Rice Fritters or Pakoda (Bhaatachi Bhaji)

21 Jul

Yup, original recipe of my mom. Well, honestly there is nothing really original about it. It is just simple, plain, Indian bhaji(fritters) batter and the leftover rice is dipped in it and fried. So why is it special? Because, it brings back memories. Memories of me being so bored to be told to do my school homework, or told to do some daily chores, or study for the exams and I was always tempted by my mom that she would make these fried delicious bites for me! Who doesn’t love snacks! I couldn’t resist, I got through everything, thanks to my mom and these fritters. I consider them personal comfort food and not something that can be shared in a party or something.  On a rainy day with a cup of tea, they are good, even on gloomy days, even bright sunny days the smell of barbecue or anything fried just makes it a perfect day in summer.

Tip: For a different taste every time, you can vary the additional ingredients by adding chopped spring onion, garlic or ginger or chopped tomatoes or cilantro or shredded coconut, etc.

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All you need:

  1. 1 cup of steamed/boiled/leftover rice
  2. Chickpea flour/Besan 1 cup
  3. Rice flour 1/4 cup
  4. Turmeric 1/4 tsp
  5. Red Chilli powder 1 tsp
  6. Green chilli (finely chopped) – 1 ( I use 2 because I love spice)
  7. Carom seeds 1/4 tsp
  8. Salt (as required)
  9. Water
  10.  Ketchup (to serve)
  11. Oil for deep frying

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Using a little water or oil on the palm of your hands shape balls out of the leftover rice. If the rice is already sticky, do not use water. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the batter by mixing all dry ingredients together and then add water little by little till you form a smooth batter with no lumps.
  3. Heat oil almost till boiling point. Test by dropping in a drop of batter, if it sizzles and comes on top immediately, its ready to fry. Maintain the heat on medium flame.
  4. Dip the balls in the batter using a spoon or if you don’t mind getting messy, get your clean hands in there. Make sure you coat all sides with the batter.
  5. Fry the balls till golden turning once.
  6. Remove on an absorbent paper.
  7. Serve hot with ketchup.

For the batter to make any pakodas, click here.

 

Serradura

24 Jun

https://mefoodatarian.wordpress.comI haven’t been sharing many desserts, I have heard many people confuse ‘desert’ as in a land with sand pronounced ‘De-zert’ with desserts pronounced ‘Dee-zerts’…oh well..I have an entire post on my other blog for this discussion. But my point is I had to share something interesting and easy since I have mentioned in my earlier posts that Indian desserts are a little complicated. Although I love ‘Shira’ and recently I discovered how easy it was to make my own serving in a microwave…oh the lazy body inspires my lazy mind to play tricks and I am truly happy with the result. I will share the recipe soon. But let me share this one, it is my favorite and I consider it as an exotic dessert even if it is so simple to make. Serradura is basically a cream dish layered with crackers or biscuits. I am not sure if it is originally a Portuguese dish or Italian but what matters is it is delicious. It is an indulgence I admit, but once in a while is okay I guess. The serving glass in the picture is pretty big, you can use small ones.

Tip: You need not add sugar since it has condensed milk. Also, you can have many versions by adding nuts, chocolate sauce, marshmallows, Oreos, get creative with it.

All you need:

  1. 8 oz. Heavy Cream
  2. 1/4 cup condensed milk
  3. 1 sleeve of  crushed crackers (plain)
  4. 1/2 cup crushed cashewnuts
  5. 1 tsp vanilla essence

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Whisk cream in a bowl until smooth and add vanilla essence, condensed milk and whisk just once again to combine everything nicely and chill for about 20 minutes.
  2. Crush cashewnuts and crackers separately, in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin or roughly chop them into small pieces. Combine.
  3. Take a serving glass. Pour about two tablespoons of mixture and then layer it with the crushed cashewnuts and crackers mixture. Layer again with cream mixture, topping the layers with the crushed cashewnuts and crackers mixture.
  4. Chill for an hour and serve cold.

