Skip to main content
spicy thai soup

The Basics Of Thai Cuisine

Every now and then, it’s important to shock your tastebuds a bit. Thai cuisine combines Asian recipes, slow cooking techniques and multiple types of curry to make delicious dishes. Two of the most well know Thai dishes are Lamb Massaman and Pad Thai, but these meals just scratch the service of Thai cuisine.

Thai food is one of the only Asian cuisines that use fresh ingredients more often than dried or preserved ingredients. For example, many Thai dishes include fresh veggies steeped in broth made from coconut milk, along with basil, lemongrass or galangal leaves.

What is Thai Cuisine?

Thai food makes up the national cuisine of Thailand. Various elements of Southeast Asia are blended together to create lightly prepared dishes.

Thai fare has a strong aroma and is made from both spicy ingredients and different types of curry, including red, green and Panang. An ingredient that you’ll find in just about every Thai dish and finger food is nam pal, an aromatic, strong fish sauce.

Thai food is well known for its balance of the four main tastes: sour, sweet, bitter and salty. While Thai food may seem like it’s simple to prepare, it’s actually quite complicated to balance these four distinct tastes in one harmonious dish.

Spicy Thai Food

You may notice that Thai food is especially spicy. The chilies that are used in cooking are responsible for that zap of flavor. Chilies became popular in Thailand and the rest of Asia during the 1600s. Today, chili is used in all different forms, including dry, pickled and fresh.

If you’re dining out, you can request that the chef change the amount of spice in a Thai dish to either cool it down a bit or make it even more spicy. Some dishes need a certain amount of spice in order to preserve unstable ingredients.

Sauces and Other Sides

Many Thai foods are served with coordinating sauces and condiments. One popular accompaniment is made up of fish sauce, chopped chilies, garlic and lime juice.

Other popular sides include dried chili flakes, sliced chili peppers floating in rice vinegar, sweet chili sauce or a spicy chili sauce called sriracha. If Thai sauce gets too hot for you, it’s recommended to munch on a piece of cucumber to cool your mouth.

Thai Desserts

While Thai meals most often finish off with fresh fruit, there are a few sweet desserts to choose from, too. Most Thai desserts include coconut, rice and either jasmine or pandan for extra flavor.

Dense Thai cakes or egg-based dishes are heavily influenced by Portuguese cuisine. Thai desserts are often both sweet and savory. Traditionally, desserts are made primarily from fresh fruit. Pieces of fruit that have been cut into different shapes are often served with sticky rice, especially in Western restaurants.

Just like other Thai dishes, Thai desserts often have a strong taste and flavor. Desserts tend to be extremely sweet in order to counteract an overly spicy meal. Coffee, tea or even alcohol are usually consumed along with dessert.

Ryan Berman is a food safety specialist and health researcher. He has been working closely with the restaurant and catering industries to improve health standards. Visit Short Order to find out more about safe food storage.

Image courtesy of

Ordering Jewelry Online: How To Be Sure You’ll Choose the Right Size

Do you love shopping for jewelry online but are never sure if it will fit you well? Well, you’ll be happy to learn that online jewelry retailers are working harder than ever to ensure a proper fit for your purchases of watches, rings, bracelets and other accessories to complement your wardrobe.

Although some pieces come in standard sizes, even these can vary from brand to brand. It can be hard to know the jewelry you wish to buy is the right size for you so we’ve compiled some tips to make your online shopping even easier.

Jewelry shoppingAcross the Board

With more and more online jewelry and accessory retailers you’ll notice they’re showing measurements in both millimeters and inches.

Millimeters offer a more precise measurement, however, when an item is measured this way it can be hard to visualize. There are 25.4 mm to one inch, so a good rule of thumb when you’re trying to visualize the size of a piece is to divide the mm amount by four.

If you don’t have a measuring tape handy and wish to see the approximate size of a gem, a clasp, or other small piece, a typical lead pencil is 6.5 mm across, and most mechanical pencils have leads that are 0.7 mm. This may help you get a visual for some things.

Ring Sizing

There are sites that are measuring across the width of band portion of rings and posting the size so you can adjust your screen to view the pieces in actual size.

