Jeera Kashaayam – Traditional, Magical Cure

Kashaayams are medicinal drinks that are simple to make and sensational in providing relief to minor ailments without any side effects. All that it requires is a few simple ingredients available in the kitchen. At times extra ingredients will have to be procured. But these are available in plenty in the local ‘Naattu Marundhu Kadai’ [ strores selling herbs ]

Anything from a common cold to nausea to indigestion can be cured easily by these kashaayams. These recipes are passed down in each family from one generation to another, to cure common ailments and avoid visiting the doctor unless when required.Since no sweet or additives are generally added there is a misconception that Kashaayams are always bitter and difficult to consume.

Jeera

Cumin or Jeera or jeeragam is said to be excellent for digestion and helps to flush out toxins in the body.

It is rich in iron and highly beneficial for pregnant and lactating mothers. It offers an ideal cure for morning sickness.

Jeera’s antiseptic properties helps in combatting cold and fever.

Jeera bolied in water is called Jeera water and when consumed not only refreshes the body but also helps you retain excellent skin tone since it is rich in Vitamin – E.

A mix of Jeera & and Ginger powder can cure sore throat.

A ripened banana + a teaspoon of jeera + followed by a cup of jeera water is said to help people suffering from insomnia.

Ingredients:

Jeera – 2 tsps

Water – 2 cups

Jaggery or palm sugar [ optional] – as per taste

Ginger powder [ optional] – as per taste

Method:

In a kadai dry roast jeera in medium flame. It should not get blackened. So take care to see that it is evenly roasted. A nice aroma and spluttering of the jeera are indicative of this. Add water to this and let it boil for a few minutes till the liquid reduces to half a cup.

Strain and consume it when it is lukewarm.

Tips:
For those who don’t find this palatable add a little bit of jaggery or panangkalkandu or any other sweetening agent while you boil the water.
On a daily basis you can boil water with a little bit of jeera and drink this in lieu of ordinary water. This has tremendous health benefits.

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Chakka Varatti or Jack Fruit Jam

Jack fruit is an excellent source of vitamins and potassium and has good health benefits. Each piece of the fruit or ‘cholai’ as it is referred to is of a beautiful yellow color and can be eaten plain or soaked in honey.The fruit gives out a strong aroma which is not liked by a few. On the contrary the very mention of the fruit and the smell can be so intoxicating, as to tempt you to wards non-stop consumption of the fruit. This jam or Chakka Varatti that is made out of ripened jack fruit forms the core ingredient in making delicious jack fruit based dishes like Elai Adai and Chakka Pradaman [ Payasam]. Refer earlier posts for these recipes.

Ingredients
Ripe Jackfruit Cholais [deseeded & cleaned] – 4 cups
Powdered Jaggery – 2 cups
Ghee – 1 cup
Water – as required

Optional
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Dried ginger powder a pinch

Method:

Pressure cook the jackfruit with just enough water till they are tender and soft. 3 – 4 whistles should do.

Cool and mash well. Grind to a smooth paste in a blender.

Melt jaggery with just enough water and strain.

Take a heavy bottomed kadai and pour the melted jaggery into it. Let it come to a boil.

Reduce heat completely and slowly add the jack fruit paste, stirring all the time.

Mix thoroughly and add ghee little by little. The mix should come together to form a thick paste, that is dark brown in color.

It is ready when most the moisture is absorbed and it gets a jam like consistency.

Remove and cool. Store in clean dry, air tight containers and refrigerate. Use when required but ensure that you use a dry spoon at all times.

Tips:

Continuous stirring is required during the making of the jam. The mix is likely to splutter out of the container. Hence ensure your hands are protected from getting bunrt by the hot paste.

The jam makes an excellent side dish for Rotis and Bread varieties.

Add dry ginger powder and cardamom only if required. Some prefer to retain the original flavor.

Mambhaza Pulissery

When mangoes are in season they are not spared and are eaten in many forms. Some varieties of mango although sweet are more sour to be consumed directly. These can be used in preparations like Pulissery which is a keralite’s version of the better known Mor Kozhambu. The aroma that arises while preparing this dish is so yummy that your salivary glands tend to over work. The dish has a sweet – sour taste that is amazing and goes well when mixed with plain rice.

