Invite your soul for dinner

Eat for your soul

Total health is not only being physically fit, it involves well-being of mind, emotions and senses also. Ayurveda, a traditional Hindu system of medicine is based on the idea of maintaining body systems through diet, herbal treatment, and breathing techniques. As per Ayurveda the food we consume nourishes all of the aspects of health, not just physical well-being only. Our emotions directly affect the quality of food. Cooking or eating in angry or stressed mood turns the qualities of food into poison and if food is cooked and ate in a harmonious atmosphere, on the other hand, turns the food into nectar. Pleasant fragrance, soothing music, tidy place, smiling faces of friends and family, makes mealtime nourishing for mind, emotions, senses and spirits. Sometimes eating in silence with total focus on food can turn the meal into a feast, no matter how simple it is. Relishing colors, textures, aromas and flavors in an eating experience is optimal for health. Only balance and a little effort is required to cultivate good eating habits. Thanking providence for the food that is served, practicing deep breathing for a couple of minutes before starting a meal, sitting quietly for a few minutes after a meal, are small little things, but they add up to good health and longevity. Life is a combination of healthy foods, yoga, exercise, massage, and a positive attitude. It’s all about how much committed we are towards our health and how much dedicated we are for care of our soul along with our physical body and mind. Eating for the soul means listening to that little voice inside that knows what healthy foods generally are and the effect it will leave on our body and soul.
My soul is dark with stormy riot,
Directly traceable to diet.
~Samuel Hoffenstein

On This Mothers Day

Bhookhe bachon ki tasalli ke liye,
Ma ne phir der tak pani pakaya……………
(words from the gazal of The Legend Jagjit Singh)

It was 8.45 pm and I was driving. Admist street lights, in medium traffic, I was busy thinking about my work and probably car was being driven robotically by me. Traffic lights turned red and like others I stopped my car in my lane. As the car stopped, thoughts in my mind took a halt too. Suddenly I thought of changing radio channel and started surfing for my favourite 103.1 fm, the moment channel catches signals, a famous gazal by Master Jagjit Singh broke the silence and monotony of my car, it allured the atmosphere! These were the lines which touched me the most. After listening to these words, I was thinking about mothers and greatness of the mothers in whole.
Ma, Maiya, Mother, Mata, numerous could be he names of the soul, who gives us birth and takes care of our upbringing. The moment we open our eyes in this world, she is the one who presents herself for us. All our needs are catered by her without any demand in return. I remembered a beautiful excerpt from the book, “When God Created Mothers” and the whole story flashed in my mind.

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”
And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?” She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.”
The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.”
It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”
That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded.
One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”
God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….”
I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine-year old to stand under a shower.”
The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.
But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”
Can it think?”
Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.
There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”
It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”
What’s it for?”
It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”
You are a genius, ” said the angel.
Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”
― Erma Bombeck, When God Created Mothers

Thande Thande Dahi Bhalle

Recipe of Dahi Bhalle
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  • Ingredients
    For Bhalle:
    1 cup urad duli dal (split black gram)
    Pinch of asafoetida(Hing)
    Salt to taste
    Oil for frying
    1 chopped green chilly
    Little chopped ginger
  • For filling
    2 tsp chopped cashews
    2 tsp raisins
    1 small tsp grated coconut(optional)
  • For Dahi
    2 cups thick yogurt
    ½ cup milk or water
    1 tbsp dry roasted cumin powder
    3-4 tsp black salt
    1-1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
    tsp grated ginger
    1 tbsp Sweet Tamarind Chutney
    Few pomegranate seeds (Optional)
    Chopped coriander for garnishing.
  • Method
    Soak dal for 2 hours in water and keep aside.
    Then take out extra water and add all the ingredients of the bhalle except oil and grind it into a mixture.
    Mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl.
    In a wok heat oil for frying.
    Now take a tablespoon of the mixture on your palm and then flatten it out. Apply a drop of oil or water on your palm before putting mixture on palm, otherwise it will stick to the palm.
    Place some filling in the centre.
    Now with the help of water close the sides of the mixture on the hand. It should look like a half-moon.
    Place them in the hot oil and fry then till golden crisp.
    Now dip them in normal water for few minutes.
    Beat the yogurt and add milk or water to get pliable consistency of curd and add sugar to it.
    Mix it well with a fork and add black salt and roasted cumin seed powder. Mix it again. Put grated ginger also.
    Keep it in fridge for some time.
    Gently squeeze water from the bhalle and place them in a serving bowl and pour mixed curd over them.
    Sprinkle some cumin powder and some sweet tamarind chutney.
    Garnish with coriander and pomegranate seeds and serve immediately with sweet tamarind chutney.