Conversely, retailers are also providing printable guides with ruled edges so you can cut them out and use them as templates to measure for their rings.

With these great features made available, it’s so much easier to make sure when your beautiful ring arrives it will glide right onto the finger you ordered it for.

Bracelets and Watches

Standard sizes for bracelets and watchbands are 7″ for ladies 8″ for men. The place to measure your wrist is right under the fattiest part of the palm, and you want to make sure to allow up to an inch for movement.

Since people are so many different sizes, many retailers are now stocking items in varying sizes starting as small as 5″ and increasing in ½” increments.

In the case of a watch purchase, look for the minimum and maximum measurements listed. If they’re leather bands, the holes are made to accommodate all sizes within the range listed. Most companies now offer larger sized bands as replacements if needed.

If the watchband is the metal link type, the retailer will show what sizes it can be custom-fit to, and will either provide that service or suggest where to have it done.

Ready, Set, Order!

With the helpful tips in this article, your next online jewelry and accessory purchase will be easier than ever. Watching for the helpful measurement systems online retailers are putting into place will ensure the fit of your piece is just as good as if you had been there to try it on.

Don’t be disappointed when you receive your jewelry or accessory item; try it on virtually before you buy!

About the author:

Jamie McMackin is a gift shopping extraordinaire. He enjoys finding the best ways to shop online, and sharing his tips and experiences on various shopping and lifestyle blogs. For that person in your life that is hard to satisfy with a gift, why not get them to try a supercar with Wish , an experience they will never forget.

Image courtesy of

Naaree Interviews Feminist And Activist, Ranjana Kumari

By Swarnendu Biswas

In the first few minutes of my first meeting with her, it was quite difficult for me to discern that this extremely unassuming and scholarly lady with a friendly disposition, and ravishingly gorgeous laughter, has across the last three decades been responsible for giving sleepless nights to countless proponents of oppressive and feudalistic mindsets.

In other words, people who wrongly think or thought that their illegal and inhuman deeds would be strong enough to throttle the voice of law and sanity.

Dr Ranjana Kumari

But gradually with the progress of the conversation, as the conviction and the music of inherent leadership in her soft and firm voice began to induce me to open the windows of my insular mind towards a more humane, equitable and just tomorrow, I began to realise that I am privileged to be in the company of a real superwoman.

A superwoman who is feared and hated by a plethora of perpetrators of dowry, domestic violence and honour killings; a thought leader who is the hope of a generation of enterprising women wanting to have their rightful share in the highest legislative body of the country; a compassionate mind who is always there to help the underprivileged and underserved — both among the women and the men.

An Inspiring Presence

I realised that even within a turbulent sea of crowd, she can easily become a leader whenever she chooses to, for minds like her are only born to lead; to show us the way from darkness to light. I also began to understand the steely grit within her compassionate mind.

To name this embodiment of power, passion and compassion, you can call her Dr. Ranjana Kumari, the Director of Delhi-based and internationally renowned NGO, Centre for Social Research.

Today, after three decades of its struggles and successes, Centre for Social Research is probably one of the most powerful pressure groups in India, working towards justice, empowerment and equality of women.

Founded in 1983, CSR’s mission has been to empower the women and girls of India, guarantee their fundamental rights, and increase understanding of social issues from a gender perspective.

The organisation, led by Ranjana’s powerful vision, operates on local, national and regional levels in an effort to enhance the capacities of individuals, communities and institutions for creating a humane, equitable and gender-just society.

Ranjana Kumari was the main player behind the famous signature campaign, which snowballed into an environment of potent activism that eventually induced the Rajya Sabha to clear the Women’s Reservation Bill during the budget session in 2010.

Nandita Das and Dr Ranjana Kumari

I am sure future history would credit her empowering vision and activism, and Sonia Gandhi’s dynamic political leadership, for the smooth passage of the bill in the Rajya Sabha.

I am also sure this bill will be passed through the Lok Sabha soon, to emerge as a real force for women in the near future, despite the vested forces of patriarchy and chauvinism opposing, tooth and nail, the birth of this remarkable legislation.

This bill, when becomes a law, is sure to bring about path-breaking socio-cultural changes from gender perspective, and the fact that Ranjana remains one of the major propelling forces behind the translation of this revolutionary bill to a law gives our society hope for a new tomorrow.