Ingredients:

Fully ripe mangoes – 2
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Green Chillies – 2 or 3 [ depends on the spice levels]
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp [optional]
Curd – 1 1/2 cups
Grated coconut – 1/4 cup
Salt – to taste

For Seasoning:
Coconut oil – 1 Tblsp
Mustard – 1 tsp
Red Chillies – 2
Fenugreek seeds – a few
Curry Leaves – a few

Method:
Peel the shin and cut mangoes into chunks.
If the mangoes are over ripe squeeze the pulp out of the skin too.
Add water in a pan and boil the mango pieces along with turmeric powder.
Grind together grated coconut, green chillies, cumin and coriander seeds to a fine paste.
When the mangoes are tender add the ground paste and let it boil for a few minutes.
Churn the curd into thick buttermilk.
Lower the flame and add the buttermilk along with required salt .
Do not let the mixture boil because it will separate. Just let it absorb a bit of heat and switch off the stove immediately.
Heat the oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add the red chillies [ split into two] along with fenugreek seeds & curry leaves and switch off the stove.
Pour over the prepared pulissery.

Tips:
Over ripe mangoes can also be used to prepare pulissery.
Ensure that you squeeze all the juice and pulp out since the sweet juice will only add to the taste.
While seasoning take care to add very little of fenugreek because too much of it will make the dish bitter.
Adding coconut oil for seasoning gives an added flavour to the dish

Raw or Ripe – Mangoes Rock!!!

Summer season spells Mangoes – King of Fruits. India is said to be home to close to 1000 varieties of mango but only a specific few are grown for commercial purposes. Mangoes come in various asahpes, sizes, colors, taste and aroma. India exports close to Rs.160 Crore of mangoes world wide and Andhra Pradesh ranks first among the Indian states for its produce. Some of the varieties specific to certain regions are given below – courtesy APEDA

Andhra Pradesh – Banganapalli, Suvarnarekha, Neelum and Totapuri
Bihar – Bombay Green, Chausa, Dashehari, Fazli, Gulabkhas, Kishen Bhog, Himsagar, Zardalu and Langra
Gujarat – Kesar, Alphonso, Rajapuri, Jamadar, Totapuri, Neelum, Dashehari and Langra
Haryana – Chausa, Dashehari, Langra and Fazli
Himachal Pradesh – Chausa, Dashehari and Langra
Karnataka – Alphonso, Totapuri, Banganapalli, Pairi, Neelum and Mulgoa
Madhya Pradesh – Alphonso, Bombay Green, Dashehari, Fazli, Langra and Neelum
Maharashtra – Alphonso, Kesar and Pairi
Punjab – Chausa, Dashehari and Malda
Rajasthan – Bombay Green, Chausa, Dashehari and Langra
Tamil Nadu -Alphonso, Totapuri, Banganapalli and Neelum
Uttar Pradesh -Bombay Green, Chausa, Dashehari and Langra
West Bengal – Fazli, Gulabkhas, Himsagar, Kishenbhog, Langra and Bombay Green

Raw mangoes are the first to hit the market and are put to a wide variety of culinary uses.

Pickles are hot favorites. The tiny [ marble sized ones] ones are in great demand in the Southern states especially TamilNadu where they are consumed in huge numbers as a pickle called ‘Kadugu Mangai ‘ or ‘ Vadu Maangai’. Here mustard is ground and mixed with salt and chilli powder and the tiny raw mangoes are left to soak in this liquid for weeks together till thery shrink in size.
Slightly bigger ones called the ‘Kili Mooku Mangai’ [ perhaps named so since they resemble the parrot’s beak] are sliced and made into a pickle marinated in salt, chilli powder, asafoetida & oil.
Raw Mangoes of a different variety, distinct for their extremely sour taste, are chopped into chunks and made into a pickle called ‘ Aavakkai’ that is very popular in Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh, especially for their high spice- levels.
Fhodd is another pickle made of raw mangoes and preserved in brine solution to which dried red chillies are added.
Miscut is a famous pickle from Goa. And so is another variety called Choonda.
Raw mangoes are used to make a refreshing and extremely popular drink called Aam Panna.
Raw mangoes can be grated and used to garnish or added to salads as an ingredient.
Down South grated mango is a ‘must-have’ ingredient while making varieties of ‘Sundal’.
Dried raw mango powder is used as Amchur Powder to add flavor to dishes.
Raw Mangoes can be used in making chutneys along with green chillies.
Raw mango pulp can be used in making rice varieties when combined with onions, chillies and ginger to delight the palate.
Raw Mangoes can also be used to make spicy, sweet & sour side jam using jaggery, that can used as accompaniment for both rice and wheat preparations[ like puri and rotis]

Raw or ripe, cooked or uncooked, flavored or plain Mangoes are a hot favorite with people of all ages!