • 2 tbsp. white miso paste
  • 2 tbsp. mirin (or any sweet cooking wine)
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 260°C.

Heat a pot of salted water to boiling. Add the sushi rice to the boiling water and cook for 16 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and keep aside.

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, then crosswise into quarters. With the tip of a knife, score a diagonal crosshatch pattern into the cut sides of the eggplant. Place the eggplant on a lightly oiled baking sheet, patterned-side up.

Finely chop the cilantro. Peel and mince the ginger and garlic, smashing until they resemble paste. Whisk together the ginger, garlic, miso, mirin, and half the soy sauce.

Drizzle the eggplant with olive oil and spread the miso mixture on the top of the eggplant slices. Roast in the preheated oven 14 to 16 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender and the topping is lightly browned.

Add the cooked rice back to the pot. Add the rice vinegar, sugar, matcha powder, half the black sesame seeds, and all but a pinch of the cilantro; stir until well combined.

Divide the green tea rice and eggplant slices between 2 plates. Garnish with the remaining black sesame seeds, cilantro, and soy sauce. Enjoy!

Matcha Protein Bars

This one is for all those gym devotees perpetually in the search for more protein (especially all you vegetarians out there!). This recipe is choc-a-bloc full of all the healthy alternatives to the usual culprits in other health bars. So go on, make this one post-workout snack you’ll never regret!

Serves: 10 pieces Prep Time: 30 mins

Ingredients

Line an 8-inch brownie pan with parchment paper both ways.

In a bowl, add the almond butter, milk, stevia and lemon flavor. Beat on low speed.In another bowl, whisk together the protein powder, oat flour and matcha powder. Slowly add this to the almond butter-milk mixture.

Mix until everything is well-combined and has the texture of cookie dough, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and flatten the surface. Tightly cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, slice the protein bars and drizzle them liberally with chocolate! (More the better we say!)

To store, place the protein bars on a plate and wrap tightly.

15 Amazing Facts About Indian Food

Ah Indian food! Our ultimate source of comfort, be it a bowl of dal-chawal or puchka from the street. But just as India is a land of many cultures, Indian food as we know it today is a blend of many influences, drawn from the rich and diverse history of the nation. On this Independence Day eve, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about Indian food:

  1. Many now staple ingredients of Indian cuisine like humble potato and tomato do not have Indian origins. They were bought to India by the Portuguese. Not only this, the Portuguese also introduced us to refined sugar. Before that fruits and honey were used as sweeteners – much healthier if you ask us!
  2. According to the Indian food theory, our food has 6 different flavours- sweet, salty, bitter, sour, astringent and spicy. A proper Indian meal is said to have a balance of all these flavours with one or two standing out.
  3. Love eating samosa? Here’s a shocker for you – samosa existed as ‘sambosa’ in the Middle East much before the 13th/14th century when it came to India.
  4. India is the land of rice that grows an unbelievable number of variants – white, red, brown, sticky and even black. Black rice is also known as Magic rice and is popular in Manipur.
  5. India is the largest producer of spices in the world (though this is hardly a surprise!). 70% of the worlds spices come from India.
  6. Everyone’s favourite chicken tikka masala as we now know it, was actually ‘invented’ in the UK. The British tamed down the spices in more traditional Indian curries and added cream to come up with the now-famous, rich, delicious preparation.
  7. The first Indian restaurant is said to have opened in London in 1809. There are now more than 9000 Indian restaurants and curry houses across the UK! In fact, there are now more Indian restaurants in London than Mumbai!
  8. Greek, Roman and Arab traders have contributed a lot to the first foreign flavours in the Indian cuisine. Who did you think bought the amazing saffron to India?
  9. Wikipedia lists nearly 200 types of Indian desserts!
  10. Rajma originally belongs to Mexico and is a staple there.
  11. West Bengal is the hub of Bandel cheese production. It is an Indian variety of cheese which is said to have been inspired by Portuguese.
  12. India is home to ‘bhot jolokia’ one of the hottest chillies in the world also called ‘ghost chilli’. It is grown in the North East states and is more than 400 times hotter than Tabasco Sauce.
  13. India has the lowest meat consumption in the world per person, which does not come as a shocker since 40% of the population is vegetarian.
  14. Naan is most often associated with Indian cuisine. However, it is said to have been brought to India by the Mughals and it has Persian roots.
  15. Who doesn’t like chutneys? Indian food is incomplete without this delicious side dish. But do you know the Britishers loved our chutneys as much as we do? In fact, they named one of the chutneys as ‘Major Grey’s’ and it is still sold in India.