Tender, flavorsome, juicy and sensational! Traditional Indian mutton curry

A little bit about Mutton:

Mutton has been a favorite dish since ancient times in Indian cuisine. Mutton is a strong flavored and tough meat which needs to be cooked well at low heat, traditionally called as DUM  style, to bring out its pliable texture and unique taste. Spices like cloves, cardamom, coriander powder, cinnamon enhances the flavour of meat. Usually it is preferred to cook in clarified butter or desi ghee. While buying keep in mind that meat should be pinkish in color with a firm yet soft texture. Always try to buy leg of a young goat. It has more flesh and it tastes more better. Red and wrinkled Meat is more tough and looses its fiber soon while cooking. Nutritionally mutton has a relatively higher amount of iron than chicken, beef or pork. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, goat meat is lower in cholesterol and fat than beef, and pork. A well cooked mutton curry is tender, flavorsome, juicy and sensational which leaves you salivating, and the awesome taste definitely takes your senses to the seventh sky.

                                             Recipe of mutton curry

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INGREDIENTS

1-1 1/2 kg lamb leg meat. Diced into small pieces.
100 gm desi ghee or clarified butter
3 onions.
5 tomatoes or 300 ml tomato puree
3 tbsp ginger garlic paste
3 black cardamom
4 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp roasted cumin seeds powder
3 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 dried red chilly (optional)
2 small bay leaves (optional)
Salt to taste
2 tsp turmeric
4 tsp curry powder or Garam masala
4 tsp dried fenugreek leaves.Crushed.

METHOD
1. Wash mutton well and strain excess water.
2. Blend onions in a mixer grinder.
3. Now heat half desi ghee in a pan and saute blended onions till light golden brown.
4. Then add crushed ginger- garlic paste and saute.
5. Next, add tomatoes and all the spices together leaving behind cinnamon, black cardamom and cloves.(red chili and bay leaves too, if using) and cook on medium flame for 10-15 minutes till the gravy leaves the sides. Keep adding water as required.
6. Heat rest of the ghee in another pan and add crushed black cardamom seeds, cinnamon powder and cloves. you can add dried red chilly and 2 small bay leaves also.
7. Pour this heated mixture in gravy and mix well.
8. Now add mutton. cover the pan with a lid and cook for 10-15 minutes on low flame.
9. Add 4 cups of water and steam on low flame for 30 minutes, or till tender. Keep it on flame till gravy becomes thick.
10. Garnish it with coriander or dries fenugreek leaves and serve with naan or steamed rice.

Ghee or Clarified butter, Good or Bad for Health?

gheeSumptuous! was the aroma of pranthas cooked in desi ghee(clarified butter) by grandma. She used to make all family kids sit in line on kitchen floor and we all were served mouth-watering salt, carom seeds and coriander pranthas (layered chapatis) with traditional masala chaye(tea) in early winter mornings. Wow!
while writing, Missing that cosy kitchen, aromatic flavor of layered chapatis getting mixed with fragrance of cardamom and cloves in hot tea and watching smoke rushing towards chimney to move out as if it was in a hurry to fly in open sky and above all, adorable Grandma, for whom serving fresh and hot food  was the way to express her love for us.
Ghee has been an important ingredient of Indian cooking since ages. With advancement of technology and time, refined and processed foods took over authentic ingredients of Indian kitchen. Our ancestors used to believe that having ghee in one or the other form keeps our digestive system healthy. It improves digestion power. Ghee is made up of short chain fatty acids which can be digested easily. This helps in breaking down of fat too.
Although it holds numerous benefits but then also Ghee is the ingredient that has always been one of the most misunderstood foods in India and it has always been involved into a myth, specifically when it comes to weight gain. It is a common thought that fat makes us fat but the reality is Ghee does not make us fat, if used in a right way and proportion.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are present in Ghee. These vitamins are fat-soluble which means Ghee helps in absorption of these vitamins. Moreover clarified butter has MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids ) , which is better than PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acid) found in oils like corn, sunflower, cottonseed oils etc. Thus making Ghee a better choice than these oils. It doesn’t contains lactose, hence it is safe for lactose intolerant people.
Our elders believed that balanced intake of clarified butter provides lubrication to muscles and joints, It nourishes body tissues and is suitable for people of all ages. It strengthens our sense organs, improves immunity. It strengthens the quality and tone of our voice.
Ghee when consumed with high calorie foods becomes a reason for weight gain. People who want to gain weight should try consuming calorie dense food along with ghee. For the people who are into the race of loosing weight, for sure ghee also can help in weight loss. It all depends upon its use and quantity. When taken in combination with a with a sensible diet, it actually aids in weight loss.
These were the benefits of intake of clarified butter. Not only it nourishes the body from inside but it helps to increase the luster of skin from outside too. This is my personal experience and I can swear by this, that massaging a tsp of warm ghee on face every night before sleeping, gives marvelous results by lightning dark circles under eyes, removing pigmentation from face, clearing pimple marks. Doing this regularly for few nights, leaves skin soft, supple and radiant. It’s an excellent rescue from dry skin. Specially in winters, massage warm ghee on whole body an hour before taking bath. No moisturizer could ever challenge the softness left by ghee on skin. It gives a sheen to dry skin. Excellent!