Wednesday, November 11, 2015



One of my neighbors sells homemade Diwali sweets and savories. I always buy something to support her effort. This time when I went to buy I saw her making huge batches of Besan Laddoo. Immediately I was tempted to try them at home. She was making the Fine Besan laddoos and I wanted to try the coarse variety.  
So I bought the Coarse Besan from Mustafa. We are fortunate to get the Coarse Laddoo Besan under the Pattu Brand. 

My Maharashtrian neighbor in India used to make the best besan laddoos that we used to savor. She always used to sort and then grind the Chana dal in a flour mill near our house. This would ensure no compromise on the taste. The quality of the besan flour is very important as it is the main ingredient in the laddoos.  The Coarse besan laddoos taste like panjiri laddoos and also absorb less ghee which is good.

Coarse Besan – 3 cups
Powdered Sugar – 1 ½ cup
Ghee – 1 cup melted
Cardamom - 4 to 5
Cashews  -  ½ cup
Raisins – ½ cup

In a wok (pan), add 2 tablespoons of ghee and roast the Gram flour (besan) evenly by continuously stirring it with a spatula over a medium flame until a nice toasted aroma comes out of it.

Be careful not to burn the besan while roasting it as it will completely ruin the taste of the laddoo.
Roasting the flour properly is one of the biggest challenges in this recipe. If the flour is not roasted properly there will be a raw smell to the ladoos, It’s also not good for health. 
So roast until you begin to get the lovely aroma, the color would be a yellowish golden (See the picture below).

Let the roasted besan cool down. Keep it aside.
Powder the sugar along with the cardamom and keep aside.
Take the cooled down roasted besan and mix with the sugar.
Transfer this mix to a big plate. I usually take a big plate so it’s easy for me to mix. (See the picture above)

In a saucepan, add in the ¼ cup ghee and to it add the Cashew nuts and Raisins and fry until the raisins become plump and the cashew nuts get slightly toasted. Remove the fried cashew nuts and raisins and keep them aside in a plate. Keep the melted ghee.

Now add the melted ghee.  
Do not pour too much ghee while making the balls, it’s better to pour little by little....Like how we pour water for making sand play. If all the ghee is poured at one time, the mixture may become very greasy and the flour may not bind well to shape the laddoo. The laddoos will be soft and collapse as well. Take some Besan add the ghee and make balls. 

This recipe is easy for beginners to follow. You can’t go wrong with the measurements of ghee thanks to the coarse besan. Add enough ghee to help enable to make balls. Once, you have added the ghee, make small tight balls out of the mixture immediately. If your flour looks dry, add the ghee as needed little by little. And if your flour looks greasy, do not add more ghee.
While making the balls, take one piece of cashew and 1 piece of raisin and make a ball. This will ensure that every laddoo gives u a piece of the cashew nut and the raisin.

Coarse Besan Laddoo is ready for you’ll to enjoy!!!

• To make the fine besan laddoo - Take the cooled down roasted besan and mix with the sugar and run in the blender till it becomes one uniform mixture and follow as above.  The finer the blend the more melt-in-the mouth the laddoo’s will be.

• Sugar can be added according to taste. 

Monday, November 2, 2015




Diwali is a time for making and sharing goodies. The markets are filled with colourful mithais and namkeens that look so tantalizing,  that We usually overindulge in the goodies and either put on loads of weight or become sick. This year I thought why not make something which is guiltless. Who doesn’t enjoy guiltless snacking?

Earlier I had shared a recipe of the Patal Pohe Chivda in my blog, (Click on the link below)

Traditionally in this recipe you have to deep fry all the ingredients including the poha...then it’s very tasty.
But in my recipe, I had roasted the poha until crisp by adding a little of the ingredients I deep fried.

The problem with Indian snacks is, it’s difficult to make them totally guiltless.
These days in Singapore we easily get many ingredients which were not easily available when I landed here 15 years ago. I’m glad that an influx of Indian migrants in Singapore  have brought in a demand for things which is a bonus for food bloggers and people who love cooking.  I always go to Mustafa (a huge shopping centre in Singapore) a week before Diwali to check out their stuff and this year while browsing through I saw packets of Diet Poha and I thought Hey!!! This is exactly what I wanted as I’m trying to watch my weight.  

