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

Weekend this and that~ Grocery Bills

Mindful shoppers with waste-not mentality, that’s Vijay and me. We pretty much depend on grains, dals, vegetables and fruits for our nutritional needs, with an occasional splurge here and there. We try to maintain a tight budget and do not like to overspend. Inji Pennu’s event has prompted me to share my grocery bill with you all. I don’t know how useful you would find this bill display, but here it is:

My grocery bill from DK Market, Renton, WA
My grocery bill for this week ~ for Inji’s Grocery Bill Event

I shop at DK Market, Renton these days for my grocery needs. The prices are low, the produce is fresh and wax free. And, we can get both Asian and Western variety vegetables and fruits. To the $ 23 above, add another $ 7 for milk, Garlic Naan and pita bread from Trader Joe’s for a total of $30. This is for two adults (with an occasional guest/friend dropping in) for one to two weeks. I may spend another ten dollars this week at Pike Place for fresh, plump peas and other seasonal vegetables and fruits.

Harvest Share: if you are a Seattle based hobby farmer or backyard grower, blessed with bountiful harvest of vegetables and berries this season, and looking for mindful consumers to share, please contact me at for veggie-fruit exchange.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday May 10, 2008 at 9:03 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Black Pepper~Turai Chutney

బీరకాయ మిరియాల పచ్చడి

Shallot, Turai, Black Pepper
Shallot, Turai and Black Peppercorn

If there is a turai fan club, I would be a card-carrying member. I would go to farmers markets to demonstrate turai dishes and to dispense turai seeds to the interested. I enjoy this vegetable that much.:) Recently I came across a new chutney recipe with turai, and I tried it today for our meal. Sweet turai and fiery peppercorn, it’s a good combination. A must try for fellow turai fans, I recommend.

Black Pepper ~Turai Chutney:
(makes about a cup and half)

1 Turai (ridge gourd, బీరకాయ)
2 shallots (erra gadda)
½ teaspoon black peppercorn (*Hot*)
1-tablespoon tamarind pulp
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon oil

1. Add tamarind pulp to two tablespoons of water. This will soften the tamarind and helps to blend well. Peel the ridges, wash turai, and cut to big chunks (about two cups). Peel the skin and chop shallots to big pieces (about half cup).

2. Heat a cast iron skillet. Add and heat oil to smoking point. Add black pepper and cumin. Fry for few seconds. Add the shallots and ridge gourd pieces. Sauté to tender for about five minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the contents to reach room temperature.

3. Take them all in a mixer or mortar. Add salt, tamarind pulp and the water it was soaked in. Mix once. Blend to coarse consistency. Remove to a cup and serve. Good to mix with rice, or as a spread on chapati/roti/bread.

Turai- Black Pepper chutney
Turai Pepper Chutney ~ for Meal Today

Recipe adapted from:
Paajaka. Thanks Mythreyee for this tasty turai recipe idea.
Reduce peppercorn to quarter teaspoon if you prefer mild hot level.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Peppercorn (Wednesday May 7, 2008 at 6:14 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Maroon Carrots

Peeled Maroon Carrots
Maroon Carrots (skins peeled)

Deep earthy maroon on the exterior and a brilliant red in the interior with an orangish-white center. Subdued sweetness, and lots of crunch.

That is how I would describe maroon carrots. In addition to looking unique, maroon carrots also have nutritional benefits - more beta-carotene than their orange counterparts, and they have antioxidants known as anthocyanins, according to Wise Geek.

This old-time variety is popular in north-Indian farmers markets and usually appears during winter and early spring seasons. They have also started to appear locally here in Seattle, thanks to the rejuvenated interest in all things ancient and natural. At Pike Place Market, they were priced at one dollar a bunch, and I bought one bunch. They still have roots attached, so I peeled the skin and cut with mandoline to thin rounds. They looked so pretty and fresh, within minutes half were gone. Crunch, crunch…

With the remaining half, I have prepared pappuchaaru for our meal today. Toor dal protein, maroon carrots and vine-ripe tomato, soured with tamarind, sweetened with jaggery and seasoned with hing tadka, the pappuchaaru had enough flavor to permit omission of rasam powder. Very mild, soothing to the stomach, chaaru tasted delicious.

