Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Spice up the Weekend with “Supreme Spice”

When Anjali of Supreme Spice, an online home-based business owner, contacted me last month about advertising opportunities at Mahanandi, I was little bit hesitant. But I thought it over and said “yes”. Why not? People who start home-based businesses are like bloggers, I think. We know that there is a chance that nobody would ever read our blog. Similarly, the common concern for small home-based business is to get the word out into the market that is fiercely occupied by behemoth corporations. Still we write blogs and start businesses. Mahanandi is all about celebrating food related passion. So here it is Mahanandi’s first ad.

Anjali in her own words about “Supreme Spice” :

 click here to visit Supreme Spice

“I am from Bombay, came to US 12 yrs back. Used to work as a Oracle programmer. After my kids, I quit my job and was enjoying my new role as a mom/homemaker. Then when my daughter was about 3 yrs old, I started introducing her to our regular Indian food with little spice in it. She used to like the taste but hated it when she bit into a small ginger piece or the cumin seeds. Actually she started refusing any food that showed any sign of mustard seeds or cumin seeds in it. So I started looking for ideas to slip these spices in her food. And during one of my trips to India I learned about spice extracts. Talked with manufacturer and I started working on it as a business idea. Started with few extracts first, tested them with my friends. Loved them. It became very easy for me to slip spices like ginger and garlic in my daughter’s food. I could see that my daughter was getting less cold and cough because I had increased her garlic intake without her knowing it.

I started my business just about a year back with just a few spice extracts. I first started with Tea masala (blend of 6 spices), Ginger, Cardamom and a few more. I got very good response from people because using extracts was easier, eliminated the need to chop and peel and gave the full flavor and fragrance of the spice. Also, extracts makes it easy to customize food for everyone. For example: Make one pot of regular Indian chai and then customize every cup to make Masala Tea, Ginger tea or Cardamom tea. I slowly expanded and now carry about 15 different spice extracts. All pure and premium quality spice extracts.

This business has become my passion now. I import them from India and market them under my own brand name. I did everything from designing the boxes, labels, website, marketing, etc. I very firmly believe that it’s important to incorporate spices in daily cooking. But even when whole spices are not available, you will always have spice extracts for your cooking.:)

Please visit my site to see the full range of spice extracts that we carry. Thanks!”

click here to visit Supreme Spice

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Mahanandi Selections (Saturday January 6, 2007 at 10:24 am- permalink)
Comments (5)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Millet Rice (Korra Buvva, Korra Annam)

Korralu (Millet, Foxtail Millet)

Korralu (Millet/Foxtail Millet/Kauni/Varagu)

Birds and bees like it. The hard working farmers in rural India like it. I liked it too. I am talking about the grain - millet or korralu as we call it in Telugu. The foxtail millet is often food of people who can’t afford rice in Andhra. And here in America, one more choice the market place provides us to achieve the never attainable mirage of “perfect health”.

I vaguely remember tasting this grain with egg pulusu at my grand parents home when I was an itsy bitsy baby. Today I tried it again.

Millet + water + salt = a revelation!

Wholesome and great, no wonder, intelligent hard working beings on the earth like this grain. For comparison sake, it almost tasted like middle-eastern couscous but nuttier, almost similar to broken rice, you know the kind, we use to prepare ganji or kanji. Do you know the type? Similar to that one. That’s why the millet preparation is called “korra annam” (korra=millet, annam=rice) in Andhra Pradesh.

Yesterday, I was talking to my mother-in-law on phone about this millet preparation. She mentioned that Korra annam is traditionally served with watery pulusu curries (kurmas/stews) like potato or egg pulusu and also with spicy chutneys like gongura chutney etc. I went with her suggestion and prepared potato kurma for millet rice. Good combination. My Mother-in-law is right.

Adding Millet to Boiling Water

Millet Rice (Korra Annam) after 10 minutes of cooking


1 cup millet (korralu, foxtail millet)
2 cups water
¼ teaspoon of salt or to taste

In a saucepan bring the water to a rolling boil on high heat. Continuously stirring, add the millet along with salt, to the water. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring in between. The hard grain will loose its punch and get softened within 15 minutes. If this is your first time, taste the grain to test the doneness for every 5 minutes. When it loses its biting resistance and become soft supple like cooked rice, turn off the heat. Cover and let it sit for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve hot with a kurma curry like potato/brinjal/drumstick/egg and little bit of ghee.

Korra Annam with Potato Kurma ~ Our Afternoon Meal Today

Kitchen notes:
Recipe source: My Mother-in-law (Attamma)
Korralu (millet) is purchased from US grocery shop called ‘Whole Foods’ - bulk bins (labelled ‘Millet’).
More about foxtail millet and nutritional profile - Organic Uttaranchal, from Gramene Project, here.
About Millet and farming in Andhra Pradesh - diaries from hard working farmers.
How to prepare different types of millets - photo demonstrations (good info)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Millet (Korralu), Millet (Thursday January 4, 2007 at 3:25 pm- permalink)
Comments (17)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Chayote Curry (Bengaluru Vankaya Kura)

Chayote (Bengaluru Vankaya or Cho Cho)

Cho Cho, Christophen, Mirliton, Xuxu - the vegetable Chayote has more names than any other vegetable, I think. The name changes with ethnicity of grocery shop. In Nandyala, my hometown in India, chayote is sold as ‘Bengaluru Vankaya’. Our tiny town imports this vegetable from Bengaluru (Karnataka) region, so the name. The kind we get has more prominent ridges, unlike the very smooth surfaced ones that’s common here. Pale green and pleasantly sweet, chayotes are favored in curry and sambar preparations in our area.

