Sunday, May 3, 2015

Turmeric



My Mom has been using warm milk as a pre-bedtime sedative since I was a child. As much as I love chamomile, lavender, and all the usual tricks, they haven't always worked for me. I've always liked the whole "drink a glass of warm milk before bed" idea but adding turmeric to milk has won its way to my heart. Just add 1/4 tsp of turmeric along with a tsp of sugar to a warm cup of milk. It works it's magic when you get cold and cough. Take it at least 3 nights up to 7 nights for it to show it's effects. Most of the Ayurvedic medicines are taken in smaller quantities for a longer time, but not as long asthey stop being effective.

Turmeric, the beautiful orange spice from India, is from the ginger family. (Go figure, I love ginger.) Ayuverda and TCM boast that turmeric is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and helps deal with internal and external infections. Doctors have more recently found that it might block enzymes that promote certain cancers. 

On a more traditional/spiritual plane, turmeric is said to increase ojasOjas loosely translates as "heartiness" or resilience, referring specifically to physical health. Ojas is one of the three key aspects of vitality in Ayurveda, along with tejas (the emotional level) and prana (the energetic level). Ojas is usually indicated by strong digestion and a healthy metabolism. Interestingly, I just learned that fertility is a very good sign of ojas because reproductive organs are nourished only after other tissues have been taken care of. 


Turmeric has so many benefits including help for arthritis, cancer, inflammation, skincare, haircare, etc. Please research it. If you have gallstones avoid it but you can take curcumin the constituent according to Dr. Weil.Sleep Well, Live Longer!
I believed that Turmeric is rich in anti-oxidants which helps in boosting the immunity power hence it is good for digestive, lungs, heart, bone etc. It acts as anti-bacterial in nature so it heals wound faster.







Sunday, May 18, 2014

Swiss Chard with Onions.

Ingredients:

Swiss Chard - one bunch
Onions - 2 medium cut lengthwise - about one and a half cups
Green chilies - 3-4 chopped or red dry chilies - 2-3 break into small pieces
Salt to taste
Sugar -  a pinch
Oil Tempering - (oil, mustard seeds, hing powder and turmeric powder)

Recipe:        

Wash Swiss chard and cut into 1" pieces. Soak it in a big tub of water, rinse the leaves and take them out in a colander and discard water ( sand settles at the bottom). Repeat the process until all the sand is removed. 
Cut onions and slice them thin.
Prepare oil tempering and add chillies.
Add cut onions and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Add cut Swiss Chard leaves and continue stirring until all the veggies are tender. Add salt to taste, and pinch of sugar. Mix well and remove from heat.
Add additional 1/2 tsp chilli powder if needed.

Notes: 

1) If you cannot eat green chilies, add red dried chilies to oil tempering.  You can see them and 
remove them before serving.
2) You can add 2 tsp garlic cut lengthwise in oil tempering (don't add hing powder when using garlic in the recipe) and sauté until lightly brown. Add onion after that and follow recipe.
3) You can use any other leafy vegetable like collard green, kale or spinach instead of Swiss Chard.
4) If you don't want to use onion and garlic, omit the step where you add onion in it (Don't forget 
hing powder in the oil tempering) and follow the recipe. When the chard is all cooked add 4-5 table 
spoons of besan flour (or more if needed). Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until the besan flour is cooked. This style the vegetable becomes kind of dry. Serve with chapati or roti.

Swiss Chard with Radishes

Ingredients:

Swiss Chard - one bunch
Red Radishes - cup and a half
Green chilies - 3-4 chopped or red dry chilies - 2-3 break into small pieces
Salt to taste
Sugar -  a pinch
Oil Tempering - (oil, mustard seeds, hing powder and turmeric powder)

Recipe:

Wash Swiss chard and cut into 1" pieces. Soak it in a big tub of water, rinse the leaves and take them out in a colander and discard water ( sand settles at the bottom). Repeat the process until all the sand is removed.
Cut tops and roots of radishes and slice them thin.
Prepare oil tempering and add chillies.
Add cut radishes and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add cut Swiss Chard leaves and continue stirring until all the veggies are tender. Add salt to taste, and pinch of sugar. Mix well and remove from heat.
Add additional 1/2 tsp chilli powder if needed.

