Back from India…straight into Mistress of Spices…

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I am back within  a month. Through the haze of jet-lagged depression, I would like to thank all of those who envied me my was-supposed-to-be long vacation. Honest-to-goodness, I wish I could say I missed blogging. But, I didn't. I wish I could say, I have pictures of food from back home. But, I don't. Maybe If I had stayed back more, I would have gotten around to it. But, I didn't. So there.

One thing I can say, is that I ATE!!!!…Dear God, did I eat. I ate like there was no tommorow, like every meal was my last meal. And yet, I could eat more. And everybody was just happy to oblige. Its amazing how much love is measured by the amount you feed him/her. As a mother, I do it to my son, too. He knows he's full and tells me so and yet, I wish he would clean off his plate. And the day he does clean his plate, I am left wondering if he is still hungry and sure enough,at his next meal, there will be an extra serving. Of course, he can't finish it all up and the cycle continues.   

Anyway, back to the US and I couldn't wait to post again. On my roundup of other blogs I visit, I came across the 'Mistress of Spice' event hosted by Mythili. Of course, I had to participate. I mean, come on. How can you resist something called as 'Mistress of Spice'?. So here I am, blogging about one of my favorite spices. The one known as cinnamon.

cinnamon

Image Source : arnica.csustan.edu
Names
Ceylon Cinnamon, True Cinnamon,Cinnamomum zeylanicum
French: cannelle
German: Ceylonzimt, Kaneel
Italian: cannella
Spanish: canela
Chinese: yook gway
Indian: dal-chini, darchini, dhall cheene
Sinhalese: kurundu
Tamil: karuvappadai

Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree.The best cinnamon comes from SriLanka, but the tree is also grown commercially at Tellicherry in southern India, Indonesia, the West Indies, Brazil, Veitnam, and Egypt.

Its interesting that what we normally get in the supermarkets in the US or the local baniya in India is not actually cinnamon, but a distant cousin. Whats available in the US is called cassia(Cinnamomum cassia ) while what is stored in India(Malabathrum) is actually a bark of the bay leaf tree. But, its all right 'cos its all in the family, you see. Detailed Info here.

Cinnamon is used more in dessert dishes in the western world. It is commonly used in cakes and other baked goods, milk and rice puddings, chocolate dishes and fruit desserts, particularly apples and pears. It is common in many Middle Eastern and North African dishes, in flavouring lamb tagines or stuffed aubergines. In India,i t is used in curries and pilaus and in garam masala. It is used to flovor chai. It may be used to spice mulled wines, creams and syrups. The largest importer of Sri Lankan cinnamon is Mexico, where it is drunk with coffee and chocolate and brewed as a tea.

And of course, it has some medicinal properties. Recent studies have determined that consuming as little as 1-3 gms of Cinnamon each day may reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels by as much as 20% in Type II diabetes patients who are not taking insulin. It relieves nausea and vomiting, and, because of its mild astringency, it is particularly useful in diarrhea in infants. Chewing and swallowing a very small pinch of powdered cinnamon is considered helpful for cough accompanied by frequent spitting of whitish phlegm.

Me, I just love to use it to flavor my chai along with elaichi. hmmmmm……..

13 thoughts on “Back from India…straight into Mistress of Spices…

  1. oooh…..it’s heaven when u add it to chai…one of my friends once tried adding all the spices..like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel and a few other that I’m missing…and the end result was: we stayed up the whole night after drinking it….man! it packed a punch!!

  2. Good to c u back. Hope u had lots of fun.

    I never knew Telicherry was famous for cinnamon. Beautiful pictures as always :)

    I tried your mangalore buns and they were absolutly delicious. Thanx for sharing such wonderful recipes. Shall try rest of your recipes soon, esp malai modak and kesar sandesh.

  3. Vee,
    YOU ARE BACK!!! Hey, we really missed you, your lovely photographs and the humorous write-ups, you know. Btw, is that real cinnamon in your photograph? It looks different from what I have in my kitchen. Do tell, where do I get ‘real’ cinnamon and not the bay leaf tree bark?

  4. Pingback: Vindhu » Hark ! Hark ! The round up (Mistress of Spices)

  5. Nabeela, I am surprised you ever slept after that potent mix!!!

    Priya, Go ahead and let me know how it turns out. I am glad you liked the buns.

    Sailaja,Archana,Pushpa,Krithika,Sowjanya thanks.

    Vaishali, Check out the wikipedia link for resources. Good to be Back!

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