Friday, 30 September 2011

Navratri Specials (Food Eaten During Navratri)

Navratri Specials (Food Eaten During Navratri)

  With the onset of Navratras, it's again the time to fast. "Instead of fasting, most of us end up feasting on high-calorie food. A lot of people who have just one meal a day tend to overeat. If one eats one heavy meal in the entire day, it doesn't get converted into energy instantly but accumulates as fat in the body,'' For those who fast all nine days, it is important to eat small meals at regular intervals.

Following are a few tips which should of help:- 

1.No onion and garlic are used in the food during nine days 

2. No chemical salt but only rock salt is used 

3. Spices used are red chillies, cumin, black jeera, turmeric, choti elachi, saboot kali mirchi, khuskhus and water melon seeds

4. Fresh coriander, green chillies and ginger are used

5. Fruits, nuts, dry fruits, coconut, makhanna can be used

6. Milk products like milk, yoghurt, cream and paneer are used

7. Flours used are -- Singhare ka atta, kottu ka atta, rajgiri ka atta, saboodana   arrowroot and samak

8.Limited amounts of oil and ghee can be used to cook food

9. Vegetables used are – potatoes, raw papaya, sweet potato,bhopla,arbi,raw banana

10.One should drink lots of  water, coconut water, lemon water, herbal tea to keep the body hydrated.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Ingredients for a Healthy Heart

Ingredients for a Healthy Heart

Phytoestrogens are substances in plants (like flaxseed) that have a weak estrogen-like action in the body. Studies suggest that flaxseed lowers the risk of blood clots, stroke, and cardiac arrhythmias. It may also help lower total and LDL "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides, and even blood pressure.
They are found in soy , watermelon, onions, garlic, broccoli and even in tea.

Phytosterols are plant sterols that chemically resemble cholesterol -- and seem to reduce blood cholesterol. All nuts and seeds, including wheat germ, have phytosterols.

Carotenoids are heart-protective antioxidants in many colorful fruits and veggies. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene are carotenoids.
It helps to prevent the build-up of toxins in the arteries as well as having many other health-giving properties. It is found in spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, peas, carrots and sweet potatoes.
Lycopene can be found in raw tomatoes and in any tomato product.

Polyphenols are another set of antioxidants that protect blood vessels, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL "bad" cholesterol. Flavonoid polyphenols include catechins, flavonones, flavonols, isoflavones, reservatrol, and anthocyanins.
Flavonoids inhibit the action of platelets, which are the blood cells that join to form blood clots. They are antioxidants that also help the absorption and action of vitamin C. Flavonoids can be found in fruit and vegetable, especially apples and onions.
Non-flavonoid polyphenols include ellagic acid (found in all types of berries).

Omega-3 fatty acids (found in flaxseeds, fatty fish like salmon) and alpha-linolenic fatty acids (found in plant foods like walnuts) help boost the immune system, reduce blood clots, and protect against heart attacks. They also increase good HDL levels, lower triglyceride levels, protect arteries from plaque buildup, are anti-inflammatories, and lower blood pressure.

Vitamins A, C, E
These highly beneficial antioxidant vitamins all have the ability to prevent deposits, including fats, sticking to artery walls and can help to prevent damage to the arterial linking caused by free radicals.
Best sources of Vit A are fish oil, egg yolk, liver;

Vit C is richest in citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries, red peppers, peas;

Vit E in avocados, chickpeas, almonds, tuna, sunflower oil and muesli.

B-complex vitamins -- like Vitamin B-12 (folate) and vitamin B-6 -- protect against blood clots and atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This vitamin is essential for reducing levels of damaging amino acid homocysteine. It can be found in fish, pulses, nuts, chicken and potatoes.
Niacin (vitamin B-3) helps increase HDL "good" cholesterol.

Folic acid
Folic acid helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease associated with high blood levels of homocysteine. It is found mainly in green leafy vegetable, mushrooms, pulses, nuts, fruits and root vegetables.

Magnesium, potassium, and calcium help lower blood pressure. Example:- coconut water, green leafy vegetable, milk n its products

Fiber-rich foods help lower cholesterol level example:- whole grains, oats, fruits, vegetables

Monounsaturated fatty acids
These lower the levels of potentially harmful LDL cholesterol and maintain the necessary levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol. They can be found in rapeseed, walnut and groundnut oils, and avocados. Olive oil is another useful source and extra-virgin olive oil also contain protective antioxidants.

Most of us are deficient in this valuable antioxidant mineral, which works with vitamin E to mop up damaging free radicals. It is found in lentils, wholemeal bread, sardines and Brazil nuts.

Friday, 16 September 2011



Dried mango powder is a spice made by grinding dried mango. The powder preserves the acidic, tart and spicy flavour of unripe mangoes.