Pappuchaaru with Maroon Carrots, Garnished with Haldiram’s Boondi

Pappuchaaru with Maroon Carrots:

Half cup - Toor dal (kandi pappu)
Half cup - Carrots, sliced to thin rounds
One - Ripe tomato, finely chopped
One - Onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon each - tamarind pulp and crushed jaggery
½ teaspoon each - Turmeric and salt
¼ teaspoon - Red chilli powder

Hing tadka:
1 teaspoon - peanut oil
6 curry leaves
Pinch each- cumin and mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon- hing (asafoetida/inguva)

Rinse toordal and take them in a pressure-cooker. Add about two cups of water. Cook to soft. With a wood masher, gently mash the dal to smooth consistency.

Once you are ready with the dal, start the chaaru preparation. In a vessel, heat peanut oil. Add and sauté curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds to fragrance. Add hing and toast for couple of seconds. Add onion, tomato and carrot. Sauté for about five minutes. Add the cooked toor dal, also tamarind, jaggery, turmeric, salt and chilli powder. Add about a cup of water. Mix. Partially cover with a lid, and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes to wonderful aroma. (The carrots bleed and color the preparation to reddish-brown, but not too much like beetroots.)

To serve, add a spoonful of cooked rice to a cup. Pour about three to four ladlefuls of pappuchaaru. Mix with a spoon or your right hand. For a tasty crunch, add a papad, few chips or boondi. Enjoy.

(NP: Carbohydrates from rice, quality protein from toor dal, vegetable goodness from carrot and tomato, spices like turmeric and hing for well being.)


A question for you, dear readers

I am more likely to prepare this recipe, if it has

Soup in title, because I think of only Soups as healthy.
Chaaru in title, because I value traditional goodness and age-old wisdom.
Good nutritional profile (NP). I pay more attention to the ingredients list than titles.


Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Carrots, Amma & Authentic Andhra (Tuesday May 6, 2008 at 1:12 pm- permalink)
Comments (42)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Arusuvai Friendship Packages

I have just come back from the Post Office. Arusuvai friendship packages are on their way to Archana, Dee, Faffer, Linda, Mandira, and Pooja.

I had great time preparing all the goodies for you, dear friends. I hope you would find the contents enjoyable as well.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Monday May 5, 2008 at 1:19 pm- permalink)
Comments (9)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

The Promise of Sweet Sunshine

Sweet Sunshine, Sketch by Indira
Promise of Sweet Sunshine ~ for Mango Manthram

Have you ever gone shopping for mangoes wearing a sweater and a scarf? It sounds funny to imagine, but that’s what I did last week. In Seattle, temperatures are trying to reach respectable levels, but the chill and the spring showers are dominating the dress choice. Mangoes are essentially summer fruits and thanks to Asian imports, the local grocery shops have some good quality fruits in stock. These golden yellow mangoes were priced at $1.50 each. I had to experience the sweet sunshine they would deliver.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mango (Sunday May 4, 2008 at 6:51 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

A New Dining Hall

Charming and talented food bloggers DK and Siri have opened a new forum for us food bloggers and fans.

Check it out to join.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday May 4, 2008 at 6:36 pm- permalink)
Comments (3)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Flavors of Life ~ Chillies and Lemons

Chillies and Lemons
Chillies and Lemons ~ Sketch by Sree
Ink and watercolor, 5″x6″

Chillies and lemons are often hung as a talisman at the entrance of shops, houses etc in India to ward off the ‘evil eye’ or drishti (as we say it).

By Sree

Flavors of Life: A variety.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Limes/Lemons, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies, Sree (Saturday May 3, 2008 at 1:00 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

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