Changing tastes brew bitter times for Japan’s beer makers

From beer gardens on the rooftops of department stores to fireworks extravaganzas to quiet, wood-paneled craft breweries, Japanese seem to quaff an awful lot of beer in the summer.

But beer consumption has been tanking for five years straight in Japan, as the younger generation shies away from the obligatory after-work drinking that was a trademark of the dark-suited heroes of Japan Inc.

Japan’s annual per capita beer consumption fell about 7 per cent between 2010 to 2015, according to a study by major beer maker Kirin.

The future outlook is for more of the same. It’s such an obvious trend that there’s a Japanese phrase to describe it, “beerooh banareh,” or “leaving beer,” a gradual decline that hit after beer drinking peaked in about the mid-1990s.

In this photo, a server pours a beer into a glass at a beer restaurant Spring Valley Brewery in Tokyo. Major beer maker Kirin opened a craft brewery – still relatively uncommon in Japan – in Tokyo’s fashionable Daikanyama district two years ago: Spring Valley Brewery. Kirin’s brewery has a western menu, spacious terrace and beers with names like DayDream and Jazzberry that are brewed behind transparent walls. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Younger Japanese tend to be more independent-minded than their baby boom generation parents or their grandparents, who saw going out for beers with their office bosses and co-workers as a call of duty.

Brews also are losing out in Japan to a wide variety of other liquors, from wines to “kanchuhai” fruity cocktails, whiskies and cheaper beer-like drinks, and of course, sake.

Naturally, all this worries Haruhiko Matsuba, marketing manager for Asahi Breweries, the industry leader in Japan.

“The custom is getting lost,” said Matsuba, who says he enjoys a beer or two a day. “Beer can offer joy, happiness and smiles, and so everyone should try beer again.”

Dangerously cheesy? Cheetos pop-up restaurant opens in NYC

A three-day pop-up restaurant devoted to Cheetos, yes Cheetos, opened in Manhattan on Tuesday, with every table already booked with diners ready to pay between $8 and $22 for such creations as Cheetos meatballs, Cheetos crusted fried pickles, Cheetos tacos, Mac n’ Cheetos and even Cheetos cheesecake.

“I worked hard to incorporate Cheetos into every dish and not just say, `Oh here’s a dish with a sprinkle of Cheetos on top,”’ said spiky-haired celebrity chef Anne Burrell, who was given the task of coming up with the menu for The Spotted Cheetah. “I really tried to think about the flavor of each Cheeto and what would pair really well with it.”

But the question seemingly on everyone’s orange-coated lips is: Why?

Makers of the popular puffed cornmeal snack say the pop-up was the deliciously shrewd result of whimsy and marketing after executives noticed Cheetos fans posting their own recipes incorporating the crunchy treat on social media.

“So we thought it was a great trend to try to capitalize on and bring to life an idea, a concept like this really that spoke to how you could use Cheetos in such a variety of different ways,” said Ryan Matiyow, a marketing manager for Frito-Lay, a unit of PepsiCo. He said the 300 reservations available for the eatery’s three nights sold out within six hours.

Food Network star Anne Burrell shows off some of her creations for an all-Cheetos menu for a three-day pop-up restaurant, during a press preview, Tuesday Aug. 15, 2017, in New York. Menu includes, Cheetos meatballs, Cheetos crusted fried pickles, Cheetos tacos, Mac n’ Cheetos and Cheetos cheesecake. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Burrell, host of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” and other programs, showed off some of her dishes as her staff scrambled to prepare the food and set places in a dining room decorated with swaths of orange fabric and images of brand mascot Chester the Cheetah.

Crumbled Cheetos are part of the breading on chicken Milanese and fried green tomatoes. A garnished Cheetos beverage accompanies a grilled cheese, tomato and bacon sandwich that gets an extra crunch from Cheetos. Desserts feature the cinnamon sugar Cheetos variety known as Sweetos.

