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Celebrate Onam fervour with delicious delicacies




New Delhi, Sep 1: Festivals are an opportunity to gorge on food delights. For the ongoing Onam celebrations, go for some homemade delicacies using ingredients like raw mango and coconut milk.

Chef Padmanabhan Anand, Chef Jinson Varghese and Chef Rakesh Singh from restaurants Sanadige, Mahabelly and The Classroom, respectively, list down three dishes that one can enjoy this Onam.

* Recipe of Olan, which is ash gourd and cowpeas stewed in coconut milk by Chef Padmanabhan Anand, Corporate Executive Chef at Sanadige —

Total time to prepare and cook: 40-45 minutes

Ingredients: Cow peas (Vanpayar): 1/2 cup; Ash gourd: 1 cup (chopped); Pumpkin: 1 cup (chopped); Green chillies: 3 (slit); Thin coconut milk: 1/2 cup; Thick coconut milk: 1/2 cup; Curry leaves: 10; Coconut oil: 1 tablespoon; Mustard seeds: 1/4 table spoon; Pomegranate seeds: 1/4 of the pomegranate; Salt to taste

Method: Soak the red cow peas (Vanpayar) for 4-5 hours, dice the pumpkin into small cubes, add green chillies (sliced length wise), salt and the soaked red cow peas to this. Cook it for a few minutes and drain. Add the thick coconut milk and within 2-3 minutes add the thin coconut milk too. Allow it to boil. After 5-7 minutes, take it off the flame and add three tablespoons of thick coconut milk. Add salt, if necessary.

Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the seeds start crackling, turn off the flame and add these to the dish. For garnishing, pomegranate seeds could be added.

* Recipe for Kaalan, a raw mango and yoghurt curry, by chef Jinson Varghese of Mahabelly —

Ingredients: 1 cup peeled green mangoes; 4 slit green chillies; 1/2 cup water; 1 teaspoon salt; 2 tablespoons oil; 1 teaspoon mustard seeds; 1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek; 6 curry leaves; 3 red chillies cut halved; 4 cups plain yoghurt, lightly beaten

For Coconut Paste: 1 cup grated fresh coconut; 1 pinch cumin seeds; 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder; 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

Method: In a medium pan, cook the mango pieces with the green chillies, salt and water until all the water has evaporated. Keep aside. Heat the oil in a small skillet and add the mustard seeds. When they burst, add the fenugreek, curry leaves and red chillies. Add the prepared coconut paste (see above) and saute for a couple of minutes over low heat, stirring continuously, taking care not to brown the mixture. Add the cooked mangoes and yoghurt. Keep stirring over low heat to prevent curdling for 2-3 minutes until the gravy becomes thick. Remove from heat and continue to stir until the Kaalan cools.

* Recipe for Kerala veg stew by chef Rakesh Singh of The Classroom —

Ingredients: 20 ml coconut oil; 0.05 grams ginger; 0.05 grams chopped garlic; 0.05 grams green chilli; 50 grams carrot; 50 grams beans; 50 grams potato; 5 curry leaves; 20 grams onion chop; half tea spoon cumin powder; half tea spoon coriander powder; salt to taste; fresh coriander; 10 grams refined flour

Procedure: Take a saucepan. Add coconut oil in a pan. Then add some chopped onion and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes. Add green chilli, cinnamon stick, bay leave and curry leaf. Add refined flour for texture. Then add coconut milk. Boil on slow flame. When milk boils, then add carrot beans and potato into the small cups. When vegetable is cooked, add salt to taste. In the last step, add lemon juice just before serving.


Study reveals new strategies to control Covid-19 pandemic



Social Distancing in Mizoram

London, July 13 : Strategies for the safe reopening of low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic must recognise that preserving people’s health is as important as reviving the economy, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

In the study, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, the research team examined three community-based exit strategies, and recommended their scopes, limitations and the appropriate application in the LMICs.

The three approaches considered are sustained mitigation, zonal lockdowns and rolling lockdowns. “Successfully re-opening a country requires consideration of both the economic and social costs,” said study lead author Rajiv Chowdhury from the University of Cambridge in the UK.

“Governments should approach these options with a mind-set that health and economy both are equally important to protect – reviving the economy should not take priority over preserving people”s health,” he added.

