Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Different Types of IDLIS

Idli is a traditional breakfast in South Indian households. Idli is a savoury cake that is popular throughout India and neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka. The cakes are usually four to five inches in diameter and are made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils (de-husked) and rice. The fermentation process breaks down the starches so that they are more readily metabolized by the body.

It’s nutritious and it’s steamed – making it absolutely safe even in the dingiest highway restaurant.

It also comes with markedly different flavours depending on which part of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka or Kerala you’re at.

Let us look at the different types of Idli 

1. The ‘grainy’ Udupi idli: 

In Bengaluru and Chennai’s traditional Udupi restaurants like serve this dish.

This idli uses the same 3:1 (rice:urad dal) mix but the batter is coarse lending a grainy texture to these idlis that are not overly fluffy

2. Chettinad idli-Khushboo Idly. 

It's very soft and fluffy because the batter is ground to an extra fine consistency while some chefs also use a 4:1 (rice : urad dal) mix. 

Murugan Idli Kadai (originally from Madurai) have made this version of idli extremely popular.

3. Kancheepuram Idli: 

We can trace its origins in the Vardarajaswamy temple in this legendary temple town where it is still the ‘temple prasad’. This coarse idli uses a 2:1 (rice:urad dal mix) and used to be traditionally cooked in large vessels (and not idli moulds) and then sliced. 

The batter is stored overnight and then blended with ghee, cashew, Bengal gram, jeera, curry leaves, ginger powder and peppercorns before being steamed. This flavour some idli doesn’t really need any accompaniment.

4. Rava Idli: 

Most people will argue that the Rava Idli doesn’t really qualify as an idli except for its shape. The batter (Rava mixed with curd) doesn’t require fermentation – in fact it needs to be cooked immediately, and it tastes very different from the conventional idli.
Bangloreans used to queue up for MTR Rava Idlis for decades. Now you can try their instant Rava Idli mix.

5.Oats Idli

A fine example of how low calorie food can taste exquisite, oats idli made from powdered oats and carrots are ideal for those trying to cut the carbohydrates. A fine example of how low calorie food can taste exquisite, oats idli made from powdered oats and carrots are ideal for those trying to cut the carbohydrates

The Kancheepuram Idli served as temple prasad

6. Kadubbu or Moode:

These cylindrical idlis are quite common place in and around Udupi. From Kadubbu to Moode (or Mude) to Gunda the locals use quite a few terms to describe this uniquely shaped idli. 
It’s the same batter cooked in a different mould. The conical moulds are crafted almost artistically with jackfruit leaves. The leaves add a subtle flavour to the idli.
7. Ramasseri Idli:

These flat, super soft idlis are almost the size of a small dosa and are prepared in specially designed mud pots that are mounted one on top of the other (typically three to five in a row)

Ramasseri Idli at Karavalli

8. Thatte Idli:

If you’re ever driving from Bengaluru to Mysuru, do make a pit stop at Bidadi that has acquired quite a reputation for its unique version of the idli – Thatte Idli. As the name suggests these Idlis are steamed in plates (in regular steamers) and are usually served tarkari(vegetable) saagu.

Thatte Idli at Bidadi

9. Bite-Sized ‘Mini’ Idlis

Investing in an extra idli mould to make coin-sized idlis gives you quite a few snack options. These small cocktail idlis can be tossed with idli powder and curry leaves or deep fried and tossed in a spice mix. You could also dunk them in a bowl of sambhar.

10. Stuffed Idli 
A lovely version from Udupi, stuffed idlis make a light yet filling fit. Stuffed with dal, nuts and vegetables.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Eight Types of Income on Which You Don't Have to Pay Taxes in India

There are certain incomes that are exempt from income tax in India. If you get your income from these sources, your tax liability will be zero.

1) Dividend from shares and equity mutual fund: If you have invested in the shares of an Indian company, any dividend that you receive is not liable to tax under Section 10 (34) of Income Tax Act. The reason being the company has already paid tax from its own profit. Similarly, dividend income from an equity mutual fund is also exempt from tax. However, if you being an Indian resident have received dividend from a foreign company, it will be taxable. In case the dividend is taxed both in the foreign country and in India, you can claim taxation relief either as per the provisions of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (if India has such agreement with that country) or can claim relief as per Section 91, if no such agreement exists.

2) Proceeds received on maturity of life insurance policies:Any sum received under a life insurance policy (including bonus if any) is exempt from tax provided the premium paid to actual capital sum assured does not exceed the prescribed thresholds provided by Income Tax Act.

"For policies issued till March 2012, the premium shouldn't be more than 20 per cent of the actual sum assured. For policies issued from April 1, 2012, the percentage was reduced to 10 per cent of actual sum assured," says Ms Neha of Nangia & Co. The tax exemption is applicable for endowment policies only, she adds.

However, if the above conditions are not met, the individual will be liable to pay a tax deducted at source (TDS) at the rate of 2 per cent, if the amount received during the financial year is more than Rs. 1 lakh.

3) Scholarship or grant received: If you have received any scholarship or grant as a student to meet your education cost, it is totally exempted from tax.

