Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Jihva ~ A Tribute

May 1st, 2007 marks the completion of one year of Jihvā for Ingredients (JFI) , the food blogging event that showcases a food ingredient each month. This event was born out of my desire to celebrate natural ingredients and what they can do for our Jihvā.

From a nervous, tentative beginning, JFI evolved into a confident, inspiring event that captured the hearts and minds of many food lovers. Some of them went from being onlookers and supporters to active participants. Visitors to the event roundups started their own food blogs because they wanted to participate in Jihvā. Such is the attraction of Jihvā. Each month a natural, wholesome ingredient was selected and featured, and over a span of 12 months, a total of about 800 entries and recipes flew in from across the world.

Before beginning another Jihvā year on May 1st, I wanted to pay tribute to the gracious hosts of Jihvā and their ingredients. When I contacted them, they generously opened their hearts and shared their thoughts. From ingredient selection, invitation, fellow bloggers’ response to the time and effort expended in the process, here is the Jihvā experience.

Sailaja of Sailu’s Food, the host of JFI: Dals :

“Jihva to me denotes – food, fun and a culinary learning experience. Each round up is like a well laid out feast with gorgeous pictures, that touch upon food and diverse cultures of our country and the lesser known recipes are highlighted, adding that extra zing to each entry. Living in a country with such diverse cultures, we are hardly aware of the different regional cuisines our country offers. Throughout the length and breadth of the country, rice and lentils are our staple. I chose our beloved nutritious dal as an ingredient to showcase to the world the range of dal dishes our regional cuisines have to offer and also to learn more about the lesser known dal recipes. There are gems out there. And I love dal!
It took me about 3-4 days or 22-24 hours to actually put it all together, right from receiving the entries, compile a list, read each post and get it all together. It was worth all the effort because it our cuisine we are showcasing to the world, we want to present it well so that they understand the rich and diverse culinary heritage of our country and the importance we Indians give to our daily food.
Last but not the least, the utter passion of each blogger and how they all look forward to the final round-up further motivated me and not to mention their genuine warmth, overwhelming encouraging and appreciative response. I always look forward to the next ingredient with each host trying their best to enhance the flavor of Jihva manifold with sincerity and there is a high expectation and anticipation each month as Jihva unfolds with a new ingredient.”

Santhi of Me and My Kitchen, the Host of JFI-Flours:

“The variety of flours used in Indian cooking are so very many and such a huge variety of culinary possibilities with it. And I was not at all disappointed with the out come. Some fantastic and innovative recipes were send in. I had in my mind that I will have two round ups one for sweets and one for savory. I created two folders and sorted the entries as soon as I receive them so that I could keep track of all the entries. I will be honest. It is not very easy to do a round up. My admiration for hosts who do it week after week and month after month has increased tremendously after doing it. But Let me tell you that with all the visual delights every single minute has been most enjoyable. It was just so incredible to see so many fellow bloggers being passionate about food. And the enthusiasm you all have shown has been fantastic. And that is what is bringing me back into blogging world. One incident I have to tell you. When I did not receive an entry from Vaishali of Happy Burp, I was disappointed and so demanded an entry from her. And she responded immediately with an entry! That’s the kind of bond that I have shared with some of you out there. It has been a great pleasure to host this event. Thank to everyone involved with JFI in anyway. This success is a result of everyone out here in food blogosphere.”

Vee of Past Present and Me, the Host of JFI – Special Diwali Edition:

“I loved hosting the Diwali Special. It made my Diwali even more exciting than it already was. It was fun going to all blogs and seeing what they were cooking up and their memories and anecdotes and nostalgia about past Diwali’s. It is what a festival is about, isn’t it? Traditions and memories we grow up with. It was also so much like a virtual diwali meet and greet and exchanging new year wishes. I really got attached to that feeling that it generated. Which is why I opted to host it every year. Thanks for the oppurtunity. Until next time, take care.”

