Important and Essential Spices that Have Dominated the Indo Western Dishes

In the indo western cuisines, the fenugreek is one of those ingredients that distinguish between cooking and excellent cooking. In many instances, dishes with fenugreek act as a marker of what people will think when they think of that dish.

The aroma of fenugreek alone has made many people sampling the Indo western dishes to arrive to conclusion that this part of the world has some of the best traditional dishes. The fenugreek used as a spice in food adds to a complex sweetness and a bit of subtle bitterness to sauces that have an amazing taste.

fenugreek gum powder and fenugreek seeds

Action of Aromatics in Food
The use of aromatics in food has been practiced from long ago. Some of the basic aroma plants include the onions and garlic. They are herbs, spices and vegetables that are prepared in an oil base to enhance food flavor. The immersion in oil helps in releasing their inherent aroma and creating the foundational taste and smell to the food.

Fenugreek Combined with Aromatics
The fenugreek is a native crop to Asia and the Mediterranean regions and the seeds and leaves are edible.  When the powder is combined with aromatic compounds and spices, the maple syrup flavor is transformed to resemble the dark caramel, to make the cuisine feel complete. In the catering industry, there is no replacement for the product.

Special Culinary Application of the Fenugreek
In specialized catering, this product can be used both as an herb and spice. The plant leaves can be obtained as frozen, fresh or dried. These are then added as leafy greens in the sauces and curries such as with potatoes. The dried leaves are most preferred as they are able to retain most of the flavor.

The fenugreek seeds are the most preferred of these products. They are usually cooked for a longer period of time and therefore able to infuse well with other aromas and flavors. Most experts therefore prefer starting with the seeds and finishing with the leaves to refresh the spice and enhance the intended flavor.

The bitterness of the seeds is reduced by pan roasting then added to pickle brines and homemade curry powders. The fenugreek gum powder has also been seen to work best with strong flavors such as the coriander, cumin and paprika to create a great sauce. It is worth noting that caution is needed because too much of it may make the food overly bitter.

Nutritional Benefits
In addition to the culinary benefits, there are added benefits from the fenugreek gum powder. The powder is among the naturally occurring polysaccharides sought for usage as release modifiers in drug delivery methods due to their safety, non-toxicity and benefits to the body. The gum power has also been noted to have a positive effect of lowering blood glucose levels.

Bottom Line
The fenugreek gum powder is a popular spice and flavor in various recipes. This popularity has spread from the Asian regions to other global markets. The gum also has other nutritional values and industrial applications including therapeutic applications.

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Pasting Properties of Tamarind Kernel Powder In The Presence Of Other Gums

The tamarind Kernel powder is derived from the Tamarind Indicia L plant. The plant has been grown in more than 50 countries of the world, but the major producing areas are in the Asian countries.

The fruit is a legume pod with a soft and acidic pulp containing a number of seeds. Each pod has at least 12 fully formed seeds. In industrial processing, the seed is a byproduct of the tamarind that has been underutilized.

The seed of the tamarind can act as an important source of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and a source of valuable carbohydrates. The tamarind Kernel powder is also extracted from the seed. This TKP can be roasted and used for jelly formation and making of bread and biscuits. The deoiled tamarind Kernel is used as a dehydrating agent in the manufacturing of various powder products. It is also used as an emulsifying agent.

Properties of Tamarind Kernel Powder

Deoiled Tamarind Kernel Powder
To get the deoiled tamarind, the flakes of the polished seeds are subjected to a process of extraction that reduces the oil level from approximately 7% to a point of approximately 1.25%. This allows the product to be then milled into a fine powder.

Pasting Properties
The chemical properties of the tamarind Kernel powder can be modified and improved through its interaction with other gum forming substances. This is done after understanding the viscosity profile of the powder and its behavior in a liquid combination with other compounds. The changes occur depending on the molecular structure of these hydrocolloids and the interaction of the ions in solution.

Blending of the TKP
There has been increasing interest in use of the tamarind Kernel powder as an additive in food formulations. Decorticated seeds have in the past been used in the jute and textile industries but this is a small fraction of the potential uses of the product. The product has potentially more applications in pharmaceutical manufacturing, confectionaries and even in pet food making.

Research has shown that the tamarind Kernel powder causes a substantial increase in the thickness or the viscosity, despite usage in lower volumes. It can therefore be industrially adopted for use in flour to improve the paste formation properties at a relatively cost effective process.

When this process is effectively controlled, the utilization of this product will help to impart heat stability and retrogradation   in the food, and hence high quality product is obtained.

Bottom Line
There has been limited usage of the tamarind Kernel seed in industry. Usage has been limited to sizing functions especially in the textile industry. With more research on the properties of the plant, there will be increased usage in food related applications. Research has shown that the tamarind Kernel powder can be cost effectively used to increase viscosity in food processed food products. It has been observed that the powder enhances the quality of flour pastes, as well as enhancing the efficiency at which the pastes are manufactured.

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Action of Essential Hydrocolloids in the Food Industry

Hydrocolloids represent a diverse group of long chained polymers which have the ability to form high viscous dispersions in the presence of water. The large number of hydroxyl groups has been seen to increase their affinity to water and they are thus the name hydrophilic colloids. This property has made them have wide ranging uses in various industries including the food industry.

Hydrocolloids in the Food Industry

This is the texture modifying property of these products. This property helps improve the sensory properties of the foods making food products more appealing. This process involves non specific entanglement of disordered polymer chains and is essentially a polymer/solvent interaction. The level of thickening is largely dependent on the type of hydrocolloid used as well as the concentration. In the dilute form hydrocolloid molecules move freely in the solution. When concentration is increased, they start getting into contact with each other and movement becomes restricted. This transition represents the thickening process.

Action as Edible Films and Coatings
The edible film is a thin layer than can be ingested, coated on the food, or used as a barrier between the food and the encasing environment. One of the best examples of edible packaging is the sausages and some types of meat packaging that is never removed during cooking and eating.  In the food industry, hydrocolloids are well used in production of this edible film. The films act as the barrier for moisture ingress, gas, aroma and prevent the migration of lipids. These hydrocolloids, such as the refined guar gum powder will retard moisture entry in the short term and will also be an effective barrier for preventing the oxidation of lipids and other food ingredients.

Fat Replacement
There have been rapid changes in the lifestyles and an increasing awareness of the close connection between our diet and health effects. The emergence of new processing technologies has lead to increase in consumption of readymade foods. Majority of the population is now aware of the dangers of too much fats and oils in the body, commonly referred to as calories rich foods. Hydrocolloids have been seen as excellent fat replacers or “structured water” that give lower calorie foods that have great eating quality. Some of the hydrocolloids used in this process include the xanthan gum which may act as a thickener. Light mayonnaise is combined with guar gum to replace the fats and act as a thickener.

Production of Special Products
Certain specialized products require these special properties of hydrocolloids. In the production of jelly like foods these compounds are highly preferred. They have applications in making of confectionaries to create the jelly like structure. The preferred hydrocolloid is the guar gum and it additionally helps in preventing the crystallization of sugars and fat emulsification to keep them evenly distributed in the food product. The guar gum gels swells in presence of water and some heat. This process, when completed is irreversible hence creating stability in the food. The gel concentration is required to be greater than 1.5% in the water and less than 0.6 % in the food for taste quality. These natural gels are also stable in freeze and thaw conditions.

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