Monday, March 25, 2013

Seal 'em Up

"The hair is the richest ornament of women"
~ Martin Luther 

I couldn't have agreed more. A head full of thick, long , luscious hair is every woman's pride and dream. No wonder it gave the inspiration to Alexander Pope to write an entire mock epic, The Rape of the Lock on a maiden's chopped lock of hair.

I have always had cropped hair as a kid.  But there were times when it grew a little long and I had to tie them up with red ribbons  into two sections when I went to school. The physical training teacher made sure that we looked something like this. 

I wasn't half as cute as this kid but well my braids stuck like horns on my head like they were wired and made to stand up in the air. 
Thankfully, my hair doesn't look anything like that now. This is a pic of my hair tied up into a ponytail with a French twist. This is one of the best ways to protect your hair from the  ,  and pollution. It also keeps stray hair stands from falling all over your face, a respite during summers. Also, they are a great help on bad hair days.

I remember my mum telling me how thick and long her braids used to be when she was young. Her long dark mane tied in thick braids were her pride. She still retains her thick shiny hair which would put women half her age (yes, me included) to shame. But then you have this monster called "split end" to ruin all of it. 

Mum has these frayed hair ends which make the hair ends rough and dry. Having long hair which isn't trimmed for a long time tends to split towards the end. Hair as it gets older tends to lose its moisture and starts splitting. Therefore, it needs special attention and care. Regular cleaning and conditioning your hair is extremely important to maintain the luster and prevent damage. 
There is no cure for split ends except of course chopping them off. The only thing you can do is to prevent them from coming back.

  •  If the hair ends are split and damaged, chop till the portion where the split has extended to. Regularly trimming your hair every 6-8 weeks keeps them from splitting further.
  • Keep your hair tied instead of keeping them open and down when you are out in the sun. Tie a scarf, bandanna or wear a hat.
  • Apply copious amount of conditioner towards the ends of your hair. Start from the portion from your ears and apply till the ends. This is the portion which needs the highest care.
  • You can trim your hair yourself at home in between your haircuts at the salon. Make sure you use hair shears and not just any paper cutting scissors which will cause more harm than good.
  • Stay away from harsh chemicals and SLS based shampoos. 
  • Don't brush your hair too often. Too many brush strokes cause more splits.
  • Don't brush too harshly or back brush. Hair strands are fragile and tend to get damaged if you use a bad comb and pull them too hard.
And well if your hair is already damaged and you don't want to chop them off, you have Dove's split end rescue treatment. It seals up those split ends and prevents further damage to the hair strand. I saw visible effects on my mum's hair after 3 washes. Her hair looks less damaged and rough towards the ends and are now smooth and shiny from tip to roots 
This is what the product says-

"Split-ends mean damaged hair. The Dove Split End Rescue Shampoo is a part of the Dove Damage Solutions range, specially formulated to help bring split-ends together. It has fiber actives that work on the deepest level of your hair, to give you up to 4X lesser split-ends*. "

The product doesn't claim to revert the effects but seal the frayed ends to provide smoother and softer hair. And it does exactly what it promises leaving your hair shinier and softer to touch. Dove has always been a favorite of mine when it came to hair care products and it keeps up to its promise again.

A random quote that I found during my random googling.


Till then keep whipping your hair back and forth...Willow Smith style 

This post is a part of the Indiblogger contest sponsored by Dove Split End rescue system.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Coconut Chicken for beginners :D

Before you raise your eyebrows at the sight of a recipe here, lemme tell you that this is the only proper dish I can make. My cooking skills are limited to tea, coffee, omelette, maggi and some fritters (only if you call that cooking!!). Yes, just boiling and frying. Good enough to keep me and sis alive for a weekend if mum isn't at home. 

So when Blogadda came up with this contest to come up with your signature dish, I couldn't think of anything apart from this one and I badly wanted to cook up something, literally!! 

Before I start with the real thing, I would like to say that this is not something I invented by myself. I had seen my neighbor cook this yummy dish as a kid, back when I was in Kochi. So all credits for the recipe goes to Radhika aunty for teaching me the only edible dish I can make. This one is the simplest and the fastest method to cook chicken. Just five steps and you are done. 