The study also revealed that strategies need to be based on the local epidemic growth rate at the time, social and economic costs, existing health systems capabilities and detailed plans to implement.

Sustained ”mitigation-only” approaches such as those adopted in the UK, Switzerland and other European countries, involve basic prevention measures such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and the isolation of positive cases after testing.

Zonal lockdowns approach involves identifying and ”cordoning off” new outbreak clusters with a high number of cases, keeping contact between zones and containing the disease within a small geographic area.

However, the authors point out that any successful implementation of zonal lockdown requires regular data feedback operations in real-time to identify hotspots, including information on newly confirmed cases, updated region-specific reproduction and growth rates, and deaths by age.

Additionally, control of transmission within zones may be an enormous undertaking. For example, in India, where this approach has been employed, the infection size within a cordoned zone can be as high as 100-200 times outside the zone.

Intermittent rolling lockdowns are now advocated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in various LMICs. These involve implementing strict social distancing for a set number of days before a period of relaxation. Rolling lockdowns may be particularly useful in LMICs with dense populations, where this is a high potential for contact, weak health systems and poor contact tracing.

“These three strategies should not be considered as one or the other. A country should further adapt and could combine them as needed,” the authors wrote.

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Beauty salons, nail bars and tattoo shops reopen for first time in four months

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that there were more than 100 “local actions” taken across the country each week to stem fresh outbreaks.



Beauty salons Tatoo

London, July 13 : Beauty salons, nail bars and tattoo shops in England reopened on Monday after a four-month closure due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Spas, massage studios and physical therapy businesses will also be able to welcome customers again from Monday, reports the Metro newspaper.

But businesses will be required to meet coronavirus guidelines, and restrictions on treatments which involve work directly in front of the face will not be available.

Government guidance states that face waxing, eyelash treatments, make-up application and facials should not be provided because of the greater risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The relaxation comes as around 200 workers at a farm in Herefordshire were quarantined following a fresh COVID-19 outbreas.

Some 73 positive cases of the virus have been confirmed among workers at vegetable producer AS Green and Co, which is based in the village of Mathon, near Worcester.

A joint statement from Public Health England (PHE) Midlands and Herefordshire Council said employees were being asked to remain on the farm during the period of isolation, the Metro newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that there were more than 100 “local actions” taken across the country each week to stem fresh outbreaks.

As of Monday, the UK reported a total of 291,154 coronavirus cases, with 44,904 deaths.

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Pope ”pained” by Hagia Sophia mosque decision

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the first Muslim prayers would be held in Hagia Sophia on July 24.




Hagia Sophia Mosque

Vatican City, July 13 : Pope Francis has said he”s “pained” by Turkey”s decision to convert Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia back into a mosque.

Speaking at a service in the Vatican, the Roman Catholic leader added that his “thoughts go to Istanbul”, the BBC reported.

Hagia Sophia was built as a Christian cathedral nearly 1,500 years ago and turned into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of 1453.

The Unesco World Heritage Site became a museum in 1934 under Turkish Republic founding father Ataturk.

But earlier this week a Turkish court annulled the site”s museum status, saying its use as anything other than a mosque was “not possible legally”.

Pope Francis confined himself to a few words on the issue: “My thoughts go to Istanbul. I think of Santa Sophia and I am very pained.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the first Muslim prayers would be held in Hagia Sophia on July 24.

Shortly after the announcement, the first call to prayer was recited at the site and broadcast on all of Turkey”s main news channels. Hagia Sophia”s social media channels have also been taken down.

Islamists in Turkey have long called for it to become a mosque again but secular opposition members opposed the move.

Defending the decision, President Erdogan stressed that the country had exercised its sovereign right, and he added that the building would remain open to all Muslims, non-Muslims and foreign visitors.

The Pope is one of several religious and political leaders worldwide who have criticised the move.

The World Council of Churches has called on President Erdogan to reverse the decision. The Church in Russia, home to the world”s largest Orthodox Christian community, immediately expressed regret that the Turkish court had not taken its concerns into account when ruling on Hagia Sophia.

It has also drawn condemnation from Greece, and Unesco said its World Heritage Committee would now review the monument”s status.

One of Turkey”s most famous authors, Orhan Pamuk, told the BBC that the decision would take away the “pride” some Turks had in being a secular Muslim nation.

“There are millions of secular Turks like me who are crying against this but their voices are not heard,” said Pamuk.

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