4) Interest received from government notified bonds:Interest income that you earn from certain bonds notified by government is exempt from tax. Recently, the government allowed certain public sector companies to issue such tax-free bonds to raise money for infrastructure projects. The interest that you will receive on these bonds will be tax-exempt but if you make any gains by selling these bonds on exchange before maturity, you will have to pay tax on the capital gains.

5) Agriculture income: As per Section 10 (1) of Income Tax Act, agriculture income in terms of rent or from any agriculture produce is exempt from tax. However, the agriculture income will have to be added to one's total income for the determination of the income-tax slab of the individual, says Neha Malhotra, executive director of taxation at Nangia & Co, a tax advisory firm.

6) Share of profit from partnership firm: If you are a partner in a partnership firm, you will not have to pay any tax on your share of profits. "The share of profit is exempt for the individual partner, if received from a partnership firm which has been subjected to tax on the profits at the partnership firm level," says Parizad Sirwalla National Head-Global Mobility Services-Tax, KPMG.

7) Interest on Non Resident External (NRE) account: "Any interest received by an individual is exempt from tax until such time the individual is a person resident outside India (PROI) as per Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA)," says Ms Parizad of KPMG.

8) Leave Travel concession (LTA): If you receive LTA as part of your salary is exempted from income tax unlike house rent allowance (HRA) against which you can claim deduction. You can claim exemption on the cost of domestic travel incurred under Section 10 (5) of Income Tax Act provided you give the proofs. You can claim LTA twice in a block of four years.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Most Important Airplanes of All Time

Ever since the Wright Brothers managed to get their Wright flyer airborne in 1903, the history of aviation has been dotted with a number of fascinating, landmark moments. This list will run through 14 of the most innovative, important and incredible airplanes ever to grace the skies, and tell the remarkable stories that made them such trailblazing ground breakers.

1. Wright Flyer-The first plane to successfully take flight
Important Airplanes
The Wright Flyer is famous for being the first airplane to successfully take flight. Designed and built by pioneering inventors and entrepreneurs Orville and Wilbur Wright, it achieved its feat on the beaches of Kitty Hawk, when Orville Wright piloted the airborne plane for 12 short seconds, covering 120 feet. 

The flight may have been short, but it was to prove one of the moments of the century, and the brothers toured with their plane to show off their achievements to skeptical audiences throughout the world. It was during this tour that they flew about Le Mans in France and kick-started an aviation revolution across Europe that was to change the world.
2. Spitfire-The only plane to be manufactured throughout World War II
Important Airplanes
The Supermarine Spitfire was used extensively by the British Royal Air Force and other Allied countries during and beyond World War II. It has achieved iconic status for its role during the Battle of Britain when used by heavily outnumbered allied pilots to repel invaders from the German Luftwaffe. It was also produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft, and was the only plane to be continuously manufactured throughout the war. It remained in production until 1954.

3. Benoist XIV-The first plane to fly a paying passenger
Important Airplanes
The Wright Brothers had proved that man's dream of flying could become reality, but it was left to a tiny plane called the Benoist XIV to bring that dream to the paying market. The small plane was specifically designed in the hope of carrying passengers, but suffered problems in its early days. The summer of 1913 saw its first attempts to establish itself as a passenger plane, but the plan failed and the aircraft was a wrecked. 

It wasn't until the winter of 1914 that the designer Thomas Benoist partnered with businessman Percival Fansler to offer commercial flights between the Florida cities of St Petersburg and Tampa. Finally, on January 10th 1914 pilot Tony Jannus flew former St Petersburg mayor Abram C. Pheil across the route for the princely sum of $400.00. Although regular flights were priced at $5.00, Pheil had paid more at auction for the honor of being the very first passenger.

4. de Havilland Comet-The first commercial jetliner
Important Airplanes
The de Havilland Comet is regarded as both a trailblazer and a tragedy by aviation historians. It was the first jet-powered passenger plane, capable of cruising at high altitudes  - and brought with it new levels of comfort and fresh possibilities for passenger flights. However, the Comet was beset by design faults leading to a number of awful accidents, including three incidents in 1954 where planes broke up in mid-air. The tragedies ushered in a new era of extensive accident investigation and informed future aircraft design testing as engineers learned from the mistakes made by the Comet's designers, including the use of catastrophically inadequate airframes.

5. Messerschmitt Me 262-The first jet-powered military plane
Important Airplanes
The German built Messerschmitt Me 262 become the first jet-powered fighter aircraft when it was first commissioned in 1942, bolstering the Luftwaffe fleet in the middle of World War II. Allied attacks on fuel supplies and problems with the reliability of the engines meant that its impact on the direction of the War was not as great as the German military hoped, and it was not in production for very long. However, its jet engines offered a degree of maneuverability and speed that was not replicated elsewhere at the time, and its design would inspire future military aircraft into the jet-powered age.