In my subsequent meetings with her, I slowly began to get transfixed by her dynamism and empowering vision, which allowed me to believe that I too could make a change in my own little way, in this unjust world, if I can get to assist a progressive leader and a truly original thinker like her.

To read the rest of this 21-page interview, please get your free membership to the Naaree Academy for Indian Women Achievers.


Manage Your Expectations To Build Healthy And Happy Relationships

By Nancy Katyal

Just go back down memory lane and imagine one of your birthday parties as a child. As the party ends, you eagerly set to that corner in the room where all your gifts are placed.

You get hold of a big bag wrapped in multi colored paper and expect it to be something really nice – possibly that doll house which you had been longing to buy. If it’s not the same thing or nowhere near what you expected, you feel sad. And yes, if it matches your expectation, you feel delighted and happy.

Relationship Expectations

Expectations are everywhere – from the moment you get up in the morning, expecting your newspaper to be there outside at 7 am, expecting our house helpers to be on time, expecting our child to score good grades, owning a nice home, better car, expecting our salaries to be credited in our account in the first week of every month, expecting your spouse to remember your birthday and anniversary date… the list is endless……..

Believe it or not but we all are expecting all the time. All relationship involves expectation. Whether it’s home, at church, at work or even in the neighborhood. But when these expectations are not met, we often find people very disappointed.

Everyone wants to hear the Wow! in meeting the expectation set for them or they set for others and when we are not able to achieve that we all feel sad and disappointed.

We often hear people saying, s/he was not able to meet my expectations…She is always having unrealistic expectations. That’s too much of an expectation.. I expect a lot from you… Or Wow!, you exceeded beyond my expectation.

If I ask you to remember the last time, when someone did not meet your expectation or you were not able to meet someone’s expectation – I’m sure it will not take you long to identify from one of the many examples where actual result or reality was not as expected.

The gap between ‘What is Expected’ and ‘Reality’ creates tension and pain. Wider the gap, more the pain. It is only by bridging this gap, can we effectively manage expectations.

In my view, THE ROOT CAUSE for this is a lack of communication in sharing our expectation with others. Especially with the ones who are dear to us – we think that if they care for us and work with us they would know what our expectations are…or raising the bar for expectation too high every time some meets the required expectation.

Having unrealistic expectations never helps, as it just increases the distance between reality and expectation, leading to stress. Here are some useful tips for effective expectation management in all relationships.

1. Communication

Before you commit to the task, actively communicate with the target group to get a sense of what their expectation are and vice versa . Hence you will not have difficulty in finding what they really want out of you.

2. Setting realistic expectations

If you feel the expectations cannot be achieved in the current form, then request for more time to plan actions( like an extended time line, support mechanism etc ) to make it happen. In some cases you can check it it’s worthwhile doing or not., meaning if it’s not really achievable (unrealistic).

3. Commitment

Meeting the desired expectations require your full commitment to the task once you have well understood and are reasonably sure that it can be achieved or over achieved.

4. Feedback

Please ensure checkpoints on the way to detect and correct expectation reality gaps in the form of feedback.

The good thing about having expectations is that we are able to achieve good outcomes and it energizes us in becoming better each time, so as long as the expectations are communicated well and are realistic, having expectation is always good 🙂

Nancy Katyal is a Soft skills trainer & Storyteller. She conducts workshops on various topics like Storytelling in business, Customer service, Effective communication, Grooming, Etiquette, Body language, Leadership skills and Expectation management.

Image courtesy of

Why Indian Women Must Take Responsibility For Their Own Safety

By Priya Florence Shah

I’m going to take a somewhat controversial stance in this article.

I may get attacked for my views, but I see this whole fracas between men and women as a consequence of the breakdown of communication and the growth of a whole lot of assumptions.

“To Assume = To Make an Ass of You and Me” and that applies to most relationships.

When we assume too much, it leads to a breakdown in communication and to a whole lot of misunderstanding.

So what does that have to do with recurring violence against women and the uproar of women feeling misunderstood and shortchanged in Indian society?