Wishing you all a Happy Independence Day from the Foodstree team. We hope you liked this glimpse of the amazing, diverse culture we live in –  truly ‘Mera Bharat Mahan!’.

Our Top 5 Unusual Teas In The World

Matcha is not the only weird and wonderful way people drink their tea leaves. We trawled the internet and spoke to our fellow foodies about the strange, wonderful, rare or outright crazy teas they’ve had or heard of. The results did not disappoint. Presenting to you, our top 5 picks of the most unusual teas that we found:

  1. Panda Dung Tea

No there’s no actual dung in the tea, we promise. It’s actually a tea that’s fertilized specifically and only by panda poop. Since pandas absorb only about 30% of the nutrients in their food, the balance 70% is excreted, which is absorbed by the tea plants fertilized by it. An entrepreneur in China started this method, and people actually loved the flavour of the tea!

  1. Fermented Yak Butter Tea

This one is a Tibetan specialty, perfect for the chilly weather there. After making regular boiled tea from leaves, yak butter and salt (yes it’s a savoury tea!) are mixed with it and stirred continually for hours, until it’s homogenized and looks like a stew. It is said to have a high calorific value and warm up the body from inside.

  1. Yellow Gold Tea Buds

At around 105 USD for 50gms this tea is equivalent to buying a piece of jewellery! And for a reason – the tea leaves are coated in real 24-carat gold. What’s more it’s grown only on one particular mountain in the world, and harvested on one day every year, with special golden scissors, from a specific part of each plant, and is sold only in Singapore. Phew, talk about exclusive!

  1. Pu-erh

This is a type of green tea that is slowly and deliberately aged using fungus – think of It as the blue cheese of teas. This aging is said to give it a depth of flavour and texture that its addicts swear by. Pu-erh is mainly produced in the Yunan district in China, with the government officially only acknowledging teas produced there as authentic Pu-erh.

  1. Tieguanyin

This one is not as fantastical in its preparation – we’ve included it in this list however as it is by far the most expensive tea available in the world. At the fantastical price of 3,000 USD per kg, this is an oolong tea grown in China. Why is it so expensive? We’re not sure, but it is supposed to bring all five senses into play when it is consumed. Guess we’ll just have to try some to find out!

Special Mention: Kombucha is a Russian tea, famous for its sour taste. It is made from sweet, balck tea fermented with a mixture of yeasts and bacteria. Made famous now in the West by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and other celebrities, it is supposed to have many health benefits, including boosting immunity.

Matcha Cucumber Lemonade

Kick your ‘nimbu paani’ up a notch! This concoction is delightfully zesty, refreshing and cooling. The health benefits are numerous as well – lots of Vitamin C from the lemon and antioxidants from the matcha! Perfect for these sweltering days, when you can’t bear the thought of hotter forms of caffeine.

Serves: 4 |Prep Time: 15 mins

Ingredients

Lightly puree the cucumber and mint leaves in a blender (we like some chunky bits in out drink! If you don’t, go ahead and make it a smooth puree).

In a large pitcher, combine the water, lemon juice, agave/honey, and matcha powder. Blend well until all ingredients are fully combined.

Add the cucumber-mint puree and blend well again.

Serve in ice-filled glasses, with a garnish of fresh mint and cucumber!