 

Weekend Oven Fried Chicken

30 May

image

Ah! Oven fried chicken at home. Great start to the weekend :)

Just mixed dried ingredients (salt,pepper,garlic powder, chili powder, cumin powder, quarter cup rice flour and cornmeal) in a plastic bag and smeared about half cup of mayonnaise on 5 drumsticks, dropped them in the bag,shook it well dusting off excess flour mixture and cooked on a greased sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Yum! Burp! Oops…sorry ha ha! Have a nice weekend y’all!

Methichi Bhaji (fenugreek vegetable Maharashtrian style)

2 May

Fenugreek (Methi) is often a mystery for many. In Indian cooking, the dried fenugreek leaves are used for a distinct taste which goes really well with any protein based vegetable preparation or meat curry. The seeds are used as a paste or as a crunchy addition to some dishes, they will also render a nutty taste when fried or toasted. This is one  of my favorite green leafy vegetables. I have a very embarrassing story which I cannot tell since its too gross to reveal on a food blog, I can turn away many people from my blog with that story…but I tell it personally when I share my love-hate relationship with this vegetable. Anyway, since I love the vegetable for the most part, I would like to share the quick and easy recipe that is my absolute favorite and I thank my mom for writing it down for me which was a savior. When I was married I carried a book with recipes written down dictated by my mom or dad for my marriage to survive, since I could not cook at all! Ha ha…so here it is which I have mastered years down the line.

Tip: When picking up the vegetable, make sure that the leaves are medium size not too small not too large since it can leave a bitter taste when cooked. Also find ones that are fresh in color and do not have a yellowish tinge.

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All you need:

  1. 1 bunch of fresh Fenugreek leaves, chopped (sometimes you need to use 2 since it can be too small and it shrinks down a lot after cooking. Refer to Point 1 for more details.)
  2. 2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
  3. 1-2 green chilies, slit (de-seeded if you like less spicy)
  4. 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I use like 4-6 since I love the flavor)
  5. 1 cup of freshly grated/shredded coconut (I won’t substitute dried coconut here, it just doesn’t give the exact taste)
  6. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  7. a pinch asafoetida (‘hing’ as we call it, just too good for dals and Indian vegetables, a must-have in Indian pantry)
  8. 1 tbsp oil
  9. salt to taste

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. First of all, sort and pick out only the fenugreek leaves. In a colander rub gently the fenugreek leaves with salt and run it under water it might wash out some color, but don’t worry, that also helps get rid of any residues of dirt. Alternatively you might dunk the leaves in a large bowl of water mixed with salt and let it sit for about 2-3 minutes, lift them up gently  and throw away the water(my mom used this to water her plants) and the residue that will settle down.
  2. Chop the leaves. Set aside.
  3. Heat a wok or a deep pan with oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds. Let them crackle, add the asafoetida, let it sizzle for a second or two, add the green chilies. Saute for half a minute.
  4. Toss in the garlic. Saute for a minute.
  5. Add the chopped onions and let them cook down until soft and transparent.
  6. Time to add the fenugreek leaves. Mix well. Add half of the grated coconut and salt, be careful with the salt here, you can always add more later.
  7. Cover it and cook for about 8-10 minutes. The leaves will shrink down and cook in its own juices.
  8. Turn off the heat, sprinkle remaining coconut. Serve hot with chapati/roti/bhakri.

Kayloli (Rice flour veggie omelette/dosa/pancake)

3 Apr

Since Indian masala omelette is a mix of spices with eggs, I could not think of a better translation of what a ‘Kayloli’ is. I am not sure why I would call it an omelette since it does not have the eggs however it has all the spices similar to the omelette and the process is similar too. Then again, I can also call it a Dosa because without the spices it will be similar to a Dosa. It could also be a pancake with spices! Well, Kayloli is a traditional GSB (Goud Saraswat Brahmin) dish, I don’t know the original roots though because Mangaloreans and Karwari families are familiar with it too. This was taught to me by my dad with his own additions to it. This is like an instant breakfast dish. I will also list the alternate version in the tip below which can be used for lunch or dinner. Let me get down to the quick and easy recipe, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

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Tip: You can completely omit all the spices and instead of rice flour soak 2 cups of boiled rice for two-three hours. Blend the rice and cup of shredded coconut just add salt and sugar to it and leave the mixture in the fridge overnight. Fry like pancakes. Serve with curries. You might like it as is. I mentioned in my About section how cuisines are similar in coastal regions. This is very similar to Appam in Kerala. I will try and post that someday.