Melissa Abbott, a vice president of the Hartman Group, a consumer research firm, said the Cheetos restaurant is partly a reaction to the emphasis on health in today’s food culture.

How walnuts can help control appetite

Consuming walnuts activates an area in the brain associated with regulating hunger and craving for food, says a new study.
The findings, published online in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, shed light on how walnuts discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness.
“We don’t often think about how what we eat impacts the activity in our brain,” said the study’s first author Olivia Farr from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC) in Boston in the US.
“We know people report feeling fuller after eating walnuts, but it was pretty surprising to see evidence of activity changing in the brain related to food cues, and by extension what people were eating and how hungry they feel,” Farr said.
To determine exactly how walnuts quell craving for food, Farr and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe how consuming walnuts changes activity in the brain.
The scientists recruited a small group of volunteers with obesity to live in BIDMC’s Clinical Research Centre (CRC) for two five-day sessions.
During one session, volunteers consumed daily smoothies containing 48 grams of walnuts.
benefits of walnuts, health benefits of walnuts, health benefits of eating walnuts, indian express, indian express newsDuring their other stay, they received a walnut-free but nutritionally comparable placebo smoothie, flavoured to taste exactly the same as the walnut-containing smoothie.
As in previous observational studies, participants reported feeling less hungry during the week they consumed walnut-containing smoothies than during the week they were given the placebo smoothies.
Functional MRI tests administered on the fifth day of the experiment gave the team a clear picture as to why.
While in the machine, study participants were shown images of desirable foods like hamburgers and desserts, neutral objects like flowers and rocks and less desirable foods like vegetables.
When participants were shown pictures of highly desirable foods, fMRI imaging revealed increased activity in a part of the brain called the right insula after participants had consumed the five-day walnut-rich diet compared to when they had not.
“This is a powerful measure,” said Christos Mantzoros, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“When participants eat walnuts, this part of their brain lights up, and we know that’s connected with what they are telling us about feeling less hungry or more full,” Mantzoros said.
This area of the insula is likely involved in cognitive control and salience, meaning that participants were paying more attention to food choices and selecting the less desirable or healthier options over the highly desirable or less healthy options.

Indian cuisine needs to be revived: Chef Ajay Chopra

Chef Ajay Chopra, who has explored forgotten recipes and delicacies from different northern states of India for a new season of food show “Northern Flavours”, feels Indians have started valuing international cuisine over their own. He says it’s imperative to revive the love for Indian food. “When ‘Northern Flavours’ was conceived, the makers of the show came to me with the idea and I was completely thrilled. It happened exactly when chef Manjit Singh (alumni chef) and I were talking about the downfall of the Indian cuisine, particularly in India and how it needs to be revived.

“People in India have started to explore much more foreign food than our own food. That’s where this whole thought process came and I was very kicked about the show, and said, ‘Let’s do it’,” Chopra told IANS.

With “Northern Flavours”, which went on air earlier this week on Living Foodz channel, the attempt is “to glorify Indian food”.

“It was to gets it glory a hundred years back but somehow it never happened. I am just being a torchbearer of our own cuisine, which is so great and full of flavour. It just didn’t get the right platform,” Chopra added.

For the show, the team explored foodie delights like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Delhi. Chopra describes it as a learning experience wherein he discovered new recipes and techniques.

“In the last 21 years of my career, every day has been a learning one. But during the show, I came across Rawat’s kachoris (from Jaipur). There were spots on the kachoris and ideally, a chef would discard it. I got to know that he (chef there) would sprinkle cold water on them before frying, and that’s what made them special.

indian cuisine, food and wine news, lifestyle news, indian express news“I never knew it. That’s why every single time I travel or go out, my eyes are always open to see and explore new things that our country has to offer,” said Chopra, who has shows like “Hi Tea” and “Chop Chop Chopra” to his credit.

He even co-hosted and judged MasterChef India’s Season 1 and 2.

