Saffron Latte

Saffron, one of the most expensive spices in the world, was used by Indian queens a few thousand years ago to decorate their forehead with an image of sun, moon, crescent moon, or star. Saffron was ground into a paste along with ghee and used as kumkum, hence the name kumkum flower/ kunguma poo. This…

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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 early in the morning. Our grandmother tried various methods by sprinkling tiny sugar crystals over these emerald green balls, and promising us a…

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…

Neem flower rasam

As a child I hated few things imposed by my grandparents during our visit every summer. It was disgusting to find all our clothes reeked of bitter neem oil as they were washed using neem detergents. We also disliked to gobble up extremely bitter balls made of neem leaves paste forcibly given by our grandmother….

Banana Blossom Usili

Indian medicine system recommends anything that tastes astringent such as banana flowers, pomegranate, red gram (toor dal),  Indian blackberry (black plum), etc. for women’s health as they keep uterus healthy. Consuming cooked banana flower with curd or yoghurt is believed to be one of the most efficient ways of treating excessive bleeding during menstruation as…

Moringa Flower Poriyal

Since moringa trees are primarily grown for their seed pods (drumsticks), moringa flowers are hardly available in the market. So we prepare poriyal in small quantity exclusively for a lactating mother in our family. It is preferred to cook buds & young white blossoms gently and use them in salad, soup, or curry. Please note that…

Classic Elixir

Chukku-malli kaapi is a traditional South Indian digestive elixir prepared using dried ginger & other spices, herbs and palm sugar. Since Indian medicine systems like Siddha or Ayurveda recommends to take fresh ginger in an empty stomach in the morning & dried ginger later in the day, we usually take fresh ginger juice or ginger…

Thoothuvalai chutney

Thoothuvalai (Solanum trilobatum) is a quickly spreading herb usually props up in our surroundings after a good spell of rain. It is a medicinal plant used in Indian medicines Ayurveda & Siddha to treat respiratory problems like asthma, cough, cold & flu. It is recommended to include these herbs twice a week in the diet…

Omam Kuzhambu

Generally I prepare omam kuzhambu when we return home from a vacation, or after attending a wedding ceremony for few days. I make omam kuzhambu and serve with hot steaming rice & roasted papad (sutta appalam), when we crave for a home-cooked food that soothes our stomach. Health Benefits: Omam (ajwain / carom seeds /…

Amla Pickle

Indian gooseberries (amla) were mentioned in Sangam Tamil literature 2000 years ago for their anti-aging properties. The king Adhiyamaan of Chera dynasty was famous for his munificence and he was regarded as one of the kadaiyezhu vallal (meaning last seven patrons) in the history of Tamil monarchy. In those days amla was a scarcely available…

Fig Juice

Fig juice is the best way to include nutrients rich figs in our diet. Fig juice can be served to people of all ages. Health Benefits: As figs contain more calcium than any other fruit, they are good for our teeth & bone health which is particularly needed for women and old people’s health. Figs…

Coriander Seeds Chutney

Coriander seeds chutney is very effective in alleviating morning sickness for pregnant women. It can be served as a dip for chips, papads or crackers, a spread for sandwich, or a side for idli, dosa, variety rice & millet porridge (kanji or koozh). You can also make this chutney in large quantity and refrigerate for…

Karunai Kizhangu Masiyal

Karunai Kizhangu Masiyal (spicy mashed yam) is a perfect side dish for paruppu sadam and it is liked by kids for the spicy tangy flavor. Yam masiyal also goes well with sambar sadam, rasam sadam, kuzhambu sadam, or thayir sadam. mashed yam may be used as an accompaniment for chappathi and also used as a…

Chinese Potato Fry

Chinese Potato (siru kizhangu or koorka) fry is a tasty accompaniment for curd rice, sambar rice or any other rice varieties. It can also be taken with rotis or Indian breads. This is a good alternate for regular potato as it has medicinal properties as well. Cooking Time: 20 min Serves: 4 Ingredients: Chinese Potato…

Turmeric Banana Stirfry

Fresh turmeric roots (pachai manjal kizhangu) are plentifully available here in the market during Pongal, a harvest festival of Tamilnadu, in the month of January. In this season I like to replace turmeric powder with fresh turmeric in recipes such as ven pongal, any stir-fried vegetables, curries, etc. I find them tasting slightly peppery & bitter…

Ginger Drink

We used to take ginger drink in an empty stomach especially on the day when we return to work after a long travel; it keeps us fresh & active throughout the day. It also helps in ease of digestion. First we have to extract ginger juice before preparing Ginger Drink as below: Ingredients :  Ginger…

Greens ‘n’ Lentils

Greens that I have used here is Solanum Nigrum or black nightshade or manathakali keerai. It treats mouth ulcers and protects liver, this herb is being used to cure Hepatitis in rural Tamilnadu. Greens ‘n’ Lentils (keerai kootu) is a healthy accompaniment for rice; it goes well with any sambar, rasam or kuzhambu, except morkuzhambu. Ingredients:…

Golden Milk with Pepper

I remember drinking Golden Milk for the first time when I was about 5 years old. I was woken up from sleep by mother, she held a glass of golden milk near my mouth and made me to empty the glass. Although I was feeling drowsy, I still remember sweet ‘n’ spicy warm milk soothing…

Ginger Jam

Ginger jam is an easy to prepare digestive jam. A teaspoon of ginger jam taken in the morning in an empty stomach helps improve digestion. It is mainly beneficial for children to increase their appetite. Coriander seeds, ginger & raisins have medicinal properties of balancing body temperature. You can find my grandmother’s recipe for a…

Vallarai Thuvaiyal

Vallarai keerai or Centella Asiatica is an amazing herb mainly used here to improve the memory for children who are preparing for competitive exams and also for old people with decreased memory. I also found a significant improvement when we served this chutney to my father everyday. It is always better to include such fresh…