All you need:

  1.  2 cups rice flour
  2. 1 1/2 cups milk
  3. 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  4. 2 green chilies finely chopped (Indian chilies are hot and I like it spicy, use 1 if you don’t eat spicy food)
  5. 1 tomato finely chopped (optional)
  6. 2 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
  7. 1 generous tsp turmeric
  8. 1 tsp red chili powder
  9. salt as required
  10. oil for frying

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Combine all the ingredients, spices etc. except oil and milk first in a bowl and like you would whisk pancake batter, whisk it gently until well combined.
  2. Pour milk slowly to adjust the consistency of the batter. Make sure you don’t make it too thick otherwise it will not spread on the pan and will stick and form lumps, nor too thin or it will end up runny and the taste will be compromised.
  3. Heat very minimal oil on a non-stick pan on medium heat and pour the batter in the center with a laddle. Move the pan around or spread with a spatula till it takes the shape and size of  a pancake.
  4. Drizzle little oil on the sides to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. Cover and cook for a minute or two or until you see bubbles on top (refer to the pic above)
  5. Flip it and cover it again for a minute or two until crispy and brown on the outside and firm so that raw batter is completely cooked.
  6. Serve hot with yogurt, Indian pickle, ketchup or any preferred chutney.

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Indian Masala Omelette

1 Apr

I had to make a quick post for reference. If I can rant about how much I love an Indian Masala Omelette, I can keep going at it for a long time, but as I said this is a quick post for reference. I can eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I can even gulp it down at tea-time. Ooh, I am a tea-lover, not much of a coffee person, I prefer a cold coffee over a hot one which could be insulting to all the coffee addicts out there. Ha ha, too much talking everything other than the Indian Masala Omelette! This recipe will yield only one serving. Here goes.

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Tip: Sprinkling cheese will be heavenly, just when its hot, any type of cheese will make it a melty, yummy Indian Masala Cheese Omelette!

All you need:

  1. 2 Eggs
  2. 2 tbsp chopped onion, I roughly chop it to keep the crunch, you can chop it finely whatever suits your taste.
  3. 1 green chili, finely chopped (Indian chilies are pretty hot, one is enough for the right spicy hot taste)
  4. 1 tbsp finely chopped tomato(optional, I don’t add it for my husband, the one in the picture is clearly my husband’s serving)
  5. 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  6. Milk 1 tbsp
  7. 1 tsp turmeric
  8. 1 tsp red chili powder (optional, if you think the green chili is enough spice for you skip this, I love it for the extra kick, tasty!)
  9. Salt as required
  10. Black pepper powder, a pinch
  11. 2 tbsp Oil/ Butter (I love it when the sides are oily, you can cut this down to half)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Whisk the eggs till a little frothy. Add all the ingredients except the oil and whisk a little again.
  2. On medium low flame heat a round pan preferably an 8″ or smaller so that the omelette fluffs up nicely in the pan.
  3. Pour oil and swirl it around the pan, when it starts to swirl easily, that’s the right amount of hot.
  4. Pour the egg mixture in the center and swirl it around the pan making sure the entire pan is covered.
  5. Cook until the edges look firm and the omelette is fluffy and bubbly.
  6. Flip it over and cook for 20-30 seconds or until it is firm yet moist.
  7. Serve hot with toasted slices of bread or buns.

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Potato wrapped Tilapia with Cilantro sauce

21 Mar

Probably I would have never come up with this recipe on my own, I had watched an episode of a guy who is a chef in a restaurant in Goa, India and I don’t remember what fish he used and what herb he used for the sauce but I was so inspired by it, I tried making my own version and it was pretty good! I wish I could remember the recipe or the chefs name so that I could also post a link to the original recipe. Well, I will keep searching. In the meanwhile, let’s try this one.

