Enjoy India’s Popular Lassi

Lassi is a popular drink in the Indian Subcontinent that is made from yogurt, water, fruits and spices. The drink can either be made into a sweet lassi containing sugar or fruits to sweeten the drink or a salted lassi. Lassis can be enjoyed as a summer refreshment to cool off from the hot weather.

Other than the classic lassi, other popular flavor is the Mango lassi. It’s made from the original ingredient with the addition of fresh mango or mango pulp.

The Mango lassi is enjoyed all over the world and is a summertime favorite because of the cold and creamy consistency, similar to a smoothie. Just like a smoothie, Lassi drinks can be made at home with a few simple ingredients.

Ingredients

The base ingredients include: plain yogurt, water, and flavor such as salt, sugar, honey, fruits, spices, etc. There are alternatives such as coconut milk for a vegan option. Some people add in alcohol, mint leaves, nuts, flaxseeds, cream, or even butter to change up the classic recipe.

Health Benefits

Since the drink is a yogurt based drink, it contains many beneficial bacteria that aides digestion and decreases the harmful bacteria.

Try our Mango Lassi, one of the popular and top selling beverages at MokSHA Bellevue.

Rice in India

It could be easily argued that rice is the single most important food item in the entire world. A major part of many culinary traditions throughout the globe, this grain is cultivated on every inhabited continent. Current estimations suggest that a full half of the world’s population subsists either wholly or partially on rice, and the people of India are no exception.

Rice has been a big part of Indian dining since ancient times. Historical records indicate that the grain was first cultivated as a food source in neighboring China approximately four thousand years ago, and the practice made its way to India not long afterward.

The tropical crop took well to India’s warm, wet climates, and it was quickly embraced as a staple food. Today, the country grows roughly twenty percent of the world’s rice, coming in second to China as the leading rice producer.

Even as many farmers in Europe and America switch over to mechanized cultivation techniques, the traditional rice farming methods are still practiced in much of India. First, a field is plowed and fertilized with dung, then smoothed over by dragging a log over the earth.

The seeds are then planted and allowed to sprout. After about thirty to fifty days, the plants are transplanted by hand to flooded fields. The water in these fields is maintained by either dyke-controlled canals or hand-watering, and is allowed to drain out before the crop is harvested.

Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice

The type of rice most predominantly used in Indian cooking is a long-grain variety known as basmati. This term is taken from Sanskrit, and translates to “the fragrant one”. Rich with essential oils, basmati grains release the distinctive and pleasing aroma for which it is named as it is boiled.

In traditional cooking, the Indian people will serve basmati with a spicy sauce or meat stew, mixing the two together before eating them. Many Indian restaurants in America will give diners the choice between familiar white rice and the more traditional basmati.

Nutritionally, basmati rice is a strong choice. Compared to other forms of rice, basmati has a relatively low natural sugar content and glycemic index rating. For this reason, it is particularly good for people suffering from diabetes and similar conditions that make them sensitive to blood sugar spikes.

Basmati also contains trace amounts of valuable nutrients, including iron and selenium. In the case of brown basmati, representing basmati grains that still have their outer bran layer, you can also expect a healthy supply of fiber and protein. White rice features less fiber and protein, but is often enriched with folate and other nutrients.

The Benefits of Eating Spinach

It’s no secret that spinach is one of the healthier foods you can eat. A diet rich in spinach gives you many benefits, including the following:

  • Fiber: A single cup of spinach gives you fully 20% of your recommended daily intake of dietary fiber. Your body needs fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system and stay regular. It also serves to help maintain a low blood sugar. If you need to watch your weight, it’s a good way to curb your appetite and prevent overeating.
  • Cancer Prevention: The flavonoids found in spinach have been found to slow down the division of cancerous cells in the human stomach or skin. It also protects against prostate cancer.
  • Antioxidants: Spinach is rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, selenium and zinc, all of which are valuable in protecting your cells from damage. Getting enough antioxidants in your life gives you a reduced chance of developing many diseases.
  • Anti-Inflammation: The neoxanthin and violaxanthin in spinach have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Heart Health: The peptides found in spinach inhibit the angiotensin I-converting enzyme, serving to lower your blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
  • Vitamin K: A single cup of spinach gives you over 1000% of your recommended intake of vitamin K. This vitamin is valuable in maintaining healthy bones, protecting your brain and nervous system, and fighting diseases like atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and strokes.

You can get the spinach you need at MokSHA in Bellevue in a number of delicious South Indian-style dishes. Try our lamb or chicken saag, served with spinach and garam masala. Come in for lunch and try our spinach sauce over vegetables, paneer, chicken, lamb, salmon, or shrimp.