I even avoided adding Copra(Dried coconut flakes) which is there in my previous recipe.
Here is my recipe, this can also be made on a regular basis for a tea-time snack.

Diet Poha - 1 Kg.
Peanuts - 1 cup
Daliya (Roasted Gram Dal/ Chutney Chana dal) - 1 cup
Cashewnuts- 20-25 pieces
Golden Raisins - 20 -25 pieces
Chopped Green chilies - 12-15
Curry leaves -  5 sprigs (25-30 leaves)
Mustard seeds - 2 teaspoons
Cumin seeds – 2 teaspoons
Sesame seeds - 2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 3 teaspoon
Asafetida - 1 teaspoon
Salt as per taste.
Powder sugar - 2 teaspoon
Oil - 1/2 cup

Diet Poha is very thin and fragile so it gets crumbled very quickly. Take the poha and sieve it for any fine powder to be filtered leaving only the flakes. Keep aside.
Diet Poha has very thin flakes so it gets cooked very fast. I decided not to fry it and dry roast it instead. You can also put it in the microwave. If in case you are cooking in the microwave, put the diet poha in a shallow microwave safe dish and microwave it on high for 30 seconds only.
For those who don't have a microwave you can dry roast it in a wok (Kadhai)on a very low flame till it becomes crispy.  This needs attention else it can burn very easily. Keep this Poha aside.
If you have roasted the poha in the microwave, then Add 2 tablespoons oil in a big wok, add in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and sesame seeds and when they start spluttering, add in the green chillies and curry leaves, fry them well. Then add in the diet poha, turmeric, salt and sugar and saute for about 3 minutes. Keep aside.
Now in another wok fry all the ingredients one by one on a low flame ensuring that you don't burn them. Fry the peanuts until golden and split, then the daliya until golden, then the cashews until golden, Raisins until plump. Preferably use a net to fry all this as it can catch all the ingredients from the oil. Ensure that none of the ingredients become black. If they become black throw them, don't use them in the chivda as the taste of the chivda can spoil with it. Drain the oil well and mix all the ingredients that you fried in a vessel with the diet poha.
Toss everything well with a light hand ensuring that you don't break the thin poha flakes. Roast for another 2 minutes on a low flame while mixing. Put off the flame and spread this on a newspaper or a big plate. Let this get cool for some time then store it in an air - tight dabba(box).  Your  Diet Poha Chivda/ Low cal Chivda is ready for some Guiltless indulgence.


  • If you do not have the confidence of adding the chilly and curry leaves to the tadka afraid of burning the tadka then you can fry them separately...after you fry all the nuts, you can fry these too also using a net in the oil and then mix with the mixture.
  • You can add poppy seeds to the tadka while adding mustard and sesame but Poppy seeds are banned in Singapore so I didn’t add them
  • You can add Puffed rice (kurmura) with Poha.
  • You can add red chilly powder instead of green chilies.
  • You can add citric acid or amchur powder for some sourness. I didn't do it in my recipe.
  • You can add deep fried garlic in the Chivda
  • You can deep fried onion to the chivda.
  • I have seen a recipe wherein fresh coriander seeds are roasted, pounded into a powder and added to the chivda for extra flavor.
  • My Mother-in-law adds Roasted and pounded fennel seeds into the chivda.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Phool Makhana is Puffed dried lotus seeds, also known as Foxnuts. Phool Makhana is very famous in North India during Vrat Season for making kheer, sabji or just roasting it for snacking.It is considered to be very healthy as its low in saturated fats and cholestrol content, Isn’t that nice to hear you don't need to feel guilty while you munch on these super healthy crunchy roasted phool makhana, it tastes a bit like popcorn but I tell you this is more tasty and healthier...and you can prepare it in a jiffy.
I had seen Phool makhana used to thicken gravies in North Indian curries.  But that’s all I knew about it. But when I came to live with the North Indians in Singapore, I saw that they used it extensively during the fasting season. They made a kheer(Milk dessert) out of it or used it in a vegetable or simply ate roasted Phool Makhana like popcorn. Now, this variety impressed me the most as I love popcorns.

