Apr 18, 2016

Jiyo Natural - Healthy Meal Review

Quite often, we yearn for a simple home cooked meal. Especially when we are working long hours or live away from home or unable to cook our own meals for any reason. Would it not be wonderful to find a reliable meal delivery option?
Jiyo Natural does just that. Not only do they make healthy meals designed by a nutritionist but also customise meals for specific health conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
When asked to review their lunch delivery meals, I agreed happily. As a nutritionist myself, I was curious too. Here is what I found.
Since their website offers all information, I will restrict my post to my experience and opinion.

The Jiyo Health Meal
I received a call from the nutritionist of Jiyo Natural enquiring about any health conditions, allergies, and such. The lunch menu of the day was explained to me and delivery time agreed upon. This was followed by an email which gave me detailed nutrition information about the meal I was going to receive.
To my happy surprise, the lunch arrived on time. Neatly packed, warm (not hot), no spillage. Packed neatly in two steel tiffin carriers. (I wonder if this is a regular feature, especially after the plastic ban enforced in Bangalore)
This is how it was delivered to me

Rotis - Two multigrain, came wrapped in foil. Brown rice Tawa Pulao - Fragrant, cooked just right. Difficult to achieve with brown rice, but I was very happy to see they did. Burrani raita delivered the necessary garlic kick to the pulao. The side dishes were all cooked just right without being overcooked, or spiced heavily either. I especially liked the green peas and soya chunks sabzi for its simple fresh flavours. Special mention must be made of the sprout salad. Crisp, colourful but not soggy or wilted at all. Quite a feat, I would say. A happy ending to the meal was the carrot pudding. Sweetened with jaggery instead of sugar, mildly sweet, satisfying.

Jiyo Health Meal unraveled for you

crisp, colourful salad
Jiyo Health Meal on a platter
At 600+ calories, the meal packs in maximum nutrients, so we get quality mindful calories in each mouthful. I found the meal to be quite filling and more than I would consume in a normal lunch. Since a big portion of the meal had protein, my stomach stayed full for longer. I felt better energized through the day. I am sure people with more hearty appetites will appreciate and enjoy the meal.

The Jiyo Manage Meal

This is how the meal came to me

Tightly sealed lunch box

Home-style cooked healthy lunch from Jiyo Manage

This is a customized meal designed after a health analysis carried out by a qualified nutritionist. The Jiyo Manage meal offers hope for working people who have special diet requirements.
As with the Jiyo Health Meal, I received a call from the nutritionist who ran me through her health check questionnaire. My preferences, allergies, and calorie requirements were all considered. She then suggested a suitable meal for me.
The Jiyo Manage Meal had two multigrain phulkas, millet khichdi, chole, mixed vegetable sabzi, raita, and a cucumber carrot salad. While several people may be skeptical about millets in a meal, I found the dish well cooked, mildly flavoured and soul satisfying. The vegetable sabzi was so good, I would have loved a larger serving of it. Salad was fresh and crunchy, as in the Jiyo Health Meal.

What do I think?
Jiyo Natural has taken a vital step in designing and delivering amazingly healthy meals. I am yet to come across an online food delivery option which is focussed on healthy meals. If their claims of using chemical free produce, healthy cooking methods, and natural sweeteners are all true, then we need to look no further for lunch or dinner delivery options. The comfort in knowing that the best practices are followed while cooking our meal and delivering at our doorstep will surely make us want to order from Jiyo Natural.
Price -
Rs. 130/- for Jiyo Health Meal.
Rs. 150/- for Jiyo Manage Meal.
Delivery Areas - Koramangala, HSR Layout, Electronic City, Bellandur.

It would be great if they cover all of Bangalore city in their delivery area.

Mar 15, 2016

Road to Baluchistan–Review of Food Festival @ Baluchi

What happens when star chefs from five properties gather to create a food festival at one location? That too, in our city, Bangalore? You can expect plenty! A few foodies and bloggers were invited to a preview of the ‘Road to Baluchistan’, a food festival currently running at Lalit Ashok Hotel, Bangalore.

Conceived by Chef Suvaranjan and Chef Bharat Kapoor of Baluchi, Bangalore, the Food Festival brings signature dishes of the participating star chefs of each Baluchi restaurant, a few forgotten dishes, and then some modern interpretations of Indian cuisine.