It’s largely the fact that women are assuming one thing about men – that Indian men have changed to accept women’s liberated attitudes. They have not.

And the fact that men are assuming that Indian women have remained the same and are still willing to accept patriarchal diktats. They are not.

And so we have a clash of mindsets. Patriarchy versus liberated women.

And who is winning? No one.

I think it’s time to get realistic. And to accept that little has actually changed.

Yes, this is me. The woman who endorses empowerment and strength.

The mother who hopes that her daughter will grow up in a more enlightened world.

I suggest we get real and accept that Indian society is facing a clash of two worlds.

A world that believes women should be independent and empowered versus a world that believes otherwise. And this is not a women versus men thing.

Just as many men believe in empowering women, as women exist that take comfort in being dependent, and encouraging other women to do the same.

So I believe that it’s time to take stock of where we are, as a society divided in its attitudes. Where regressive and progressive still coexist.

Where progressive women must empower themselves to deal with regressive attitudes.

Where regressive men must be prevented, by law, from imposing their views (and their persons) forcibly on women they perceive as wanton.

Until then, women need to be concerned for their own safety. Depending on the law enforcers to do that for you is not realistic.

Even developed nations have not reached a stage where women can walk safely alone at night without being attacked. The only thing that works better in developed nations is that law-breakers are more quickly convicted.

So until we can create a kinder, more equitable society for ourselves and our children, let’s take responsibility for our own safety.

Teach your daughters how to avoid getting into potentially unsafe situations.

Instead of having unrealistic expectations that men and law enforcers will act in your interest, learn to trust your instincts and know when it is safe and not safe.

A wise guideline I once heard is, if you don’t want to slip, don’t go to slippery places.

Don’t assume that all men will be protectors. Make space for the possibility that there are predators everywhere, even in our homes.

And, in the meantime, continue to campaign for stronger laws, quicker convictions and any measures that will give men the incentive not to attack women or view us as weaker creatures.

Being empowered does not mean that you go out and tempt fate, or that you do things no one in their right mind would do, just to prove a point.

Neither am I trying to excuse those who attack women. I mean to highlight the fact that no one is else is more concerned for your security than you are.


Preventing Rape Requires A Drastic Change In Mindset

By Leena Kundnani

“History made when mindset changed.” ~ Toba Beta, Master of Stupidity

The recent headlines in India’s leading newspapers seem to be screaming for attention towards bringing change in a twisted and perverted society in a so-called developing country. Unfortunately, most of the news that one reads the first thing in the morning in leading newspapers is typically as follows:

woman being attacked“Three rapes in Punjab, sexual assault victim dies in hospital”

“Two minors raped in Panchmahal, Ambaji”

“Raped by 42 men in 40 days. Supreme Court to hear case after eight-year gap”

“2-yr-old rape victim dead”

“19-year-old boy arrested for rape and molestation”

(The above are actual headlines taken from leading newspapers such as Times Of India and websites such as

Sexual violence against women isn’t a new concept. In fact, it has been going on for a long time in the subcontinent (both India and Pakistan).

Women have always been victims of sexual abuse.  In fact, it is sad that India is a ‘so-called’ developing country where a female isn’t safe, either in the womb or outside.

And because the society as a whole has miserably failed to educate and evolve, the male mindset is hard coded into passing the blame on the victim.

In fact, Freda Adler, US author, educator and theorist rightly quotes, “Rape is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused.”

In recent years, India has witnessed an exponential rise in the number of rape cases.  And there seems to be no restriction or constraint on the age of the victim.

So while, at one end, a young girl in her 20’s is raped, on the other hand, a man may lust after a lady in her 50’s or 60’s. And shamefully, the consciousness of some of the men in our country has stooped to such a level, that they don’t even hesitate to sexually exploit innocent girls of 2, 3, 4 or 5 years!

While it is not uncommon to find instances of rape and abuse on a woman being reported in the newspaper, sexual harassment towards women has particularly got a lot of attention in the last two weeks of 2012, following the brutal rape and assault of an innocent 23 year old girl in the capital city.