Then again, when I googled on Phool Makhana...

I learnt that.......
1. Lotus seeds benefit the spleen, kidney, and heart.
2. The seed also has calming properties that alleviate restlessness, palpitations, and insomnia.
3. It is also rich in calcium. It can be easily digested by all the age groups.
4. It is a highly regarded herb for restoring sexual vigour and youthful energy in older men.
5. It regulates blood pressure, relieves numbness and aching near waist and knees.
6. It is Suitable for arthritis, helps fighting impotency and premature aging.
7. Makhana is very useful for women during and post pregnancy period.
8. It is also helps your respiratory system, veins and digestion.
9. Popped makhana contains almost 12% of protein! (excellent especially for vegetarians!)

Anti – aging :- Fox nuts are rich in antioxidants which works as age lock system and makes us younger for much longer. Fox nuts are effective for individuals with high risk of premature ageing, premature grey hair,wrinkles  and other signs of aging. It reverses the aging process over a period of time......This definitely has caught my Attention

Diabetes :- Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, which is accompanied by high blood glucose levels. It is a result of improper functioning of the pancreas, which secretes the insulin hormone. Fox nut is a sweet and sour seed These seeds contain starch and protein which is excellent for diabetes .

AYURVEDA AND UNANI (BRANCHES OF MEDICINE) texts have accepted its aphrodisiac and spermatogenic properties.
Herbs of phool makhana are considered worth in vajikarnana therapy.
Makhana helps in Cardiac Protection and builds the action in dysentery and frequent urination.
Phool makhana has astringent property, hence it gives relief from diarrhoea and helps to improve the appetite.
It helps in increasing the quality and quantity of semen, also prevents the premature ejaculation, increases the libido and also helps in female infertility.
Phool makhana is sweet to neutral in nature. Therefore, helps to detoxify the spleen, reinforce the kidneys and nourish the blood.

According to principles of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), fox nut is used to strengthen spleen and kidneys.  Makhana helps in conditions like arthritis, erectile dysfunction and premature aging. These seeds have antioxidant properties and help in digestion, rejuvenates respiratory system and prevents frequent urination.
“25 to 30 grams” phool makhana is considered as a healthy food/diet for the whole family.
Wow!!!!.......So many benefits...then why not add it into our daily lives....and I decided to make the healthy popcorn (Roasted Phool Makhana).
My kids loved it and kept munching. I tried adding some flavours too like chat masala, red chilly powder, pepper powder etc. They liked the original lightly salted the best though.

Makhana - 2 cups
Oil/Ghee – 2 tsps
Salt as per taste
In case you want to add color / flavors
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp (Yellow color)
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (Red Chilly flavour)
Paprika powder – ½ tsp (Paprika flavour)
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp (Pepper flavour)
Chat Masala powder - 1 tsp (Masala Flavour)
Tomato powder – 1 tsp (Tomato Flavour)
Cheese powder – 2 tsp (Cheese Flavour)
Or any flavour you please. You can make a combo of flavours too....

In a wok, add ghee and once the ghee is hot, add the phool makhanas and roast them. Don’t leave them unattended on the fire as they are very delicate and tend to burn fast. Keep roasting till it’s light golden in color.  Check if it’s done by sampling one...If it’s crunchy then it’s done. Put off the gas.
Add salt and toss. Fill a nice bowl with the crunchy phool makhanas and enjoy this healthy snack 
In case you want to add flavours then,
After sampling add in the spice powders of your choice and toss.  Serve and Enjoy.
If you’ve made a big batch then let the Phool Makhana cool down completely then store them in an airtight container. Phool Makhana has a very good shelf life, you can store them in air tight container for many months. Keep them away from the moisture and direct sun light.

