Mahanandi

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

Jihva for Garlic

Garlic, Vellulli
Garlic (Vellulli, Lasoon) ~ for Mathy’s Jihva

For me, the taste of garlic changes with the way it is cut. I usually finely chop the garlic to tiny pieces and toast them in oil or ghee, as a part of the popu preparation for dals and curries. My latest thing is slivering. The garlic cloves here are so big that they can be easily sliced into thin layers like decorative almonds. The large size also makes it easy to hold and grate garlic like we do ginger and coconut. Whenever I find teensy-weensy garlic, which is a rare event in this size-obsessed land, then I simply follow my mother’s method and whack it with either the pappu gutti or the pestle. This simultaneously flattens the clove, releases precious juices, and facilitates removal of the skin. It is my preferred method of garlic preparation. To peel large quantities of garlic, following an old-time tip, I simply add the garlic cloves to warm water for about one to two minutes. Skins will then slip off easily.

So, which method you prefer and how do you prepare garlic for cooking?

Chopped Garlic ~ Four Ways
Finely Chopped, Slivered, Grated and Whacked
Garlic Preparation, Four Ways ~ for this Week’s Indian Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Garlic (Vellulli) (Sunday March 30, 2008 at 9:29 pm- permalink)
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In Season ~ Mango and Vadu Mango

Mango and Vadu Mango
Green, Unripe Mango and Vadu Mango ~ For this Week’s Indian Kitchen

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Mango, Mamidikaya (Green Mango) (Sunday March 2, 2008 at 12:31 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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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Flavors of Life ~ Pumpkin Blossom

Pumpkin Blossoms, Painting by Sree
Flavors of Life ~ Pumpkin Blossom
Painting by Sree (Colored Pencils on Paper)

It’s rarely that a pumpkin vine grows to its prime to bear fruit in our garden. At my place, we are crazy about the pumpkin leaves (tender ones), buds, flowers and the young pumpkins. Hence any growth is literally ‘nipped in the bud’. Might sound like a heartless act of greed, but just try a pumpkin flower stir-fry or crisp deep-fry, and you will know why! However, this vine crept up beside the home inconspicuously amidst a huge rose tree (yes, the rose bush has grown into a tree beyond the first floor), and one fine day we noticed a huge pumpkin (seven Kilos!) ‘harvested’ in time for Sankranthi.:) I wish the remaining flowers, leaves and buds as much luck this year.:)

~ Sree

Previously on Flavors of Life:

Click on the image to see the

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Pumpkin, Sree (Saturday February 2, 2008 at 8:59 am- permalink)
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Bottle Gourd, Fuzzy Melon and Silk Squash

Photo Purchase Keyword: Squash
(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.)

Bottle Gourd, Silk Squash
Bottle Gourd, Fuzzy Melon & Silk Squash ~ Pitta Pacifying Vegetables
for This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Bottle Gourd is also known as Sorakaya (Telugu), Anapakaya (Telugu), Dudhi (Hindi), Lauki (Hindi), calabash (Italian?), Opo squash.

Fuzzy Melon is sold as Foo Gwa and Mooqua at local Vietnamese grocery.

Silk Squash, other names are Neti Beerakaya (Telugu), Silk Melon and Chinese Okra (Chinese grocery shops).

- Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Vegetables, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Beerakaya-Neti(Silk Squash) (Sunday January 20, 2008 at 7:03 pm- permalink)
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Date and Prune

Date and Prune
A Date with Prune ~ for this Week’s Indian Kitchen

Weekend Blog Read:

Hey, Sweetheart!

Love Song for Trader Joe’s

I Finally Said Goodbye to Food Network

Saturday Night at the Movies, The Obligatory Top Ten List

Blogging in Telugu: Tools and Tips

What’s Wrong with American Academia

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Dates (kharjuram) (Sunday December 9, 2007 at 2:42 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Toor dal ~ Fresh, Dry and Split

Toor dal (Tuvar Dal, Kandi Pappu - Fresh, Dry and Split
The Most Beautiful and Flavorful Lentil ~ Toor Dal
Fresh, Dried, and Split ~ For This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen (Sunday December 2, 2007 at 5:16 pm- permalink)
Comments (14)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Punjabi Tinda, Parval and Tindora

Punajbi Tinda, Parval and Tindora
Punjabi Tinda, Parval and Tindora (from Lt to Rt)
Fresh Vegetables of India ~ for This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Vegetables, Dondakaya(Tindora), Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen (Sunday October 28, 2007 at 1:35 pm- permalink)
Comments (11)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Naaga Keshar, Cloves and Marathi Moggu