 The Star Chefs of Baluchi

Chef Mumtaz from Baluchi Mumbai, set the mood for the evening with an elegantly plated Subz Gullar Kabab. The kabab, unusually shaped like a samosa was silken smooth on the tongue. Its richness grew on the palate before unleashing the spice and heat within! Perfectly balanced in texture and flavour, this amuse bouche certainly had us all looking forward to the next course.

Amuse bouche I next chose a vegetarian platter of starters while the other diners were offered vegetarian or non-vegetarian platters according to their choice. Sheer morsels of delight, the Mushroom ki Galouti and Malai Artichoke (by Chef Satyabir, New Delhi) were absolutely brilliant! The galouti was unbelievably velvetty on the tongue. The Malai Artichoke had me eyes closed and savouring the lush cream offset by the saltiness of the fleshy artichoke. The Rajwada Paneer Tikka (by Chef Zainul Abedin, Jaipur) scored well on flavour, however the paneer was a tad chewy. Palak ki Nazakat (by Chef Bharat Kapoor, Bangalore) went down reasonably well. I enjoyed the tomato relish on this kabab better than the kabab itself. Plated with pomegranate molasses, balsamic reduction, and pineapple relish,  the presentation and the taste had everyone nodding happily in approval. The surprise churan powder and gold dusted green olive on the platter had all of us in ‘oooohhs’ and ‘aaaahs’.

Note the elegant plating, don’t miss the gold olive either!

Elegantly plated starters

The Baluchi, Bangalore has introduced a Naanery coupled with unique chutneys and paired with an interesting wine list. On offer that evening were Baqarkhani (a Kashmiri roti fragrant with saffron), Besan ki roti (crisp and spiked with ajwain), Pheni Paratha (flaky, rich, crisp, and topped with sesame seeds), and Gilafi Kulcha (stuffed with cheese and peppers), teamed with interesting chutneys such as Raw Papaya chutney, Carrot chutney, Radish chutney and a sweet-spicy Tomato chutney. The wine list includes whites from Vina Esmaralda, a Sauvignon Blanc from Honig, and reds from Brancaia TRE 2012 and KRSMA 2014.

This Naan-wine pairing is sure to pique the interest of discerning gourmets in this city.

From the NaaneryChutneys galore

The main course, aptly named ‘Dawat-e-Lazeez’ arrived soon after. As a vegetarian, I chose to go along with suitable menu options. The Bhindi Singhada, a smart stir fry of fresh Bhindi with crisp water chestnuts tossed with fresh spices won my heart for it’s uniqueness and real-fresh spice flavours. I enjoyed the Paneer parcha mutter, prepared by stuffing a ground green pea mixture inside parcels of soft paneer and simmered in an onion-tomato gravy. This gravy had an interesting texture and gutsy flavours. The Dal Baluchi was superlative in aroma. Silken-creamy on the tongue, smoky aroma, each spoonful was eaten joyfully. The Jodhpuri Gatta Subzi had a hearty, spicy gravy to its advantage, while the Gatta could have been improved by soaking for longer in the gravy. My search for the perfect Rajasthani Gatte ki Subzi continues.

The Vegetarian entreesSome more rotis and naans

Served with more hot Naans, rotis, and assorted breads, and an excellent array of pickles, namely, Kathal ka Achar, Aam ka Achar, Hara Seb ka Achar(outstanding), the main course left me heaving under its array.

A refreshing Pineapple Jeera Granita was welcome as a palate cleanser. A good thing too, for we were presented with a superbly aromatic, unusual ‘Paan Biryani’. Delicately flavoured with Paan leaves, cooked on Dum, and served with Burrani Raita, do not miss this!

Do not miss Paan Biryani

All good things come to an end. We came to a sweet ending of this mighty repast with bowls of Gulab ki Kheer, Malai Kulfi, and hot Gulkhand ke Gulab Jamun! If Gulab (Rose flavour) dominated the dessert options, I did not complain! Of the three, I feel partial to the succulent Gulkhand stuffed Gulab Jamun. Depsite not being a fan of Gulkhand, I could not resist polishing off this hot Jamun.