Kay of Towards a Better Tomorrow, the Host of JFI:Jaggery:

“When I first read about JFI – The idea of Jihva and celebration of those ingredients and their Indian flavors sounded wonderful. Little did I know it will do so much more to me.
As I mentioned in my blog, December is my favorite month for many reasons and I thought I’ll be ready to blog again, by December, after some post-partum recovery. I wanted to choose something very very Indian and very very authentic. Jaggery and Coconut tied till the final round and the queen of all sweeteners – Jaggery won! I also wanted to make it more special and requested participants to try out something new – either a dish they had eaten/read or even concoct some new dishes. This was just that – a request! A purely optional one. But wow! When I saw the entries pouring in and saw those new dishes, I felt so overwhelmed. People did try some new stuff and Some had ‘created’ new dishes! I felt so overwhelmed. Thank you guys, for paying heed to my whimsical request and creating some lovely stuff.
Kiran, a lovely nonblogger, sent in her post by mail and what did I find? Methi kheer! Something for a new mom, to help with lactation! How sweet of her to do that? And Lakshmi Ammal had written about ‘sweet fenugreek pongal’ for nursing moms. I was touched by these gestures. As fate would have it, My mom couldn’t come to Canada to be with me during the childbirth and recovery. I was missing her ever since I got pregnant and even more, after childbirth, this added to the stress and postpartum blues. Let’s say, I was longing for some motherly comfort… And these people whom I had never met, never exchanged emails with, cared and made something for me. Bless their heart! It was a very emotional moment for me. Thanks Kiran and Lakshmiammal. Puja of Creative Pooja had to type out her post, in one hand, on time, because the other hand was beautifully decorated with Mehendi.:) How sweet of her and how punctual of her! And now, I’ve learnt so much more about jaggery and a few other types of jaggeries and I’ve got tons of new dishes to try out – All with my favorite ingredient on earth. Ain’t that sweet? (Pun intended!):)
About hosting and writing the round up, it didn’t really take much time. After posting the roundup, I sent an email thanking every participant and letting them know about the roundup. Boy! I got some sweet responses to that mail. People are wonderful. What did hosting JFI do to me? After hosting the event, I feel like doing many more in the future and yes, participating in many other events. But the most important thing is, It has brought a sense of ‘belonging to a community’ in me. After studying in many schools and many colleges and worked and lived in many places, I never felt I ‘belonged’ anywhere. But after hosting this event, I feel like I belong here – with my blog friends, where I can truly be myself.”

RP of My Workshop, the Host of JFI:Tomatoes:

“I really had a hard time picking one ingredient. I wanted to choose something that is used in all cuisines. I wanted to make it easy for the participants. So I picked tomatoes, something that is essential in every kitchen. It was easier than I thought even though I got a little nervous before publishing the roundup. Special thanks to Shn of Mishmash, Mallugirl of Malabar Spices, and kitchen fairy of Secret of Taste for supporting me when I needed it. Many have congratulated me for the hard work. I got a couple of how-did-you-do-it mails. To be frank, it wasn’t difficult at all. I used batch processing which made things easy. Adding the caption, of course, had to be done individually. I spent like 10-15 minutes everyday and the roundup was ready in a week. I was so thrilled and wanted to finish it in one sitting, but I didn’t want anyone in my home to suffer because I was busy with the roundup. About the generous response from fellow bloggers – Delighted! I have never received so many mails that are not junk.:) Entries started flowing in since mid March, and everyday I got more and more excited. Sometimes I thought I was getting lost in the middle of so many entries, but I picked up in no time. I received more than 100 entries. I am so happy and I thank everybody again for making it possible.”

Baking Fairy, the host of JFI-Strawberries sent her wishes from Costa Rica. She moved to Costa Rica from SF and opened her own bakery there. She wrote “I bought a small bakery and runnning my own place. I have breakfast and lunch items, most “Indian” base recipes because I love them so much. Hope you will come to visit one day. It is really a great place…Very peaceful…”.

Rosie of What’s the Recipe Today Jim?, currently vacationing in Mexico sent her thanks and wishes to all the participants.

My sincere thanks to Baking Fairy, Sailaja, Santhi, Vineela, Love 2 Cook, Vee, Kay, Ashwini, Rosie, Vaishali and RP for laying the foundation of Jihva tradition.

My heartfelt thanks to all the participants and fellow bloggers who embraced this event to make it their own, and opened up their families’ culinary heirlooms and treasures with such selflessness. Preserving food traditions is critical in these days of globalization and I hope that together we contributed to this effort through Jihvā.

Here are the stars of Jihvā: 2006. May they be part of our culinary traditions forever!

