A University of Sri Lanka professor and student devise simple method to cut the calories in rice by 50%

Next Shark/Food Beast:

Rice, an important staple food in many countries, is valuable because, one, it is cheap, and two, it’s high in calories because it’s a starch. So why would we ever need a way to cook low-calorie rice?

The method in question stems from an article by the Washington Post. The story presents a method of cooking rice which addresses the problem of white rice consumption being linked to a higher risk of diabetes. A University of Sri Lanka professor and an undergraduate student devised an “ingenious method” to cut the calories in rice (200 calories per cup, cooked) by 50% as well as add a few “health benefits” — it’s also very easy to do. The student, Sudhair James, explained his preliminary research at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) on Monday:

What we did is cook the rice as you normally do, but when the water is boiling, before adding the raw rice, we added coconut oil—about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you’re going to cook … after it was ready, we let it cool in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. That’s it.

“The oil interacts with the starch in rice and changes its architecture … Chilling the rice then helps foster the conversion of starches. The result is a healthier serving, even when you heat it back up.”

Why do you need low-cal rice? Because people in developing countries, e.g. China and India, are suffering from obesity. It’s not just rice that causes the obesity, but people do rely more heavily on cheaper foods.

Pushparajah Thavarajva, the professor who led the research, explained that obesity, while also a problem in the U.S., is becoming a problem in Asia because people are eating larger portions of rice. The calorie-cutting research is still ongoing with several methods yet to be tested, but rice is also just the first of many foods Thavarajva hopes to make healthier.

It’s about more than rice … I mean, can we do the same thing for bread? That’s the real question here.”

On Reddit, some believe the concept of low-calorie rice is useless. Smarter people think it’s very necessary, it’s very simple and it may become the new way of cooking rice.

Pope cuts Tacloban trip short amid typhoon in the Philippines

Pope Francis waves to well-wishers after mass in Tacloban.


Pope Francis cut his trip to Tacloban short Saturday as an approaching typhoon with blistering winds threatened the city in the Philippines.

The Pope donned a slicker to conduct an outdoor Mass for hundreds of thousands who gathered despite stormy weather.

The Mass in Tacloban was shortened after sustained winds of 80 mph and higher gusts howled toward the city.

Tacloban is still recovering from the 2013 disaster of Super Typhoon Haiyan, described as one of the strongest storms ever recorded with 195 mph sustained winds. It killed 6,300 people nationwide.

Typhoon Mekkhala was upgraded from a tropical storm and made landfall in the Philippines in the afternoon just northeast of Tacloban.

The Mass began about a half-hour after he landed. Wind rustled the hood on the pontiff’s slicker as he spoke to a crowd clad in raincoats.

Typhoon Mekkhala, which is called Typhoon Amang in the Philippines, was arriving on the island of eastern Samar — about 50 miles from where the Pope was in Tacloban.

Just two weeks ago, a tropical storm struck Tacloban and surrounding areas, causing a commercial passenger plane to slide off the runway while landing. Tropical Storm Jiangmi, renamed Seniang in the Philippines, killed 54 people in landslides and flash floods in that region, CNN affiliate ABS-CBN reported.

During the Pope’s visit to Tacloban, he will have lunch with survivors of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, renamed Typhoon Yolanda in that country. That typhoon displaced 918,000 families nationwide, the government says.

He is also to bless the Pope Francis Center for the Poor and will meet with clergy and more typhoon survivors in the cathedral in Palo.

The pontiff is also scheduled to perform an outdoor Mass in Manila on Sunday before millions of Filipinos.

By then, the storm should weaken to a tropical depression. Still, Manila could face gusty winds and significant rain during the Mass.

The Pope’s trip to Asian isles began Tuesday in Sri Lanka, and he landed in the Philippines on Friday.

On Friday, Francis met with President Benigno Aquino, and the pontiff urged the political leader to reject corruption and promote “honesty, integrity and commitment to the common good,” the Vatican said. He also spoke of “the moral imperative of ensuring social justice and respect for human dignity,” according to a copy of his remarks provided by the Vatican.