Sweet endings

If you are a fan of North-Indian food, if you enjoy a carefully curated menu in a soothing ambience by courteous and attentive staff, if you do not want to miss the offering of the some of the best chefs in the country, you should reserve your table at Baluchi, Lalit Ashok, Bangalore. The festival is on till the 20th of March. Open for lunch and dinner with a la carte menu offered. Costs approximately Rs.3000 for two.

A view of interiors

The Open Kitchen

Mar 11, 2016

Apple Berry Milkshake

It feels wonderful to be back after a long break. How have all of you been?
Before we knew it, winter turned to summer in Bangalore. With exams on, and summer heat in full force, we are constantly searching for chilling, refreshing drinks. Surely, staying cool and hydrated has to include delicious and inviting options, correct?
This apple berry milkshake has been the answer to such heated discussions about the best drink in summer. The sudden jump in season from winter to summer made plenty of winter produce like apples and strawberries still available in the market. So, we are making the best use of it.
Made with only 3-4 ingredients, this milkshake can be blended in no time, but tastes best when chilled. So make sure you stock up on chilled milk in your fridge! We are exploring many more liquid deliciousness at our home. Stay tuned for more such chilling posts!Winking smile
Healthy delicious Apple Berry Shake
  • Contains lactose. People with lactose intolerance can substitute coconut milk or almond milk in place of dairy milk.
  • Does NOT contain gluten, yeast, soya, nuts, corn, eggs.
Preparation time – 10 minutes, Cooking time – nil. Chilling time – 2 hours, Serves - 2
COOKWARE – Blender, peeler, knife, glasses to serve
  1. 1 Red Delicious or Fuji apple
  2. 4-5 strawberries
  3. 400 ml chilled skim milk
  4. 1 drop vanilla extract
  5. 1-2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
  1. Rinse the fruits thoroughly. Peel and core the apple. Hull the strawberries. Chop the fruits up roughly.
  2. Add the chopped fruits to a blender, pour in half the chilled milk, vanilla extract and blend to super smooth and frothy milk shake. Top up with rest of milk and blend in too.
  3. Taste and add sugar only if needed. Blend for another minute if you are using sugar.
  4. Serve in tall glasses. Top with ice cubes if you wish to.
Cool shakes to beat the heat
Apple Berry Milkshake

Dec 10, 2015

Sai Protein for Chennai Floods

All these days, I have been watching the news with unspeakable pain and sorrow. The Chennai floods, that swept away precious life, left us all shocked and dazed. If the torrential monsoon rains were not enough, the city’s overflowing reservoirs too added to the mayhem. Coupled with indiscriminate real estate development, with no thought given to civic infrastructure, the people of Chennai are paying a very heavy price for the greed of their leaders. 

The terrible times also brought forth unprecedented help from different parts. Normal people turned heroes, and pretend heroes turned zeroes. Homes have been thrown open to complete strangers, people are offering their time and services for free, and heroic tales of survival and rescue are now flooding the social media. It is so heartening to see the generous help that people are offering each other.

While it looks like the rain gods have finally relented, a massive job still lies ahead in the flood-hit areas. Cleaning out the debris, preventing and fighting any water-borne diseases, rebuilding homes,… the task list goes on. In this context, I would like to share a recipe for kanji powder that can be made in bulk and distributed to those affected by the floods. All those want to contribute in some form for Chennai Flood Relief, please do try to make this powder and help those affected. The combination of grains used in this recipe is unique. Designed to be a complete food, 3 tablespoons of the powder dissolved in water or milk (if available), can replace an entire meal. It can be had by people of all ages, toddlers to old people. However, may not be suitable for weaning infants.

In a time when the immunity of a population is at risk, when people do not have access to normal cooking methods, when nutritious food is vital to health, this powder is a God-send. Beats instant noodles or biscuits by several miles in nourishment.