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Tip: You can use any sort of fish and any sort of herb and make it your own. The sauce has to be thicker than in the picture.

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All you need:

  1. 1 to 1 1/2 lb Tilapia or any other fish fillet (preferably a wider fillet)
  2. 2 Potatoes skin peeled off
  3. 1 Egg
  4. 1/2 cup All purpose Flour
  5. 1 tbsp Oil (per fillet)
  6. 1 tbsp Butter (per fillet)
  7. Salt(for seasoning)
  8. Black pepper powder (for seasoning)

For the sauce:

  1. 1 cup Cilantro or any herb of your choice for a thick green sauce.
  2. 1/2 Onion chopped
  3. 1 clove Garlic chopped
  4. 1 1/2 tbsp cup Cream
  5. 1/4 cup White wine (optional, substitute with vegetable stock)
  6. 1 tsp Oil
  7. 1 tsp Butter
  8. Salt (for seasoning)
  9. Black pepper powder (for seasoning)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Slice the fillet in two pieces if it is a wider fish than tilapia. I used a whole fillet of tilapia since it was a narrower fillet as one whole portion. Adjust for more servings accordingly. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven at 350º.
  3. If you have a slicer go ahead and slice thin roundels of the potato or with a peeler keep peeling potatoes for thin slices.
  4. Grab hold of 2 plates, place a beaten egg in one, pour some all-purpose flour in the other.
  5. Dip the fish in the all purpose flour, dip it in the beaten egg mixture.
  6. Wrap the fish in the potato slices making sure the fillet is covered entirely. Season with little salt and pepper.
  7. Heat oil in a pan, add butter. Fry the potato wrapped fish in the oil on medium high heat for about 2-3 minutes or until the potato changes color.
  8. Transfer onto a oven proof dish and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. In the meanwhile prepare the sauce. Slice the onion. Chop the garlic.
  10. Heat oil and butter in the same pan and toss in the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Add a splash of white wine and stir in cream.
  12. Remove from the heat, cool it down a bit.
  13. In a blender add the chopped cilantro and the cooled mixture, blend it to a smooth texture. Strain the sauce.
  14. Heat the strained sauce for a minute or two.
  15. Plate the sauce on a serving dish and place the fish in the centre.
  16. Serve hot.

Stuffed Egg & Cheese Paratha

2 Mar

I have been lazy in posting and lagging behind with my posts, thanks to my cake decorating class for the last month I have been busy baking and baking and baking! Phew! Well, I just wanted a break from all that baking and since I fell short on time with all the yoga, baking, reading, catching re-runs of FRIENDS and Pinterest, I could manage finding eggs and cheese in the refrigerator and nothing else. So I decided to share the stuffed egg and cheese paratha recipe. Enjoy! Wish me luck, just so  ;)

Tip: You can make simple ‘Anda Bhurji’(recipe will follow soon) and stuff it in the paratha.

Image

All you need:

1)      4 large eggs whisked, reserve two separately in a large plate.

2)      2 cups whole wheat flour, additional for dusting.

3)      1 cup water

4)      100 grams shredded cheese divided in 4 equal parts (I used a mix of Monterey jack and cheddar)

5)      1 medium sized onion chopped

6)      2 green chilies finely chopped (adjust as required)

7)      2 tbsps Cilantro chopped

8)      2 tsps turmeric

9)      2 tsps red chili powder (you can skip this if the green chilies are hot)

10)   1 tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds help in digestion)

11)   Oil for frying

12)   Salt as required

Ready, Set, Go:

1)      Prepare the dough : In a large bowl, mix the flour, 1 tsp turmeric, carom seeds, pinch of salt, few drops of oil and slowly add water, keep kneading into a pliable smooth dough, not too hard not too soft until it easily comes off the bowl. Wrap it up with a muslin cloth or plastic wrap and keep aside for about 20 mins.

2)      Prepare the eggs : Whisk eggs, add turmeric, chili powder,cilantro, green chilies, salt, onion and set aside.