Coming to the dish now, I am using Fortune Rice Bran Health oil.
This is what wikipedia says about this : "Rice bran oil (also known as rice bran extract) is the oil extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice. It is notable for its high smoke point of 213°C (415°F) and its mild flavor, making it suitable for high-temperature cooking methods such as stir frying and deep frying."
While cooking fried dishes, it has always been a battle between taste and health. Now you have to fret no more as rice bran oil brings both taste and health together. It has plentiful of anti oxidants and is helpful in reducing blood cholesterol amongst many other significant health benefits. It is a perfect substitute for Olive oil as Olive oil has a low smoking point and is not suitable for frying.
Take a look at this chart to know better-
Click on the picture to have a better resolution.
Now to the real thing 


Half a kilogram of chicken, diced.

For the Tadka

1) A few Fenugreek (methi) grains
2) Some Mustard seeds
3) A few Curry Leaves
4)  2-3 teaspoons of oil (Yes just that little for the entire dish. Cooking chicken doesn't get healthier)

For The Chicken Coating

For half a kilogram of diced chicken, you need

1) 1/3 of a medium sized coconut, grated
2) 1 small tomato, diced
3) 1 small onion, diced
4) 3 - 4 green chilies
5) 4 - 5 garlic cloves
6) 1 stick of ripe tamarind (imli)
7) 1 small stick of ginger, diced or cut into slivers
8) 1 teaspoon of coriander ( dhania) powder
9) 1 small spoonful of red chili powder
10) Salt to taste
11) 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
12) A bunch of curry leaves
13) A few cups of water

PREPARATION TIME :  20-25 minutes based on the chicken pieces. Smaller the pieces, faster they will cook. So if you are in a hurry to get the dish done, get smaller sized pieces.

The macro ingredients

The micro ingredients

The Procedure

 Put all of the ingredients for the chicken coating  into the mixer and churn into a thick paste. You can add a little water but make sure the paste is thick, grainy and coarse and not very smooth and runny. The idea is to just whip them into an even mixture. A runny mixture will make the entire thing soggy.


Now coat all the chicken pieces evenly with the paste.


In a pan / kadhai pour about 2-3 teaspoons full of Fortune Rice Bran Health oil and let it heat up. Then add curry leaves, fenugreek grains and whole mustard grains. Don't add more than 5-6 fenugreek grains and 10-12 grains of mustard, else it will get bitter. Now let it sprinkle and splutter a little.


Add the chicken pieces coated with the paste and add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan and reduce the flame to the lowest and cover the pan / kadhai with a lid. Stir slowly every 5 minutes. Let the whole thing cook by itself for about 20-25 minutes. Taste for salt and add a little more if required. Poke with a fork to check if the chicken is tender enough.

Your coconut chicken is ready. Serve with rice or roti. I like to have mine with rotis or parathas because this one is a tad bit on the thicker side. I love more saucy preparations with rice.

You can try the same method to cook fish, if you prefer.
Please try this one and let me know your thoughts. Hope you like it.  

Till next,
Bon Appetit!!!  

This post is a part of Healthy & Tasty Recipe Contest with Fortune Rice Bran Health

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Book Review- F?@K KNOWS by Shailendra Singh


Author: Shailendra Singh
ISBN: 9788129123886
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Rupa
Number of Pages: 234
Genre: Non-Fiction / Self- help
Language: English
Price: Rs. 195 (I received my copy from

About the Book: 

What do you want from life? Are you on the right track? Are you truly happy? If your answer to these questions is ‘F?@k knows!’, then this book is for you. Find the answers to life’s most important questions with the help of uber-successful entrepreneur, Shailendra Singh, co-founder of Percept and inceptor of Sunburn. Told with sparkling, flavourful and in-your-face humour, this book will advise you on how to:

*Find yourself (Because you’re probably lost. Admit it.)
*Follow your heart (Because if you don’t then you’ll die unhappy, you stupid f?@ker.)
*Achieve your goals (You know you want to.)
*Live life like you give a f?@k (Because…why not?)