·         The plain salted tastes better when roasted in Ghee

·         After you add the spice powders don’t toss with the gas burner on as the spice powders will catch       the bottom and burn spoiling your batch of makhanas.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Mojito (read Mohito) is a traditional Cuban highball. Traditionally, a mojito is a cocktail that consists of five ingredients: white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water and mint.
Main alcohol: Rum
But since I don’t consume alcohol I will share with you this wonderful non-alcoholic recipe which is very refreshing and has health benefits too.

Note the recipe of Mojito served on the rocks.

Mint leaves – 6-8 fresh mint leaves
Soda water – ½ glass Club soda
Lime juice – 2 tablespoons (freshly squeezed)
Sugar – 2 teaspoons
Ice cubes – As required (For one glass of Mojito you require one glass of ice)

In a tall glass, Add lime juice, sugar and about 6-8 mint leaves. With the help of a spoon or a cocktail muddler crush the mint leaves into the lime juice and sugar. This releases oils from the mint and helps the sugar dissolve into the lime juice. Stir well then pour into a glass filled with ice, leaving about an inch of room then top with club soda. Garnish with extra mint leaves and a lime slice.
Serve on the rocks; poured over ice with a straw

You can make this for a family of four with the quantity as below
Freshly squeezed lime juice - ½ cup
Sugar - 3 – 4 tablespoons
Fresh Mint leaves – About 30 plus some for garnish
Ice – 4 cups
Soda water - ½  cup
Lime slices – 4 for garnishing.

Here are some health benefits of drinking this mocktail.....

Click here to read the benefits of drinking soda water…..Trying to make weak indulgences guiltless!!!!

Mint is not just a mouth refresher, it’s health benefits include digestion, nausea, headache, and asthma.

Enjoy this Refreshing non alcoholic drink. You can serve it in parties and they make an excellent alcohol- free cocktail for adults.

Some info courtesy - Wikipedia

Monday, October 6, 2014


This is probably one of the easiest sweets to make. This is also one of the first sweets I ever attempted to make. I would call this a beginner’s sweet or a no-fail recipe for anybody. Just follow the recipe step-by-step and you will have one the easiest sweets to prepare for Diwali or any festival or just to gobble like that. I also call Rava Laddoo one of the easiest sweets as it is prepared with ingredients easily available at home like Semolina, sugar and ghee. Rava Laddoo in Tamil is known as Suji ke Laddoo in the North and Ravyacha Laadoo in Maharashtra.
Here is the recipe for Rava Laddoo

Semolina/Rava/sooji - 1 cup 
Sugar – ¾ cup - 1 cup (depending on how sweet you like)
Ghee - ¼ cup 
Milk (optional) - 1 tblsp 
Cardamom powder (elaichi) – 1 tsp
Cashew nuts – 2 tbsps sliced in halves
Raisins – 2 tbsps 

In a wok (pan), add the semolina and roast evenly by continuously stirring it with a spatula over a medium flame until a nice toasted aroma comes out of it. Be careful not to burn the rava while roasting it as it will completely ruin the taste of the laddoo. Let the roasted rava cool down. Keep it aside.
Now powder the sugar and keep aside.
Now take the cooled down roasted rava and mix with the sugar and run in the blender till it becomes one uniform mixture. Add in the cardamom (elaichi) powder and run it in the blender along with the rava and sugar.
Now transfer this mix to a big plate. I usually take a big plate so it’s easy for me to mix. In a saucepan, add in the ¼ cup ghee and to it add the Cashew nuts and Raisins and fry until the raisins become plump and the cashew nuts get slightly toasted. Add this to the rava and sugar mixture.
Sprinkle the milk and mix thoroughly (This step is optional). In case you are using milk, heat up the milk slightly and add in warm milk to the mix. Milk is added to enable binding the mixture well enough so as to make the laddoos easily. I haven’t used milk in my recipe. I have made the laddoos completely with ghee. Adding milk reduces the shelf life of the laddoos.
Once, you have added the ghee, make small balls out of the mixture immediately, make tight balls. Rava Laddoo is ready to enjoy!!!