As a chef who worked as the head of the kitchen brigade for globally recognized hotel chains Marriott and Starwood, was it difficult for him to showcase recipes which had tough and cumbersome techniques behind them?

“If something is cooked on coal for two days, we are not going to replicate that on television, but at the same time we get the essence of it. We try to understand what exactly happens. If a recipe requires slow cooking, we will take that essence… We might not cook it on smoke, but we will cook it for six hours. We do the research and then show it on TV as people need to replicate the same things at home.” Chopra said.

Going forward, the chef said he wants to keep exploring Indian food and also try to bring “Northern Flavours 3”.

Mangoes, peaches, watermelons make the Indian summer bearable: A look at how they came to be so popular

In 1909, the American botanist David Fairchild received a box of seeds and a fruit from one Mr Mustoe of the Archaeological Park of Lahore. The parcel was accompanied by a letter that described the properties of the fruit in question. “The bael tree is common in the greater part of India and its wood is one of the few woods prescribed in the Hindu scriptures for sacrificial fires”. The letter added that the bael fruit is “greatly valued for eating by the natives but can scarcely be palatable to the white man except for its medicinal properties”.

The letter went on to describe the medicinal properties of the bael in great detail. “The unripe fruit is boiled or roasted, the pulp is a laxative and when mixed with milk or water, or both, makes a healthy coolant and agreeable sherbet. To make this, the natives take the pulp out of the fruit, then pass it through a strainer and add it to a glass of milk or water”.

The properties of the bael evoked much interest among colonial horticulturists in India. In the Dictionary of Economic Products of India (1890), the botanist George Watt writes that “no drug has been better appreciated by the inhabitants of India than bael”. “The unripe fruit is cut up and sun dried and, in this form, is sold in the bazaars in whole or broken slices”. “The ripe fruit is sweet, aromatic and cooling”.

The colonists were, however, quick to note that the taste for bael was an acquired one. In the Manual of Gardening in India (1863), Thomas Augustus Firminger writes that “the interior of the bael contains a soft yellow substance of peas pudding-like consistency, intermingled with a limpid kind of slime, a very fragrant scent and a flavour very agreeable to those accustomed to it. The high reputation it bears for its medicinal properties make many partake of it and those who do so become remarkably fond of it.”

The interests of the colonial botanists and horticulturists in the bael was, however, rarely matched by most other Westerners. Watt quotes one Surgeon Major HJ Hazlitt of the Nilgiri Hills as decrying the fruit as “unpleasant”. Fairchild’s efforts to introduce the bael to America failed. The bael, by most accounts, remained a uniquely Indian summer fruit till health food aficionados globally became alive to its virtues.

In Odisha, a drink of the bael panna heralds the new year. Mashed bananas, grated coconuts, jaggery, mixed with the bael juice, garnished with cardamom, clove, nutmeg and a tiny amount of camphor is first offered to the gods and goddesses before being consumed by pitcherfuls. The drink gives the Odia new year one of its names: Pana Sankranti.

LycheeRipe and luscious: Lychees arrived via China. (Source: Jaipal Singh)

Summer is the time for fruits in the country. The messy bael, succulent mangoes, fleshy peaches, luscious plums, dripping watermelons and several other fruits make the difficult Indian summer bearable. The bael, for example, finds a mention in the Ayurveda as a wonder product of sorts. Its juice rejuvenates in the scorching weather. The leaves, bark and seeds of the bael tree are laden with medicinal properties. Its stickiness and bitter aftertaste means the fruit works brilliantly as a marmalade. Fairchild and Watt’s early endeavours to introduce the product to the Western taste are bearing fruit more than a century later, with niche heath food outfits extolling the virtues of the bael. Its anti-fungal qualities ensure that bael, and bael products, last longer on the shelves.