Mango Sauce, mango Juice, Ripe Mango Slice, Green Mango Slice, Dried Mango Pulp Cubes, Amchur Powder ~ All Things Mango
Jihvā: Mango

Jihvā: Strawberries

Toor Dal (Kandi Pappu)
Jihvā: Dals

Besan, Gram Flour, Sanaga Pindi, Chana Dal Flour
Jihvā: Flours

Homemade Soya Milk
Jihvā: Milk

Milk, Rice, Ghee, Jaggery, Golden Raisins and Cashews ~ Ingredients for Bellam Paramannam
Jihvā: Ghee

A Plate Full of Indian Sweets for the Holidays
Jihvā: Diwali Treats

Jaggery (Gur in Hindi and Bellam in Telugu) ~ Sugarcane and Palm
Jihvā: Jaggery

Coconut - Young and Mature
Jihvā: Coconut

Jihvā: Ginger

Jihvā: Potato

Jihvā: Tomato

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Jihva For Ingredients,Zen (Personal) (Sunday April 29, 2007 at 9:18 am- permalink)
Comments (20)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Weekend Kittaya Blogging


Weekend Reading:

Agriculture, Street Theatre and Children

E.Coli Conservatism

Spring at Inji Pennu’s Home

Majjiga Pulusu with Greens


Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kittaya (Saturday April 28, 2007 at 1:39 pm- permalink)
Comments (5)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Curry Leaves and Ganji

Biyyam Karivepaaku Ganji:

Curry Leaves

I think curry leaves are nature’s helping way to make our cooking better, one meal at a time. How? – You might ask. Nature picked the prettiest shade of green, selected a pleasing shape and packed the most enticing scent known to mankind, and the result is the curry leaves. Add few leaves while cooking, even the mundane daily dishes become magnificent with minimum effort. Example is ganji. Ganji, Kanji, Congee, Jook or Okayu, not only several names, there are also different ways of ganji preparation across Asia. Almost in all recipes in India, curry leaves are added. The elixir of life needs curry leaves perfume.

Inspired by Mathy Kandasamy’s recipe and Ammini Ramachandran’s article, I have prepared ganji for our meal today. I changed the method little bit to suit my taste. I cooked Rosematta rice (the wholesome red rice from Kerala) in lots of water. I have also added curry leaves along with ginger and green chillies. (Adding them in the beginning is what I did different.) Once the rice is cooked, the rice water is drained and saved. To this nutrient packed, curry leaves-ginger infused rice water, I’ve added little bit of coconut milk. The result is a pleasant, pale-pink colored ganji. It’s been ages since I had a taste of ganji and my ganji meal today did not disappoint me. Rosematta goodness and curry leaves fragrance gave the ganji a distinctive and appealing flavor. A must try for fans of curry leaves and Rosematta.

Rosematta Rice, Curry Leaves and Shallot (Erra Gadda)


1 cup Rosematta rice
8 cups water
12-15 curry leaves, finely chopped
4 to 5 green chillies – finely chopped
1 tablespoon of grated ginger
½ teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of coconut milk – homemade or store-bought

Take Rosematta rice in a big vessel. Wash first and then add about 8 cups of water. Sprinkle finely chopped curry leaves, green chillies, grated ginger and salt. Mix. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and let it simmer, until the rice cooked to tender. Takes about 30 to 40 minutes.

The cooked rice water will be simmered down to about 4 cups. Lightly concentrated and infused with Rosematta, curry leaves and ginger goodness – ganji is ready for the final touch. Using a colander, drain rice into a big pot and save the rice water (ganji).

To this ganji, add coconut milk and mix. Adjust salt to your liking. Drink the ganji warm.

when times are hard, people have known to depend on ganji for sustenance. Also, it’s a blessing to people who wants to cut back on consumption. Exhaustng times or greedy glutton times, ganji is a great way to start a meal – any meal, that’s how I felt. No wonder, even to this day ganji is continued to be “Asia’s Bowl full of Comfort”.

Curry Leaves Infused Ganji – The Elixir of Life for JFI-WBB:Greens

Ganji and Rosematta Rice with Brinjal Curry ~ Our Meal Today

Congee: Asia’s Bowl full of Comfort ~ Informative article by Ammini Ramachandran
Recipe source: Virundhu of Mathy Kandasamy
Ganji is a Telugu word for Kanji, or Congee. Ganji tastes great when made with broken parboiled rice.
Traditonally cooked rice, buttermilk, small shallots and fresh cilantro are also added to ganji.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Biyyamu (Rice),Karivepaaku(Curry Leaf),Rosematta Rice,The Essentials (Friday April 27, 2007 at 1:26 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Food Blog Desam

Mathy Kandasamy of Virundhu, a dear friend of mine, and I have created a food blog aggregator called Food Blog Desam. It is a one place stop to know the latest happenings in food blog world. It took several days of hard work and we are very happy with how Food Blog Desam turned out.