         While blending the semolina, ensure that it is blended to a fine powder which will enable to make the laddoo easily. If the mix is coarse then it won’t be easy to make the laddoos.
         The finer the blend the more melt-in-the mouth the laddoo’s will be.
         In case, you are not using milk and find it difficult to bind, add in more melted warm ghee to the mix until it’s easier to make the laddoos.
         Sugar can be added according to taste. 3/4th cup is just ok not overly sweet. If you like it more sweet you can add 1 cup of sugar.

         You can reduce the ghee by 2 tbsps in the recipe and it still turns out fine. 

Friday, July 18, 2014


The biological name of Cluster beans is Cyamopsis tetragonoloba. It is an annual legume and the source of guar gum. It is also known as Gavar, Gawar Phali, Guwar or Guvar bean.

This is yet another weekend special from my kitchen. The reason it’s cooked over the weekends is simply because the process to cook this dish is quite lengthy and time consuming. But it’s one of my absolute favorites. There are some dishes which amma (my mom) knows; that can make me happy any day and this is one of it.

Now, cluster beans is called Cheenivarikkai at my place. I guess it must be a kerala iyer (Tam brahms from Kerala) name.  I don’t know how many people call it as that. I didn’t know for very long that it is also known as Kothavarangai.

Paruppu usili is made in different houses differently but I absolutely adore my mom’s recipe and follow it to the T.
I even heard that many people use Bengal Gram (Chana dal) to make paruppu usili, but my mom uses Toor Dal (Pigeon Peas).
Apparently many people don’t like Cluster beans and it seems in yesteryears when old people would go for Pilgrimage to Kashi (Explanation below) they would usually give up on Cluster beans.

Kashi Vishwanath temple  - A visit to the temple and a bath in the river Ganges is one of many methods believed to lead one on a path to Moksha (salvation) hence people from all over the nation try to visit the place at least once in their lifetime. There is also a tradition that one should give up at least one desire after a pilgrimage at the temple.

When I asked my Grandma why they would give up on such a lovely vegetable, my grandma would say, because Cluster Beans is usually very gassy and as you age your digestive systems would become weak so it would be best to avoid it.

Thank god we are not in those times and I probably may not have to give up on this lovely vegetable. There are some people who steam the paruppu (Dal), but I don’t, here is the recipe for all of you to enjoy.

For the Kothavarangai Mezhukkuvaratti (Poriyal)
Cheenivarikkai / Kothavarangai (Cluster Beans) – 750 gms chopped
Oil – 2 tsps
Mustard seeds – 1tsp
Udad seeds – 1 tsp
Red Chilly – 1 broken in halves
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Asafetida – a pinch
Salt as per taste
Shredded Coconut – 2 tbsps

For the Paruppu Usili
To grind to a coarse paste:
Toor Dal - 1 cup
Dried Red Chillies – 1
Green Chilly – 1
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Asafetida – a pinch
Salt as per taste
Mustard seeds – 1tsp
Udad seeds – 1 tsp
Rinse & soak 1 cup Toor dal for about 1-2 hours.
Trim the edges and chop cluster beans finely. Rinse it well. In a Kadhai (wok), Add 1 tsp of oil, when it is hot, Add the mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle, Add udad dal and the dried chilly broken in half. When the udad dal becomes slightly pink, add the chopped cluster beans, mix well, ½ tsp of Turmeric powder, a pinch of Asafetida, Salt as per taste,  stir and close with lid and cook on low flame till it is cooked. Once it’s cooked, Transfer to a plate.
Drain the Soaked toor dal and grind it coarse in a blender with 1 dried red chilly and 1 green chilly, a pinch of turmeric, a pinch of asafetida and salt as
per taste. Keep aside

In the same Kadhai (wok), Add 1 tsp of oil, when it is hot, Add the mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle, Add udad dal, when the udad dal becomes slightly pink, add the  coarsely blended dal mixture. Keep sautéing until the mixture separates and become golden brown. Once that is done, add the cooked cluster beans and mix well. Now, finally, add in the shredded coconut and mix well. Check for salt at this point as well. Incase there is salt you can add some at this point as well. Cook for 2-3 minutes on sim.