NaagaKeshar, Cloves and Marathi Moggu
Clockwise from left: Naaga Keshar, Cloves and Marathi Moggu
Special Spices from India ~ for This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Herbs and Spices (Sunday October 14, 2007 at 1:52 pm- permalink)
Comments (29)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Dagad Phool, Kala Elachi, Badal Phool and Naagkeshar

Dagad Phool,  Black Cardamom, Badal Phool and Nagakeshar to prepare Goda Masala
Clockwise from left: Dagad Phool, Kala Elachi, Badal Phool and Naagkeshar
Spices to Prepare Goda Masala ~ for This Week’s Indian Kitchen


from Hindi/Marathi to Telugu and English:
Dagad Phool = Kallupachi (Black Stone Flower)
Kala Elachi = Nalla Elakulu (Black Cardamom)
Badal Phool = Anaspuvvu (Star Anise)
NaagaKeshar = Naaga Sagaralu

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen (Sunday October 7, 2007 at 3:50 pm- permalink)
Comments (18)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Fenugreek Seeds (Methi, Menthulu)

Fenugreek Seeds (Menthulu, Methi)

The one flavor category that is fading away from our meals today is the “bitter” flavor. The bitter taste category is considered to be one of the most healing and cleansing tastes by Ayurveda. Use of fenugreek seeds in traditional tadka is a good way to incorporate the bitter taste once in a while.

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is a member of the pea family. Fenugreek plant is an annual with yellowish-white flowers and its pods contain 10-20 seeds. The common method of harvesting is to uproot the whole plant, allow them to dry in the Sun and then remove the seeds by threshing.

Whole fenugreek seeds have no aroma but once ground, they release flavor and sharp, spicy aroma. These seeds are very high in protein. 3.5 ounces (100 gms) of uncooked seeds supply 23 gms of protein. This is almost equivalent to the amount of protein found in a 3 -3.5 ounces serving of meat, fish or poultry.

Fresh Fenugreek, Menthi Kura, Methi
Fresh Fenugreek Leaves (Menthi Kura, Methi)

Methi (Fenugreek) Sprouts
Fenugreek Sprouts (Methi, Menthula Molakalu)

Fenugreek seed sprouts are used in salads. These sprouts are rich in iron and phosphorous. Juice from the sprouts is considered a cleanser of the kidneys and bladder.

In Maharashtra, we make an interesting pickle with methi sprouts, called Methi-Mirchi. This pickle stays good just for one to two days .

¼ cup fenugreek sprouts
1 Green Chilli – slit in middle and then cut into small pieces
2 tsp Mustard seeds
Pinch each - Asafoetida and turmeric
1 Lemon and salt to taste

Heat oil. Add mustards seeds, asafoetida, and turmeric. When mustard seeds start to pop, then add fenugreek sprouts and green Chilli. Mix well. Take off the heat. Add salt to taste and squeeze lemon juice. This pickle has a great combination of bitter, spicy and sour tastes.

Methi-Mirchi Pickle ~ From Anjali's Kitchen
Methi-Mirchi Pickle ~ From Anjali’s Kitchen

Fenugreek seeds are antiseptic and warming. It also has expectorant qualities and is used to ease coughs and sore throat. Fenugreek tea is used as a Blood builder and cleanser.

To make fenugreek tea – bruise 2 tablespoons of seeds. Add four cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for ten minutes. Add honey or lemon to flavor.

One of the five spices in Panch phoran is fenugreek seed. They are also added in curry powder, sambar powder and essential picking spice. It’s a very common practice for most of us to add a few fenugreek seeds to tadka when making everyday dal.

Dal-Methi with fenugreek seeds is a common dal among us Maharashtrians. I make this dal at least 2-3 times a month and it’s a good way to introduce fenugreek seeds to kids.

To one cup toor dal, add two to three teaspoons of fenugreek seeds and two cups of water. Pressure-cook to soft. Heat oil. Add mustard seeds, turmeric, green chilli and asafoetida. Add the toor dal-methi mix. Cook for two minutes. Season with salt and cilantro. Serve with roti.

Ingredients for Dal-Methi ~ from Anjali's Kitchen
Ingredients for Dal-Methi ~ from Anjali’s Kitchen

Ah! And how can we talk about fenugreek seeds and not talk about Fenugreek Seed Laddu (Methi Laddu)? Considered to be good for health and winter warmers, methi laddus are consumed in winter season to ward off cold, cough and fever. Here is a simple methi laddu recipe from Bawarchi.