  1. 6 kilos Whole wheat (wheat pearls)
  2. 1.5 kilos parboiled rice
  3. 1.5 kilos Ragi (finger millet)
  4. 1.5 kilos Green Chickpeas
  5. 1.5 kilos Green Mung Beans
  6. 1.5 kilos Roasted Chana Dal ( Chutney dal)
  7. 0.5 kilo Soya beans
  8. 0.5 kilo Peanuts
  9. 0.5 kilo Jowar grains (sorghum/white millet)
  10. 100 grams Sago (sabudana)
  11. 30 grams cardamom
  12. 10 kilos sugar


  1. Dry roast all ingredients from 1 to 10. Roast individually to a golden brown.
  2. Do not roast cardamom and sugar.
  3. Add the cardamom and sugar to the roasted grains. Powder in a flour mill.
  4. This recipe makes about 25 kilos of kanji powder.
  5. To make kanji, dissolve 3 tablespoons of the powder in hot water or hot milk. Stir briskly and serve. 

Please share this recipe/blog post freely. Please make in bulk for your homes or send to those affected by the floods. Either way, you are doing yourself a good turn.

Nov 6, 2015

Easy tips to stay fit this Diwali

There is a lot to be happy about during the festival season. Navaratri, Diwali, Christmas.. the list goes on. However, many of us fall way off our weight management goals during the festival season. Parties, sweets, and delicacies galore eat into our resolve, and before we know it, we have put on several extra kilos. Here are some easy tips gained from my experience as a consultant nutritionist, to help you manage your weight during Diwali and the festive season. Read on and let me know what worked for you.

  • Start your exercise schedule well ahead

The planning and shopping for Diwali typically begins several weeks ahead. So too, plan your exercise schedule ahead.  Add on to your existing routine at least 10 days before the festival. Add an extra 15 minutes of brisk walking daily or 4 extra sets of Surya Namaskar, if your choice of exercise is yoga. Even 10 minute sessions of deep breathing helps improve metabolism (read fat burning). If you have not yet begun any form of regular exercise, then it is vital to begin now. Just beginning with 30 minutes moderate walk daily will help to prevent extra weight gain from the rich food and sweets during the festive season.

  • Choose your meals wisely

Follow what I call the ‘24-hour check’. In a span of 24 hours, make sure you eat only one festive/heavy/party meal. If your lunch is a heavy one, have a light breakfast such as a fruit smoothie preceding that heavy lunch and follow up with a light dinner such as soup or fresh salad. But make sure to have a small protein snack just before setting out for your party meal, so that you do not overindulge out of hunger. So too, if your dinner has been heavy, precede it with a light salad lunch and a fruit rich breakfast the next day.

  • Plan your Diwali party menu

Be kind to yourself and to your guests by planning the party menu at your home wisely. Plan for one low fat/millet based/low sugar menu item in each course of the menu. Include cut vegetables (crudités) with a hung curd dip as part of starters, some millet based patties such as this one by Nandita. Dress your table with colourful salads such as these.  Add grilled vegetables on skewers or fruit skewers to liven up the party table colourfully without much effort or wasteful calories. Even desserts can include some smart options such as this fruit terrine.

  • Choose your party snacks smartly

While at a party, it may become tough to eat wisely. Pick a small plate to begin with. Keep an eagle eye on the portions you load on your plate. Do NOT go for second helpings. While selecting from the buffet table, choose baked over deep fried snacks, vinaigrette or lemon based dressings over mayonnaise for salads,  milk based sweets over deep fried sugar drenched sweets, tea cakes over cream-topped pastries. Mentally divide your plate into 5 parts. Fill 1 part with a carbohydrate such as roti/rice/pilaf/ pasta, 2 parts with protein such as tofu/paneer/fish/lean meat, and 3 parts with vegetables such as stir fried vegetables/salad. This will ensure you are eating sensibly even at a party.

  • Tank up on healthy fluids

Keep sipping water throughout the day. Other hydrating fluids include unsweetened fruit juices, lemon tea, green tea without added sweetener, dilute buttermilk. Aim for 4 glasses more than your usual fluid intake during the festive season. This will ensure that kidneys are not overloaded, yet, keep hunger pangs and binge-eating at bay. Good hydration also helps to eliminate toxins, aids digestion, keeps energy levels high at the festive times when you need it the most. Needless to say, drink alcohol (if you must) in moderation. No letting go of limits on this one. Dilute your drinks with plenty of unsweetened fruit juices, or water, and pace your drinks sensibly.

  • Form a support group

Diwali is a great time for social bonding. Use your friendships to help each other. Form a support group of like-minded friends who commit to exercising and eating sensibly during the festive season. Agree on a 4-5 point goal, and update the others at the end of the day. Motivate each other to not give up and keep at your goals together. It will be great fun and inspiring at the same time.

