Neem Balls

“It is horrendous to gorge oneself on extremely bitter balls”, this was the thought we all had in unison when we were asked to swallow marble-sized neem balls in an empty stomach in the morning. Our grand mother tried various methods by sprinkling tiny sugar crystals over these emerald green balls, or promising us a…

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Green Curry

Although Thai cuisine boasts of a wide range of meatless preparations, every vegetable salad, soup, or curry is tinged with fish sauce/ oyster sauce/ dried shrimps/ shrimp paste. People claiming themselves as vegetarians in Thailand are actually pescatarians, they don’t take any meat but seafood. It may be required for vegetarians/ vegans to order food…

Mukkani Payasam

Reading Panchangam (an almanac prepared based on Indian calendar system) is an age-old custom practiced on the day of Tamil New Year that falls in the mid April. A few centuries ago royal priests were summoned to read a new Panchangam in the king’s court mentioning important dates of the year and also foretelling the…

Classic Blackgram Porridge

Oil bath, almost a forgotten weekly routine followed by every South Indian family until 3 or 4 decades ago, offers pretty much the same benefits of Ayurvedic massage. Nowadays people prefer to visit Ayurvedic clinic for massaging therapy, and spend a few hours & a few bucks there, but they take oil bath at home…

Channa Kulambu

Channa kulambu was one of the few curries I enjoyed during my childhood days. In those days it was prepared using small black chickpeas and white chickpeas were sparingly used for the reasons still unconvincing to me. Eventually I switch to large white chickpeas for their soft, melt-in-mouth texture and prepare even more delicious kulambu…

Carrot Halwa

Generally we carry a box of assorted sweets, chocolates, or dry fruits when we visit our friends or relatives, likewise we also receive such gifts from our guests. We usually finish them in a couple of days except the milk sweets, they remain untouched for few days. Ever since I read a slogan encouraging veganism…

Sesame seed squares

Women of all virtues are regarded as goddesses in our society even today, it is a common sight in some families here that men treating his worldly wise mother as Sarasawathi, the goddess of wisdom & knowledge, his caring wife as Durga Devi, the goddess of strength & protection, and his lively daughter as goddess…

Coconut milk biryani with baby potato curry

A long time ago I read through the eye-opening piece of information published in almost all the newspapers & magazines here about the special menu meticulously planned by top chefs to ease the tension during the talks between Indian premier & Pakistan president held at Agra summit in 2001. It made me to realize that…

Peanut Butter Mug Cake

Despite the fact that peanuts can cause ama (indigestion), my father, an ardent follower of Mahathma Gandhi, encouraged us to snack on peanuts even at the young age for 3 reasons: Peanuts are the only legumes grow underground, hence the rich sources of micro-nutrients than any other legumes; they are beneficial to vegetarians for being…

Vegetable Samosa

It is quite hard to find someone who dislikes samosa, a scrumptious tea-time snack, with crispy thin layers of pastry covering chewy flavorful filling. Typically samosa is prepared by deep frying triangle shaped pastry sheets stuffed with vegetables or minced meat. But nowadays I switch to baked samosa as deep fried samosa have always been…

Ayur Detox

Ever since I underwent a course of detoxification procedures in an Ayurvedic clinic I realized that detoxification is as important as nourishment of our body. It is essential to keep not only toxins but also toxic thoughts & toxic people at bay for our well being. Since Ayurveda is popular for effective detoxification, I feel…

Anjarisi Pongal

Anjarisi pongal, a rice dish made using 5 varieties of rice, is a traditional pongal served in sumptuous Chettinad wedding feasts. They usually prepare anjarisi pongal or anjarisi payasam using black kavuni arisi, varagu arisi (kodo millet), rava (sooji), javvarisi (sago) and raw rice. But I tried using indigenous rice varieties well known for their…

Boli

I wish all my readers a blessed New Year full of happiness and health! In this new year I aspire to rise up & glide above my comfort zone and hanker after the recipes I never dared to try before. There are a number of varieties of boli prepared by south Indians, but the traditional…

Fig upside down cake

Elders in our families were of the opinion that baking cakes is a painstakingly strenuous procedure, hence nobody dared to bake cakes at home previously. We usually devour the cakes bought from the reputed bakery in our locality, and we had an opportunity to relish home-baked cakes every Christmas shared by our friends & neighbors….