The spine-chilling and horrendous gang rape and brutalization of the 23-year-old Delhi girl, named ‘Amanat’ or ‘Nirbhaya’ by the media, has sparked an outpour of national grief and ire, and has put a question on everyone’s mind: Will this tragedy finally prompt a change in laws and attitudes toward women, in the world’s largest democracy?

India is screaming for attention and change so that we avoid such incidents in the future. We see such incidents because these men were never taught to respect women, or told that by defiling women’s bodies they do not somehow establish their superiority.

What is needed today is only one thing – a complete change in attitude to women, a change in the legal process of dealing with the crime, and educating and ‘sensitizing’ men about women’s issues.

We need to ensure that the shameful incident of 16th December 2012 is never repeated.  We need to protect the females in the society so that no other girl suffers the fate ‘Nirbhaya’ did.

To avoid such crimes from occurring, we require a change in the criminal justice system. Studies have revealed that only 27 percent of rape accused are actually convicted.  This is perhaps one reason why rapists are not scared.

Social stigma and fear of being shunned and boycotted by society also makes victims reluctant to seek justice. At the same time, the people who are supposed to prevent such incidents from taking place (the police and state agencies) are usually controlled and run by men, creating a closed loop of dominance, violence and subjugation.

We also need to insure that police reforms, which have been waiting to be implemented since the 1980s, are actually implemented rather than just lie on paper.

Quicker trials enabled by more judges and courtrooms are the need of the hour. We also need better investigation procedures as well as ways to find and preserve evidence. Unfortunately, we don’t have proper witness protections programs or efficient prosecutors.

Another way to avoid such incidents from happening is to allow women to sue for money damages and injunctions in civil cases along with criminal cases. We need civil damages for victims of crime in India as it’s an easier forum for her to navigate.

Also on principle, it is only right that the victim of sexual abuse is recompensed for the psychological and physical damage caused to her in addition to have the culprit punished.

And while improved law enforcement is part of the solution, women’s rights advocates believe that alone is not enough. “We can’t only have action, we need to address the root cause of this problem,” says Anne F. Stenhammer, who heads the South Asian chapter of the United Nations women’s agency, UN Women. We first need to alter our mindset.

First in foremost, we need to inculcate a sense of equality in women.  Women’s rights should be taught starting from primary school. Unfortunately, in a patriarchal society, girls are treated as inferior to boys. Women are often given sermons on what to (or what not to) wear, how to behave etc.

These days, even our politicians have known to give sermons on how a woman should dress and behave. This is dangerous as it implies that women must take the blame of abuses of which they are victims. It also goes on to absurdly suggest that women actually invite getting raped.

Women must be made to believe that they are equal to men.  “I think a total change in mindset is necessary.” Ms Stenhammer also believes that several rape cases go unreported, as women in a patriarchal society have restricted liberties, and are discouraged to speak out in their own defense, especially in sensitive issues such as rape.

Teachers and parents should, from a young age, teach boys that there is no difference between them and their counterparts.  Boys should also be given empathy training to show them what it’s like to be a girl.

But in a warped society like ours, where sadly, even women willingly agree to perpetrate crimes like female foeticide, this change in mindset is perhaps a long way away.


Image courtesy of

Rajashree Sundaram

Naaree Interviews Rajashree Sundaram, Founder Of HastaKaushalam

Indian women entrepreneurs in various sectors have been immensely successful, dispelling the old myth that they cannot handle businesses as confidently or assertively as men.

Here, we feature a young Indian woman entrepreneur, Rajashree Sundaram, Founder of HastaKaushalam. In her own words, Rajashree holds a Master’s Degree in Marketing and has worked in HR for several years.

Spiritually, she is inclined to creativity (she sketches, paints and is into lot of crafts) and to be her own master! It was with this idea, aided and abetted by her passion for the Arts, that she founded Hasta Kaushalam in 2002.

Hasta Kaushalam is a handmade jewellery start-up, catering to people through online media including social networks. They take orders from across India. Hasta Kaushalam was formed in 2002 with a slow and steady start.

A friend and she tied up with Bimba – The Art Hut in Chennai, and conducted an exhibition-cum-sale of our sale of their hand made products (which includes handmade candles, tea coasters, jute products and other knick-knacks).

