Let’s cut out on toxic styrofoam! (why and how)

A couple of years ago, I had my worst experience with Styrofoam. I was travelling from Islamabad to Karachi (its a 24 hour journey by bus) with my parents. We bought some rice from a famous restaurant at I guess 9:00 am. That particular restaurant opened at 9:00 am. Well, we had no idea. We chose to take our food in Styrofoam boxes for convenience. When I opened the box at noon, I observed that they just heated the already packed food from yesterday. Till night, the Styrofoam became moist and started breaking from every where. It was a very uncomfortable situation. I could also spot pieces of foam in the rice. Well, we did ate that but the thought of taking in toxic plastic still haunts me!!

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Like always, there is a very good and informative info-graphic at the end of this post…

Why avoid Styrofoam?

Styrofoam is the trade name of polystyrene foam. In United States, polystyrene is the 6th largest source of hazardous waste. Polystyrene is composed of styrene and benzene, both of which are known human carcinogens. Therefore, heating food in Styrofoam must be strictly avoided as it leads to release of harmful chemicals into food.

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Moreover, the process of generation of this polymer is energy intensive.

How can I reduce my consumption of styrofoam?


We can take some measures at personal level to avoid the use of these toxic polymers, which include:
1- Avoid buying meat products and other products using Styrofoam. For instance, meat can be bought directly from butcher.
2- Bringing your own containers for takeout food from restaurants (something we know but never do!).
3- Using reusable dishes instead of disposable Styrofoam cups, plates, and boxes.

How can I reuse waste Styrofoam?

There are several ways through which we can reuse Styrofoam for home items. Some of these methods include using it as filler for beanbag chairs and pillows, making models, packaging, making a palette for paints, and insulation.

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Super Easy Potato fritters (Aloo ke pakoray) Recipe

I can express myself in English normally, but when it comes to recipes, I have to look (more specifically google) the names of ingredients in English from Urdu. Pakoras are a very famous South Asian dish. Especially in Ramdan they are considered an essential snack for Iftar. So, here goes my mom’s recipe for making potato fritters.

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Ingredients

2 medium sized potatoes (pealed and sliced into circular slices)

1 cup gram flour

1 teaspoon heaped of red chilli powder*

2 or 3 pinches of carom seeds/ ajwain

2 green chilli

Some Coriander leaves (chop into smaller pieces)

1 pinch of baking powder (sodium bicarbonate soda)

2/3 teaspoon of salt (heaped)*

*Note: If you are using a 5 ml teaspoon than there is no need of heaping, you can add leveled teaspoon. Also the salt and red chilli powder can be adjusted according to your taste. If you taste the batter you’ll know how much of these ingredients are required.

 

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Methodology

  1. First of all add all ingredient into gram flour and add a little water to form a slurry. The slurry should not be very thick or thin. Just a small amount of water will be required.
  2. Now, take a utensil or pot in which the pakoras are to be deep fried.
  3. Take a potato slice, dip it in the slurry you have made to make a cover over it, and add to the pot for deep frying.
  4. Add as much slices in the same manner that the utensil can hold.
  5. Remember that the flame should be high while adding slices, then you can turn it to medium.
  6. Deep fry until the skin becomes nearly dark brown (see the picture).
  7. Now, serve with chat masala or ketchup.