Here in the Philippines, countless families are still suffering from the effects of natural disasters. The economic situation has caused families to be separated by migration and the search for employment, and financial problems strain many households. While all too many people live in dire poverty, others are caught up in materialism and lifestyles which are destructive of family life and the most basic demands of Christian morality,” the Pope said in other remarks.

The Pope leaves Manila for Rome on Monday.


M.I.A.: “Double Bubble Trouble” (music video)

From her fourth studio album Matangi, M.I.A. has unveiled the video to her single “Double Bubble Trouble.”

Never the one to shy away from experimental visuals, the clip is strung together by a list of lo-fi home videos, taking us to the London estates, where reckless youth flash their toy guns in clouds of smoke, while a mob of dancers move in tempo with the Partysquad-produced track. Complemented by trippy edits that toy with some bizarre iconographiy, M.I.A. delivers another compelling visual experience for her latest work.


Thrillist presents “A Beginner’s Guide to the Curries of the World”

Thrillist (by Kristin Hunt):


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Curry is a nebulous, far-reaching term that’s almost harder to define than irony. All it really takes to be labeled a curry is a spice blend rooted in the Indian curry tradition, so there are understandably an innumerable amount of variations across the globe.

We decided to dip our toe in the coconut milk-filled pool of curries worldwide and get the skinny on a few countries’ notable takes. And since this was a lot of data to sift through, we brought in Dave DeWitt (food historian and author of A World of Curries), Maunika Gowardhan (Indian chef and food writer), and Lizzie Collingham (author of Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors) to back us up. This may only be the most basic of primers — DeWitt counted 66 different curry ingredients while he was writing his book — but here are a few examples from 12 countries to get you started.