  • Mango is a rich source of vitamin A (beta-carotene), E and Selenium which help to protect against heart disease and other ailments.
  • Mangoes contain phenols, phenolic compound have powerful antioxidant and anticancer abilities.
  • Mango is effective in relieving clogged pores of the skin.
  • It is also valuable to combat acidity and poor digestion.
  •  Dried mango powder has high iron content, so pregnant women and people suffering from anemia are advised to consume it regularly.

· used for flavouring curries, chutneys, soups, marinades and as a condiment.
·  can be used instead of tamarind to prepare sweet-sour dal or sambhar.
· It can also be used to marinate chicken, meat, fish and pork.
· used to flavour kebabs, seekhs , grilled chicken, baked fish and all barbecue items.
· used to add flavour too dum aloo (potato preparation) and biryani ( rice mixed with vegetable or chicken or meat).

Go ahead...flavour your meals 




Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Carom Seeds (Ajwain)

Carom Seeds (Ajwain)
Also know as Ajwain, bishops weed, Thymol seeds, Ajma, Ajmodika, Onum

 It acts as an Appetizer, if taken twice or thrice in a day, either in raw or roasted form.

Effective remedy for Asthma. relieve shortness of breath.

Useful for migraine headache, sore and congested throat and hoarseness of the voice due to colds or shouting.

Ajwain is  a very good digestive and very useful in alleviating spasmodic pains of the stomach and intestines, flatulence (gas), indigestion, in adults as well as children.. 
Promotes lactation

 Ajwain is often part of the Tadka in a dish, used in vegetable dishes (for its distinctive taste) and pickles (for its preservative qualities).

Added to buttermilk after a meal or eaten in dry roasted form.

Can be added to Rotis, Parathas, Indian Breads Rice, Pakodas, Tempering in dal, Salad Dressings.
Add thyme to your favorite pasta sauce recipe. Season soups and stocks by adding fresh thyme.

Missi Roti


1 1/2 cups besan (Bengal gram flour)
1 1/2 cup
whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta)
onion, finely chopped
2 to 3
green chillies, chopped
1 tsp
carom seeds (ajwain)
2 tbsp chopped
corriander (dhania) or fenugreek (methi) leaves
4 tbsp
salt to taste

1.     Mix together all the ingredients with enough water and make a semi-stiff dough.
2.    Knead the dough well and keep for 1/2 hour. Knead again.
3.    Roll out into thin rounds and cook them on a tava with a little ghee.
4.   Serve hot with butter or ghee.

Monday, 5 September 2011



Cardamom pods were chewed as a mouth refresher from ancient times in India.


Digestive disorders 

Stimulates digestive system and reduces gas. Can counteract excess acidity in the stomach.  A tea made from cardamom is valuable in headache caused by indigestion.

Bad breath

Cardamom is commonly used as a breath freshener.


Powdered seeds of cardamom are boiled in water to make tea. It gives a very pleasing aroma to the tea. This is used as a remedy in the treatment of depression.

Expectorant action

Improves circulation to the lungs and thus considered good for asthma and bronchitis


The spice is useful in sexual dysfunctions like impotency and premature ejaculation.

Other benefits
Has a cooling effect,   stimulates appetite, eases stomach cramps

In garam masala, tea, coffee, paan
Indian desserts like Kheer, phirni etc as well as sweets like gulab jamun, gajar ka halwa etc use cardamom to lend a distinctive flavor. Western desserts like flans, rice pudding and porridge also use this spice.
Whole green cardamom pods are used in many pulaos, curries and hot dishes like biryanis, pulaos and kebabs.

Cardamom Lassi


2 cups curds (dahi)
1 cup
8 tsp
powdered sugar
2 tsp
cardamom (elaichi) powder
4 to 5
ice-cubes to serve

1.     Combine all the ingredients except the ice-cubes and blend in a mixer for 2-3 minutes.
2.    Pour into 4 individual glasses and serve immediately.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Cumin (Jeera)

Cumin (Jeera)
Cumin is one of the most typical spices for India and is fried or roasted or powdered before usage.

Anaemia - Cumin seeds contain a good amount of iron [100g of cumin contain approximately 11.7 mg of iron].

Common cold - Antiseptic properties of cumin can help fight flu, by boosting your immune system. A cup of warm tea [2-3 times a day] boiled with cumin seeds, ginger and honey, can give great relief.

Digestion - You will commonly find people popping in Jeera Goli after meals, but did you know it works well for digestive disorders? Cumin helps control flatulence, stomach pain, indigestion, diarrhoea, nausea and morning sickness. Thymol — a compound in cumin — further activates gastric secretion which improves digestion.

Helps fight cancer and in the treatment of piles due to its fibre content, anti-fungal, laxative and carminative properties.

Jeera helps to strengthen nails and hair, making hair shiny and glossy.
Kidney functioning is improved with the consumption of cumin seeds [increased secretion and discharge of urine].

Lactation - Cumin is a galactogogue i.e. a substance which increases milk flow in nursing mothers [due to the presence of Thymol].