The Cheenivarikkai / Kothavarangai Paruppu usili is ready. Enjoy with Rasam and rice.

Variation to the above method
Steam method – After you coarse grind the dal paste. Boil water in an idli pan, spread the coarse mixture on the steamer plate and steam it for 5-7mins, once it cools down, crumble it with your hands and set aside.
Now heat oil in a wok,  Add the mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle, Add udad dal, when the udad dal becomes slightly pink, add the add the dal mixture & sauté till golden brown, then follow as above.

  • Ensure that the dal mixture is blended coarse, if it becomes a fine paste then you will not get the perfect texture. To ensure that it doesn’t get ground fine, make sure to drain the water completely.
  • If you are using the steaming method then follow as above. Please ensure to spread the mixture and then steam it as it crumbles easily.
  • This recipe can be used to make French beans, flat beans (Avarakkai), Long beans, Banana flower (Vazhapoo) etc.

Friday, July 4, 2014


This is a vegan recipe. I was also careful to use the NON GMO Soya bean Tofu.  
(Kindly do click on the word "NON GMO Soya bean" hyperlink to learn more about Non GMO Foods).
There are many varieties of Tofu available in the market. For this recipe choose the medium firm ones. In Singapore you can buy it everywhere and they are known as Tau kwa.
Soya bean is high in calcium which is good for your bones and teeth.

Tau Kwa also has a high amount of Isoflavones which allows one to prevent heart disease. FDA states that consumption of 25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. With these kind of health benefits isn’t it good to add tofu to your vegetables?

This dish is very easy to cook and very healthy as it’s packed with proteins and vitamins. I would call it a crunchy crispy delight. You can eat this with brown rice/ white rice/ Noodles or just dunk into a bowlful of this nutritional delicacy.

Stir fry vegetables with soya sauce is made in many south asian countries with a variation to the sauces / spices used.

Below is the Indo-Chinese, Indo-thai, Indo-Pinoy fusion version. (Indo because there is an Indian twist to it)

You can add any vegetables to it like Broccoli, Celery, Mushrooms, Cauliflower….the list of variations is endless. You can rustle this up with whatever you have at home.

Tofu cubes (Tau Kwa) - 1 teacup
Carrot - 1
French Beans / Snow Peas – 5 - 6
Onions   2
Tomatoes - 1
Capsicum – 1
Green chilly – 1 big (non – spicy variety)
Stem of spinach – a few
Oil – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp (optional)
Soya Sauce – 1 tbsp
Ginger paste – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp (optional)
Salt as per taste
Pepper – a pinch of coarsely ground pepper (optional)
Spring onion for garnish
Coriander leaves for garnish

Cut the Tofu into cubes Deep fry the tofu until medium brown (about 5 to 8 minutes). Set aside. You can avoid frying and can add the tofu at the end when the vegetables are almost done. Tofu cubes are soft and tend to break, hence, frying would be a good option to keep its texture and shape good.

Chop 1 onion, tomato and the ginger and make a coarse paste in the blender. Keep aside.

Julienne ( cut thin strip lengthwise ) the carrots , beans , capsicum, Chilly,  Cut some Spinach stems about the same length as the julienned carrots

Now, heat a pan and pour-in 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Add the cumin seeds, when it splutters, Sauté the onion. Once it’s translucent, add in the blended coarse paste of the Onion- Ginger Tomato and sauté well, until you see the oil come out of the paste indicating its cooked well. Now add the fried tofu and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add all the vegetables and stir fry for 3 to 5 minutes. Put-in soya sauce, salt as per taste, chilly powder and pepper as required. Cook in steam till it’s done. The vegetable shouldn’t be overdone. It should be cooked but crunchy.
Garnish with finely chopped spring onion leaves and cilantro (Coriander leaves)
You can make a vegetable broth to pour on top or just enjoy the way it is. Serve steaming hot with Rice/ Noodles or just plain.
Flavors of Cumin & Tomatoes give an Indian twist to this dish. Do enjoy this healthy recipe.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Toddlers / Babies can get mouth ulcers and swelling in gums too. This may also lead to bad breath and your toddler / baby becoming cranky.
There are a few home remedies that can be administered before you take your baby to the doctor. Home remedies are safe and harmless but they are not a substitute for a doctor's consultation.