It’s also a common practice in many parts of India to give methi laddu to the lactating mothers. I had these laddus after my daughters birth and many who have tasted these laddus would agree with me that they do not bring out the “hmm…” feeling. But Lakshmi Ammal of “Cook Food and Serve Love” has come up with an interesting Sweet Fenugreek Pongal. I wish I knew about this pongal eight years back.:) (Since fenugreek seeds are considered a uterine stimulant, they are avoided during pregnancy.)

Packed with protein and punch, and with so many benefits, it’s no wonder that the tiny fenugreek seeds have earned a very respectable place in our Indian spice box.

~ Guest Article by Anjali Damerla of Supreme Spice

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If you have questions about fenugreek seeds, please post them in comments section. Anjali would be glad to answer them for you. Thanks.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek), Anjali Damerla, Methi, Kasuri Methi (Thursday October 4, 2007 at 6:16 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Beautiful Bananas ~ Small Variety


Small Variety Ripe Bananas ~ for this week’s Indian Kitchen

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Weekend Reading:
Blogger to Wordpress ~ The Move
Wordpress 2.3 and Movable Type 4 ~ The Comment Exchange
The Saga of a Lemon Rasam
Mavalli Tiffin Room ~ MTR

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Bananas (Sunday September 30, 2007 at 6:00 pm- permalink)
Comments (8)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Mustard Seeds (Aavalu, Rai, Sarson)

Brown and Tiny Mustard Seeds from Telengana Region, Andhra Pradesh, India Also Known as Chitti AavaluBlack Mustard Seeds from India
Tiny Brown Mustard Seeds from Andhra Pradesh also Known as “Chitti Aavalu” in Telugu
and Black Mustard Seeds from Bharath

According to old-world tales, there was an interesting exchange of messages between King Darius of Persia and Alexander the Great.

King Darius sent a sack of sesame seeds to Alexander to show the vastness of his army. To this, Alexander responded with a sack of mustard seeds to imply not only the number but also the power, energy and the fiery nature of his men.

Mustard seeds are one of the oldest spices known to mankind and valued for their antiseptic, antibacterial, carminative and warming properties. They are also good source of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium and protein. Mustard greens are an excellent source of Vitamin A, iron, zinc and improve blood circulation.

Mustard is a very economical plant. Its leaves are used as a vegetable, flowers and pods in salads and seeds as a spice. Mustard seeds hardly give away any fragrance when whole. This is because the enzyme that creates the hot, pungent taste of mustard is activated when it comes in contact with liquids. And for this very reason we wait for the mustard seeds to pop in our tadka. The popping of mustard seeds imparts the sharpness and nutty flavor to the dish.

The vibrant yellow flowers of mustard plants shout out the impending arrival of spring to the world. Folks in Punjab celebrate Basant Panchami when spring arrives with amazingly beautiful, bright and cheery rolling fields of mustard. A favorite of Bollywood films, fantastically yellow mustard fields are breathtaking and romantic. When you talk about mustard and Punjab, it is only natural that one thinks of “Sarson Ka Saag”. This one of a kind dish is best enjoyed with Makke de Roti (corn roti).


Sarson Ka Saag with Roti, and
Toasted Mustard Seeds, Part of Traditional Tadka or Popu

There are three types of mustard seeds – white (actually they look more yellow than white), black and brown. Brown mustard looks very identical to black mustard but has only 70% of the pungency. Mustard seeds are harvested when the pods are fully developed but not yet ripe. The mustard hay is then stacked to dry and then threshed to remove the seeds.

Oil of mustard is a rubefacient. It irritates the skin when applied and dilates the small blood vessels underneath the skin. This increases the flow of blood to the skin and makes it feel warm. Mustard plasters are used to relieve chest colds and coughs. To make a mustard plaster, mix some powdered mustard with warm water and spread it as a paste on a doubled piece of soft cloth. Do not apply this plaster directly on the skin. Take care to see that you don’t keep it on for more than 15 minutes.

A mustard foot bath is a traditional remedy for colds and headaches. Add one teaspoon of mustard powder to a bowl of hot water and soak your feet for about 15 min. The warming nature of mustard clears the congestion by drawing it away from the source. These foot baths or mustard plasters should be used carefully since mustard can irritate skin if used for longer durations. Also never use this remedy on small children.

I have read that it is fairly easy to grow mustard. If you plan to try it, make sure you choose a sunny area in your yard. Mustard is an annual plant and germinates easily. It spreads easily too so you just need to make sure that it doesn’t take over your entire yard.