Food Blog Desam aggregates RSS feeds from food blogs and provides them all in one place. There are hundreds of food blogs that update regularly. Food Blog Desam offers convenience to the readers and increases the readership of the food blogs. More than any thing, it is a time saver – a feature food blog fans like us always wanted and any food blog fan would appreciate.



Update January 08:

We had great time providing traffic to new and old food blogs through Food Blog Desam. It took lot of time and energy to maintain the site but it was an effort from the heart, so we enjoyed the work tremendously. Unfortunately due to some server and tech issues, we have decided to stop updating the Food Blog Desam. We don’t know when we be able to diagnose, let alone fix things, as we both are currently engaged to real life and the craziness that comes with it. The site will be online few more months, until we decide what to do with it. If there is any change in the situation, you will be the first to know.

Thanks for your support.

– Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Thursday April 26, 2007 at 10:13 am- permalink)
Comments (42)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Dazzling Dals ~ Fresh Amaranth Dal

Thotakura Pappu:

In a cake culture, the main ingredients, flour, sugar and butter remain constant. By changing just one or two ingredients that add special touch to the cakes, they are given different names. Ex: If walnuts are added, the cake is named walnut cake, with bananas – banana cake, and the list goes on. The same thing applies to dals (pappu) as well. The protein part is constant, and the side ingredients that change with the seasons give us abundant varieties of dals. This amaranth flavored dal is one of them, devised by homecooks of Andhra, to make a dent in the mother lode of fresh amaranth that appear during summer time. Not only fresh leaves, tender stalks are also used in cooking. Ideal dal for a waste not, want not cook. Makes a nutritious meal when combined with rice.

Fresh Amaranth Leaf, Toor Dal and Tomato


Take about one cup of toor dal and 4 cups of finely chopped fresh amaranth – leaves and tender stalks together.

Add one each – tomato and onion (cut into chunks). Also stir in about 8 to 10 finely chopped small Indian variety green chillies, quarter teaspoon of turmeric and a tablespoon of tamarind.

Add about 2 cups of water. Mix once and cook covered until the dal reaches fall-apart stage, stirring between. Or simply pressure cook.

Add half teaspoon of salt and mash the dal coarsely.

In a wide vessel, heat about a tablespoon of ghee or oil. Do the popu or tadka = add and toast quarter teaspoon each – minced garlic, curry leaves, urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds in the order mentioned. When mustard seeds start to jump around, add this popu or tadka to the mashed dal. Mix and serve hot with rice or with chapati.

Amaranth Dal (Thotakura Pappu) ~ for JFI: WBB-Greens

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Thotakura (Amaranth),Toor Dal (Tuesday April 24, 2007 at 10:04 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Salad Greens and Boiled Peanuts

Salad Synergy for Spring

This colorful and tasty salad is Vijay’s creation. Boiled peanuts, salad greens served with homemade yogurt and black pepper dressing. A cup of tomato rasam on the side makes this a pleasant luncheon or light supper to have.

This is one of those recipes, where you buy ready to use ingredients and put together a meal at home. We bought boiled peanuts from a Vietnamese grocery shop and salad greens from another nearby grocery shop. The meal preparation went like this – opened the salad greens packet, washed and drained them. Shelled the peanuts. Coarsely crushed black pepper and added it to yogurt along with some salt and a teaspoon of gulkand. Took the salad greens and peanuts in a big bowl and mixed. Served with yogurt. (We also added orange slices.)

