Mahanandi

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

Jihva for Sweet Lemon Syrup

Sweet Lemon and Rock Sugar
Mitha Nimboo and Kalkand
(Sweet Lemon and Rock Sugar)

Citrus scent and sweet juice.

Completely non-acidic, no tartness whatsoever.

That is sweet lemon. Also known as Mitha Nimboo in Hindi.

Sweet lemon juice, sweetened with kalkand and chilled in earthen pot is a favorite summer drink of my childhood.

Today, I simmered the juice with rock sugar and cardamom powder. The thick, flavorful and fragrant syrup tasted like a pleasant food blog uncomplicated with acidic notes.

I will be using the syrup to sweeten my tea. May be I will add the syrup to toss the cut fruits like apples and pears.

I think this sweet lemon syrup with non-acidic properties would make an ideal sweetener for people who crave that exquisite lemony scent , but are going through painful acid reflux and heartburn.

Sweet Lemon Syrup
Sweet Lemon Syrup ~ for the Spice Cafe’s Lemon Jihva

Recipe:
Cut sweet lemons to four pieces. Squeeze juice in to a cup.
Filter out the seeds.
Break rock sugar in a mortar using a pestle into tiny pieces.
Powder cardamom seeds to fine.

For one cup sweet lemon juice, add two tablespoons of rock sugar and quarter teaspoon of cardamom. Take them in a pot, simmer on low heat, stirring in-between, until the juice thickens and coats the spoon. Remove from heat to cool. Filter again if you like, then bottle. Add spoonful to sweeten the tea, coffee, or on cut fruits, coffee-cakes, scones etc.

Note to Metronaturals:
Sweet lemons are available at DK Market (previously Lenny’s Market, behind Wal-mart) at Renton. Rock sugar at Viet-wah. Cardamom at Apna Bazar.:)

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Limes/Lemons, Indian Ingredients, Sugar, Jihva For Ingredients, Mitha Nimboo(Sweet Lemon), Citrus Family (Thursday February 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm- permalink)
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Steam-Sauteed Spinach Moong Dal

Spinach Moong Dal Sandwich

My very young and impressionable cousins in India, who read my food blog, are curious to know why I don’t cook with “cool” stuff like cheese. I like cheese, don’t get me wrong, but I rarely bring it home. Cheese is costly, caloric and full of saturated fat. It is a well known fact that foods like cheese with little or no fiber are number one cause for constipation and flatulence, and that kind of diet is also responsible for several ailments from heart attack to IBS to colon cancer. Cheese may look white and pure, but the color cover ups the harmful hormonal menace. The hormonal effects from estrogen, progesterone, bovine growth hormone, this is what cheese conceals, in addition to artery clogging saturated fat. It really takes time to understand how evil the cattle industry, the source of cheese, has become. Thanks to the ad blitz sorcery and the sold-out food writers’ cover-up of agro-globalization gallop, my cousins seem to know only the glitzy side of cheese-centric food. I try to explain to them all these things in a light-hearted manner. In a rush to englut the regurgitations, I am worried that they could become victims of early aortic regurgitation.

One way to prevent that from happening is packaging the traditional, nutritious food in a new way. This steam-sautéed spinach moong dal, a recipe I have learned from a Gujarathi friend, is usually served with rice or chapati. But I stuffed it between two toasted crumpets, squeezed some lime juice, and for saturated fat touch, grated some fresh coconut.

Carbohydrates from wheat, protein from moong dal, organic, hormone-free fat from coconut, green leafy goodness from spinach and natural digestion aid from spices.

This dal-wich actually tasted better than any one-dollar, mystery-cheese burgers out there. And, I am hoping that my cousins would take this homemade, all natural, cheese-free sandwich to the heart and consider it as “cool”.

