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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Aam Panna

Aam Panna or Panha is a very popular and sought after drink in Northern India especially during the summer months. Made from raw mangoes and spruced up with spices and fresh mint this drink is refreshingly tasty and healthy too. It can be made both by roasting raw mango over an open flame to give that distinct smoky flavor or by boiling chunks of raw mango in water, although the former method is preferred by most people. For most people living in North of India a glass of this tasty beverage is a must everyday.


Ingredients:

Green / Raw Mangoes – 2
Water – 4 cups
Roasted Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
Sugar – As per taste
Black salt/ rock salt / kala namak – 1/2 tsp or as required
Crushed Ice – Optional
Mint leaves – To garnish

Method:
Wash and towel dry the mangoes.
Heat over direct flame till the skin is charred. After it cools peel the skin and squeeze out the pulp.
Or alternatively cut the mangoes into large chunks and pressure cook them for 5 to 8 mins. Or boil them till they are soft.
Remove and cool. Blend the mango pulp in a blender along with roasted cumin powder, sugar, rock salt and a little water.
Sugar and salt need to be added in stages according to taste.
Strain the blended pulp if needed and add rest of the water and crushed ice. Mix well.
Serve chilled garnished with a sprig of mint.

Tips:

You can also get creative and add other spices and herbs to try new variations.
Ajwain [ roasted & crushed] and green pepper are a few other suggested options

Mixed Vegetable Chutney

Tired of the usual coconut and tomato chutneys? Running out of ideas? Time to innovate.

Ingredients:

Small Onions – 100 gms
Capsicum – 1 medium
Tomato – 1 big
Grated Radish – 1/3 cup
Garlic – 5 cloves
Red chilies – 2
Green chilies – 2
Tamarind – Small piece
Urad Dal – 1 tlbsp
Mustard – ½ tsp
Oil – 2 tlbsp
Salt to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a pan and add urad dal and the chilies and fry till the dal is brown and roasted.
Add onions + garlic and fry till it is translucent or light brown in color in low heat.
Add capsicum and radish and sauté for two minutes. Add tomatoes and fry for a minute. Keep aside to cool.
Add the fried ingredients to a mixer jar and add tamarind + salt. Grind to a smooth paste.
Heat little bit of oil and add mustard. When it splutters switch off the stove and pour this over the ground chutney.


Tips:

Add or reduce chilies according to your spice requirement
You can add any other vegetable that may be available. But ensure that they blend well in terms of flavor
In case you have raw mango on hand you can substitute it for tamarind. Grate and sauté it with the vegetables

By: Mrs. Mira Balachandran; mira.balachandran@gmail.com

Kanchipuram Idly

Idly is a universally accepted and sought after dish for its simplicity in terms of preparation, adaptability, digestion and taste. There are innumerable varieties already but you find a new variant coming up everyday. So much for its adaptability to any ingredient added to it.

Indian Steamed Cake

Ingredients:

Urad Dal – 1 cup

Raw Rice – 1 cup

Par Boiled Rice – 1 cup

Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp

Pepper – 1 tsp [coarsely powdered]

Salt to taste

Ghee – 1 tsp

Cashewnuts – a few

Oil – 1 tlbsp

Ginger – 1 tsp [ finely grated, optional]

Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp [optional]

Method:

Wash & soak urad dal and rice separately at least for 4 to 6 hours.

Grind them separately in a grinder to a thick batter. The rice can be ground a bit coarsely.

Add salt as required and mix together.

Let is ferment for 6 to 8 hours.

Add ghee to a pan and fry the Cashew nuts till brown. Add to the batter.

Pour oil in the pan and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add cumin, pepper and ginger and fry for a few seconds. Add to batter and mix well.

Pour the idly batter in idly plates after greasing them with oil and steam till it is done.

Serve hot with appropriate chutneys or sambar.

Tips: Thick Sour curds can also be added to the batter if it has not fermented well. However ensure the batter does not become watery.

Instead of Idly plates this batter can also be poured in long tubular cylinder like vessels [puttu Koralle] or even in your normal tumblers after greasing them well. Alternatively they can also be poured in shallow plates with at least 2 inches depth and then steamed. This can be cut into squares and served.