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The country: India
The curry: Naturally, we begin at the birthplace of curry. No matter how far-flung from India, every nation’s curry can trace its roots back to this subcontinental mothership. It should come as no surprise, then, that India has a staggering number of curries. Korma (a creamy dish made with coconut milk or yogurt) and biryani (rice dish that often includes ginger, garlic, and onions) are common examples most people will recognize, but Gowardhan also recommends a good paneer curry, which features India’s version of cottage cheese.
The country: Malaysia
The curry: Owing to its close proximity to India, Malaysia was one of the early adopters of curry, picking the recipes up through spice merchants, according to Collingham. Wander the country’s hawker stalls, and you’ll find plenty of curry laksa (or curry mee), a noodle soup often featuring deep-fried tofu and bean sprouts. Or you can try the beloved nasi lemak, a curry with hard-boiled egg, anchovies, and chili paste.
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The country: Thailand
The curry: Helpfully, some of the more famous Thai curries are color-coded. Kaeng kari(yellow curry) is a mild option traditionally served with cucumber relish, and kaeng khiao wan (green curry) is a much spicier dish owing to its green chilies. Meanwhile, kaeng phet (red curry) ditches the green chilies for red ones, in case you didn’t figure that out. Other Thai picks include the potato and peanut-filled massaman curry and the sourkaeng som. Either way, you’re usually in for a hearty helping of coconut milk and kaffir leaves.The country: Indonesia
The curry: They’re called gulai in Indonesia, and their star attraction might be collard greens, bison, or even fiddleheads — which are ferns and not, contrary to popular belief, silly forest sprites from an unfinished Tim Burton script.
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The country: Cambodia
The curry: You know a country’s serious about its curry when it declares one variety the national dish, and that’s exactly what Cambodia did with amok, the curry pictured above. If fish cooked in banana leaves isn’t your bag, though, you can try num banh chok, a rice-noodle fish soup often served for breakfast. Bonus trivia: curries in Cambodia tend to come with a baguette, due to the lingering Frenchie influences.The country: Vietnam
The curry: Like Cambodia, Vietnam also serves its curries with baguettes — as it turns out, the French hung there for a while, too. But the most well-known dish here is probably the cari ga, or chicken curry, which utilizes one of your favorite Thanksgiving sides. Breathe easy, it’s not green bean casserole — it’s sweet potatoes.
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The country: UK
The curry: Frequently ranked as the Brits’ favorite food, curry has fascinated the UK since the imperialist days. It’s mutated a lot from the original Indian inspirations over the centuries — Gowardhan points out that the most beloved British curry, chicken tikka masala, barely even resembles the butter chicken it’s based on nowadays. But it’s all part of the Anglo-Indian tradition, which has also produced distinctly UK spins such as the mayo-based coronation chicken.
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The country: South Africa
The curry: According to DeWitt, the curry influence in South Africa is primarily Malaysian, owing to the influx of Malaysian laborers in the region many moons ago. This translates into curries that generally feature lots of nuts and coconut milk, with the most distinctive example being bunny chow. Developed initially as a way to quickly, secretly serve black South African customers during the days of apartheid, bunny chow is curry dumped into a hollowed-out loaf that remains a massively popular fast-food item today.
The country: Trinidad & Tobago
The curry: Moving into the Western Hemisphere, the Caribbean also has a strong curry tradition, with Trinidad & Tobago being a prime example. Trini curries can skew a lot more extreme than their forebears — some recipes ditch cayenne peppers for the exponentially hotter Scotch Bonnet chilies, for one. Local herbs like shado beni, which is sort of similar to cilantro, are also key players.
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The country: Japan
The curry: Curry is practically as big as bizarre Kit Kats in Japan, which is kinda shocking since, as Collingham explains, the country has no colonial connections to India and basically shunned any food culture but its own for a long time. Still, curry managed to sneak in, and now manifests itself in such common forms as karee raisu (curry rice),karee udon (curried wheat noodles), and karee pan (curry stuffed inside a roll). Curry roux bars — spice blocks you dump into a pot at home — are also very popular.The country: Pakistan
The curry: The Crock-Pot makes its glorious debut on this guide with the nihari, a slow-cooker curry popular in Pakistan. Throw in such illustrious ingredients as beef brisket, onions, red chile powder, and other seasonings and you’ve got yourself a stew Carl Weathers would be proud of.
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The country: Sri Lanka
The curry: One of the more interesting examples from Sri Lanka, lamprais boasts both Indian and Dutch influences. Like the amok, this curried rice is cooked inside a banana leaf, but what gives it its edge is the non-negotiable frikkadels, or Dutch meatballs. In an equally ingenious move, Sri Lankans have a dish solely for their leftover curries, called koola’ya. Trust us, it’s much better than the leftover “gumbos” you concoct with your fridge contents.
Check out this link:

Now the NFL wants $16.6 million from M.I.A. for her Super Bowl middle finger

Back in September, M.I.A. (and her attorneys) raised a stink about the NFL’s $1.5 million lawsuit over the rapper’s 2012 middle finger salute during the Super Bowl halftime show. Now comes news that the NFL is actually seeking an additional $15.1 million in compensatory damages from M.I.A., a figure that the rapper’s team says “lacks any basis in law, fact, or logic.”While the 167 million households watching the game may have seen the Sri Lankan rapper’s middle finger, lawyer Howard King notes that NFL viewers have seen far worse before.

Several years ago, halftime performer Prince pretended to masturbate, and Michael Jackson repeatedly grabbed his crotch during his 1993 halftime performance. The league also assigned a 15-yard penalty to a player for using “the n-word” on the field this year, something that definitely seems a little worse than a quick flip of the bird. Consider, also, the case of alleged NFL madman and future Onion employee Richie Incognito, who’s been under fire for his racist, aggressive behavior toward teammates in the Miami Dolphins locker room.

King says the NFL’s attempt to fine M.I.A. is “transparently an exercise by NFL intended solely to bully and make an example of Respondents for daring to challenge NFL” and also alleges that, if M.I.A. is held at fault, then NBC should also be held at fault for “not activating the ‘5 second delay’ system in place for the broadcast.”

Check out this link:

Now the NFL wants $16.6 million from M.I.A. for her Super Bowl middle finger


What Hong Kong looked like 150 years ago…


Betty Yao isn’t sure what she finds more remarkable about the photographs of John Thomson: the fact that they have been so well preserved after 146 years, or the way a bearded, English-speaking Scotsman managed to so skillfully capture the personalities of ordinary Chinese people in the middle of the 19th century.