Moong Dal and Spinach
Yellow Moong Dal, Rehydrated and Fresh Spinach Leaves

Recipe:

Yellow moong Dal - Half cup (soaked in water for one hour, and drained)
Fresh Spinach - One bunch, finely chopped
Onion - one, finely chopped
Green chillies (Indian or Thai variety) - two, finely chopped
Turmeric - ¼ teaspoon
Salt - ¼ teaspoon
Cumin and mustard seeds - ¼ teaspoon each
Peanut oil - 1 teaspoon
Nutmeg and fresh coconut gratings - 1 teaspoon (optional)
Lime juice - one tablespoon, or to taste

Place a wide skillet on stove-top. Add and heat oil.
Add and toast cumin and mustard seeds.
When seeds start to pop, add the onions and chillies. Saute to brown.
Add the yellow moong dal. Sprinkle two tablespoons of water. Mix.
Cover with a lid and cook the dal to tender soft on medium-low heat.
Dal should be intact, but soft to bite. (Takes about 10-15 minutes.)
At that stage, add the turmeric, salt, nutmeg and coconut. Mix.
Add the spinach. Saute on high heat until the leaves collapse.
Sprinkle the lime juice. Serve hot with rice or chapati.

For our meal today, I toasted two english muffins (crumpets) to brown, and stuffed them with steam-sautéed spinach-moong dal. With a glass of chilled ruby orange juice on the side, it was a good meal.

Dal-wich
Spinach-Moong Dal Sandwich with a glass of Ruby Orange Juice
~ A Vindu for RCI: Gujarat at Mythili’s

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Spinach, Moong Dal (Washed) (Tuesday February 26, 2008 at 10:18 pm- permalink)
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Artisan Food ~ Chestnut Lentil Soup


The days are getting longer already. Like the plants for sunshine, the appetite seems to hunger for variety. So I came up with this chestnut lentil soup idea for our meal yesterday. To my delight, it turned out to be the right kind of food at the right time.

Roasted chestnuts from Chinese grocery, and red lentils from Indian grocery are added, and the combination was simmered together with vegetables and spices. The lime juice, like a ray of sunshine, livened up the preparation. I served the chestnut lentil soup to friends and family. Chestnuts are complete strangers to few, but they seem to capture the sense of taste easily in that relaxed company. The verdict was:

“This wholesome food makes a gourmet delight to humble appetite of a dieting attitude.”


Artisan Food ~ Chestnut Lentil Soup

Artisan Food : Aim and Purpose

How it Works: After payment via Paypal, PDF file will be emailed to you to download the recipe. For any questions about the recipe or the download process, please email me at mailmahanandi@gmail.com .

Chestnut Lentil Soup PDF

Details:
Artisan Food: Chestnut-Lentil Soup
Ingredients: Roasted Chestnuts, Red Lentils etc.
Skill level: A tad kitchen experience required
Labels: Vegetarian, Diet-friendly
Price: $3.00
Format: PDF


Buy Now

****************

Artisan Food : Aim and Purpose
Previously in Artisan Food : Avocado Annam

****************


Food needs to be in the right company at the right time to feel right.
Thank you for the goodwill, and for readily embracing the Artisan food.

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Masoor Dal (Red Lentils), Chestnuts (Marrons), Artisan Food (Monday February 25, 2008 at 2:16 pm- permalink)
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Lemons and Limes

Lemons and Limes
Lemon, Key Lime, Sweet Lemon and Lime (Clockwise from 11 o’ Clock )
Jihva for Citrus ~ for this Week’s Indian Kitchen

Acidic and Tart - Lemon, Key Lime and Lime
Non-Acidic and Sweet - Sweet Lemon (Mitha Nimboo, Karinaaranga)
Sweet Lemons for sale in Chennai, Bharath
Lemons and Limes ~ for Optimal Health
Lime Topi for a Cat

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Limes/Lemons, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Citrus Family (Sunday February 24, 2008 at 12:22 pm- permalink)
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Potato Curry Puffs ~ A Pictorial

curry puffs

Potato puffs also known as curry puffs are one of the most popular items sold at Indian bakeries. Flaky wrap and spicy filling, people love them a lot. They are prepared with puff pastry like dough, and the filling varies. Common is potato, then there is egg and also chicken etc. Baked to golden perfection, hot from the oven, with coffee or tea, the chat and the laughs - I can see going back to college days.