I just loved the idea of harvesting our own mustards seeds, like this gardener had done and I am going to give it a try this year. Only time will tell whether I can actually get substantial amount of mustard seeds from my garden or not, but I will at least get a small piece of Punjab with beautiful and bright yellow flowers.

Guest Article by ~ Anjali Damerla of Supreme Spice
Photography by: Indira Singari

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If you have questions about Mustard spice, please post them in comments section. Anjali would be glad to answer them for you. Thanks.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Sarson (Mustard Greens), Herbs and Spices, Mustard Seeds (Aavalu), Anjali Damerla (Thursday September 13, 2007 at 5:12 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Asafoetida (Asafetida, Hing, Inguva)

Food blogging has opened a new way for me to meeting interesting people who also share my passion and philosophy in cooking. Anjali Damerla of Supreme Spice is one such person. She belongs to the spice world and has a great knowledge about our traditional and ancient spices and herbs. I truly believe that we all could benefit from her knowledge. Through her periodical articles on Mahanandi, Anjali will be sharing the benefits and uses of various spices and herbs.
~Indira.

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Asafoetida (Asafetida, Hing, Inguva)

Asafoetida, Powdered Form
Asafoetida ~ Powdered Form

Asafoetida is a resinous gum that is extracted from the root and stem of genus ferula, a type of giant perennial fennels that is at least 4 yrs old. The stem/root of the plant is slashed and kept in shade while the sap seeps out and hardens. This dried, grayish-white gum is then scraped off which turns reddish and finally reddish-brown as it ages. The asafoetida that we buy in stores has only about 30 -40% of pure asafoetida and the rest is edible starch (rice or wheat flour) to make the powder more manageable. Sometimes gum arabic, turmeric and some additional color are also added to it.

In India, we use asafoetida in our pickles, as a substitute for garlic and of course, in our tadka/popu. The traditional popu/tadka process is incomplete without this spice. Asafoetida was introduced to the West by Alexander the Great in 4th century BC and was used in ancient Roman cuisine as a substitute for a North African plant named Silphium.

Ayurveda highly recommends including all six tastes in our meals. The six tastes are – salty, sour, sweet, bitter, pungent and astringent. Asafoetida comes under the pungent category. Foods and spices that are pungent stimulate appetite and improve digestion. Asafoetida is very helpful in alleviating the sensation of heaviness, fullness or bloating after a heavy meal. Asafoetida has extra heating properties and is used in Ayurveda to rekindle digestive fire. It is also supposed to act as a blood purifier.

Many of us know that a pinch of asafoetida with a glass of buttermilk helps reduce indigestion. But not many know that asafoetida is also used to alleviate toothache. Add a little lemon juice to asafoetida powder and warm this mixture a bit. Soak a cotton ball in this warm mixture and place it on the aching tooth. Or another remedy is to mix pure asafoetida powder and salt, place this mixed powder on the aching tooth. Asafoetida is also used by Homeopathy doctors to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

When it comes to cooking, asafoetida is a must for lentil dishes and curries with green leafy vegetables. Asafoetida is also used a lot for flavoring pickles like tomato, mango etc, and in sauces and is one of the main ingredients in Worcestershire sauce. Adding asafoetida to popu/tadka results in a wonderfully complementary flavor. I also believe that this special spice adds relish to food.

An article on asafoetida is incomplete without a mention of Hingashtak, also known as Hingawastaka. It’s a mixture of 8 spices - asafoetida, black pepper, carom seeds (ajwan), cumin, ginger, pipli (Long Pepper), nigella seeds (Kalonji) and rock salt. In olden times, every family had its own variation of Hingashtak. My own version is a simple mixture of asafoetida, black pepper, ginger, cumin, ajwan and salt. Grind all these spices and mix with rice (squeeze a bit of lime juice if you want) and have just 2-3 morsels of this yummy rice. You can make tiny pills of the Hingashtak and have it before meal. Hingashtak is very heating (and hence aids digestion), so eat very little.


Asafoetida, Black Pepper, Ginger, Cumin and Ajwan ~ for Hingashtak

~ Guest Post by ~ Anjali Damerla of Supreme Spice
Photo Credit : Indira Singari

If you have questions about asafoetida spice, please post them in comments section. Anjali would be glad to answer them for you. Thanks.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Herbs and Spices, Asafoetida (Inguva), Anjali Damerla (Thursday August 30, 2007 at 6:31 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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