Candid and thoughtful, F?@k Knows will show you how to really live life on your own terms, to do what you want to do and not what you have to do just because your father said so!

Swarnali Speaks :

I am not into non-fiction books, especially self help ones. Never been a fan of them. But when Shailendra Singh's  F?@K Knows came in for Blogadda's reviews, the title (very obviously) and the excerpt really intrigued me and I decided to give it a shot. Well, the book didn't change anything (if at all self help stuff are meant to do so) but reading it sure was fun.
For starters, the cover isn't quite interesting as I would have liked it. But the red lettering on the yellow cover pretty much stand out for themselves (the title is an attraction magnet in itself and instantly piques the readers' interest :P). Imagine my condition when I get the book from my dad who had opened the package and is handing me the book with a very curious and doubtful expression. :P
If you are somebody who is not comfortable using the "F" word or hearing people use it liberally, then you might consider staying away from it. The book is generously doused with the word and the author makes it a point that it serves the purpose it is being used for, to keep the readers' interest alive. Using expletives,simple words and a colloquial tone in the first person instantly draws the readers attention as the narrator takes them into his trust as he narrates his journey and how he failed and then succeeded. 
Listening to somebody's real story is more believable than hear people preaching about things. I think that is what makes this book different. The author does not tell you anything more than what you might already know. But it is the presentation of the book, the narration that makes the read really enjoyable. The tongue in cheek humor coupled with witty refrains and epigrams are what make the book.
The ideas get a little repetitive after a while but I think it is because the author does it to drive the idea deeper into the readers head (remember the repetitive lines of nursery rhymes? the author does the same here, in a funnier manner). The book might not transform you view of the world or switch on that bulb in your head (like those Mentos ads say "dimag ki batti jala de") but it sure will keep you entertained as you flip through the pages.

Rating : 3/5

This review is a part of the biggest Book Reviews Program. for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Soumitra Chatterjee's jingle :)


Good food and music is what defines a Bengali and when it is Soumitra Chattrejee added to the package, nothing gets better!! Saw this jingle on YouTube during my random surfing and I couldn't resist posting about it here. The child-like delight and his witty comments throughout the entire process of the making of the video is extremely entertaining.

Yes, after the great Amitabh Bacchan himself, it is now pour very own beloved Feluda, Soumitra Chatterjee who has taken his talents to altogether a newer height. Soumitra Chatterjee has been awarded with the Dadasaheb Phalke , the Padma Shree and later the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to the Indian film industry. He has made innumerable characters come alive on the celluloid. And not to mention his magnanimous voice as he recites Kobiguru Rabindranath and Kazi Nazrul Islam, he transports his audience to a world away from the real. He has also been actively involved with the theatre and has been performing in Suman Mukhopadhay’s Raja Lear.

Soumitra Chatterjee is a name every Bengali knows. Every kid here has grown up idolizing the man. He is the face of the great Bengali sleuth, Feluda.  The creator of this eternal character, Satyajit Ray had himself said that it was the great actor himself who had inspired him to model a detective, our own Bengali Sherlock. And to say Soumitra Chatterjee has done justice to the character would be an understatement. Feluda came to life through him. Even though other actors have taken up the role to continue with the series, but it will always be Soumitra Chatterjee who would come first when we remember Feluda. Starting from his first role as Apu in Apur Sansar (from the famous Apu Trilogy), he has done numerous roles and is best known for his roles in Sonar Kella, Joy Baba Felunath ,Akash Kusum, Jhinder Bandi , Teen Kanya, Sesh Prahar, Charulata and Abhijan amongst multiple others . And it is no big secret that he was Ray’s very favourite.

The man has not just outdone himself by singing a song this effortlessly; he is an inspiration for all of us. His undying spirit for adventure and trying out something he has never tried before at an age of 80+ years is truly amazing.

You have to take a look at the video of the making of Soumitra Chatterjee's jingle for Nutrela Kacchi Ghani Mustard Oil to know the multi faceted genius the man is.

Till Next,