Thanks to ready availability of good quality puff pastry, I can bake them at home easily. My version has all the flavor and eye appeal of bakery-style curry puffs, but they are smaller in size, hence more figure and finger friendly.

For filling, I prepared potato curry with red potatoes. Boiled the potatoes to tender, and then peeled the skins, cut them to tiny pieces. Sautéed them with tadka seasoning, onions and peas. Added salt, chilli and turmeric to taste. The potato filling was ready.

For wrapping, I used the frozen puff pastry from Trader Joe’s. There are four sheets in one pack, and they were stuck to each other. So I cut them to three strips. Rolled each one to a thin rectangle. Divided again into eight equal portions. Placed a tablespoon of potato curry in each portion, did a roll, and baked them at 350°F for about 15 minutes to golden-brown.

Here is the whole process in images.


Puff Pastry Strip and Potato Curry Filling


Puff pastry strip rolled into a thin rectangle and divided into eight equal portions. Then wrapped around the potato curry filling. (I’ve refrigerated the dough after rolling and after wrapping for about two minutes each time, to firm-up the dough and for sticky free results.


Potato puffs on a baking pan. (I placed the attached ends on the bottom side, so that they won’t open up during baking.)


Baked at 350°F for about 15 minutes, Potato puffs ~ Hot out of the Oven


Potato Curry Puffs with Red Pepper Chutney ~ for Potato Fe(a)st at DK’s

Notes:
Puff pastry doesn’t like heat. Refrigerate frequently and work with firm dough for sticky-free results.

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Wheat Flour (Durum Atta) (Thursday February 21, 2008 at 9:16 pm- permalink)
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Mamidi Pesara Pappu (Mango Moong Dal)

Photo Purchase Keywords: Mango, Moong Dal
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

Lovely to look at, even lovelier to consume, mango-moong dal has a richness all its own without the need of too many ingredients. The unripe mango’s intense ruchi makes this dal just the side of heaven particularly if you happen to be a fan of khatti (tangy/sour) taste.

Yellow moong dal, Green mango, and regular seasoning - that’s all one need to prepare mango-moong dal. A long-standing family favorite, most commonly served to break the fast, this healthful treat is my contribution to talented Suganya’s Healthy Eats Event.

Yellow Moong Dal and Unripe Mango
Yellow Moong Dal and Unripe Mango (Pesara Pappu and Mamidi Kaya)

Recipe:
(for two, for one or two meals)

Half cup yellow moong dal
1 unripe mango - lightly peel the skin, discard the seed and cut the white part to half inch chunks. About a cup.
½ teaspoon chilli powder
4 cups of water

Take them all in a pot or pressure-cooker. Steam-cook until the dal reaches falling-apart stage. Then, with the back of the spoon, gently mash the dal to coarse consistency.

Now, infuse the dal with the ancient natural vitamins, also known as popu or tadka.

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 sprigs curry leaves
4 garlic cloves, slivered
¼ teaspoon each - cumin and mustard seeds
Pinch - Hing (Asafoetida or Inguva)

Heat oil in a vessel until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles. Lower the heat to medium. Add curry leaves and garlic. Toast to pale brown. Then add the cumin, mustard seeds and hing. When mustard seeds start to pop, add the cooked mango-moong dal. Stir in salt to taste. Mix. Serve warm. Great on its own and also with rice or roti for anytime of the day.

Mango Moong Dal (Mamidi Pesara Pappu)
Mamidi Pesara Pappu with Roti ~ Dedicating Our Meal to the Memory of Sreemathi Parigi Subhadra Krishna Rau. May She Rest in Peace!