What is a Samosa?

A samosa is a type of savory pastry from Indian culinary traditions. It is made with filo dough or a similar pastry crust, which is stuffed with fillings that may include curried potatoes, peas, lamb, chicken, onions, lentils, noodles, pine nuts, and more. The dough is folded over its filling in a distinctive, triangular shape, after which it is deep-fried in vegetable oil until it achieves a golden-brown appearance. It will then be served hot as an entree or appetizer with many Indian meals, often accompanied by yogurt or chutney. Fans of the dish appreciate it for its delightfully crispy texture, paired with the hearty and flavorful interior.

Samosas first came about somewhere in the Middle East. The earliest record of the dish comes to us from Abolfazl Beyhaqi, an Iranian historian from the eleventh century. It made its way into India as early as the 13th century, when traders entered the subcontinent from Central Asia. Similar dishes spread throughout the region, and today you can find popular variations in Greece, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

In restaurants throughout India, patrons can generally either order samosas alone or as part of a chaat dish. Such dishes are served as appetizers, and include a selection of different foods that may include steamed dumplings, onion cakes, momos, yogurt, and a chutney garnish.

At MokSHA, you can enjoy this old favorite in the form of our potato peas samosas. Stuffed with spiced potatoes, this hearty appetizer is served with tamarind and mint chutney. Come and join us for dinner tonight!

Heart-Healthy Shrimp

There was a time when shrimp was considered to be taboo for people struggling with heart problems. This was because a single, 3.5 ounce serving of shrimp contains about 200 mg of cholesterol. A serving of this size accounts for a full day’s allotment of cholesterol for people at risk of heart disease. However, don’t let this lead you to believe that shrimp are bad for your heart health. Used properly, shrimp can actually reduce your chances of heart disease.

It is important to understand that there is both good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, is the type that forms a plaque around your blood vessels and puts you at an increased risk of developing heart disease. Good cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol, actually serves to break down LDL cholesterol and remove it from your body. The cholesterol in shrimp is largely of the healthy variety. In one study, subjects were fed ten ounces of shrimp every day for three weeks; it was discovered that, compared to the control group, the group that ate shrimp experienced an increase in bad cholesterol in their blood by about seven percent, but an increase in healthy, HDL cholesterol of twelve percent, as well as an overall decrease of thirteen percent in triglycerides.

The final word is that moderate servings of shrimp can play a role in a heart-healthy diet. Join MokSHA in Bellevue for some 7 Spice Shrimp, Spicy Tamarind Shrimp, Shrimp Biryani, and other Indian-style shrimp dishes today.

The Value of Lentils

Lentils are a very important part of the culinary traditions throughout much of the Middle East. It is thought to have originated in the area, likely representing one of the very earliest crops to have been cultivated by the native civilizations. For many, it is a staple second only to rice, and features strongly in soups, stews, dal, mejadra, and other dishes.

Many chefs favor lentils because they have very little taste by themselves, and are great at absorbing the flavors of other ingredients they are combined with. When added to a spicy Indian dish, they take on the taste of the most powerful spice present.

Nutritionally, the lentil is a strong choice. A single half-cup serving of the legume gives you roughly 60% of your daily recommended iron, 67% of your vitamin B1, 28% of your copper, 18% of your protein, 12% of your zinc, 10% of your potassium, thirty-one grams of dietary fiber, and a whole lot more.

At our Bellevue Indian restaurant, you can experience the superior nutrition of lentils in many of our South Indian-style dishes.

Garlic in India

India has had a long relationship with garlic. Some of the earliest available written records from the country show us that the Indian people were aware of its curative properties since ancient times. A medical text called Charaka-Samhita describes how it was used to treat heart disease and arthritis, and the Bower manuscript tells us that they would use it for fatigue, digestive diseases, leprosy, and parasites.

Though some of the properties associated with this classic clove are questionable, modern science has shown us that garlic does indeed offer many impressive health benefits. Powerful antioxidants serve to protect your cells from free radicals. People struggling with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels can use garlic to help manage these problems. Some studies have also demonstrated that garlic serves as a natural broad-spectrum antibiotic; it kills off harmful bacteria in your body, which apparently is unable to evolve a resistance and develop into a “superbug” the way such microbes often do when treated with conventional antibiotics.

If you would like to make garlic a bigger part of your own diet, consider our Bellevue Indian cuisine. From our garlic naan to our masala sauce, we have many delicious ways to improve your health.