Salad Greens and Boiled Peanuts ~ From Packets to Plate for JFI-WBB: Greens

Our Light Luncheon Today

Gulkand (Concentrated sugary rose petals) – available in Indian stores

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Lettuce greens,Peanuts (Monday April 23, 2007 at 10:16 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Going Green with Neem Leaves (Vepa Aaku)

Homemade Neem-Clove Tooth Powder

Dried Neem Leaves ~ For This Week’s Indian Kitchen

We worship the neem tree! For us Bharatiya, the neem tree is a sacred tree, standing along the magnificient Maamidi (Mango) and the bodhi vrukshamPeepal (Raavi). The beautiful evergreen neem tree with its numerous medicinal benefits is a precious gift from Mother Earth. Every part of the tree is utilized in some way in India. In home-based medicines and in religious ceremonies, neem plays an essential role, the protector against disease and evil eye. In the kitchen, delicate neem flowers and tender neem leaves are used in preparing the broth-like healing potions. The bark, branches and dried leaves of the neem tree are used to prepare medicinal powders in our homes.

Since olden times, dental health is one of the well-known beneficial effects of neem. I have always desired to go back to the way my grandparents used to brush their teeth with homemade powders. Dried neem, tulasi leaves, cloves, little bit of rock salt and rice bran are ground together and stored in jars, to use as tooth-powder. Rice husk ash was also added to this mixture. Dental care routine in the days of yore went as follows – about half a teaspoon of the powder is placed in the palm of one’s hand and a small pencil-sized neem twig serves as the toothbrush. We had to dip the edge of the twig in this powder and brush the teeth. The taste of the toothpowder combined with neem twig packed quite a kick, which was sort of overwhelming to my young palate at that time. But we didn’t have a choice, because the commercial white toothpaste was considered poison in those days in villages. And people like my grandparents, who were well-versed in Western culture, consciously avoided using “foren” sounding, tasting chemical-laden white toothpaste. They had sparkling, healthy teeth and warm smiles.

I wanted to resuscitate that old tradition from memories. I purchased neem powder and tulasi powder from Indian stores. Ground few cloves to fine powder. I put together a fantastic-smelling tooth powder. Here is the result.

Homemade Neem-Clove Tooth Powder


4 tablespoons – neem powder
2 tablespoons – cloves powder
1 tablespoon – tulasi powder
¼ teaspoon – rock salt
1 tablespoon – rice bran or of bran of any grain – (added to provide friction to dislodge the food particles while brushing.)

Take all of the above in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly and have a taste. Adjust cloves, salt and bran to your liking. Mix and store in a clean jar.
To use – place about half teaspoon of powder in the palm of your hand. Moisten tooth brush and dip the bristles in powder and apply to the teeth. Do like you normally brush. No foam while brushing and no artificial sweetener like after-taste. This homemade tooth powder provides a refreshing clean feel and an enticing potent after-taste that mature palates prefer.

We all know that mothers love children who take proper dental care. What’s better way to celebrate mother earth on Earth day than remembering the old wisdom and bringing those sparkling memories back? This recipe is my way of celebrating the ancient wisdom and the inspiration for it – the Mother Earth.

All about Neem Tree
Neem: India’s Miraculous Healing Plant (book)
Sacred trees of India

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Indian Ingredients,Indian Kitchen,Neem (Vepa) (Sunday April 22, 2007 at 7:19 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Fresh Amaranth ~ Green Brinjal Curry

(Thota kura-Poluru Vankaya Kura)

I have written about a type of small, green colored brinjals called Poluru Vankayalu that’s available in Nandyala region. My mother prepares a special curry with green brinjals and red tinged pretty looking amaranth leaves. Fresh ginger is also added. The combination creates a deep flavored curry, which has a unique, indescribable taste. This curry, rice/chapati, dal and yogurt are the routine fare for us. But today, I have prepared pasta in tomato based sauce and added the curry before serving. Good meal.

Reddish Green Fresh Amaranth Leaves and Green Brinjals (Thota kura and Poluru Vankaya)


Prep work:
1 bunch fresh amaranth -pluck leaves and tender stalks, wash and chop finely.
12 green brinjals – wash, remove the petals and cut lengthwise into thin pieces. Add them to salted water
1 Rupee (dollar) coin sized ginger and 4 green chillies – grind to fine consistency

1 tsp of oil, ¼ tsp each- minced garlic, curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds
Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add and toast garlic, curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds.

Remove from water and add green brinjal pieces to the hot skillet. When added to skillet, they have to sizzle, so keep the heat high. Stir fry for few minutes. When they are turning to soft, add finely chopped amaranth leaves. Also sprinkle the grinded ginger-green chilli, a pinch of turmeric and quarter teaspoon of salt. Mix and cook on medium-high heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the leaves wilt and curry comes together. Serve hot with rice, chapati or experiment as pasta topping like I did.