I just learned the sad news that Pedatha has passed away. Pedatha was a sweet and kind person with gentle nature of yesteryears. I have never met her, but Pedatha has written a personal note in response to this interview. The affection in her words, I will always cherish that. She will always remain very much alive in the memories of those who loved, respected and treasured her.
My deepest condolences to the family!

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Moong Dal (Washed), Mamidikaya (Green Mango) (Wednesday February 20, 2008 at 11:05 pm- permalink)
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Vine Sweet Mini Peppers

Photo Purchase Keywords: Capsicum, Curry
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

Mini Peppers

They look like peppers and they are named peppers.

They are not what you might expect. Certainly not the fiery peppers that spice up the curries, nor the bloated bell peppers that would collapse on cooking.

No, these peppers are the stuff of dreams. Like the botox-faced on-air talent, they glisten and also need PIN codes to access their emotions. A product of calculated hybrid breeding, they do not shrivel, sweat and the seeds inside rarely reproduce on Design. Other charming features - delicate skin, cooks in minutes and doesn’t become saggy on cooling. A perfect, plastic produce, alive with cloying sweetness. These are the “Vine Sweet Mini Peppers“, the 21st century vegetables.

Not knowing what they were, I brought them home. Dolts they are, taste buds seem to accept them without any hesitation.

Peppers for Figure 8
Pepper in Figure 8

Recipe:

1 tablespoon peanut oil
Pinch each - cumin and mustard seeds
20 to 25 mini peppers - ends removed and sliced to thin rings

Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add and toast cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add the peppers. Mix. Keep the heat on medium, cover the skillet and cook for about five minutes.

While peppers are cooking, prepare the pappula (dalia) podi.

3 tablespoons pappulu (dalia, bhuna chana)
1 tablespoon grated coconut
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
2 dried red chillies, Indian variety
Take them all in a spice grinder, blend to fine powder.

Remove the lid and sprinkle this powder on peppers. Also add quarter teaspoon each - turmeric and salt. Mix. Cook, uncovered for another five minutes. Serve at once. Tastes good with chapati, roti, rice or pasta.

Mini Peppers Curry with Chapati
Mini Pepper Kura with Corn Rotis, Carrot-Okra Sambar and Pear ~ Meal Today

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia), Peppers (Tuesday February 19, 2008 at 4:48 pm- permalink)
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Artisan Food ~ Avocado Annam

Photo Purchase Keywords: Avocado, Rice
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

Avocado

Seattle has a great support system for homeless population. In downtown, where we live, there are many food banks; there is also one near our home. People who are going through difficult conditions can visit a food bank, and avail themselves of food like bread, fruits, milk, canned soup or soda, onions, potatoes and the like. Everything is given for free, no questions asked. Initially I was surprised to see dozens of people queuing up near our home. Then we realized what was going on. Not all times are our times. I am glad that Seattle citizens are doing a great job in taking care of their own. This good care even made few rabid TV anchors riled up. Jealousy towards the poor and less fortunate, what a way to earn millionaire salaries!

Inspired by what I see in Seattle, I resolved to generate some monetary support for our school at Nandyala through my recipes. You see, just like here, people are going through some rough conditions in Nandyala and surrounding villages. The number of school dropouts has increased greatly in recent months. Here in America, several regions took an economic hit, but at Nandyala, where the majority population, depends on agriculture, drought has brought despair. Unfortunately, unlike Seattle, there is no strong support system for children leave alone for elders in my hometown to recover.

When we wrote the maa badi post two years ago, some of you showed interest and offered help. At Swami School, we developed a system so that the school would function self-sufficiently without outside contributions. So, we kept quiet. We are providing the best education possible with minimum burden on a child’s family, and the scholarships we sponsor have been funded with our own money. But now, the need has increased immensely, and this is the time to get involved actively. As a student who has benefited from scholarships, I know how every rupee can help. With these things in mind, I am starting “Artisan Food ~ Revenue through Recipes” program to raise money, however small the amount, to support the children at Swami School at Nandyala. This will also lend a sense of purpose to my food blogging, and help me feel like I am accomplishing something through my activity in this Web world.