The following remedies can be tried : -
  • If you are breast feeding your baby. Keep breast feeding him/her. Breast milk can be very healing for mouth ulcers. (FOR TODDLERS & BABIES
  • You can apply coconut milk during the day time to the insides of the mouth and the gums. It will be soothing and help in healing. (FOR TODDLERS & BABIES)

  • Add salt to warm water and rinse your mouth with it. The proportion of salt should be high i.e., 3 tbsp of salt in one glass of warm water. Gargle with this water and let it stay in your mouth for at least 30 seconds. Swoosh the water around inside your mouth so that it covers your teeth and gums thoroughly. Do not rinse your mouth with plain water immediately if you want to have relief from the pain for longer time. (FOR TODDLERS ONLY)
  • If your baby suffers from swelling and infection in your gums more often, make it a habit of brushing your baby's teeth 3 times a day. Do not use a brush, but use your forefinger to brush gently. Please ensure that your finger nails are cut. Do not forget to make him rinse his mouth after every meal. Carry out proper hygiene. (FOR TODDLERS ONLY)
  • If the swelling does not subside for a couple of days and your baby is not eating properly or crying, see a dentist and go through the treatment prescribed.


Monday, April 21, 2014


This year when I saw raw mangoes arrive in the market I decided to pickle them. Yo(my husband is very fond of pickles) and nowadays the pickles we buy in the market have a pungent flavor to them, no matter which brand you buy, eventually you wear off the brands as you start feeling this. So, I thought better make them at home.  I was not sure whether I should make Avakkai(the south Indian style) mango pickle or the Gujarati style Mango pickle so I asked all my Facebook friends and somehow got tempted to make the Methi Rai Kuria Mango Pickle. I absolutely adore the Mango pickles that my Gujarati neighbor used to make in big porcelain pickle jars during the summer months back in India. Not only would the home made ones have a lot of Masala, but the mangoes would also be quite soft unlike the ones we buy from the shop.

I read on some websites that this pickle is made either with methi na kuria (crushed fenugreek seeds) or rai na kuria (split mustard seeds). I decided to add both because I like the masala more than the mango itself.

If I can make these at home anyone can make it…It’s incredibly easy to make.  The main preparation is the ingredients, once everything is ready, it is only assembly.


Cut Mango Pieces – 1 ½ kilo / Approximately 10 teacups of cut raw mangoes.
Salt – 2 teacups
Broken Yellow Mustard ground coarsely – 1 cup
Methi (Whole)  ground coarsely – ¼ cup
Kashmiri Chilly powder – 1 cup
Asafetida – 2 tbsp
Oil – 41/2 cups

Before you start the process of assembly you need to take the following precautions.

·         Work in an open space with the windows open.

·         Don’t sit under the ceiling fan lest the masala blows into your eyes and nose.

·         Wear plastic disposable gloves, because some people have sensitive hands and they may find their hands burning with the chilly powder for a long time.

First wash the mangoes, wipe them and then cut them in big chunks, I made slightly smaller chunks. After you cut don’t wash them, just let them dry out on a newspaper in the sun for a while. Meanwhile make your other ingredients ready.

Lightly Roast the whole fenugreek seeds and when cool, crush them coarsely as shown in the picture.

Lightly Roast the Broken Yellow Mustard seeds, this is readily available in the market. No need to grind this, you can use it as it is.

Heat the oil lightly till it is warm (not up to the smoking point) and let it cool. This process is to remove the raw smell of the oil. This step maybe avoided in the readymade pickles available in the market hence the pickles start to give a pungent odor.


As you can see in the picture I kept all my ingredients ready.

I mixed the salt, red chilly powder, crushed fenugreek seeds, the roasted broken yellow mustard seeds and asafetida together in a big open plate, After which I added the cut mango chunks.