Metabolism - Cumin increases the body heat making metabolism more efficient.

Nutrient assimilation is usually triggered in the presence of cumin, due to its effect on enzyme secretions.

Cumin is widely used to flavor stews, soups, dal, rasam, meats, fish dishes and vegetables
Cumin seeds are part of Bengali spice mixture panch phoron,
Roasted cumin seeds powder is added to buttermilk to aid digestion and enhance flavour.
Freshly roasted and ground jeera powder can be added  to the flour used for making chapatis


1 cup Basmati rice                       
2 tsp Jeera (cumin seeds)
3 Whole peppercorns
2 Bay leafs
3 Cloves
2 Cinnamon sticks
1 Onions, sliced
1 tbsp Ghee
Salt To Taste


  • Wash the rice and soak in water for half an hour.
  • Heat ghee in a heavy saucepan add onions , bayleafs, cloves, cinnamon sticks, cumin seeds, peppercorns to the same ghee and fry for a while.
  • Add the rice , salt, water and stir. Cover with a lid and simmer the flame. Cook until the rice is done.
  • Serve jeera rice hot with any spicy curry or raita. 

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Dill seeds (Suva Dana)

Dill seeds (Suva Dana)

Dill is a unique plant in that both its leaves and seeds are used as a seasoning. Dill's green leaves are wispy and fernlike and have a soft, sweet taste. Dried dill seeds are light brown in color and oval in shape, featuring one flat side and one convex ridged side.

The seeds contain so much calcium that 1 tablespoon contains 100 milligrams -- more than in 1/3 cup of milk.
Dill seed is a very good source of calcium, dietary fiber, as well as the minerals manganese, iron, and magnesium
Digestion: · Dill weed contains the carminative agent and aids with digestion by relieving intestinal gas, diarrhea and dysenteryGripe water is made with dill seed specifically as a remedy for colic in infants Dill Weed and Health Teas made with dill seed relieve indigestion and nausea, and produce a lulling effect.
Insomnia: Drinking dill tea is recommended for those suffering from insomnia.
Also helps in Hiccups, Menstrual Disorders, Oral Care Cancer

Respiratory Disorders help clear congestion in the respiratory system due to histamine, allergies or cough.

Dill is said to promote lactation in nursing mothers

Dill Seed is good sprinkled over casseroles before baking and used in salad dressings, mukhwas
These can be used in breads, stews, rices, root vegetable dishes and most notably, the making of pickles.
These seed heads, when combined with vinegars, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper produce the dilled pickles that have that wonderfully puckery quality

Nutritious Pumpkin Soup


2 cups roughly chopped red pumpkin (bhopla / kaddu)
1 cup
roughly chopped carrots
1/2 cup
roughly chopped onions
1 tsp
dill seeds (suva dana)
1/4 cup
low fat milk
1 tsp
1/4 tsp
freshly ground pepper to serve

Heat the oil in a pressure-cooker; add the dill seeds and sauté for about 30 seconds.
Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes till they turn translucent.
Add the pumpkin and carrot and sauté for a few more minutes.
Add 4 cups of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
Purée the mixture in a blender till smooth.
Pour into a saucepan, add the milk and salt and bring to a boil. Keep aside.
Just before serving, reheat, add a little pepper and serve hot.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Fennel Seed


People feel nutritious (diet) food is boring…..bland…..tasteless….so here I am to tell u all about spices n how u can use them in day to day cooking.
So come on guys SPICE UP YOUR LIFE……get going..


Fennel Seed
Also know as ANISEED / SAUNF. In India, the seeds are often chewed after a meal, both as a digestive and to sweeten the breath
Not only loaded with powerful antioxidants fennel also contains fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin C. It is believed to boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure, and aid in detoxification of the body. It contains compounds that help relieve smooth muscle spasms, which in effect, helps ease abdominal cramping, menstrual cramps and spasms. Fennel is also a mild appetite suppressant. it is also helpful for problems like flatulence, colic and bloating that comes from gas.

Uses in daily cooking
Can be added to dal, paratha, soup,  pickles,  laddu along with methi
Can be used in fish and chicken preparation, roasting the seed until it gives off an aroma, then grind it and uses it as the main spice. It’s all quite wonderful.
Sherbath made with aniseed.
Saunf powder is widely used in kashmiri cusine.


1 large cup of paneer, cubed
1 teaspoon saunf (fennel seeds)
1 onion, sliced
7 methi (fenugreek) seeds
1 tsp kalonji (black onion seeds)
½ tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
¼ tsp hing (asafetida)
¼ tsp mustard seeds

Mix all the ingredients, except paneer and onions, and throw into a tablespoon of moderately hot olive oil in a small wok.
When seeds crackle and release aromas, add onion and sauté till translucent.
Add the paneer and ½ tsp turmeric powder and ½ tsp red chilli powder. Toss.
Add black salt to taste.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley or coriander