Indian Dolls and Making your Herbs Last Longer


My sister has the unenviable task of finding an Indian doll. Not just any Indian doll. A doll who is just like Shanti from Jungle Book 2. My daughter wants one. Apparently the Barbie invasion has been successful. Whenever she’s asked for an Indian doll, she’s been shown the Indian likeness of Barbie. Need I mention that my sister lives in Bombay, India?!

I know I promised more Handy Tips, so here is the next one that has saved me a lot of heart-ache.

Handy Tip #2: Keeping your herbs fresh longer

Ever since I moved to the US, I’ve always choked on the prices of herbs. A measly bunch of limp cilantro for 79 cents or about 15 sprigs of mint for over $2.50. To make matters worse, the herbs didn’t last very long. I thought Devon Street was my answer. I got 4 plump bunches of cilantro for a dollar. I got three times as much mint for half the price. But guess what, it didn’t last too long either. A trip to Devon was not such a frequent occurrence either. As I fretted, a vase of rich pink gladioli caught my eye. These glads which were a product of my feeble attempts at gardening lasted over 3-4 weeks in a vase. Yup. You got it.


Put those babies in a tall container or glass that is half-filled with water, throw a grocery bag loosely over the leaves and tie it around the container and refrigerate. Every time you pull it out to use some of those fresh luscious leaves, make it a point to change the water.

I now have fresh cilantro and fresh mint in my refrigerator for weeks!

Update: I decided to research a little bit on Keeping Herbs Fresh and came up with the following documents:

Caring for Fresh Herbs
The exception is fresh basil, which may blacken in the refrigerator; instead, store it in the same way, but do not refrigerate.

Herb Helper has a great alternative: Wrap in a barely damp paper towel and place in a baggie. What I loved in this article was:
The best way to have a steady supply of fresh herbs is, of course, to grow them yourself.

Cleaning and Storing Fresh Herbs has some neat tips on how to wash your herbs although the author does not think it's a great idea to stand them in water and refrigerate.

How long can you expect to keep those fresh herbs
fresh? Basil will last on the counter top for up to
31 days. In the refrigerator, chervil stays fresh for
8 days, chives for 9, cilantro up to 14, dill for 9,
parsley up to 21, and tarragon for up to 17 days.

I've had my mint going for over 3 weeks now with no loss of flavor. I pluck the leaves at the first sign of any blackening and change the water as soon as the color changes. I use cilantro and mint at least every other day so it's not a big deal to clean it up before it goes back into the refrigerator. I've had cilantro last for over 4 weeks. I use fairly stable wide-based plastic containers - like the large Country Crock tubs or the 32oz Dannon containers. I usually store mint in smaller containers. I have never had a spill thus far and it's rare for my refrigerator to be anywhere near empty.

Update: I made Spicy Jeera Chicken yesterday with chicken tenders. It was delicious. I’ve updated my Spicy Jeera Chicken page with a picture of it.

Ready to Puff Roti from Pillsbury

My First IFR Product Review
Rating: Yuk

Pillsbury Ready to Puff Roti

So I got all excited the other day when I saw the "Ready to Puff Roti" in the freezer of my favorite Indian grocery store. A pack of 6 frozen rotis for $1.49 was not a bad deal at all. I usually order 100 rotis for $20 and freeze them in packs of 10. They reheat very well in the microwave and are almost as good as freshly made rotis. So these Pillsbury rotis at 25 cents a piece sounded great especially if they "puffed" up like the one on the package.

With salivary glands in check, we made it home very eager to try these rotis. Maybe I was just too excited and it was not warranted. But tell me, who wouldn't be ecstatic about not having to knead the dough, roll out about 12 rotis, roast them and clean-up the mess on the counter - and in my case, on the floor. My 6 year old loves to make rotis with me. She has her own latna (or belan) and half of the flour goes straight to the floor. "It's because of gravity, Mumma!" Sure. Why not get Newton to come and clean up?!
The Roti that did not

The RTP Roti was a major disappointment. It darkened in color as soon as it thawed on the tava (open griddle). It really was an ugly shade of brown. And out of 6 rotis, only one puffed up completely. There were two others that tried their best to meet the promise of the packaging. Of the remainder, two had holes or had a tear in the middle and the other just didn't even make an attempt and lay there limp and uninterested. Now I think I know how to make rotis "puff" - I have an almost 100% success rate (Ok! 90%!!)

Dejected, we sat at the table to a dinner of dark brown rotis with fabulous guvar that I had made. The taste? More like after-taste. The texture was too smooth to be appealing. They weren't as bad as the rotis we got in our hostel where it was a case of "I-hold-and-you-tear" to get a decent sized scrap to dunk in the watery dal or wrap around some awful subzi. But they're just not worth it. I won't be buying these again, that's for sure. I'd rather make my own and clean up the mess.