Ensure everything coats well.
Finally add in the Oil and give it a good mix.
You can mix using a spatula or your hand.
Once you feel everything is mixed well, slowly, gently take spoonfuls and drop into a sterilized porcelain or glass jar/bottle. Every day keep the jar in the sun for 2-3 hours.

The pickling process starts as the Mangoes start to marinate in the masala.

Every day in the morning open the jar and with a long dry spoon, give it a good stir.

In about 10-15 days the pickle is ready for you’ll to eat. 

I have not used any preservative. The oil and salt are natural preservatives and will help preserve the pickle.

This pickle can be stored for a year but you have to be careful not to use a wet spoon while you scoop out small portions for your immediate everyday servings.

Store this in a cool dry place. Enjoy this lovely condiment with your food.


·         Preferably use Kashmiri chilly powder as it imparts a lovely red color to the pickle.

·         This pickle can also be made with ½ cup rai na kuria (split mustard seeds) only.

·         This pickle can also be made with ½ cup methi na kuria (crushed fenugreek seeds) only.

·         If you wish, you can use drained baby mangoes in brine, in which case, you should reduce the quantity of salt in this recipe.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Here I am proud to present yet another kerala-iyer dish, the Green tomatoes Aviyal, this is very popular at home.
Green tomatoes are a healthy source of fiber, which your intestinal and digestive systems rely on for good health. One cup of green tomatoes supplies about 2 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber is present in most fruits, vegetables and whole grains, so increasing your intake of these foods, including cooked green tomatoes, can help you get enough in your diet. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that a diet that includes plenty of fiber may help you reduce your risk of several life-threatening conditions, including heart disease, colon cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Fiber also keeps your digestive system working well so you are less likely to experience constipation.
Green tomatoes also contain nutrients like beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and vitamin K. This recipe would make it worth to add these lovely green tomatoes to your menu.
Once in a way when I visit the Giant hypermart I get to see some green tomatoes nestled in between the ripe red ones or the semi-ripe tomatoes. This time I decided to pick a few for my dish. In yesteryears, where people used to grow tomatoes in their garden they had the luxury to pluck and make these but now we have to rely on supply from our super stores. Green tomatoes have a tart taste to it which is loved by many. It’s usually made as a side dish with Molaghootal / Kootu

Green tomatoes - 6 nos
Turmeric - a pinch
Red chilli powder - 1/4tspn
Fresh grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Dried Red Chilly  - 1
Cumin seeds -1 teaspoon
Salt as per taste
Coconut oil -1 tspn
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

Rinse the tomatoes well. Slice the tomatoes into 4 parts, don’t make think slices or small pieces as it will melt when cooked into a puree. The tomatoes have to be chunky before cooking.  In a vessel, add the sliced tomatoes, some turmeric, red chilly powder  and salt and curry leaves and cook it covered.
Meanwhile, Grind the coconut with the dried red chilly and cumin seeds to a smooth paste.  Once the tomatoes are cooked, Add in the ground coconut paste, check for salt, if required you can adjust now, you can also add chilly powder for a slightly fiery taste. Don’t let the gravy boil for too long as it will become very watery. After a boil or so, once all the ingredients are mixed well and the taste according to you is perfect, drizzle some raw coconut oil on top. This is done for giving it a dash of flavor. It’s kind of a grand finale for this dish.
Now put the lid on and let the flavors mingle for a while.
In some hot white  rice, drizzle some ghee, add your Molaghutal to the rice, mix well, take a helping of the Tomato Aviyal and eat Molaghutal rice with it and with some fried lijjat papads. That’s the way we eat this and savor the blend of various tastes in our mouth.

Note -:

·    While grinding the coconut instead of dried red chilly you can add green chilly. I like the flavor of the dried red chilly so I added dried red chilly to my dish.
·       Don’t add tamarind or Yogurt as Green tomatoes are quite sour on it’s own.
·    You can add onions/shallots to this dish for more flavor, but what I have shared is a traditional recipe.
 (Nutritional Value Info courtesy –



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