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.
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.
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.
If you have never made Patra at home, you missed a most delicious, nutritious snack. More than store-bought frozen Patra, homemade Patra is soft, fresh, flavorful, and most importantly, nutritious. You will be so proud of yourself, making a recipe with so many benefits at home. Colocasia leaves are still so fresh after cooking Patra. Yet they retain a great texture to hit the spot every time. When you make at home, you can customize according to your taste buds, with organic, non-organic ingredients. That’s a bonus. Many of us know Patra as a Gujarati dish. Did you know, it is equally common in Karnataka? Though the base recipe is same, ingredients are different in Gujarati and Karnataka versions. Some of you probably expected Karnataka version has coconut. Yes, you are right. Every South Indian loves coconut. We look for ways to add coconut to every dish. Karnataka version is a bit spicy too. Karnataka version called as Pathrode or Patra vada.
Kudumulu or Undrallu are steamed sweet rice balls made of rice flour, Jaggery, typically made Andhra Pradesh state in India. They offered to Lord Ganesha on the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi (Vinayaka Chavithi). They are also called bellam kudumulu, teepi kudumulu, bellam undrallu. Fresh sweet potato crop comes in fall, though they are available throughout the year. Perfect time for Ganesh Chaturthi, Navaratri, and Diwali. Ganesh Chaturthi is also a festival of food. Lord Ganesh is said to be a foodie. His favorites varieties of Prasad are modak, kheer, Puran Poli, undrallu, kudumulu, and list goes on. Foodies wait for mouth-watering food made of grated jaggery, coconuts, and dry fruits on Ganesh Chaturthi.
Ganesh Chaturthi is high spirit and enthusiastic celebration. Preparations start days before the festival. Preparations to make Ganesh idol to buying new clothes and planning for food etc. Ganesh Chaturthi is also known as ‘Vinayaka Chaturthi’ or ‘Vinayaka Chavithi’.
If you want to experience a truly authentic taste of Telangana/Andhra cuisine, you have to taste Andhra Vankaya Kobbari karam – translated as Andhra eggplant, coconut masala. It is an authentic delicacy in Telangana/Andhra Pradesh cuisine which are India’s states Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are recently split states from the southern part of India. Both states share a very much same cuisine, with quite a few variations in a few regions. Telangana is the land of spicy food. Yet it is not painfully spicy, it is an awesome smooth spice which wakens your taste buds and makes you feel you this is the one you missed all your life long.
Most of the people know kadhi as Punjabi kadhi. Though the kadhi base is made of yogurt, many variations of kadhi is made in different states. Some states make plain kadhi with besan and tampering. In some states, little jaggery is added to make it sweet, some regions make with sour yogurt, some regions add vegetables. Some areas add besan deep-fried fritters called pakora. Many types of veggies are used to make kadhi. Okra (bendi), drumsticks, tomatoes, kaddu (bottle gourd) etc. Besan is made of channa dal/ Bengal gram. It is used widely in many Indian dishes. It is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free. Besan thickens the gravy, adds a smooth texture. By adding besan to yogurt, yogurt is thickened and transformed into a smooth texture.
Turai aka Ridge guard is well known in Asian countries, especially in India, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan. All of these cuisines have such a unique way of transforming this plain tasting vegetable into something amazing. Today, I introduce you to South Indian state Telangana way of transforming turai (beerakaya) into an amazing chutney (beerakaya pachadi). Not a lot of non-Indians know about chutney. Not just Indians, but non-Indians can enjoy chutneys too. Chutneys are so versatile, they can be eaten with rice as South Indians do or use as condiments for sandwiches, burgers. It also can be used as pasta sauce. Vegans all over the world or those who are struggling to find delicious and tasty meatless recipes should know about chutneys. Also those looking for diabetic friendly recipes, low carb, low sugar recipes, chutneys are rejoiced. Chutneys are all-natural, clean, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and paleo. No regrets.
In India, Cutlets are everyone’s favorite evening snack. On a rainy evening, all you need is a cutlet. Whether they are for you or your family, or for entertaining guests, cutlets will always hit the spot. Cutlets are flat and round shaped, small patties rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Cutlets are usually made of potato, or meat and spices. They are then dipped in an egg or cornstarch, then in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried. Ultimately producing a most satisfying snack. When you are in the mood of eating a snack, don’t think of which restaurant to go. Instead look into your refrigerator. You probably have a lot of veggies. If you don’t use them on time, they will be spoilt. Use them up.