What is Curry?

Curry is a form of sauce, representing a common menu item at Indian restaurants. It has also made its way into the culinary traditions of many other countries, including Japan, Thailand, the Caribbean, South Africa, and more. Curry-based dishes come in many forms, though they generally involve pouring a curry sauce over a dish of rice, vegetables, and some form of protein.

Some people mistakenly think of curry as a spice. This myth is perpetuated by the fact that there is in fact a curry tree, the leaves of which are sometimes used in curry. In actuality, curry comes in the form of numerous blends of spices. Though there is no official recipe for curry, curry sauces will generally feature turmeric, which gives the blend its distinctive yellow color. This may be mixed with coconut, coconut milk, coriander, chili powder, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamom, ginger, tamarind, and nutmeg.

In Thai and Indian restaurants, it is common to see curry come in three general forms: red, yellow, and green. Red curry is made with red chiles, green curry is made with green chiles, and yellow is mostly turmeric and cumin.

The History of Curry
Everybody recognizes curry as a classic Indian culinary innovation. However, if you were to go into a restaurant in India and ask for curry, your waiter may very well not know what you’re talking about. Indeed, while the curry sauce we know and love traces its origins back to India, the origins of curry is somewhat complicated.

The word “curry” itself is an English term, apparently derived from the Tamil word kari, which translates to “sauce”. It would seem that early English visitors to India encountered a sauce made from a blend of spices, then brought it back to their home country under an adapted name. People thereafter came to know the sauce and the dishes made from it as curry, which was appearing in English cookbooks as early as 1300 AD.

After curry rose in popularity among the English, merchants and travelers began to spread the phenomenon around to other parts of the world. It made its way to Japan in the late 1800’s, when the country finally opened its doors to the outside world. The Japanese adopted the dish as a form of easy, great tasting food for their military forces. In this way it spread throughout the country, and throughout the rest of east Asia.

Gun Powder in Indian Food?

When we talk about gun powder at our Bellevue Indian restaurant, we are talking about the distinctive blend of spices that makes Indian food so popular. Spices, or masala, as they are known in India, are an important part of the culinary tradition throughout the country, with a rich variety of different regional and seasonal blends. Though many spices are used in such blends, the following comprise ten of the most important:

Asafoetida
A pungent gum extruded from the the roots of a perennial Indian herb. It appears in some curry blends, and gives a unique flavor to the rasams and sambars of South Indian cuisine.

Black Cardamon
Known as the Queen of Spices, this is the dried fruit harvested from the cardamom plant. It represents an important part of India’s garam masala, or “hot spices”.

Cinnamon
This familiar spice is a native to India, derived from the bark of an Indian evergreen tree. Cinnamon powder and oil is used in curry blends, pulao, and biryanis.

Coriander
Made from the seeds of the Mediterranean coriander plant, coriander powder has a sweet, delicate taste. You may also know this spice as cilantro.

Cumin
You can expect to find a small degree of cumin in any curry powder. This aromatic powder is made from the seeds of a tropical herb.

Curry Leaves
The leaves of the curry tree should not be confused with curry spice blends, though it will occasionally appear in such blends. These leaves are important in many South Indian dishes.

Mustard
Mustard is important in a South Indian cooking technique called tadka, where whole seeds are cooked in oil to achieve a heightened flavor.

Red Chili Powder
Ever since it was introduced to India from South America, red chili powder was embraced as the king of spices. This is the spice that gives red curry powder its color.

Tamarind
This sour paste comes from the fruit of the Madagascan tamarind tree. It is used frequently as a condiment in India.

Turmeric
This bright yellow spice, related to ginger, is a key component of curry powder. It is responsible for much of the sauce’s blend.

What is a Dosa?

A dosa is a form of crispy, flatbread eaten throughout India. It comes in the form of a wafer-thin, crepe-like bread made from rice and a form of lentil-like bean known as black gram. Such breads are generally folded in half or rolled up over a savory stuffing, which may include meats, vegetables, or potatoes. They are served hot, often alongside chutney or curry. Indians will eat dosas for breakfast, dinner, or even as a form of street food.

It is unknown when the dosa was first created, but it is clear that it can be attributed to South India. According to some historical records, a version of the dosa was being eaten in ancient Tamil country as early as the first century AD. Since then, it has become a staple throughout all of India.

Nutritionally, dosas are a strong choice for many people. They’re gluten-free, and many varieties are suitable for a vegetarian or vegan diet. The bread itself contains no sugar or saturated fats, and the fermentation process brings out increased levels of vitamin B and vitamin C.