Notes: 

1) If you cannot eat green chilies, add red dried chilies to oil tempering.  You can see them and remove them before serving.
2) I don't use onion or garlic when I use radishes as they all are pungent.
3) You can use any other leafy vegetable like collard green, kale or spinach instead of Swiss Chard.
4) Another variation I do with this recipe - When the chard is all cooked add 4-5 table 
spoons of besan flour (or more if needed). Continue stirring and cooking for 2-3 minutes until the besan flour is cooked. This style the vegetable becomes kind of dry. Serve with chapati or roti.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Yogurt Rice


Ingredients:

Cooked rice - 2 cups
Green chilies - 3-4 chopped or red dry chilies - 2-3 break into small pieces.
Curry leaves - 1 branch (about 10-15 leaves)
Cilantro - 1 handful leaves chopped finely
fresh grated coconut (optional)
Plain yogurt - 1 cup
Warm milk - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Ghee Tempering - ( ghee, cumin seeds and hing powder - 1/4 tsp)

Recipe:
Take cooked rice in a bowl and separate rice grains with a fork or use your fingers.
Add yogurt and warm milk, sugar and salt to taste.
Prepare Ghee Tempering.  Let cumin seeds cook until lightly brown.  Add hing powder.
Add chilies, curry leaves and stir well and add to rice mixture while still very hot.  Mix well.
You don't cook this rice again. 
Add chopped cilantro leaves and serve.   

Notes:   

1) When you cannot eat green chilies, add dried red chilies into oil tempering.  You can see them and remove them before serving.
2) I usually use left-over rice for this recipe.  
3) You can also add 1 tsp chana dal and 1 tsp urad dal (wash and soaked in water for at least 10 minutes, then remove water and add to oil tempering before chilies.  Cook until lightly brown).
4) You can use oil instead of ghee and follow the recipe for ghee tempering.
5) We usually eat this rice at the end of the meal, especially when we eat very hot and spicy food.
6) We also eat yogurt rice at supper or dinner because it helps you sleep better. (Now researchers say that milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which turns to 5-HTP and releases relaxing serotonin. It's also high in calcium, which promotes sleep).  

Simple Fried Rice

Ingredients:

Cooked rice - 2 cups
Onions - 2 medium or 1 large - cut thinly lengthwise
Green chilies - 3-4 chopped or red dry chilies - 2-3 break into small pieces.
Curry leaves - 1 branch (about 10-15 leaves)
Cilantro - 1 handful leaves chopped finely
fresh grated coconut (optional)
Salt to taste
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - 1/2 lemon or about 2 Tb
Peanut oil - 4-5 Tb  , black mustard seeds, hing powder, turmeric for Oil Tempering

Recipe:

Separate rice grains with a fork or use your fingers.
Prepare Oil Tempering
Add chilies, curry leaves and stir well.  
Add onions and cook them till lightly brown.   
Add rice and mix well with onions.   Add salt to taste.  Add sugar. Add half the cilantro leaves.  Mix well and cover and let it steam for 2-3 minutes.  Remove lid.  Add lemon juice and mix well.  Serve immediately with fresh coconut and cilantro.

Notes:

1) I sometimes add 1 chopped tomato to cooked onions and stir well and then add rice.
2) You can add eggplant instead of onions and follow recipe. Cut eggplant into cubes and soak them in water.  Add 1/2 tsp salt and let it sit for a few minutes.  Remove water and then cook in oil tempering.  Don't forget hing powder (1/8th tsp) as it acts as anti gas.   
3) When you cannot eat green chilies, add dried red chilies into oil tempering.  You can see them and remove them before serving.
4) You can add 1/2 cup green peas to cooked onions.
5) You can add 1/4 cup raw peanuts before adding onions and cook them with onions. They will add nice crunch to rice.
6) You can add broccoli (cut into small florets and steamed in microwave for 4 minutes) instead of onions.  This is one of my favorite rice dish.     
7) I like to add fresh or dry grated coconut to such recipes as coconut adds lot of fibers and it also helps improve memory. 
8) I usually add lemon juice after I turn the heat off as lemon juice does not taste very well after getting cooked.  It can makes things bitter to taste.
9) I usually use left over rice for this recipe.  
10) You can also add 1 tsp chana dal and 1 tsp urad dal (wash and soaked in water for at least 10 minutes, then remove water and add to oil tempering before chilies.  Cook until lightly brown).

Each variation will give a bit different taste to the rice.  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thick Poha

Ingredients:

Thick poha - 1 cup
Potatoes - 2 medium cut into 4 quarters and then thinly sliced each piece (1/4" thickness) and soak them in water.
Onions - 2 medium or 1 large - cut finely
Green chilies - 3-4 finely chopped
Curry leaves - 2 branches (about 15-20 leaves)
Cilantro - 2 handful leaves chopped finely
fresh or dry coconut - 3-4 Tb
Salt to taste
Sugar - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 1/2 lemon or about 2 Tb
Peanut oil (1/4 cup), black mustard seeds, hing powder, turmeric for Oil Tempering

Recipe:

Clean poha (remove rice hull and stones if any).
Sieve poha through colander (it will remove all the fine powder and very small pieces of poha).
Wash poha in the same colander 2-3 times and keep it for 10 min. Make sure that poha is well soaked but not soggy.  Separate grains by fingers.
Prepare Oil Tempering. You will need more oil than usual as poha and potatoes will absorb oil.
Add chilies, curry leaves and stir well.  Add onions and cook them till lightly brown.  Remove potatoes  from water and add to onions.  Stir well.  Add salt and sugar and cover with a lid.  Let potatoes cook on the steam for 4-5 minutes.  When potatoes are cooked add poha and mix well with onions and potatoes.   Add salt to taste.  Add half the cilantro leaves.  Mix well and cover and let it steam for 2-3 minutes.  Remove lid.  Add lemon juice and mix well.  Serve immediately with fresh coconut and cilantro.

Notes:

1) You can make poha with only onions or only potatoes as well.
2) Add 1/2 cup green peas after potatoes are cooked.
3) Add handful of raw peanuts before adding veggies. Peanuts will get cooked with veggies.
4) Use egg plant instead of onions and potatoes.  Cut egg plant into small cubes and soak them in water and add 1/2 tsp salt.  Egg plant will give out black sap in water.  Remove egg plant from water and add it to oil tempering and cook until tender and then add poha and follow recipe.
5) Serve poha with mango or green chili pickle.  
6) Poha is made from rice when it is still in it's hull.  It is soaked in water and then pounded with wooden pestle to make it flat.  Hull is removed and pounded rice is dried and stored.
7) I store poha in refrigerator.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cabbage Bhaji 1

Ingredients:

Cabbage - cut thin slivers 1"-2" long - about 2 cups
green chilies - 2-3 cut into thin slices
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
for oil tempering - peanut oil, black mustard seeds, turmeric, hing powder
chopped cilantro leaves - 2-3 tsps
freshly grated coconut - 3-4 Tb
gud or brown sugar - 1 Tb
salt to taste.

Recipe:

Heat pan and add 2 tsp peanut oil.  Prepare oil tempering (add cumin seeds with mustard seeds) and add green chilies.  Add cut cabbage and 1/4 cup water.  Add salt, cumin powder, gud and stir well. Cover for 5 minutes and let it steam.  Remove cover and check if the cabbage is cooked well.  Add water if necessary and cook more.  It should not be mushy and all the water should be gone.
Sprinkle with cilantro and coconut.
Serve as a side dish with Indian bread, or rice

Notes:

1) Cabbage should be cooked to get all the nutrients from it.
2) You can get rid of pungent smell of cabbage by using gud and cumin seeds.