Lastly, festivities are not just about food or no-holds barred behaviours. Enjoy the colours, the sounds, soak in the ambience, the fun. Relax, let go of your tensions and come out of the Diwali week, lighter in both body and spirit!

Happy Diwali to all my readers. May there be light, love, peace and happiness in all your homes and lives.

Sep 30, 2015

Chocolate Marbled Energy Bars

Breakfast is the most neglected meal of the day. On busy weekday mornings, most people are in a great rush to reach workplaces, schools, just about anywhere. No wonder then, that, people do not spare time for breakfast. Yet, starting a day without breakfast just works against what we set out to achieve. We are more likely to be zapped of energy and enthusiasm early into the workday. To help us perform better at our tasks, a healthy breakfast is vital. If so, would it not be wonderful if we could have breakfast on the go? Enter granola bars, energy bars, muesli bars. Call them by any name. They are just as convenient, delicious and perfect snacks or meal on the go.

Energy bars can be made ahead, store well, and can be packed as breakfast on the go, or anytime snacks, or on road trips, picnic munchies. They are great for a pre workout or a post workout snack too.

I came across these chocolate marbled energy bars first in ‘Chocolate’ by Delia Smith. The book is filled with decadent chocolate based recipes. However, these energy bars were the ones that caught my eyes first. I tweaked around the ingredients and proportions to suit my requirement. I have substituted the condensed milk with brown sugar/jaggery syrup. You could add both the condensed milk and jaggery syrup to increase the richness of the energy bar too. If using condensed milk, keep the total liquid at the same volume as mentioned in this recipes. I have added popped amaranth seeds to add a good protein to the bar. The only part I have left unchanged is the beautiful marbled chocolate topping! I had to work on the recipe a few times to get a proportion that works best. One that gave just the right hint of sweetness, and had just enough liquid to solid ratio to bake well. I also made sure that the baked energy bars could be cut into neat squares!

Healthy Chocolate marbled Energy Bars

I am sure you are eager to get to the recipe and make some for yourself too. So here goes…


  • Has gluten from oats. NOT SUITABLE for people with gluten intolerance. Substitute oats with total 5 cups rice flakes to make it gluten free. 
  • This recipe does NOT contain lactose. Suitable for people with lactose intolerance. However, adding condensed milk will bring lactose into the recipe.
  • Does NOT contain corn, soya, eggs.
  • Contains nuts. Omit nuts if you have nut allergy.

Preparation Time – 20 minutes, Cooking Time – 30 minutes, Makes 9 squares


COOKWARE – Convection oven, 8 inch square baking tray, baking paper to line tray, deep mixing bowl, rubber spatula, sauce pan, 2 glass bowls, steel fine mesh filter, sharp knife


  1. 4 cups quick cooking oats
  2. 1 cup popped amaranth seeds
  3. 1 cup thin rice flakes (poha, aval, attukulu, avalakki)
  4. 1 cup deseeded, chopped sweet dates
  5. 1/2 cup dried cranberries/strawberries/blueberries (optional)
  6. 1/4 cup chopped walnuts/almonds
  7. 1 cup powdered jaggery/brown sugar
  8. 1/2 cup drinking water
  9. 1/2 cup dark cooking chocolate
  10. 1/2 cup white cooking chocolate