In Artisan Food series, there would be a brief description of recipe and the recipe will not be posted on this website. If you are interested, make a purchase and I will send you a PDF document with complete recipe details.

Well, this is a first. Wish me good luck!

Artisan Food ~ Avocado Annam

Avocado Annam

Avocado Annam is a pleasing but not fluffy kind of recipe. Ingredients are avocado and annam (=Sanskrit word for rice). Tomato, onion, cilantro and lime juice are also added. The preparation process and the end result have that perfect balance of interesting, but not so tedious that it becomes frustrating. “Why didn’t I think of this simple idea before” you marvel once everything is done. The recipe is easy and quick to prepare, and makes a great luncheon or dinner dish. Avocado fans particularly will enjoy this avocado annam.

How it Works: After payment via Paypal, PDF file will be emailed to you to download the recipe. For any questions about the recipe or the download process, please email me at mailmahanandi@gmail.com .

PDF Avocado Annam
Details:
Artisan Food: Avocado Annam
Ingredients: Basmati, Avocado etc.
Skill level: Easy. Novice to expert
Labels: Vegan (Meat-Free), Party Pleaser
Price: $2.00
Format: PDF


Buy Now

******
~ Indira
Thanks V!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Zen (Personal), Basmati Rice, Avocado, Artisan Food (Monday February 18, 2008 at 12:10 pm- permalink)
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Avocado

Photo Purchase Keyword: Avocado
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

Avocado

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Avocado (Sunday February 17, 2008 at 5:22 pm- permalink)
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Flavors of Life ~ Count the Laddus

Count the Laddus:Painting by Sree
Flavors of Life ~ Count the Laddus
Painting by Sree (Colored Pencils on Paper)

When I tell someone I just got back from Tirupati, the first thing they *don’t* ask is “Did you have a good darshan?” Instead, I hear excited “Did you bring back any laddus?” I guess, they can’t be blamed. I’ve always been among those who ‘eye’ the prasaad long before the Puja has begun!

Well, I just got back from Tirupati, after a good darshan, sights of turmeric and sandal smeared smooth heads, loaded with laddus to share with eager laddu lovers. May Lord Venkateshwara keep showering everyone with blessings the size of his laddus.:)

~ Sree

Previously on Flavors of Life:

Banana Vendor by Sree Pumpkin Blossom by Sree

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Traditions, Sree (Saturday February 16, 2008 at 12:06 am- permalink)
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Ruby (Moro) Orange Juice

Photo Purchase Keywords: Orange, Fruits
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

Ruby or Blood Orange
Ruby Orange Juice

Ruby orange has a barbaric sounding market name, but there is nothing barbaric in its taste. Sometimes oranges can be too tart, and tangerines can be too sweet. In ruby orange, the tart and the sweet come together to deliver a soul scintillating symphony. The rich maroon colored juice from this magnificent fruit commands cheers that would crescendo into a standing ovation with each sip.

This is my first time with ruby oranges. Cut and squeeze. Just plain juice. Sugar was not added or needed. Served it chilled for a greater taste. And, what a delight! Ruby orange will be a regular from now on at my home.

Note:
Ruby orange - History
Purchased at TJ’s

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Fruits, Citrus Family (Monday February 11, 2008 at 5:32 pm- permalink)
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In Season: Ruby Orange


Ruby or Blood Orange
Sweet and Tart ~ Ruby Orange

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Fruits, Citrus Family (Sunday February 10, 2008 at 6:37 pm- permalink)
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Weekend Present

Banana-Walnut Cake Baked in Heart Shape by Prabalini

Prabalini Willson, a regular reader of Mahanandi, kindly sent me this photo of Banana-Walnut cake she baked last week following THE recipe. The shape, the color, everything looks so pretty, I love it Prabalini. Thank you so much for this hearty present.