One of the strengths of dosas is their versatility. At MokSHA and Spice Route’s Bellevue Indian restaurant, you can enjoy several different dosas: try a standard dosa, with a selection of different fillings. Try a rava dosa, made with cream of wheat. Try an ootappam, representing a thicker version of the dosa, often known as an Indian pizza. We make all of our dosas from scratch with no preservatives and grass-fed, hormone free, free range halal meats. Experience this favorite Indian taste at MokSHA today!

Celebrate Diwali with Quality Indian Food!

Come and celebrate Diwali with MokSHA! From Monday, November 9th to Wednesday, November 11th, diners are invited to take part in a special, three-course dinner in honor of the biggest festival in Indian tradition. Complimentary Henna art tattoos will be offered on November 10th from 6:30 PM and November 11th from 6:00 PM.

Diwali, or the “Festival of Lights”, is a custom that can be traced back to ancient times, and remains a significant religious festival for followers of Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism. Though the details vary from one group to another, it always represents a celebration of the victory of good over evil. To some, it recognizes the return of the god Rama and his family from exile, as described in the Hindu epic, Ramayana. Others believe it is about the return of Pandavas, according to another Hindu epic known as Mahabharata. Still others associate it with the goddess Lakshmi, and the day she married the god Vishnu.

For much of India, the Diwali celebration takes place throughout the course of the five days, either in October or early November. Rituals and preparations begin weeks in advance, all leading up to the new moon of the lunar month of Kartika. By the time Diwali starts, homes and shops are decorated with colorful flowers, diyas and rangolis. When the moon is enshrouded and the night is at its darkest, people will illuminate the sky with candles, lanterns and fireworks. They will then gather with their friends and families to share in feasts and traditional sweets.

Regardless of where you are from or what you believe, Diwali is a time for people coming together in the spirit of peace, charity, and kindness. If you’d like to celebrate this spirit with quality Indian cuisine, we look forward to welcoming you at MokSHA in Bellevue!

Vegans descend on Bellevue

Gail Goldman, far left, and her daughter Marley, far right, help themselves to vegan food at Moksha Indian Cuisine.
— Image Credit: Allison DeAngelis

by ALLISON DEANGELIS, Bellevue Reporter Reporter
Jul 29, 2015 at 4:21PM

“A swarm of people in bright green T-shirts filled the main room of the 520 Bar and Grill in the Old Bellevue neighborhood with noise. Some were longtime vegans, while a few were carnivores looking to try something new. Altogether, the group was participating in the first Vegan Food Crawl, organized by Bellevue-based health coach and blogger Kirstin Wuhrman.

‘I just noticed, on the Eastside, there’s not a lot of vegan-advertised restaurants, but there is actually a lot available,’ she said. ‘My goal was just to expose Bellevue as a vegan-friendly city.’

After finding many clients, friends and others were interested in learning more about the vegan options available on the Eastside, Wuhrman organized the food crawl at four Bellevue restaurants: 99 Park Restaurant, 520 Bar and Grill, Moksha Indian Cuisine and Suite Restaurant and Lounge. More than 60 people from Bellevue, Redmond, Bothell, North Bend and Seattle quickly filled the available spots in the event.

Many participants echoed Wuhrman’s sentiments that it can be difficult to discover restaurants with vegan options in the Eastside…

The final 2015 vegan food crawl in Bellevue will take place on Saturday, Aug. 1, but with the positive response and good ticket sales, Wuhrman said it’s likely she will go on to make it an annual or bi-annual event.”

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

1st Vegan Food Crawl

First Vegan Food Crawls Being Held in Bellevue This Summer

Posted on June 27, 2015 by BellevueNews

“Vegan Food Crawls in Bellevue on Three Dates, 1 Already Sold Out

The 1st Vegan Food Crawl is happening this summer in Downtown Bellevue. This is a great opportunity experience delicious vegan options from four participating downtown restaurants: 99 Park Restaurant, 520 Bar and Grill, MokSHA Indian Cuisine and Suit Restaurant/Lounge.

Tickets are $15/crawler, which includes a sampling menu from each restaurant as well as a Vegan Food Crawl T-Shirt.

There is an optional Chef-Guided 4 Course Meal ($20) at MokSHA that will follow the Food Crawl for those interested.

Registration and full details here: www.veganfoodcrawl.com

Space is limited, so please register ASAP.
Registration Deadline: July 7, 2015

  • Saturday, August 1st – Sold out
  • Wednesday, July 22nd – spaces available
  • Tuesday, July 28th – spaces available