Tamarind Soup

According to ancient Indian medicine systems Siddha and Ayurveda, tamarind fruit is believed to have numerous healing powers. It is a quintessential ingredient of the commonly prepared south Indian curries like sambar, rasam, or kuzhambu. In a recent study it was found that we can largely reduce the loss of nutrients while cooking vegetables by…

Dishwasher in India

For centuries Indians have been enjoying the luxury of employing a battery of domestic helps like cook, house maid, driver, gardener, etc. Nowadays people prefer to avail the services of Uber than appointing a cook or driver, but finding it difficult to mange their daily chores without the support of house maids. On the other…

Edible Lamps

Elders in our families are unable to withstand to watch the children blowing out candles on their birthday as lighting up lamps is considered auspicious here and it symbolizes brightening up the people’s lives. Earlier traditional lamps (kuthu vilakku) were treated as supreme deities at home, but statues & pictures gradually gained the special status…

Moringa Mash

Despite the facts that moringa trees are known to attract pests and they are so fragile that they can not withstand strong winds, they are grown in almost every house to enjoy the benefits of nutritious leaves, flowers & pods. Normally we don’t allow children to go near this tree as woolly caterpillars found on…

Murukku

“Can you crunch murukku?” is one of the commonly asked questions when oldies meet each other during the festival of Deepavali. It is regarded as a blessing (or as a sign of good health) if one could relish crunchy murukku even at an old age. There is an old saying in Tamil “norunga thindral nooru…

Diwali Dumplings

Dumpling is not only a traditional food but also a universal food, it is ubiquitous in almost every cultural cuisine in various form be it boiled, baked, steamed or fried. Chinese dim sum, Italian ravioli, Nepalese yomari, Jamaican fried dumplings, Polish potato plum dumplings, British herb dumplings, American apple dumplings, etc. are some of the…

Saffron Rice

Sweet saffron rice (zarda pulao), a Persian rice dish, was popular during the Mughal era dated back to 16th century. Noor Jahan, the multi-talented Mughal empress, devised a new technique to stain rice grains with edible dyes. Later zarda pulao made using such rice grains of various colours became so popular that it was served…

Karamani Sundal

Navarathri is a festival of worshiping the goddess of creative power (Parvathi), goddess of wisdom (Sarasawthi) & goddess of wealth (Lakshmi). Navarathri celebrations in Tamilnadu is incomplete without offering sundal made of legumes to deities. I like to make karamani (black eyed beans) sundal for the soft skin & creamy texture. Today I used karamani of…

Amla Relish

Besides candies, chocolates, ice cream, ice pops, and other sugary snacks there were healthy snacks like boiled peanuts & Palmyra sprouts, roasted corncobs, and locally grown fresh berries & fruits sold in our school canteen. We all children relished them as much as any other snacks like puffs, samosa, or chips during intervals or at…

Chinese Spinach

I am thankful to the creator of The Popeye show for motivating my son, a picky eater, to have a liking for insipid spinach even at his tender age. This cartoon show made my job easier to convey the importance of taking wholesome food and also made a small kid to understand a profound theory, “we are…

Poomparuppu Sundal

Lord Ganesha is worshiped as the god of beginnings by Hindus in the same manner God Janus is regarded in Greek mythology. It is interesting to find the striking similarities between the two as they both hold the honor of being the first god worshiped in every ritual. My day starts by listening to the…

Pesarat

As a child I used to feel shy talking about food fearing that I might be mistakenly stamped as a gourmand. Nowadays it is a common sight that teens talking all about food with their peers with no inhibition, there is also a welcome trend that kids happily wielding small ladles to cook up their…

Poppy seeds payasam

Poppy seeds payasam is a delicious yet nutritious dessert popular in Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh. Earlier I had been using poppy seeds scantily as a thickening agent along with coconut. But when I started to use them profusely for making payasam, the flavor became so conspicuous that I could notice the nutty flavor similar to sesame…

Vatha Kulambu

It is a common practice in most parts of the world to preserve bountiful seasonal fruits and vegetables by freeze-drying them in a freezer for the household use. But on the contrary Indians preserve them by drying under the sun as it shines here for most of the year. Sun-dried (dehydrated) products have been used…

Sweet corn soup

Actually I am not a soup enthusiast and I like to take hot vegetable soup only in the rainy evenings or winter nights. Nevertheless I like the idea of serving simple yet wholesome soup & salad for dinner as it makes us feel absolutely satiated. Sweet corn soup with sprouted moong salad is one such hearty…

Indian Beetroot Relish

I feel sad that children today are not able to savor our traditional beetroot relish as I did in my childhood. It was a delightful experience for the kids to relish the beautiful reddish-purple beetroot puree infused with delicious flavors of native fruits served in wedding feasts. Beetroot sweet pachadi, the most popular fruit dessert,…