Activities of kings, nobles, farmers, traders and scientists have contributed to the oeuvre of Indian summer fruits. The Grand Trunk Road once was lined with mulberry trees by the Mughal rulers and their feudatories. For weary travellers, the juicy elongated fruit would be a source of instant energy and nutrition. In kitchens in several parts of the country, women would soak the fruit and boil the pulp, making a sherbet out of it. But mulberry is fast disappearing from common people’s plates in India.

Another summer fruit undergoing a change of sorts is the jamun. The14th century Moroccan traveller Ibn Batuta describes the fruit as “abundant” around Delhi. The British chose the jamun trees as a part of the foliage for Lutyens’ Delhi. Both sides of the capital’s Rajpath became home to canopies of trees of the purple leathery fruit. But jamun-sellers in the capital are becoming increasingly scarce and pushcarts selling the fruit with the grape-like texture and a sharp tang are rarer fixtures in Indian bazaars. The jamun, though, is in vogue in the health food market. Low on calories, they are a rich source of proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, flavonoid manganese, potassium, phosphorous and calcium.

Canadian ‘inventor’ of the pineapple-topping ‘Hawaiian’ pizza dies at 83

This year has seen many a debate on pineapple topping on the pizza. From Iceland’s President vehemently saying that the pineapple on pizza should be banned, to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay concurring with the idea. Well, a Canadian man who is widely credited with inventing the pineapple-topped pizza died at the age of 83.

According to an obituary by his family, Sam Panopoulos had been in hospital in London, Ontario, when he died suddenly on Thursday (June 8). Panopoulos was born in Greece and emigrated to Canada in 1954. He told numerous news media that he made his first ‘Hawaiian’ pizza in 1962 at the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham, Ontario, after wondering if canned pineapple might make a tasty topping.

pineappple pizza, pineappple hawaiian pizza inventor dead, Sam Panopoulos, canadian pineappple pizza, Gordon Ramsay, Justin Trudeau, indian express, indian express newsHis claim wasn’t undisputed, as there are claims that the pizza could have been invented in Australia, while some say its origin is in a German dish with ham, cheese and pineapple on toast.

But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted a tweet in support of Panopoulos’ claim by referring to the dish “a delicious southwestern Ontario creation”. He was responding to a joking suggestion by Iceland’s President Gudni Johannesson that pineapple pizzas should be banned.

One of Panopoulos’ sons described his father as a dedicated family man who “wasn’t looking to get famous”. Bill Panopoulos said he didn’t want to comment further, adding “the Hawaiian pizza story and his immigrant story were his to tell”. Panopoulos’ funeral is set for Monday.

Food that tastes so nice, you say it twice: Burma Burma

Myanmar, or erstwhile Burma, is a country shaped by many influences and Burmese food as opposed to its common perception of it being an ineligible straggler in the hierarchy of Asian cuisines is actually a beautiful medley of cultural mix. Influenced by rich flavours from countries such as India, China and Thailand, Burmese cuisine has its own unique qualities – it is richer than authentic Chinese food but less spicy than Indian and Thai cuisines.

Considering a country that was isolated for almost 50 years owing to a repressive military dictatorship, the tide is slowly turning in the golden land in terms of food culture and has even crossed borders. Now, more and more people are experimenting with the hidden glory of its diverse and interesting culinary traditions. In India, two friends, Ankit Gupta and Chirag Chhajer, are responsible for starting the Burmese food revolution. The duo who started out with the restaurant Burma Burma in Mumbai three years ago, followed by a lucrative franchise in Gurugram – the only dedicated Burmese eatery in Delhi NCR other than Burmese Kitchen which takes orders for home delivery – has got an overwhelming response over the years, even though they serve only vegetarian fare. Now, Burmese cuisine has a lot of seafood influence, especially in the coastal towns of Mawlamyine, Thandwe, Ngwesaung and in the villages of Inle Lake but the decision to serve veg food is purely from a business perspective.