Weekend Finds and Trends:

Fork and Blender: A Cautionary Tale
An Ingredient in American Pizza (Caution: Fox ahead)
Barack Pie
Cashew Donuts and Guava Tart
Chaywanprash

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday February 9, 2008 at 5:00 pm- permalink)
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Dalma

Chari Phutana and Dried Red Chillies
Chillies and Chari Phutana (Cumin, Fennel, Fenugreek and Mustard Seeds)

Dalma is a popular Oriya comfort food, and prepared with dal-vegetable combination. In dalma, the demure dal becomes dashing, due to a special spice-mix called chari phutana. You know how sunshine can cure winter blues? The chari phutana is the sunshine for this dal-dalma. While preparing Dalma, I realized the reason for the recent negative outburst on my website. Winter blues! No wonder people are cranky. I can’t wait for the spring and sunshine to get here.

Dalma recipe is courtesy of doctor, food writer and nutritional expert, the lovely Nandita of Saffron Trial. You can find her recipe and my photos in January edition of Men’s Health India magazine. I would like to thank Nandita, and Tithi Sarkar, the sub-editor of Men’s Health India for contacting and giving me this photo opportunity.

Dalma with Ruby Red Grapefruits
Dalma with Rice, and Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice ~ to Ease the Winter Blues

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Toor Dal, Chana Dal, Arati Kaaya (Plantain), Vankaya (Brinjal) (Friday February 8, 2008 at 4:44 pm- permalink)
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Boodida Gummadi Pulusu

Photo Purchase Keywords: Noodles, Pumpkin
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

I have become an enthusiastic fan of boodida gummadi this season. It’s nutritional qualities, versatility and low cost are the big plus points, but what made it irresistible for me is the sweet taste and no pumpkin smell. This white fleshed boodida gummadi also known as ash gourd and winter melon is nothing like red pumpkin. Do try if you come across this one at Indian or Chinese grocery shops.

I was talking to my mother this morning, and asked her what to make with boodida gummadi. The following is her recipe. No onion-garlic-ginger masala, no seeds or tomatoes, it’s a very light kind of dish. A good recipe for detox diet, and what I needed today. Amma saved the day, once more again.

Winter Melon, Ash Gourd or Boodida Gummadi
Boodida Gummadi (Ash Gourd or Winter Melon)

Recipe:

1 teaspoon peanut oil
1 sprig fresh curry leaves, pinch each cumin, mustard seeds and hing
Boodida Gummadi: white part cut to ½-inch cubes, four cups
2 tablespoons watery tamarind extract, freshly squeezed from pulp
2 tablespoons jaggery
2 tablespoons rice, powdered (any variety will do, I added rosematta)
¼ teaspoon each - turmeric, red chilli powder
Salt to taste

Place a saucepan on stove-top. Add peanut oil and when it’s hot, add and toast curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds, along with a pinch of hing. Don’t forget hing (asafoetida), this is what livens up this detox diet. Toast for couple of seconds.

Add the boodida gummadi to the pot, along with a cup of water. Cover and simmer, until the white become translucent pearl, for about ten minutes.

Now add the tamarind extract, jaggery, rice powder, turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Mix. Simmer, covered for another five to ten minutes. Serve warm.

This is a watery preparation, traditionally served with rice and papads. We had it with buckwheat (soba) noodles for our meal.

Boodida Gummadi Pulusu with Buckwheat Noodles
Boodida Gummadi Pulusu with Buckwheat Noodles ~ Health Rejuvenator & Meal Today

Recipe Source: Amma, Nandyala
Boodida gummadi cultivation in India using traditional methods - Link

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Pumpkin (Wednesday February 6, 2008 at 6:44 pm- permalink)
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