Gadget: Off-the-stove Slow Cooking Device

The Hotpot

How It Works

Read more at Design Boom . . . . .

Tortillas with Grilled Shrimp


1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground chili powder
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
32 medium raw shrimp, deveined and shells removed
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 tomato, seeds removed and thinly sliced
handful cilantro leaves
8 6-inch whole-wheat soft tortillas


  1. Preheat barbecue to high.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together cumin, chili powder, garlic, lime juice and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Add shrimp to the mixture, and cook for 3 minutes on each side until shrimp are cooked through and pink.
  4. Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, mix together red onion, avocado, tomato and cilantro. Divide them among eight tortillas.
  5. Top each tortilla with 4 grilled shrimp and fold over. Place 2 tacos on each of four plates and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Best Health magazine

Food History: Curry’s Global Journey

Markus Bell wrote . . . . .

I hadn’t been in Japan more than a few weeks before I was hooked on Japanese karē raisu, or curry rice. It was the rich, unmistakable smell that seeped under doorways and filled the undercover shopping markets of Osaka that first caught my attention.

I followed the scent down an alley and into a tiny eatery not large enough for more than a half-dozen customers. Behind the wooden counter perched two large vats — the source of the seductive aromas. In one, the potbellied chef told me, is spicy curry. In the other is sweet curry. Perhaps noticing my indecisiveness, he picked up two small, wooden bowls and dished out a ladle of spicy into one bowl and a ladle of sweet into the other. “Try,” he commanded.

My taste buds burst into life. Obediently, I took a scoop of the sweet sauce. The velvety texture of the piping hot substance wrapped itself around my tongue and left me wanting more. But I hadn’t finished. Unapologetically licking my spoon clean, I plunged it into the spicy sauce and into my mouth. This time my tongue burned.

“Is it too much for you?” the smirking chef asked, almost gleefully. “No, no,” I replied, sucking air into my mouth and reaching for a glass of water. “It just took me by surprise.” Without asking, the chef took a larger bowl and filled it with sweet curry, beef and potatoes. So began my love affair with Japanese karē raisu.

At that time, I was carrying out research in Japan on Osaka’s incipient North Korean community. That evening, when I met my North Korean friends for our customary pork barbecue and beer in Korea town, I recounted my midday culinary adventure.

“Oh, yes,” they agreed. “Japanese curry is good. But until you’ve eaten it on a snowy Pyongyang day, you haven’t lived.”

And there it was. My curiosity was piqued and I had to know: How did curry, ostensibly a product of the Indian subcontinent, make its way onto tables in the most isolated nation on the planet?

The story of curry is emblematic of the early days of colonialism, and the beginnings of what we now simply refer to as globalization. Academics claim that people may have been eating curries as far back as 2,500 B.C., and that it has addictive properties.

The roots of the word “curry” are undecided, with some arguing that it comes from the Old English word “cury,” first used in an English cookbook published in 1390. Ostensibly, “cury” referred to cuisine based on French cuire cooking — meaning to cook, boil or grill. The word gradually became associated with a stew. Others contend it is a derivative of the Tamil word kari, referring to a dish cooked with vegetables, meat and spices.

The “curry-flavored” powder that members of the British colonial administration took home from India became popular in 18th century England. Hannah Glasse published the first curry recipe in English in 1747 in The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy. Her interpretation was more of a “gentle, aromatic stew” than a fiery vindaloo, but it featured curry powder as a key ingredient. In 1810, Sake Dean Mahomet opened Britain’s first curry house, the Hindustan Coffee House. It was a massive failure, but in the years that followed, curry as an English dish re-emerged in restaurants across the United Kingdom. Curry gradually became an accepted part of every British pub menu, perhaps offering balance to an otherwise lackluster English diet.

Anglicized interpretations of Indian cuisines were subsequently taken to Imperial Japan via the Anglo-Indian officers of the Royal Navy and other British subjects in the latter half of the 19th century. By the end of the century, the Japanese navy had adapted the British version of curry, just as the English had earlier Anglicized Indian curry.

In 1872, the first karē raisu recipe was published in a Japanese cookbook, and in 1877 a Tokyo restaurant first offered karē raisu on the menu. Just as it had done in England, curry rapidly became a staple of the Japanese diet. Today, Friday nights onboard the vessels of the Japanese navy are still curry nights. A website of the Japanese Self-Defence Force’s “Family Page” lists its most popular curry dishes with recipes for the public to try. These mouthwatering recipes come with step-by-step cooking instructions and pictures of over 50 different curries popular on Japanese military bases.

In 1968, inspired by the Swedish army’s “pouched sausages,” Japan’s Otsuka Foods Co. launched vacuum-sealed boil-in-a-bag curry. The convenience of these ready-to-eat treats appealed to thrifty students and overworked salarymen. Within a few years, Otsuka Foods’ annual sales topped 100 million packets.

In the 1960s, the Japanese government pressured Koreans, Taiwanese and Chinese — former subjects of the Japanese Empire — to self-deport. At the time, many Koreans in Japan considered North Korea a better option than the U.S.-backed Rhee government in South Korea. Curry followed tens of thousands of migrating Koreans to North Korea. Family who stayed behind in Japan sent tightly packed parcels crammed full of ready-made karē raisu to loved ones in North Korea.

