Mar 25, 2013



A very Happy Holi to all readers! I adore this festival for the bonhomie and togetherness it brings about. The internet abounds with recipes you could make on this happy festive day. This recipe is just what you would feel happy to reach out for after gorging on endless plates of Mawa Gujiya, Kachoris, Dahi vada and other absolute indulgences.

So for my post today, I am offering a tongue tickling, slurp worthy, lip-curling,  ... Tamarind Digestive! You can make this ahead. It keeps well for a couple of weeks, maybe more. I have never found out. Batches of these disappear at our home within days of making. Yummy Slurpy Chukkumanam

It is fairly simple, with ingredients you would always find around the house. So what is the tough part? Pounding the tamarind to a gooey pulp! For, this tastes best when hand-pounded in a mortar and pestle. This takes time and will leave you happier for your toned arms after this exercise! Open-mouthed smile

Traditionally Chukkumanam is made at our homes for ‘Sumangali Prarthanai’ (invoking the Blessings of all married women of the family who have passed on). Several married women are invited home, their feet washed, anointed with fragrant sandal, offered auspicious turmeric and red kumkum. They are then fed and how! Over clean wide banana leaves, they are served course upon course, dish after delicious dish, until all the women groan under the gastronomic assault! To help digest their special heavy meal, the Sumangalis are then offered ‘spiced buttermilk’ and this ‘Chukkumanam’. The traditional recipe does not include jaggery, but I have added it for balance.

Enjoy the digestive after your special festive gastronomic journey on Holi, or make it anytime you feel like.

You Need

  1. Cleaned, deseeded, tamarind - 4 heaped tsp
  2. Jaggery, powder and measure - 2 tbsp
  3. Dry ginger powder - 2 tsp
  4. Salt - 1 tsp
  5. Bedige Red chilli - 1/4 of 1 chilli
  6. Ghee - 1/2 tsp

To Assemble -

  1. Clean, deseed and remove fibre and other impurities, if any, from the tamarind. Place in a mortar and pestle or mixer jar.
  2. Add all other ingredients except ghee, pound by hand or use pulse button of mixer to get a uniform mixture. If pounding by hand, it will need about 10 minutes of persistent effort to bring the mixture together. If using the mixer, be very careful while using for the recipe does not have any water, the solids can clog the blade and ruin it.Knead the mixture together with ghee
  3. Remove to plate, add warmed ghee, knead with hand.Roll into Balls with greased hand
  4. Roll into small balls, stick on toothpicks to serve immediately.
  5. Wrap in parchment paper to store for up to two weeks.DSC_0012


Mar 12, 2013

Lauki raita/ Sorakayi pachadi


Bottle gourd as it is known in English, was not a favourite at our home too, that is until my yoga teacher shared this recipe with me. Bottle gourd is always paired with a protein such as chana dal or tuvar dal or mung dal in traditional Indian recipes. One reason could be that the vegetable has very low protein levels. Thus creating a dish with the vegetable + protein makes it complete!

Of the several Indian recipes such as using it in koftas, avial, kootu, I took an instant liking to using it in raita. Cooling, refreshing, this extremely simple dish can be paired with any entree, any cuisine. The best part is very few ingredients are required and takes little time to put together. Use it as dip, chutney, raita, or to fill in hunger pangs between meals too.

What’s good about Bottle gourd?

  • Bottle gourd has plenty of moisture and dietary fibre. This makes it an ideal summer vegetable to replenish fluids in the body. The fibre keeps constipation, piles, cholesterol and even colon cancer at bay.
  • 100 gm of uncooked bottle gourd has only 12 calories. This makes the vegetable an instant pick me up for weight loss diets.
  • It has no protein or fat content – the only way to add that would be in a recipe that includes some protein and good fat.
  • This humble vegetable is a fair source of Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium and Copper. All minerals needed by teenagers and growing children.
  • Also a very low sodium vegetable, this is very suitable for people with high blood pressure or diabetes too.
  • Do check out this link too.

So do try out this super simple and soul satisfying recipe this summer.

You needGrated bottle gourd

  1. Bottle gourd/ lauki/ sorakayi – select tender lauki, wash, peel, grate to a medium fineness, measure 3/4 cup.
  2. Thick curd – 1 cup ( I used home made skim milk curd) If you use store bought curd, select fresh probiotic skim milk curd.
  3. Salt – 1/4 tsp.
  4. Sugar – a pinch (optional).
  5. Fresh coriander leaves – chopped fine – 1 tbsp

For seasoning

  1. Oil – 1/2 tsp
  2. Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  3. Asafoetida – a teeny pinch
  4. Green chilli – 1, finely chopped
  5. Curry leaves – 3-4 torn up

To assemble

  1. Combine the grated bottle gourd, whipped curd, salt, and sugar.
  2. Heat oil in a small tadka pan, add oil and other seasoning ingredients in order.
  3. Pour over raita.
  4. Top with chopped coriander leaves.
  5. Chill for an hour before serving.