  1. Bring the water to boil in a saucepan, add the jaggery, mix and let it rest for a few minutes for the jaggery to dissolve. When the jaggery has dissolved completely, strain through the mesh filter to remove impurities. Collect the jaggery solution in the deep mixing bowl.
  2. To the bowl add the oats, popped amaranth, rice flakes, dates, dried berries (if using), and nuts. Mix all the ingredients together until the liquid has coated all dry ingredients.
  3. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  4. Line the baking tray with paper leaving an overhang.
  5. Pat the mixture into the tray, pressing down firmly with a rubber spatula. Make sure there are no dry bits of ingredients on the surface. If needed, sprinkle a few drops of water on top to moisten, and pat down again.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-23 minutes.
  7. Remove and cool the tray on a cooling rack. Do not remove granola from tray. Cool for 20-30 minutes.
  8. Chop the dark and white cooking chocolate into different glass bowls. Microwave in bursts of 20-30 seconds until just beginning to melt. Do not overheat the chocolate, stop heating when there a few bits of chocolate left to melt. Keep stirring with a metal spoon, to get a smooth melted chocolate.
  9. Spoon both the dark and white melted chocolate alternately in a wave pattern over the baked granola. Drag wavy lines using a fork tip or toothpick to create marbled patterns while chocolate is still wet. Tap the tray sharply on the counter top a few times for chocolate to even out.
  10. Place the tray in the fridge to set quickly.
  11. After half an hour, remove from fridge and set on counter top. Wait for the chocolate layer to warm up to room temperature a bit. I left it on the countertop for 10 minutes. Room temperature at my home is around 23C-25C. Cut into 9 squares with a sharp knife. If the chocolate layer seems to crack rather than cut up, wait for some more time and then cut up. The marbled energy bars are ready.
  12. Store in air-tight box. Stays good for at least 1 week, maybe more. I never got a chance to find out! Pack in baking paper for road trips or any place out of home. These marbled energy bars are great for breakfast on the go, for school snack boxes, for pre or post workout snacks, as well as a healthy snack option.

Guilt free healthy snacks

Notes -

  • Diabetics may/may not be able to eat these energy bars. Remember although the recipe uses jaggery, there is more sugar in the dates as well as chocolate. Omitting the chocolate could bring the sugar content of the energy bars lower.
  • The energy bars cut up neatly if baked through well. Also wait patiently for the top chocolate layer to set before cutting into squares.
  • Do not over heat the chocolate. Stop heating when three fourths of the chocolate is melted. Keep stirring in a circular motion, in the same direction for a smooth glossy chocolate.

Sep 10, 2015

The Indian Culinary Route

Marriott Whitefield, Bangalore is hosting a week long Indian Food Festival. Giving you one more fabulous reason to visit them and indulge in specialty gastronomic adventures. Chefs have been flown in from different Marriott properties from across the country for this week alone. Thus, it is India on a platter for guests all through the week. A few food bloggers were invited to kick-start the ‘Indian Culinary Route Extravaganza.’

Visiting Marriott Chefs with Judge

Kick-start we did and how! Bloggers were divided into teams under different chefs. Each team had to prepare a regional delicacy. The twist in the tale came in the form of handcuffs! All chefs were handcuffed, were only allowed to instruct and guide, but cannot twirl pans, or cook. The vegetarians amongst us grouped ourselves into one team. Excited that the dish to be prepared was ‘Gatte ki Subzi’, we set off in all earnest.

Food Bloggers with Chefs in Cuffs

Dough mixed, vegetables chopped, the huge ‘lagan’ was set on stove top. Under Chef Ranjit Singh’s expert and patient guidance, we kept  throwing in ingredients into the lagan amidst the din and chaos of several teams hollering across to each other! Much friendly fire and competitive spirit between the teams, kept up the temperature as if the heat from the live kitchen was not enough. Soon enough our Gatte ki Subzi began to take shape. We kept gazing at our dish with ‘motherly pride’ for we had coaxed and nurtured the sabzi to excellence!

Busy in the kitchen Always have time for selfies! Engrossed in Gatte-cutting!

Soon enough, the dishes were lined up for the judge to choose the best. Suresh Hinduja, prominent member on the Bangalore food scene, and a great cook himself, was the judge for the day. I did not envy him even for a moment, for each team had outdone itself in effort and passion. While I would have loved to end this tale with an ending that the Gatte ki Subzi stole the thunder from all other entries, had people swooning over it, and so on,…. sadly, the tale did not end thus! Kerala Roast Chicken was judged the best for its perfect cooking, great balance of spices and hence the best dish.

The Gatte ki subzi

The proud Team members with Chef Ranjit Singh

All were treated to a sumptuous lunch, pampered by the attentive staff of Marriott, Whitefield. Perfectly flaky Malabar Parathas, Red Matta rice cooked to soft grainy perfection, white rice and rotis were chosen to accompany the brilliant curries, dals, Salan and Raita. If this lunch is anything to go by, folks, do yourself a favour and make your reservations for this Indian Culinary Route week.