Burmese cuisineBurmese cuisine is richer than authentic Chinese food but less spicy than Indian and Thai cuisines.

How did he come across this idea? Gupta decided to tap into the Indian market as he knew that the food is easily adaptable since it has a lot of similarities to Indian food. Also, his life has had a major Burmese influence as his mom is Burmese. She had come to Mumbai in the early 1960s, when regional insurgencies escalated in the country. To cut the long story short, it was to escape the military junta’s tyranny and their unendurable attitude towards pro-democracy movements.

So, what exactly do they have to offer? There are dishes from the state of Kachin like the Kachin Style Dried Mustard Soup which instantly wakes you up owing to its umami flavour, Khowsuey from the Shan State and other delicacies which trace its roots back to Bagan, Chin, Rakhine, Yangon, and Inle Lake. There is also the hot favourite Mohinga, a dish made of rice noodles in a rich broth of onions, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass, topped with deep-fried fritters of banana stem. Considered by many as a national dish, it is eaten at breakfast in Myanmar, or any other time during the day, really. We tried it out at Burma Burma and loved it. If you ask us, it can easily pass off as a breakfast of the champions as it’s really wholesome.

While we were enjoying sour and savoury dishes with the rest of the world trying to catch up with Burmese cuisine, we asked head chef Ansab Khan if the food is authentic or has it been modified to suit the Indian palate, to which he said, “80-90 per cent of the menu is very close to what you get in Burma; the core ingredients of the dishes are something we source from there.”

Hyderabad’s ‘haleem’ a foodies’ delight during Ramadan!

Biryani may be Hyderabad’s signature dish, but the world-famous delicacy takes a back seat during Ramadan! Yes, during the holy month, haleem, a porridge-like dish made of wheat, lentils and meat is all there is on foodies’ minds. Such is the preference for haleem during Ramadan that no other dish even comes close in terms of popularity, taste and sale. To just give you an idea, the sale of haleem during Ramadan last year fetched over Rs 500 crore. Unbelievable, isn’t it?

Although the mouth-watering dish is a regular on the menu in many Muslim weddings and is also available around the year at a few city hotels, it’s only during the fasting month that it is in great demand. It’s not just the Muslims but people from other communities as well eagerly await Ramadan to relish their favourite dish.

Young techies can be seen savouring the delicacy at many outlets of major hotels. Thousands of customers throng outlets across the city from around 5 p.m. till well past midnight to taste haleem. Those travelling abroad or to different destinations within the country don’t forget to pick up a few packets of haleem for their relatives and friends.

‘Bhattis’ or brick-and-mud ovens in front of hotels across Hyderabad are a common sight during the holy month. And so are chefs engaged in the laborious process of making the sumptuous dish in large vessels cemented on the traditional ovens. They can be seen pounding the meat in vessels with large wooden poles. The entire cooking process, which takes 10 to 12 hours, is done on firewood.

Haleem is originally an Arabic dish, which is said to have come to India via Iran and Afghanistan. “The Legendary Cuisine of Persia”, a highly acclaimed cookbook, traces the origin of haleem to the 6th century Persian king Khusrow.

A chef from Yemen is said to have first prepared the dish, also called “harees” or “harissa” in Arab countries, for the then Nizam of Hyderabad in 1930. Subsequently, some Irani hotels started selling it here. Over the decades, the syrupy dish was Indianised with the addition of local spices, dry fruit, clarified butter or “desi ghee” and the unique style of cooking.

From star hotels and popular food joints to small eateries, almost everyone prepares haleem, which is preferred for breaking the fast due to its energising nature, high nutritional value and soothing porridge-like texture. Cooks say the extensive preparation that goes into making of the delicacy starts early in the morning. After meat mixed with chillis, garlic, and ginger is tenderised by cooking, wheat is added, followed by lentils, spices like cardamom and cumin, cashew nuts, almonds, cooking oil, desi ghee and other ingredients.

biryani, bhattis, hyderabad, hyderabadi biryani, haleem, harees, Indian express, Indian express newsAs the “Iftar” time approaches, dozens of workers start packing or serving piping hot haleem garnished with special spicy “shorba” or meat broth, caramalised onions, coriander, and slices of lemon. While haleem was originally made with mutton or beef, it’s now available in other variants — chicken, fish, and even vegetarian.

