Thursday, September 29, 2016

Narthangai or Citron Pachadi

Narthangai is one of the oldest known pickling fruit of South India.   This fruit looks like a green orange (medium size).  Its leafs have got a pungent flavour and highly medicinal.   This recipe was instructed to me by my mom.   We had gone to a village for a family festival and it has become a ritual to collect young pumpkin,  citron and even crunchy groundnut sweets(chikki) from there..   I got few narthangai and its leafs.   I worked on it as soon as came back to my home..  This plant can be found in rural areas or not so urbanized places!

Coming to the recipe,


1. Squeeze out the juice just like you do with oranges, there will be lots of seeds, remove them, use as much as pulp as possible.

2. Cut the entire fruit into smaller squares

What you need?

Citrons - 4
Green chillies-16
Asofoedita-1/4 tsp
Jaggery shredded-1/4 cup
Sesame oil (preferably)-2 Tbsp
Mustard seeds-2 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Salt to taste

How to make?

1. Heat oil in a wok,  add mustard seeds and hing.

2. Add Green chillies and Narthangai.  Fry all together

3. Add salt, Jaggery and let it all mix together for a bit.

4.  Once the fruit skin is cooked, add the juice and give it a boil for few mins.

Allow it to cool and transfer it to a glass container.

This goes very well with chappathi, dosa and curd rice.   My kids call it as marmalade and eat it.

If you dont get Citron try it with any other citrus fruits like cara cara..

This can be kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks..

Healthy Cooking and Happy Nourishing :-)  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pumpkin Roti

Roti is a versatile food.    You can make variations very easily.   My older one plays 2 hrs soccer at school on Fridays and She asks for some quick lunch.   I pack home made bread sandwiches/parata or Chappathi rolls.    I have been making Rotis/Buns and Bread with steamed pumpkin for few years now.     It just occurred to me to write it here now.    Pumpkin is one of the colorful vegetable that is very appealing in look as well as on taste.  Typically, it is used on sambar in south indian cuisine.   Somehow it is not welcomed by kids for school lunch.

What you need?

 sliced Pumpkins - About 5 each 2-3 inch width
 Atta flour - 1.5 - 2 cups
 Garam masala - 1 tsp
 Salt - 1 tsp
 Asofoedita - 1/8 tsp

How to make?

1. Steam the pumpkin with the peel for 10 mins .   Insert a toothpick to check if it is cooked.   Let it cool for 5 mins.

2,  Scoop out the pulp using a spoon to a jar.   You can either mash it with hand or using a hand blender.   I used blender since it does the job faster.

3.  Now, in a bowl, add flour, masala, salt and asofoedita, mix everything while dry.   Add the pumpkin puree little by little till you get the dough texture.   You can add more flour if it is too wet or adjust little water if the puree was not sufficient.  

4.  Divide the dough into lemon size balls and make rotis.  Apply little Ghee/flax seed oil/olive oil  once you cook them on both sides.

Serving Tip:

I spread tomato spread and made a roll, cut them into two and packed in the box.


Measurement will vary depending upon the size of the pumpkin and the absorbency of the wheat flour.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Healthy Snacks!

What snack to give today for kids is a day to day thing for moms like me.   I dont rely upon any packaged snacks for our family including chips, cheese pops or whatever fancy snacks on the shelves!   I do not prefer to give them full meal after school!  I just do not understand that!   I truly believe that right food has to be fed on the right time.   Lunch is an important meal of the day where we need the most carbs of the day!   What it means is high carb food should not be eaten during snack time.   Hence, We need to make conscious snack decisions and choices.   Kids like things that are crispier.    Even junk made at home is much healthier than the store bought one.   Yes, itz true.

Simple Filling Snacks:

Traditional Oven Roasted Peanuts:

There used to be and still available in few places, small shops where they roast peanuts with sand.    Yes, with sand.   How many kids of the current generation will accept that they are healthy!  These are the most healthy snacks which are ever ever green!   How many of the adults still continue to eat these!   Ofcourse, you will find people like us.   I used to roast them in oven when in US while getting the traditional one imported from various places like Kumbakonam and Chennai to Bangalore now!   I am yet to find a place here where they roast it like this.


I am not talking about the prepacking popcorn which pops in Microwave in secs.   I dont consider them healthy due to the high fat content and salt in them.   Traditional popping over the iron pan works very well.   Once I found a popcorn maker in Macys during thanksgiving sale, it was very good but it worned out so had to let it go!

Time required to make:  

    less than 15 mins.

What you need?

Popcorn kernels - 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp (variable)
Salt-1/2 tsp
Sugar-1/2 tsp
Coconut oil - 2 Tbsp  

How to make it?

Heat the iron pan and add about 1/4 cup of corn at a time and cover the pan, otherwise popcorn would be all over the kitchen!  Once the popping sound diminishes, switch off the stove and collect all the popcorns in a container.

In a small container, add salt, sugar, red chilli powder,  turmeric powder and a pinch of asofoedita if using. Mix everything and keep it ready.

Heat coconut oil in another pan and pour it over the mix.     You will get the flavour of the store bought popcorn if you use coconut oil.  Coconut oil is a healthier choice too.

Pour this over the popped kernels and ask your kids to give a good shake!   My kids really enjoy the activity and love home made fresh popcorns.

Happy Healthy Snacking!  

