Saturday, September 21, 2019

Do you know the magic ingredient to be added to Turmeric milk ?

Down with cold, cough or a sore throat ??? Have a cup of warm turmeric milk and you will get going :) This is how an average Indian has been brought up since his or her childhood. Turmeric is an ancient Indian spice and Turmeric milk or haldi ka doodh has been a typical home remedy in almost all Indian households for generations now.

Be it an infection, fever or a deep wound, this golden drink has been given to us by our grandmoms and moms for time immemorial as a medicine or as a supplement to the modern medicines and antibiotics....and I am sure, we would continue doing the same for our future generations as well.

Turmeric or more importantly, its active component curcumin, has tremendous, clinically proven, medicinal benefits. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent with no side effects. If you wish to know its properties in more detail, then please visit this link:

So our civilization from ancient times has always known that turmeric milk is a golden drink for our health in many ways but do we know the right method of preparing this golden concoction? Do we know the magic ingredient needed along with turmeric to make this drink effective? 

Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, unfortunately is not easily bioavailable; which means it is poorly absorbed in our bloodstream. To overcome this bioavailabilty issue, black pepper is used as a supplement in curcumin supplements. Black pepper contains a natural substance by the name Piperine, which enhances the curcumin absorption by almost 2000%. Hence it is advised that pepper be added to turmeric now you know that Pepper (black or white) is that magic ingredient :)


Milk - 2 cups
Turmeric powder -  3/4th  to 1 teaspoon
A dash of black pepper ( I use freshly ground pepper)
A pinch of saffron
1/4 to 1/2 tsp of cardamom powder
Sugar or jaggery powder to taste - around 2 tsp

Tip: It is recommended that we use an inch-long turmeric stick for the above recipe and crush it coarsely using a mortar-pestle rather than using its ground powder. The grinding process which generates heat destroys the medicinal properties of turmeric.

Warm the milk on a gas stove and then add all the other ingredients. Allow it to boil on a low flame for 3-5 minutes. Strain it and enjoy the drink warm.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Saaru (Rasam)

This is a recipe straight from my grandmother's kitchen. We use this recipe to make 'tili saaru'. Tili means watery....water taken by settling the boiled toor dal.

When the toor dal is cooked and mashed, add water to the bowl and let it rest. The water on the top is then used to make saaru and is very nutritious. Saaru is a good appetizer and can be had as a soup or as an accompaniment with rice.

Saaru powder:

1.25 cup - coriander seeds
0.5 cup - Jeera
0.5 cup - Whole black peppercorns
2 tsp - Chana dal
1-1.5 cup - red chilli powder ( to be mixed at the end)

Dry roast all the above ingredients and grind it to a fine powder. Add the chilli powder and mix it well. This powder stays good for many months and can be made in huge batches depending on your consumption.

Tomato Saaru/Rasam:

2 cups - water/water from the dal
2 big ripe tomatoes - blanched, peeled and made into a paste
2-2.5 tbsp - Saaru powder
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
1 tbsp - chopped coriander leaves
Tamarind juice - 2-3 tbsp. Optional. Can be used if not using tomatoes or if you want to increase the sourness quotient
Jaggery - a small lump - Optional

For the tempering:

Oil/ghee - 1 tbsp
1 tsp - mustard seeds
1 tsp- jeera seeds (optional)
A sprig of curry leaves
Broken dry red chillies - 1 or 2 (optional)
Hing - a pinch
Garlic- crushed and chopped - 1 tsp - Optional. Nowadays, I have started adding garlic to the tadka as my husband likes it.

Boil the water in a deep vessel. Add the tomato paste, turmeric powder, saaru powder and salt. Allow it to boil nicely for a good 5 minutes or so. Boiling it well helps impart the flavours into the broth.

Meanwhile, prepare the tempering or the tadka in a small pan. When the saaru is boiled and done. Switch off the gas and add the tempering and the coriander leaves to the saaru.

The saaru is ready to be eaten with soft, hot rice and a dollop of ghee. Mix it well with your fingers to enjoy it the traditional way.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Ratalyache Kees

I always try and buy sweet potato even though it is not a favorite in my house. Reason? Just because it is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals :) 

Now, one lone, big tuber of sweet potato was lying on my shelf for more than a week now. As usual, I googled up recipes to make it an more interesting eat. The very first recipe  that popped up was that of ratalyache kees (a recipe using grated, boiled sweet potato). I remember my grandmother making it occasionally on her fasting days. 
The recipe is very simple almost like that of sabudana khichdi and is a upvasachi recipe (fasting recipe). Fasts were definitely kept so that we could eat nutritious food time and again and also to break the monotony of our everyday meals.

The recipe is a keeper for a quick-fix and can be made using our plain good, old potatoes as well!

1.5 cups grated, boiled sweet potato
1 or more chopped green chilly - as per taste
2 -3 tbsp ghee
1 tsp jeera
2-3 tbsp peanut powder
Salt - to taste
a dash of lemon (optional)
Sugar - 1 tsp (optional) - I did not use it
coriander leaves - to garnish

Heat ghee in a kadhai and add jeera. Once the jeera starts spluttering, add the chopped chillies and fry it for a few seconds till the flavours seep in the ghee. Then, add grated potato, salt and mix it well. To this add the peanut powder, coriander leaves, lemon juice and again give it a stir. The kees is ready!