Kitchen and food

Drying Curry Leaves for Later Use

While most of us enjoy cooking with curry leaves, not all of us are fortunate enough to have fresh leaves every time a recipe asks for it. Curry leaves are sturdy and survive a few days in fridge but if you need to use them beyond a few days then you can choose to dehydrate them to retain their rich color and flavor.

Before I learnt how to do it I used to think its a very cumbersome activity but trust me its very easy and quick.

You need: fresh curry leaves, kitchen paper and microwave.

Wash the leaves thoroughly and dry them on a paper towel.

Now cover the leaves with another paper towel. Keep the ensemble on a microwave safe plate/tray and microwave for 1 minute.

After 1 min of heating in microwave the leaves are disheveled but are still soft. The paper towel underneath is a little wet so I flipped it with the paper towel I was using to cover the leaves. Microwave it for one more minute.

After another minute the leaves are crispy and snap when crumbled. This means they are done.

Each Microwave functions differently and the leaves vary in their water content too so it may take a little less or a little more time for your leaves to get crispy. I would suggest doing it for 1 minute then 30 seconds and then in intervals of 10 seconds until done for the first couple of times. 

You can preserve any herb in this way but be careful with softer herbs. Softer herbs will need less time in the microwave and shorter intervals. 

Happy cooking!

-A

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Crafty baby, DIY, Festivals

Celebrate Rakshabandhan 2016 with Handmade Rakhis

It’s Rakhi time again. In our family Rakshabandhan is a big occasion, we tie rakhis to cousins and second cousins as well. This is the second time we are not able to celebrate this festival with family and the least I can do is help my daughter make rakhis for all her brothers so she is involved and stays in touch with the traditions.

Every year I try to choose a design that is easy for her to make with minimal help from my side. These are the rakhis we have made in previous years. This year I chose rakhis made out of felt and stones. They look pretty and are fairly easy to make.


Felt is an easy material to work with. It is readily available in a variety of bright colors. Is fairly inexpensive and easy to cut. The only challenge with felt is sticking it together. It doesn’t hold well with fevicol or other easy crafting glues but hot glue works like a charm on felt. In one of my trips to the craft store last year I had over-enthusiastically bought a hot glue gun*. Finally I was able to put it to good use while making these rakhis.

What you need:

  • Felt sheets (Any 2 colors of your choice)
  • Decorative stones/buttons/glitter glue/pom-poms
  • Thin ribbon 
  • Hot glue gun

The method is pretty simple.Cut circles from the felt sheets and stick them on each other. Top it with the decorative item of your choice. I have used stone but you can use anything you have available. Stick the ribbon at the back or in between the 2 rakhi layers. And Voila! Your lovely rakhis are ready.

*Caution – Please be very careful while using hot glue gun if its your first time using it. DO NOT give it in the hands of young children and while using yourself, ask children to keep safe distance from the gun. Follow all instructions properly. Its safe to use but the glue and tip of the gun get extremely hot. Despite being careful I got a nasty burn which was very painful for a few days and I have the mark even after a whole month. 

Now that your beautiful rakhi is ready, spare a minute to pack it equally well. Take a small rectangular card. I used the blank note cards from market (5″ x 3.5″), you can cut your own from card stock paper. Write your Rakhi message on the card and tie the rakhi on the side. Not only does it look way more presentable than putting rakhis in an envelope, it helps keeping them in good shape till they reach their destination.

Hope you enjoy making these beauties as much as we did.

Happy crafting!

-A

 

 

You might also want to read Rakhi & The Changing Paradigms.