Cool curd and hot takda


  1. Omit seasoning.
  2. Add roasted jeera powder and kala namak powder if you like the piquancy.
  3. Add one half onion, finely diced, or few chopped stems of spring onion along with bottle gourd in the raita.
  4. Add grated carrot for colour!

 Chilled Bottle gourd raita

Mar 5, 2013

Sprouts In Palak Gravy

Reposting the recipe as entry to Only Cooking with Legumes event at Nalini’s Kitchen. A great event started by Pari Vashisht at her blog Foodelicious

March is the season of winter in some places, spring in some parts of the world, and summer in several parts too! One season is common to all in India – March is the season of exam fever all over the country! Rising temperatures, portions to complete, revise, projects to submit, cramming before exams, and raging hormones no less, all add to the Indian teenager’s agony. Standing at an important crossroad of life, today’s teenager and the family have a lot of stress to face through these weeks.
At such stressful times, it goes without saying that a healthy body and healthy mind are very crucial to crack the tests and come through happily. Parents are eager to know what can help in improving their children’s health and will do all it takes to better their child’s chances at success. I have had several parents ask me about ideal diet for children during study holidays and examination - time. An ideal diet at these times should include plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals and less of refined starches. Greasy, spicy foods are best avoided too. Fruits, fresh squeezed citrus fruit juice without too much sugar, other fluids like tender coconut water do wonders to keep the body and mind stable and calm. It also helps to spend some time in playing  a favourite game and / or doing breathing exercises like ‘Pranayama’ (after learning from a qualified teacher).
Let us begin with good food. Food that is nourishing, sustaining, and tasty too! Food that energises without being heavy, food that delivers maximum effect with minimum effort. What can fit this bill better than sprouts?
I am quite fond of sprouts for their power packed nutrient content. Sprouts are an invaluable source of protein in a vegetarian’s diet. Besides the protein punch, sprouts are also chockfull of Vitamins B (better digestion, stronger nerves), Vitamin C ( better immunity, healthier gums). Also present are Minerals like Zinc, Copper, Iron – These are needed for a growing teen for stronger muscles, more blood cells and hence more oxygen to body and brain! Sprouts are low on glycemic index too. They are the perfect food for holistic health – of mind and body.
While it is true that raw sprouts give all the benefits of vitamins, fibre, minerals, yet it is not an easy task to coax children to chew on them frequently.If you can get your teen to chew on a tbsp of raw mung bean sprouts daily, it would be wonderful. However. do not despair if she does not agree. I often choose the middle path – steam the sprouts, or microwave them for a brief while to take the raw offensive flavour out. Steaming sprouts also is good to help elderly or people with compromised immunity to digest it easily.
Eating cooked sprouts is better than not eating them at all. Eating cooked sprouts in a smooth flavourful palak gravy is even better. What say?
Parathas made with multi grain dough flavoured with ajwain paired well with this sprouts in palak gravy. It was school lunch fare and I am so glad to say that other kids at school liked it too. This is an ideal meal for children working hard at their academics at this time of the year.
Bowl of Sprouts in Palak
You need
  1. Mixed sprouts or mung bean sprouts – heaped, 1 cup
  2. Palak leaves – wash in several changes of water, drain, chop and measure – 3 heaped cups
  3. Onion – chopped, 1/4 cup
  4. Garlic – 1 clove, crushed
  5. Tomato – chopped, 1/2 cup
  6. Green chilli – 2
  7. Root ginger – chopped – 1 tbsp
  8. Salt – 1 heaped tsp
  9. Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
  10. Oil – 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp
  11. Jeera – 1/2 tsp
To Assemble
  1. Pressure cook mixed sprouts or mung bean sprouts for as much time as needed to be just cooked. The cooking time will depend on the bean. Set aside, for pressure to release. Alternately, if you are using only mung bean sprouts, just steaming them for 3-4 minutes would be good too.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non stick pan or kadhai.
  3. Add in this order, each at a 30 second interval   – garlic, ginger, green chilli, onion and tomato. Add salt, let the tomatoes mush up. Fry ingredients in oil
  4. Add chopped palak leaves. Toss the palak well in the pan, let it wilt and cook for about 2 minutes. Add chopped palak
  5. Cool and grind to a smooth paste.
  6. To the same pan, add 1/2 tsp oil, Sizzle jeera in it.
  7. Tip in the palak puree and the cooked sprouts, add garam masala. Check for salt, add more if needed. Mix palak puree and cooked sprouts
  8. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, switch off cover and let flavours mingle for 10 minutes or more. DSC_0042
  9. Serve warm with a lime wedge if you like, as accompaniment to hot phulkas or steamed rice. Yum. SmilePower Packed Meal