Think about the snacks that you give and share the healthier choice ideas!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Milagai Podi (Spicy powder)

It is typically called as Idli milagai podi.   My kids literally smear the dosa/idli generously with the powder mixed with sesame oil.      They even sprinkle this over curd rice or Upma.   They have reminded me many times to post this recipe on my blog!  Here is the actual log of what they have been eating on their childhood!   They have been experimented with all grains/pulses and seeds!   I am hoping in the ultra to ultra modern world, they will be making their meals when they grow up!  Just a wish!   Now-a-days you get each and every thing out in the market, buy, microwave and eat!  Importance of cooking your own home made food is old-fashioned but I am very happy about it.    I don't have any ready to eat processed food at home including ketchup or sauces!   I firmly believe that if you want to be sure what you are eating then better make it!

This is really a grandma recipe!  My moms recipe!  My kids would be like can you make like how pati makes?   Whenever they talk to her, they will ask for Mysore pakku, tomato thokku and Milagai podi.  I will be like 'Grandma is old now, don't bother her,  I can make it for you kiddos! '  I usually restrict the intake of junk items but not this one!  I make it less spicy and it is protein rich so they have a free hand on this item.  

What you need?

Whole urad (bengal gram)- 1/2 cup
Chana dal - 1 cup
Brown sesame seeds - 1/4 cup
Jaggery - 2 Tbsp
Tamarind dry - 1 small lemon size
Salt to taste
Red chillies Long - 10-15 (adjust spice)
Sesame oil- 1 Tbsp
Asofoedita - 1/2 tsp

How to make?

1. Dry roast Urad and chana dal separately till aroma comes, it is very important to roast them properly.

2. Pop sesame seeds.  It is done by adding a handful to the kadai while it is hot.  Cover the kadai with lid to avoid spluttering.  Once done transfer to a small bowl.

3.   Heat oil, add asafetida(hing) and then red chillies, turn on the exhaust fan since it will spread the spicy.  Roast till the chillies are roasted nicely.   Transfer it to a plate leaving rest of the oil.   Now fry the tamarind in this oil till they are crisp.

4.   Allow it to cool for for 10 mins.   We have to grind in the following order,

      First red chillies, hing and tamarind till they are fine. It will be noisy because of the roasted tamarind.
          Once it is powdered, all the red chillies would be sticking to the jar, scrap it inside the jar itself.  

    Next,  Add urad and chana dal, run it in pulser mode few times and then in speed 1 and 2 for few turns, the end product should be coarse.  So please make sure than you don't run it for too long.  

    Last Add sesame seeds and run it few turns in pulser only.  Sesame seeds need not be ground longer.   Add Jaggery and salt for run it just to mix all together.

This powder will be very hot on the day you made, It will adjust in a day.  


You can bring a different taste by adding flax seeds or amaranth seeds.    All the seeds should be popped and ground coarsely.  

Enjoy this topping with Idli/dosa or rice!   This powder is typically mixed with sesame oil since it is cooling.

Non-organic vegetables

In India, organic vegetable/fruits concept is still evolving.    Atleast we can try our best to remove the pesticides since we cook with the skin for most of the vegetables.  

Soak vegetables//Greens/fruits atleast for 15 mins in salt water before cutting/cooking or consuming.  


Cookware is  critical for healthy cooking.   We take so much effort is buying quality ingredients and spend time in preparing the dish but if we don't use the right cookware then it wouldn't be beneficial.  

Most of us have been trapped under the non-stick cookware atleast for more than a decade..   I got rid of all my non-stick cookwares atleast 5 years ago.  It was hard to let go the griddle for making dosas/chappathis!   I bought a simple iron griddle for Rs.500 for a local store and it does amazing job for dosas/pancakes using very less oil.    I bought a separate light weight iron griddle for chappathis and it is also quite decent.   I was  wondering when all these age-old cookwares work so perfectly why did the non-stick cookware even came into picture!   Someone wanted to make money out of our ignorance!  

Beware of new cookwares entering the market, stick to the old ones since they have proved historically.    

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Heart Healthy Breakfast Porridge

I am surprised that I haven't posted it yet in my blog.   This porridge had been a typical breakfast on weekends especially for kids while my hubby likes it every day.  He got this recipe from his cafeteria!  His office serves oats grits porridge with walnut and crasins topping.   He tells that it is kept in perfect consistency without the gooey texture.   I asked him to get the recipe and made it couple of times to get a hang of it.   Ofcourse, we would definitely make some modifications!  Recipe credit goes to Sandisk Cafeteria and Sundar!   I take the pride of the flavorings, toppings and alternate grain experiments.

What you need?
(for 4 servings)

Oat/Barley/red rice/cr wheat millet grits - 1 cup
Water - 5 cups


Cinnamon/Cardomom powder-1/4 tsp


Sunflower/Pumpkin/Pomegranate seeds - 1/4 cup
Shredded walnuts/Almonds - 1/2 cup
Raisins/Crasins - 1/2 cup
Chia gel-1/4 cup
Mango pulp-2 Tbsp per bowl (Kids love this topping)
Honey/Sweetener- 1 Tbsp (optional)

How to make?

1. Boil water in a pan
2. Once water boils, add any grits/millet of your choice. Slower the flame and let it cook for about 15 mins.  Time depends on your stove.   Keep a laddle immersed in the pan to avoid the liquid flowing out.
3.  Remove from heat  while it still has about quarter measure of the liquid in it since it will absorb all the liquid while cooling.   Typically it should have some broth over it.
4.  Mix in cinnamon or any other flavoring that you are using.

Serving guide

Arrange bowls with the toppings of your choice.    Top the oats porridge over it, mix all and drizzle mango pulp/honey over it for a great look.

You can occasional add choco chips for kids!


Water measure will change based on the grain that you use.  Above given measure is for Oat grits.     Red rice will take longer.  You can soak it overnight.   Millets will cook faster.  

This is best when it is still warm.

2. I make barley grits by coarsely grinding the unhealed barley and sieve it to remove the fine powder.  Fine powder will make the porridge gooey.