Makara Sankranthi is celebrated for three days. The first day is Bhogi. North India is known as Lohri. The second day is Sankranthi which is dedicated to worshipping Surya (the Sun god), Varuna (the rain god) and Indra (king of gods). The third day is Kanuma which is dedicated to cleaning cows, farm animals, and farm equipment and also offering prayers to them for helping with a successful harvest season. Sweets called nuvvula laddu, sakinalu, ‘ariselu’ and ‘bobattlu’ are made and offered to family and extended families. Pongali made of fresh harvest rice and jaggery is made. For this reason, in Tamilnadu, it is called Pongal. Since Sankranti falls in winter, consuming sesame seeds mixed in jaggery is beneficial to keep the body warm. Eating sesame and jaggery is believed to take away the bad elements of the minds and hearts of people. Sesame helps retain the Shakti (Divine Energy) and Chaitanya. It is known to eliminate sins if used in drinking water, bathing, applying til oil on the body and other uses. It is said sesame seeds have a greater ability to absorb and emit sattva (One of the three components in the universe, signified by purity and knowledge) frequencies.
The word ‘Sankranti’ means the movement of the sun into Capricorn. On Makar Sankranti, the sun enters new zodiac-sign of Capricorn or Makara. Most Hindu festivals are based on the lunar calendar, making the dates of festivals change every year. But Makar Sankranti is a festival which falls on the same day every year as it follows the solar calendar. As Makar Sankranti is one of the oldest solstice festivals and falls on the equinox, day and night on this day are believed to be equally long. Post the festival, it is officially the beginning of spring. Indian summer and the days become longer, and nights shorter.
Makara Sankranthi is celebrated for three days. The first day is Bhogi. North India is known as Lohri. The second day is Sankranthi which is dedicated to worshipping Surya (the Sun god), Varuna (the rain god) and Indra (king of gods). The third day is Kanuma which is dedicated to cleaning cows, farm animals, and farm equipment and offering prayers to them for helping with a successful harvest season.
Alu Gobi with Chinese Cauliflower: A Healthy Fusion
Alu Gobi, a common vegetarian dish cooked in a majority of Indian households. The aromatic flavorsome alu gobi served with fluffy chappatis or steamed rice is a comfort food relished by kids, adults and the elderly generation after generation in India. Yet, potato & cauliflower stir-fry is also enjoyed by other nations. A little digging into the history takes us 8000 years back to South America where potatoes originated.
The potatoes journeyed from South America through Spain, Italy and reached England only in the 19th Century. Every country blended the potatoes with their very own veggies, herbs & seasoning. In between that, the 14th Century traces references of “alu gobi curry” in the cuisines of the affluent Mughal Empire. Mughals were believers of Islam with Turkish ancestry and their non-vegetarian recipes are popular till date. A wide assortment of rich spices and dry fruits came to India along with them. Drawing inspiration from the Central Asian Alu Gobi recipe, the royal Mughal’s chef impressed the royalty with meatless vegetarian curry made with potatoes, cauliflower, and exotic spices! The conjugal of alu gobi and spices made its mark in Indian vegetarian recipes. It has survived through years while the hands cooking them and mouths enjoying the lovely dish have changed.
Bandaru Laddu is also known as Thokudu Laddu – one of Andhra’s most favorite sweet. They are originated in a place called “Machilipatnam” in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. The so-called modern day Machilipatnam used to be called “Bandaru”. Hence the name Bandaru Laddu. These laddus made by pounding the fried besan murukus. In the Telugu language which is spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh Pounding is called tokkudu. Hence the name Tokkudu Laddu. Bandaru laddu, with its striking and smooth velvety texture melt right in your mouth.
Like most cultural celebrations, food forms a major part of the Diwali experience. Carts sell sweet and spicy food on nearly every street throughout the festival, and families and friends watch the festivities or relax afterwards over sweets. Food is also a major part of the Indian identity. Children grow up at their mothers’ apron strings, watching as families come together to cook and chat. As adults, they return to bring the family recipes to life and catch up on everything that’s happened between visits. To cook Indian food is a window into what it is to be Indian, and I intend to give each of my readers that authentic experience.
Did you know hemp seeds are from the same species as cannabis (marijuana)? Hemp and Marijuana are species of Cannabis that are both members of the Cannabis Sativa family. Hemp contains a very low concentration of THC, while Marijuana is high in THC. Hemp seeds have a long list of health benefits. They are highly nutritious, rich in good fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Because of their mild, nutty flavor, they are versatile to use in salads, as toppings or in desserts. Eat them raw or roasted. Hemp hearts are vegan, vegetarian, keto friendly, paleo friendly, gluten-free and diabetic friendly. Hemp hearts are a great addition to the divine Diwali festive season.