6. Gossamer Albatross-The first human powered aircraft to cross the English Channel
Important Airplanes
At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Gossamer Albatross was the product of aviation experimentation in the early 20th century. However, it was actually designed and built in the late 1970s. Paul B. McGready was the man behind the concept, and the Albatross was intended as a man-powered craft capable of long distance travel. On June 12th 1979, it achieved its ultimate goal when amateur cyclist and keen pilot Bryan Allen successfully flew it from England to France in 2 hours 49 minutes, reaching a top speed of 18mph. The super-lightweight composition of the Albatross has gone on to inspire the design of solar powered electric aircraft seen today.
7. Blériot XI-The first plane to cross the English Channel
Important Airplanes
The Blériot XI was designed and piloted by Frenchman Louis Blériot, becoming the first aircraft to successfully fly the 22 miles of the English channel on July 25th 1909. The accomplishment was one of the foremost achievements of the 'pioneer era' of aviation in the early 20th century, and sees Blériot take his place alongside the s of the Wright Brothers as one of the most influential innovators of early aircraft design. His achievements changed the way aviation was viewed and inspired the famous 'Britain is no longer an island' headline from British newspaper the Daily Express once news of the successful Channel crossing broke.
8. Cirrus SR22-The first plane to have a life-saving 'whole-airplane parachute'
Important Airplanes
The Cirrus SR22 has been the best selling single-engine, four-seater aircraft since it was introduced in 2001 - and for good reason. It features a composite construction fitted with a parachute that works on the entire plane. The parachute system has saved well over 100 lives over the course of the Cirrus's production run, and has given confidence to budding pilots who can take the controls without the same levels of danger associated with other light aircraft. 19 year old Ryan Campbell flew in a Cirrus when he became the youngest pilot to fly around the world in 2014.
9. Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird-The fastest airplane ever built
Important Airplanes
The Lockheed SR71 Blackbird was a long range, strategic reconnaissance aircraft operated by the US Air Force. Despite the fact that the Blackbird last flew in 1999, it still holds the record for the fastest flight speed ever recorded by an air-breathing manned aircraft at 2,193.2mph (3,529kph), a record that it has held - remarkably - since 1976. It once flew from London to New York (a distance of 3461.53 miles or 5,570.79km) in a ridiculously fast 1 hour 54 minutes in 1972, but Incredible speed was not the Blackbird's only selling point. Throughout its commission it was also the highest flying plane in the world, capable of flying at an altitude of 85,069 feet or 25,929m. Of course, these attributes were not just for show, they helped the plane carry out crucial reconnaissance missions without detection, and evade missile fire when under attack.
10. Concorde-Brought supersonic flights to the masses
Concorde is one of only two supersonic jets to ever carry commercial passengers and became synonymous with luxury travel and wealth. It first flew in 1969, but was not actually the first of its type - the Soviet built Tupolev Tu-144 beat it into flight by two months and the two types of plane were to be pitted in a commercial battle for years to follow. However, it was Concorde's distinctive design that became best known throughout most of the world, and it remains an iconic symbol of aviation history today, even though it took its last flight (in a blaze of publicity) in 2003.

11. General Atomics MQ-1 Predator-The first military 'drone'
Important Airplanes
The MQ-1 Predator was the first 'unmanned aerial vehicle' (more commonly known as 'drone') to be used in conflict. It is capable of being piloted remotely for up to 21 hours, monitoring its target and completing missions before returning to base. The plane has been used on reconnaissance missions primarily but is also capable of firing missiles, making it a trailblazer for a new era of drone warfare that is changing the face of military conflict.

12. Boeing 747 -The original high passenger capacity 'Jumbo Jet'
Important Airplanes
The Boeing 747 was the original 'jumbo jet' built to transport more passengers than ever to faraway vacations. Much of the increase was provided by the 'upper deck', typically reserved for first class passengers. For 37 years it held the record for passenger capacity, after being originally introduced in 1970, and its design was even more impressive considering engineers had to hand-draw 75,000 technical sketches in the days before computers could do the job for them. The design was so good, in fact, that further advancements stalled and commercial passenger aviation remained unchanged for a number of years.

13. Bell X-1-The first aircraft to break the speed of sound
Important Airplanes
Designed in 1944 and built in 1945, the Bell X-1 was the product of a research experiment by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and the US Air Force. It was intended to break the sound barrier, and it did, achieving the first Mach 1 flight ever on October 14th 1947, in a plane pilot Chuck Yeager namedGlamorous Glennis after his wife. The legacy of the Bell X-1 was vast as the research techniques informed future designs of supersonic aircraft and the flight data was crucial to American military design in the latter half of the 20th century.

14. Solar Impulse-The airplane powered by the sun
Solar Impulse
Solar Impulse represents the fruits of a Swiss led project to build a solar powered aircraft capable of flying long distances. The project has been in development since 2003 and has achieved a number of successes, included manned test flights, a continental flight across the USA and a re-design that saw the development of Solar Impulse 2, a second model that is currently on a round-the-world trip conducted in 13 stages over two years. 

As of the 23rd of October 2015, Solar Impulse 2 has completed 8 of those stages and sits in Hawaii ready to complete the final 5 stages of its journey back to Abu Dhabi, from where its journey began in March 2015.