3)      Divide the dough into 4 parts. On a rolling board, roll out the dough with a rolling pin or your hand until it has equal thickness on all sides,make sure it is not too thick or thin and about 6-8 inches wide. Dust flour as needed.

 Method 1:

4)      Heat a flat pan or skillet. Pour about a tsp of oil on the pan. Dip the rolled paratha in the reserved egg in the plate on both the sides and place it on the pan. If you are scared the paratha will tear, just place it on the pan and pour a little bit of the reserved egg and spread it evenly on the rolled paratha only on one side. Flip it immediately so the other side is not cooked entirely.

5)      Pour a tbsp.or two of the whisked egg mixture with onions, etc on the paratha and spread it out evenly.

6)      Sprinkle the shredded cheese.  Flip it and cook until golden brown on both the sides.

7)      Use a tsp. of oil or as needed on the sides to make sure the parathas are well greased to cook the paratha and that it is not dry otherwise the eggs might stick to the pan and burn.

8)      Serve hot with ketchup or any sweet chutney or Indian pickle.

 Method 2:

4) Heat a shallow pan. Pour oil and add the egg mixture. Cook like scrambled eggs whisking the mixture in the pan and breaking it down into small pieces. Cook entirely. Divide mixture in 4 equal parts.

5) On the rolled paratha, place one part of the cooked egg mixture and sprinkle cheese. Pick up the edges of the paratha and pinch them together in the center and twist the peak removing extra dough and press it down gently in the centre. Roll it out smoothly again making sure you are not rolling with too much pressure or the stuffing will come out and start sticking to the rolling pin. Dust as much flour as needed. Make sure you roll it out wide and not too thick.

6) Heat a flat pan or skillet. Pour about a tsp of oil on the pan. Dip the rolled paratha in the reserved egg in the plate on both the sides and place it on the pan. If you are scared the paratha will tear, just place it on the pan and pour a little bit of the reserved egg and spread it evenly on the rolled paratha only on one side. Flip it immediately so the other side is not cooked entirely. Now pour some on the other side and spread it out evenly.

7)Cook until golden brown on both the sides. Use a tsp. of oil or as needed on the sides to make sure the parathas are well greased to cook the paratha and that it is not dry otherwise the eggs will stick to the pan and burn.

8) Serve hot with ketchup or any sweet chutney or Indian pickle.

Palak Paneer (Spinach and Cottage Cheese)

28 Jan

I would rather post more non-vegetarian recipes than the vegetarian ones, however, one of my new year resolutions include eating more veggies! I don’t hate vegetables but I just get bored of the process of sorting, plucking, washing, chopping, and every vegetable is different, some require boiling, some soaking, some grinding, unlike meat, cut, wash and ready to use. Among my favorite ones, spinach(Palak), fenugreek leaves (Methi), hard cottage cheese (Paneer), and dill(Shepu; unfortunately the men in my house dislike)but I end up making spinach or use it in some other dish. So, let me zoom in on one of my favorite Indian vegetarian recipes, that is Palak Paneer. It depends if you want to fry the Paneer(cottage cheese pieces) first or just dunk and cook them in the sauce in the last few minutes.

Tip: To keep the color of spinach intact, boil water, once your washing, sorting of spinach is done, drop in the entire spinach to wilt in the water for just about 2-3 minutes, do not cover. Remove or strain and immediately dunk in ice-cold water. Let it sit for a few minutes and then puree it roughly not smoothly in a blender.

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All you need:

  1. 1 large fresh Spinach bunch roughly pureed (washed, sorted-only use leaves)
  2. 200 gms or about 8 oz.Paneer (Hard cottage cheese found in Indian stores) cut into squares or rectangles.
  3. 2 medium size onions finely chopped or fine paste ( I prefer chopped)
  4. 2 medium size tomatoes finely chopped or pureed (I prefer chopped)
  5. 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  6. 2-3 green chilies finely chopped (adjust as per your taste)
  7. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  8. 1 bayleaf
  9. 4 cloves
  10. 1 inch stick of cinnamon
  11. pinch of turmeric
  12. 1 tsp cumin powder
  13. 1 tbsp coriander powder
  14. 1 tsp red chili powder
  15. 1 tsp garam masala(I use home-made, will post the combination soon)
  16. 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) – this is optional
  17. salt (as required)
  18. oil 2 tbsps
  19. 1 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro(garnishing)
  20. 1 tbsp beaten cream (optional)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat oil on a low flame in a deep saucepan(kadhai). (If you wish you can fry the paneer pieces on medium heat until golden at this point and keep them aside and use the remaining oil)
  2. Add all the dry masala(bayleaf, cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon) one by one. Saute for a few seconds until you can smell a nice aroma.
  3. Add chopped onions and saute until translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for about a minute or till the raw smell goes away.
  4. Add the green chilies, saute for another minute. Add the tomatoes and saute until they are soft.
  5. Add all the powdered masala except garam masala (turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili) and let this cook for about 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally  or until oil oozes out from the sides.
  6. Add the pureed spinach and mix it until well blended with the spices. Cook this until the sauce is bubbly and oozing out oil for another 3-5 minutes.
  7. Drop in the raw paneer pieces and gently stir them until everything is well combined and cook this for 4-5 minutes. Add salt.
  8. Add the garam masala and stir gently. Let this simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  9. Crush the dried fenugreek leaves between the palms of your hand and add them to the sauce(remember the fenugreek is optional, skip this step if you don’t have it)
  10. Turn off the heat and let the sauce sit for 2-3 minutes. Just before you serve it hot, add the cilantro and cream. Mix gently, Done! Serve hot with roti or naan.

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Not just in the kitchen – Coconut Oil

24 Dec

As more and more people are discussing the benefits of coconut oil, let me give you a background of how coconuts are used in my community. Hailing from the Western part of India, my family roots trace along the coastal regions. Thankfully my spouse’s family also comes from a coastal region from the south of India. Both our families are aware of the different uses, traditional, religious whatever the need is for this wonderful tropical fruit called ‘Coconut’. I will be listing down the uses of mainly coconut oil however, for centuries Coconut in India has been considered sacred enough to be offered to the Hindu Gods. Because of its variety of uses of this amazing fruit is undoubtedly holy indeed. The husk is used for making coir which is found in brushes, mats, mattresses, baskets, fishing nets etc. The flesh is used for cooking countless items of food and to extract coconut milk . The trunk of the tree is used to make furniture or charcoal. The shell is turned into a variety of handicraft items. The leaves make a good roof or brooms. The coconut water is filled with electrolytes and is super hydrating, the water without fermentation is known as ‘Nira’ and once fermented is ‘Toddy’. It can further be used to make wine or sugar. Finally, the oil extracted has the following uses:

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  1. Coconut oil is mainly used for cooking.
  2. A regular good hot oil massage on the head will help in growing long and thick hair.
  3. The oil is also used as a moisturizer, try some immediately after a bath.
  4. If suffering from dandruff, mix a tablespoon of lemon juice in coconut oil as needed for covering the entire scalp and massage it lightly,leave on for 15-20 minutes. Wash off with shampoo.
  5. I remember as kids we were told to rub oil in our hair and body whenever we went out to play Holi(festival of colors). It would help in washing off the colors easily.
  6. If you suffer a minor burn, applying coconut oil helps in healing the burn faster.
  7. A mosquito, ant, bug bite has swollen your precious skin, a little oil rubbed on the bump will ensure the swelling goes down quickly and stops the burning sensation too.
  8. Cracked heels or lips, coconut oil works well.
  9. Prevent stretch marks in pregnancy, massage coconut oil daily and watch them melt away.
  10. I remember when my mom removed her make-up she always used coconut oil on a piece of cotton.
  11. Mix in some sugar for a lovely body scrub.
  12. A mix of clove and coconut oil is great for pain in the gums.
  13. The oil can be treated as a natural multipurpose skin cream for rashes, etc
  14. I remember when I had pain in my ears, my dad crushed a garlic pod and mixed it with warm coconut oil, strained and poured a little in my ear, how relieved was I!
  15. Apply some warm oil on a cotton swab inside the nose for a dry nose in winter.
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