Hemp hearts are high in Omega-6 compared to flax, while flax is high in Omega-3. Hemp seeds without shell are commonly called Hemp hearts. Hemp hearts are exceptionally high in essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, protein and fiber.
Gond, also known as Gum arabic, acacia gum, acacia, is a natural gum collected from different species of the acacia tree. Acacia is most known for its medicinal values. It is widely used in treating various conditions. Acacia has a long list of benefits. With so many benefits, let’s make a satisfying laddu with it. Though it is called gum, it doesn’t stick to teeth. It is a bit sticky, but is known to reduce plaque and is used to treat gingivitis. Along with health benefits, gond has perfect crunchy texture, that it is a great ingredient to make laddus. Though Acacia gum odorless, bland, its brittle texture makes laddu unique. What a great way to celebrate Diwali.
Rava Laddu is south India’s common sweet made for festivals, weddings, gatherings, pujas. Laddu can be compared to bliss balls, truffles known to the western world. To be more precise, Rava laddu is no-bake, no chocolate bliss balls or no-bake, no chocolate truffles. Rava aka Semolina and coconut laddu is all-natural and high-quality and tasty dessert you can ever have. It is perishable. Will stay fresh for 3-4 weeks. Freshness can be extended by refrigerating and also by not using milk. Don’t settle down with store-bought low-quality sweets. Making your own laddu is easier than you think. Satisfy your sweet tooth with homemade, natural, high-quality sweets.
This festive season, enjoy low-carb and low-sugar Indian food without sacrificing genuine Indian taste. Those looking for low-carb, low-sugar recipes will find a haven here. Whether it is Diwali, Navratri, Dasara, Sankranthi or Rakhi, this sensational laddu will impress everyone.
Tiny Seed. Big flavor. That’s amaranth.
Originally a staple of the Aztec diet, amaranth soon made its way to Asia where its taste, texture, and nutrition earned it the title of “king seed.” The leaves, flowers, and seeds of all three are edible. When you add amaranth in amounts up to 25% of total flour used in gluten-free recipes you improve the nutritional value, the taste and texture of gluten-free baked goods. Additionally, amaranth is an exceptional thickener for the roux, white sauces, soups, and stews.
Amaranth or rajgira means “immortal” or “everlasting” in Greek because it contains more than three times the average amount of calcium and is also high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and it is the only grain which contains Vitamin C. Rajgira also has far more lysine, an essential amino acid, which the body does not manufacture, compared to other grains. Lysine is needed to metabolise fatty acids, absorb calcium, and is essential for strong, thick hair.
Amaranth is a less popular cousin of quinoa—another previously obscure, gluten-free supergrain favored by the ancient Incas. These crops have similar nutritional profiles, but amaranth is less likely to be found in your grocery store.
Amaranth is high in protein and important minerals, such as calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. But its most desirable nutritional feature is amino acids. Amaranth nearly matches the optimal amino acid ratios set by the World Health Organization.
Dates are sugars with sweet benefits. They are nutrition powerhouse. Dates are wonderfully delicious super fruits which carry natural sugar and high fiber. A natural toffee without plastic wrap. If you are like me – not keen on sweets made of white sugar, flour, and other low-quality ingredients, while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, then meet your new BFF. Adding dates to your diet is the smart decision. With some planning and knowledge, you can safely replace white sugar with dates in several recipes. Cutting down processed sugars is tough. Scoring the health benefits, dates make your life sweet.
I am a huge fan of traditional boondi laddu’s. Because they are deep fried and then dipped in white sugar syrup, they are obviously high in calories, and they carry bad calories. Bad calories meaning it is from oil and sugar. For these reasons boondi laddu’s are not in my festival food list. Instead I started making quiet yummy laddu’s with other healthier ingredients yet no compromise in taste. They are all-natural, diet -friendly laddu’s. For those who have diet restrictions don’t have to think much to eat. Just relax enjoy the festive season. They carry healthy calories, as minerals (magnesium, potassium, iron),Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber. They are also good source of proteins.
Flax seeds are known to reduce blood pressure, hyper tension. They improve eye, kidney, skin, hair and nail health. Remember flax seeds also improves women’s and men’s health. From fitness perspective, adding whole flax seeds to your diet is nothing but adding all-natural good protein.
Laddu can be compared to bliss balls, truffles in western world. To be more precise, no-bake, no chocolate bliss balls or no-bake, no chocolate truffles. Flax, poppy seed and coconut laddu is all-natural and high quality dessert you can ever have. It is perishable. Will stay fresh for 3-4 weeks. Freshness can be extended by refrigerating.