Although available year round, this is the season, where you would see the prices come down for this vegetable here in US. We can buy 2, or sometimes 3 chayotes for a dollar. And 2 are needed to make a decent portioned curry to eat with chapatis for two people. Often I combine the chayotes with potatoes and carrots to make it more substantial and to last at least two meals for us.

Mild flavored chayotes dressed up in coconut-chilli seasoning and little bit of turmeric, together with potatoes and carrots make a delicious curry and a welcome addition to the meal at any time of the day.

Choyate cut to half, seed removed and diced to cubes
Choyate cut to half, seed discarded and diced to cubes


2 each - chayotes, small red potatoes and carrots - lightly peeled and cubed to bite sized pieces. I usually remove and discard the seed from chayote (see the photo above) following the traditional method. Reason given by elders is that seeds are not good for health. I am not sure how true that saying is but still I follow.

1 tablespoon of fresh grated coconut and 6 small green chillies - grind finely in a spice grinder or in a mortar.

½ cup of fresh green chickpeas (green garbanzos/Hara chana or Choleye)
½ teaspoon each - salt and turmeric

popu or tadka ingredients - 1 tsp each - peanut oil, cumin, mustard seeds and 4-6 curry leaves.


In a wide skillet, heat peanut oil on medium heat. Add and toast curry leaves, cumin and then mustard seeds. When seeds start to jump around, add the green chickpeas. Saut? them for few minutes.

Add the chayote, potato and carrot cubes. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring in-between. Just when they are getting tender, stir in the green chilli - coconut paste, salt and turmeric. Mix thoroughly and cook for few more minutes, covered until the vegetables reach the tenderness you desire. Chayote releases water on cooking and this water helps to tenderize the potatoes and carrots.

Serve warm with chapatis or with naans.

Chayote curry wrapped in chapatis with a cup of yogurt on the side ~ Our afternoon meal

Fresh, green chickpeas purchased from - Indian grocery & and also at Trader Joe?s Frozen section.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Carrots, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Baby Potatoes, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas), Chayote (Cho Cho) (Wednesday January 3, 2007 at 2:02 pm- permalink)
Comments (13)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Pomegranate Sherbet (Danimma/Anar Sherbet)

We live in downtown, Seattle next to an interstate. Noise and activity, even with doors and windows closed, seep in to my home and would surround us 24 hours of the day. Lately the same thing is happening at my blog space. Too much activity, along with some unwelcome noise in the form of comments.

Peace and positive energy are very much a priority at my home right now. So I’ve decided to close the comments on current posts for few days. Old posts (at least one week old) will be opened for commenting, mainly for those of you - the passionate cooks ardent in sharing your food experiences on Mahanandi just like me. This is my way to keep things subdued around here and also to exercise my opinion sharing freely on food related topics/politics that interest me without the ‘back and forth’ reply spectacle.

For the New Year celebrations, we’ve kept the food preparation simple. Vijay has prepared Chitrannam. I on the otherhand made cashew sweet and pomegranate sherbet (Danimma/Anar Juice with soda water). That was the menu. Jewel like seeds of pomegranate, when crushed deliver strong sweet-sour juice and when mixed with plain soda, make an impressive sherbet. One can’t help but say ‘Wow’ while sipping it. Good combination with chitrannam.

Pomegranate (Anar, Danimma)

Place the pomegranate seeds in a blender. Add little water and sugar to your taste. Blend them well. Strain the juice with tea/coffee filter to remove seed particles. Pour pomegranate juice into glasses and add plain cold soda to taste. Serve immediately.

For 2 glasses of sherbet, I have blended 2 cups of seeds from 2 medium sized fruits, with half cup of water and one tablespoon of sugar. Filled the glasses with half cold soda water and half juice. Tasted lip puckering good.

Pomegranate Juice (Danimma Rasam)
Pomegranate (Danimma/Anar) ~ Fruit and Sherbet

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Fruits, Pomegranate (Tuesday January 2, 2007 at 6:16 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Coconut (Kobbari, Nariyal, Kopra or Thenga)

Coconut - Young and Mature
Young coconut removed from its hard outer green shell and
Mature Coconut

Young Coconut and Coconut Water
The top of the young coconut is cut using a sharp knife for sweet coconut water and to remove tender coconut pieces. Pure and fulfilling food!

Fresh Coconut Water and Fresh, Young Coconut
Divine Coconut Water and Delicious Coconut Pieces
Sacred and Nourishing Treat ~ to Toast the New Year: 2007
My Entry to Jihva for January, hosted by Ashwini of Food for Thought.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in The Essentials, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Coconut (Fresh), Jihva For Ingredients (Monday January 1, 2007 at 1:21 pm- permalink)
Comments (7)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

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