Given the long exposure time, it’s really unusual the way he captured people’s eyes – you can almost see their inner feelings,” says Ms. Yao, a Hong Kong-born, London-based curator. “It was the Qing Dynasty – how did this Scottish guy manage to travel to China with all this heavy equipment, up and down the country? And how did he manage to get so many photos of women and children?

This Friday, Ms. Yao brings Thomson’s photos back to Hong Kong for the first time in nearly 150 years. Dozens of his rarely seen images have been gathered in a new exhibition at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum that includes 22 photos of Hong Kong taken between 1868 and 1872, less than three decades after the island was colonized by the British.

With the Hong Kong scenes, it’s shocking how little is left of what he photographed,” says Ms. Yao. In one scene, Chinese men dressed in changshan, with shaved heads and Manchu-style queues, stand next to a turbaned Indian man on a leafy street lined by ornate European-style buildings. Another view of the Central waterfront bears more resemblance to Venice than it does to the skyscraping business district of today.

Born in Edinburgh in 1837, Thomson first encountered the novel art of photography when he apprenticed with a local manufacturer of optical equipment. In 1862, he traveled to Singapore to join his brother William, who had moved there to run a watchmaking business.

The trip marked the beginning of a decade’s worth of travels through Asia, and along the way Thomson documented everything from cyclone-ravaged Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, to street life in Beijing.

Thomson’s work was all the more remarkable given the limitations of the era’s photographic technology. Even as he journeyed through some of the most rugged and remote parts of China, he carried an unwieldy wooden camera, delicate glass plates (film was not introduced until 1885) and a vat of volatile, potentially deadly chemicals. Even the act of taking a single photograph was difficult and unpredictable; several seconds were needed for each exposure, meaning even slight movement would result in a blurred image.

Yet somehow, Thomson was able to produce remarkably sympathetic portraits of his subjects, whether they were Chinese boat people or Siamese royalty. “I think he cared a lot about people,” Ms. Yao says. Other [photographs] from that era were amateur or ethnographic, so they made the Chinese people look like specimens.”

Thomson returned to the U.K. from China in 1872 and went on to document the lives of London’s homeless, while also serving as the official photographer of the British royal family. After his death in 1921, his oeuvre was collected by pharmaceutical tycoon Sir Henry Wellcome.

It was through Wellcome’s collection that Ms. Yao, the program director for nonprofit cultural organization Asia House, was introduced to Thomson’s photographs in 2006. She was so taken with the work that she took a leave of absence to mount an exhibition of his China photographs in Beijing.

I said I’d be gone for six months. I haven’t been back since,” she says.

Now she spends her time touring the photographs around the world, with exhibitions already booked two years in advance. “There has been a huge surge of interest,” she says.

Ms. Yao still finds much to inspire her. “There are two images that remain with me, and they’re why I feel John Thomson is so special,” she says. “There’s one image of a Manchu bride, a young girl, very beautiful in the fineries of a rich family, but if you look at her eyes there’s a tinge of sadness.”

The other image depicts a boat woman from Canton, now Guangdong province. “She had just a simple cotton top, but if you look at her eyes, there’s a joie de vivre, a confidence in herself,” Ms. Yao says. “How this man managed to capture them both is what really impressed me.

Through the Lens of John Thomson: Hong Kong and Coastal China” runs from Nov. 23 to Feb. 26 at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. Tickets are HK$30.

Check out this link:

What Hong Kong looked like 150 years ago…

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3rd i South Asian Film Festival in San Francisco through this weekend

From art-house classics to documentary films, and innovative and experimental visions to next-level Bollywood… The 3rd i San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival 2013 showcases over 20 films from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Canada and USA.


Unseen Asia: 25 of Asia’s most overlooked destinations

Had your fill of temples and paddies? Check out CNN‘s list of  Asian attractions you may not have yet considered…

Check out this link:

Unseen Asia: 25 of Asia’s most overlooked destinations