The North Korean government prohibited repatriates from ever returning to Japan. Immigrants from Japan struggled to survive the often-harsh conditions of North Korea. Access to imported karē raisu and other imported food products became a matter of life and death. They used karē raisu as a currency, trading it for local products — kimchi, rice and meat — and strategically gifting it to cadre of the Korean Workers’ Party. The more industrious, daring individuals opened black market curry and noodle stalls operating out of their apartments.

Over dinner in Tokyo, my friend Hye-rim Ko, recently escaped from North Korea, explained that during this time, “We native North Koreans tried to mimic immigrants from Japan. We wanted to dress like them and eat the food they had. We were curious. What they ate was better than our food.” “Native” North Koreans, like Hye-rim, had to rely on immigrants from Japan for a regular fix of curry.

Another friend, Sazuka Tanaka, was among those Japanese “repatriated” to North Korea in 1960. (She later escaped to the south.) In between mouthfuls of fried pork wrapped in perilla leaves, she told me, “I managed a small restaurant in a northern city of North Korea. We served karē raisu and other dishes from Japan. It was a hugely popular place to eat for North Koreans, and I became quite famous for my curry.”

The tastes and smells of curry reminded immigrants from Japan of the home they’d left behind. More importantly, such dishes were a lifeline during the famine that gripped North Korea in the 1990s.

In 2002 Kim Jong Il admitted that North Korea had kidnapped Japanese citizens. The Japanese government reacted by imposing trade sanctions on the DPRK. These sanctions choked off the supply of Japanese curry to North Korea. Consequently, North Koreans living near the Sino-Korean border were forced to turn to China for imports of karē raisu. North Korean defectors I worked with assured me that “fake” karē raisu wasn’t a patch on the real thing. They claimed that it “lacked flavor” and was “made with inferior ingredients.”

Curry is a chameleon of a dish and a well-traveled one at that — from India to Pyongyang, to Tokyo and the NASA space program. In each place, people have adapted and blended it to local tastes, making it one of the world’s most loved dishes. Perhaps this is why many of my friends and I feel such affection for it: Curry, like us, shifts and evolves through its journeys, the cultures it passes through, and the people who love and adopt it.

Source: npr

Crayon Shin-chan Character Foods


The Character

Wearable Defibrillator May be an Alternative to ICD for Some Patients

A wearable automatic defibrillator may be an option for patients who are at risk for life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities but are not good candidates for an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD), according to an advisory from the American Heart Association, published in its Circulation journal.

The light-weight device is worn under street clothes, and, like an ICD, it is designed to provide around-the-clock monitoring of erratic heart rhythms that could result in sudden cardiac death, and when appropriate, provide an electric shock to return the heart to a normal rhythm.

This is the American Heart Association’s first science advisory on wearable defibrillators. Heart rhythm abnormalities, which can increase the risk of sudden cardiac death, are common in people who have recently had a heart attack, undergone procedures to open blocked blood vessels or have cardiomyopathies, which are diseases of the heart muscle.

“For many of these patients, the risk for life-threatening rhythm abnormalities may be temporary, so the wearable cardiac defibrillator could be a short-term alternative to an ICD, which is permanently implanted in patient’s chest,” said Jonathan Paul Piccini, M.D., lead author of the advisory and a cardiac electrophysiologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Other patients who might benefit from a wearable cardiac defibrillator are those who have life-threatening arrhythmias who are in need of an ICD but may not be able to undergo the surgery to implant the device because they have an infection or another contraindication for surgery.

Heart failure patients waiting for a heart transplant may also be candidates for the wearable cardiac defibrillator, particularly if the wait until transplant is expected to be short.

The advisory also notes that there is very little evidence to support systematic use of the wearable defibrillator and randomized clinical trials (like the VEST trial) are needed to determine if wearable defibrillators lead to improved outcomes.

“Although a growing number of patients are being prescribed wearable cardiac defibrillators by their doctors, there have been very few well-designed and completed studies of these devices. Wide spread use of the wearable defibrillator is not advisable because there isn’t enough clinical evidence to support its use, except in a small number of patients with known life-threatening arrhythmias but for whom surgery to implant an ICD is not advised in the short-term,” said Piccini.

The wearable defibrillator, which resembles a fishing vest with defibrillator electrodes, can be adjusted to fit most body types, and if prescribed by a physician, is usually covered by insurance. If the wearable defibrillator detects a life-threatening heart rhythm problem it emits an alarm and vibrates. If the wearer feels normal, they must respond within one minute by pressing a button to indicate they don’t need to be shocked. If they don’t respond, the wearable defibrillator delivers a shock through electrodes that attach to a patient’s chest to help the heart’s rhythm return to normal.

“Unfortunately, patients often find the wearable defibrillator uncomfortable,” Piccini said, adding that this is likely to change as the technology improves.

“As with most new medical technologies, biomedical engineers are working to make them smaller, more lightweight and less burdensome. One company is already developing a self-contained system in a large, self-adhesive plastic bandage that a wearer just sticks on their chest,” Piccini said.

In the meantime, larger, randomized and controlled clinical trials of the wearable defibrillator and similar technologies are critically needed before they are used widely in clinical practice, he said.

Sudden cardiac death is caused by a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system that disrupts its rhythm and suddenly causes the heart to stop beating. It’s not the same as a heart attack, which is caused when blood is blocked from flowing into the heart, damaging heart muscle.

Source: American Heart Association

Today’s Comic