JalJeera is an all-natural, clean, summer drink staple in North India. A vegan, vegetarian Indian drink. JalJeera has been the quench for hot summer thirst for millions for the past many decades. More than a homemade drink, JalJeera is popular selling on the streets on carts in a clay pot called matka. Matka is clay pot, which naturally keeps drinks cold without consuming any energy. JalJeera is sold by street vendors. They wrap matka in a cloth to keep it chilled and is served with a steel ladle. JalJeera is usually garnished with boondi, sometimes with mint and coriander leaves. It is so refreshing that it rejuvenates you instantly, with natural ingredients, without any carbonation, extra sugars, artificial colors or flavors. Just ditch the high-calorie, high sugar, and carbon-di-oxide drinks.
I wish my readers a happy Puthandu and Aluth Avurudda. It is India’s new year season. Each state has their own new year day. Today is an auspicious day of Puthandu (Tamil new year) and Aluth Avurudda (Sinhalese/Srilankan new year). Though are called by different names, Tamil and Srilankan new year falls on the same day, yet customs are a little different.
Chutneys are a staple food in Southern India. Chutneys can be made with a variety of vegetables. Mix n match a wide variety of vegetables, nuts, seeds to make rich, enticing, exquisite chutney. This is a Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, Paleo, nut-free recipe. Aromatic spices with vegetables, nuts in tampering makes chutney an ultimately delicious and healthy. Whichever vegetable you make chutney out of, Chutney is loaded with iron, vitamins, and antioxidants. Traditionally, vegetables are cooked in spices and crushed with the hand in mortar pestle to make chutney. In the modern generation, grinders are used. Chutney is usually consumed with rice and ghee poured on top. Lately, with low carb consciousness, people prefer eating chutneys as homemade dips for tortilla chips, pita chips, south Indian snacks as sakinalu, janthikalu and karappusa.
Gongura, which is known to the western world as Roselle, is a tangy and sour leaf. Roselle plant leaves and flowers both are edible. Gongura (Hibiscus Sabdariffa) leaves – the most popular dish in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India. Gongura leaves are widely used in Andhra Pradesh. It holds a very special place in Andhra peoples hearts. It is called as Andhra favorite dish – Andhra maatha or Andhra Shakambari Varaprasadam which is translated to “Vegetarian mother of Andhra”.
The weather is dry and bright. The people are gathering their diyas, cooking like crazy, and preparing for the influx thousands of tourists and the homecoming of far-flung loved ones. All of Mumbai, indeed all of India, is full to bursting with anticipation. This can only mean one thing: Diwali is upon us!
Often known (and literally translated) as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is one of the most sacred and beloved events in the Hindu calendar. Though it’s officially a holiday in 11 other countries (and one province in Pakistan), Diwali is most lavishly celebrated in India and Mumbai, its largest city. While the scripture behind Diwali varies between Hindu traditions, all celebrate a common theme: the power of humankind, guided by the light of self-control, furthered knowledge and compassion for others, to triumph over darkness and evil. In many traditions, Diwali marks the veneration of Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, and Dhanvantari, God of Hope and Healing.
With such a meaning, you’d expect bursts of color and light as far as the eye can see, and Diwali doesn’t disappoint! The whole of India hangs diyas, or colored lights, outside windows and doorways; they burn throughout the festival nights. Colorful floor decorations called rangoli dot the floors of homes and businesses. The streets are ablaze with lights, fireworks, and colored powder and abuzz with shopping and celebration akin to the West’s Christmas observance.
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.
Entire India is ready for Dasara aka Navratri. In Southern states, it is celebrated as Dasara, celebrating Rama’s victory over Ravana. It is celebrated as the victory of good over evil. As epic Ramayana describes the story of Rama. Rama was the prince of the Ayodhya kingdom banished into the forest by his step mother’s wish. While in the forest, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana. Sita was abducted by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. Rama, assisted by an army of monkeys and Lakshmana, attacked Lanka to rescue her. The fierce battle went on for days between the two armies. It was difficult for Rama to kill powerful, compelling mighty Ravana. So he prayed for nine days to nine different avatars of goddess Durga and grew strength to defeat Ravana.
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’.
You call it lemon rice or yellow rice, it is Indian’s most favorite festive food. It is favorite offering to Indian gods. One of the easiest and a favorite dish made for guests, special occasions. In fact, a number of rice-based recipes are made in different regions. An all-natural, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo dish. Replacing white rice with brown rice or quinoa will add a great number of nutrients.
For westerners, lemon is rice is known as yellow rice. For them, it is probably a mere rice dish. But this dish made a special appearance in millions of family get-togethers, weddings, festivals etc. In typical south Indian family lemon rice is a staple food and also a very festive dish. If you are looking for an authentic way of making lemon rice, here it is.