The Hindu graciously featured their ad on their Metro Plus edition. HK (Short for Hasta Kaushalam) has always been her dream ever since its conception. Then, she took a hiatus to focus on her job, till December the 30th of 2011 when HK was revived.

The range of jewelry includes Earrings, Bracelets, Anklets, Neck wear and Antique sets. One can visit them at Each album has been created and sorted out with respect to the Range and has been named in Sanskrit with Meaning, Description and Findings used. They take orders from anywhere in India and are soon planning to go ahead with overseas shipping too!

• What inspired to become an entrepreneur? Did you always love it or was it something you got into?

Having seen my father in business from the time I was born, becoming an entrepreneur was always my dream though I have a short career history with the corporate world.

• When did you know that “HastaKaushalam” was no longer just an idea in your mind, and that you can really turn it into a lucrative business?

Right from my childhood, I was always a creative person and people appreciated every little thing that was made by me. HK (Short for Hasta Kaushalam) was a brand that I wanted to build upon since my graduation days.

This was a project I knew I would get into and I was just waiting for the right time. Things fell into place and HK has been in action since 2011. More business plans are on the cards and if all goes well HK will spread its wings very soon.

• What learning lessons can you share from your startup experience?

One needs to have clarity and a proper plan prior to starting any brand/business. A design is definitely required like a draft for building a house.

Once that is done, it’s only action. Lot of homework is to be done before one gets into the thick of things.

• What are some challenges that you faced when you started out? Do you have some examples to share and advice to women entrepreneurs on overcoming them?

I’m a self-taught designer and that was a big challenge for me. A lot of research and learning took place with the launch.

I learned it all from scratch – Sourcing, (identifying the markets with best prices) Pricing strategy, (in pace with competition) and every little detail like packing, shipping. It was fun learning everything myself, and it gave me lot of confidence and pride.

• Moving from a corporate job to your business must have come with its share of doubts and skepticism. How easy or difficult was the transition?

This was never a tough call for me. I was very clear that I wanted to steer away from the corporate life, and start on my own and be content with that.

I was sure that doing something my own way was going to be more relaxing and enjoyable than holding on to my corporate job. It was very easy but before HK I had a long wait but now I know it was worth it.

Another thing I never have to worry about is moving around if my husband’s work requires it, because the nature of my business allows me that freedom. Currently, I am based in Hyderabad, but my business is all online.

• What are all the things that a woman entrepreneur needs to keep in mind? I.e. apart from your great idea, what do you need to be armed with?

Planning – Especially with finance. Like a start up project like HK, I had to handle finance very carefully. The Seed capital was from my Husband and from there on it was only re-investing and I had to play very safe.

• Coming from an unrelated field of work, did you go through formal trainings/courses in jewelry design before you took the leap?

Like I mentioned earlier, I am a self-taught designer. My creativity is my only strength and had to do a lot of homework on my project before I took it up.

• Is it beneficial to have a mentor when you’re starting out on your own? What does a mentor bring to the table?

Yes I do. I also believe that too many cooks spoil the broth. I had one mentor with whom I share ideas and the one who helps me in every little thing about HK.

My husband has always been by my side and his constant guidance has helped me reach this place today. Also my family members are of great support and help.

• What are the key things that you have learned as an entrepreneur?

The first thing is that running a business is a cycle of constant learning. You learn each day from every experience, whether it is an aspect of business, or about people. So be open to learning even as you grow.

Finance planning is of cardinal importance, and you need to know the level of risks you can take.

• How important is social media in building a business today? How has it played a role in helping you build yours?

Social media is a boon if it is used as a business tool. Other than personal sharing, it helps a lot in building business.

In today’s world where “busy” is the buzzword, people are well connected with social media than in any other way. It is so easy for people to connect and get things done.

It plays a great role for HK as we are an online shop 🙂

• Can you share some tips for women entrepreneurs to maintain a balance between work and family life?

Maintaining a balance is simple, if one plans and prioritizes. You really need to sort out stuff on the personal front and things don’t always go the way you plan.

Excluding exceptions it is truly not a difficult task. Moreover if your business is your passion and it is done with love, things become a lot easier.

Make sure your family supports you wholeheartedly. Involve them in ways you can, and take their opinions, so that they feel connected to you.