From old hotels like Madina in the old city to Sarvi, Paradise, Shah Ghouse, all claim to have their own unique taste.

Hyderabad residents say the credit for reviving the popularity of haleem goes to Pista House, a bakery which made a modest beginning in the mid-90s. With aggressive and innovative marketing, it became the biggest maker of haleem in the city. The brand has since gone global with outlets in the United States, Oman and Dubai.

In 2010, it succeeded in getting Geographical Indication Status (GIS) for Hyderabadi haleem, making it the only non-vegetarian Indian dish to get this recognition.

Priced at Rs 160 per plate (300 gram), Pista House’s haleem this Ramadan is available at over 225 outlets across Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Vijayawada, and Kadapa, besides all major towns in Telangana.

Pista House, which also offers an innovative “diet haleem” and “organic haleem”, was this month invited by the European Union Intellectual Property Office to showcase Hyderabadi haleem at the Thailand Food Exhibition ‘THAIFEX 2017’ in Bangkok.

“It is a rare honour and great recognition for us,” Pista House owner MA Majeed said.

Now, gluten-free beer made from teff grains

Scientists have developed gluten-free beer made from teff, a small cereal native to Ethiopia,providing an alternate beverage option to people who are allergic to the protein complex. Researchers from University of Perugia in Italy examined, for the first time, the potential of a variety of teff called Witkop as a raw material for malting and brewing.

They examined the Witkop teff malting process, in which grains are steeped, germinated and dried, to determine the optimum conditions. The team found that Witkop teff took longer to malt than barley, and that the teff had different enzymes to break down sugars than barley. Witkop teff grains have potential as a raw material for beer production but would likely require custom malting equipment on an industrial scale, researchers said.

Gluten based sensitivities impact millions of people each year, leading to a dramatic rise in gluten-free food products on grocery store shelves. According to the US Celiac Disease Foundation, one percent of the global population has celiac disease, which results in the immune system attacking the small intestine when gluten is consumed and currently, no medicinal treatments are available. The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Eating walnuts may help control appetite: Study

Individuals who regularly consume walnuts, salmon and canola oil — rich in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) — are likely to experience hormonal changes that can control appetite and make them feel less hungry, a study has shown.

The study found that consuming a diet high in PUFAs caused a significant decrease in fasting ghrelin — a hormone that increases hunger.

Further, a PUFA rich diet also caused significant increase in peptide YY (PYY) — a hormone that increases fullness or satiety.

“Appetite hormones play an important role in regulating how much we eat,” said lead researcher Jamie A. Cooper, from the University of Georgia.

“These findings tell us that eating foods rich in PUFAs, like those found in walnuts, may favourably change appetite hormones so that we can feel fuller for longer,” Cooper added.

For the study, detailed in the journal Nutrition, the team enrolled 26 healthy men and women (ages 18-35) who were placed on a seven-day diet high in PUFAs or a control diet consisting of a typical American eating pattern.

The PUFA-rich diet included whole foods such as walnuts, Alaska salmon, tuna, flaxseed oil, grape-seed oil, canola oil, and fish oil supplements. All meals were provided by the researchers.

The control diet was comprised of 7 per cent polyunsaturated fat, 15 per cent monounsaturated fat and 13 per cent saturated fat, compared to the PUFA-rich diet which was 21 per cent polyunsaturated fat, 9 per cent monounsaturated fat, and 5 per cent saturated fat.

The participants experienced increases in PYY while fasting and after consuming a meal. These types of hormone changes imply better appetite control, the researchers said.