Fresh Amaranth ~ Green Brinjal Curry (Thota kura-Poluru Vankaya Kura)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Thotakura (Amaranth),Vankaya (Brinjal) (Wednesday April 18, 2007 at 5:28 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Curry with Fresh Amaranth (Thotakura)

Fresh Amaranth (Thotakura) Leaves, In Different Stages of Development ~ for JFI-WBB: Greens

“The People of The World Shall Eat Amaranth” says a Richard Thomas and I agree.

Amaranth, like the temple Amarnath, has a devoted following. From India to Inca, amaranth is loved and praised for its nutritional benefits. If there is a vegetable valedictorian in green leafy vegetable world, then amaranth must be it. In our hometown, Nandyala in India, bunches of fresh amaranth leaves are a common sight at ritu bazaars (farmer markets) and sold under the name of Thotakura or Koyagura. Translation “garden leaf”. Just one seed is enough, amaranth spreads and makes the garden look vibrant with its beautiful red tinged-green leaves, so the name. Here, they are sold as Amaranth/Red Spinach/Chinese Spinach and available in most of the Indian and Southeast Asian grocery shops, during spring and early summer.

Amaranth (Thotakura) leaves start out green when they are tiny. As they grow, the red streak begins to appear and becomes prominent, almost covering the entire leaf in mature leaves. The leaves are stronger than regular spinach and on cooking do not ooze much water. The flavor of cooked amaranth leaves is more prominent and way better than that of spinach or other similar greens. Traditionally we prepare curries and also add the leaves to flavor dals. A quick stir fry, together with garlic, onions and green chilli-coconut powder is the popular method of cooking. And the curry is often served as a side dish to rice and dal, or chapati and dal. A cup of yogurt on the side makes this combination a complete meal for us.

Chopped Amaranth Leaves, Green Chilli-Coconut (Grinded and Shaped into a Round) and Onions


1. A bunch of fresh amaranth (thotakura), medium sized onion and garlic clove.
Pluck the leaves and tender stalks. Wash and drain. Finely chop the leaves, stalks and also onion and garlic to small pieces.

2. Four green chillies and a tablespoon of fresh or dried grated coconut.
Grind green chillies, coconut powder and a pinch of salt to fine consistency in a blender/spice grinder or in mortar with a pestle.

3. A teaspoon oil and quarter teaspoon each- urad dal, cumin & mustard seeds.
Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add and toast urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds, in that order.

4. Add garlic and onion. Stir fry to soft.

5. Add finely chopped leaves and stalks. Also, sprinkle green chilli-coconut powder and turmeric. On medium-high, cook until the leaves wilt. Sprinkle salt to taste and mix. Cook another couple of minutes and serve hot.

Amaranth (Thotakura) Curry with Chapati and Plantain Moong Dal

Fresh amaranth:
Nutritional Benefits
In Indian languages – Thotakura, Koyagura (Telugu), Cheera (Malayalam), Chaulli or Chowlii Chauli, Chavleri Sag (Hindi, Punjabi)
In Other languages – Red spinach, Rau Den, Chinese spinach, Hon-toi-moi, Yin choy, Eeen choy, Hsien tsai

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Thotakura (Amaranth) (Monday April 16, 2007 at 8:28 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Thotakura (Amaranth, Red Spinach)

Thotakura (Amaranth, Red Spinach)
Thotakura (Amaranth, Red Spinach) Leaf ~ for this week’s Indian Kicthen

Traditional way to select and store wheat grains for the whole year
– from Pune, India by Pooja of My Creative Ideas.


Great news about ‘Cooking at Home with Pedatha’:

The book has won the Gourmand Award for Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the World ~ 2006.

Congratulations Pedatha, Pratibha and Jigyasa!


Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients,Indian Kitchen,Thotakura (Amaranth),Zen (Personal) (Sunday April 15, 2007 at 4:36 pm- permalink)
Comments (9)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Beaming Beauties ~ Boiled Groundnuts

Boiled Groundnuts (Udakapettina Verusanagalu)
Boiled Peanuts Snack on a Rainy Spring Day

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients,Peanuts (Saturday April 14, 2007 at 6:18 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Turai-Suwa (Ridge Gourd-Dill) Curry

Fresh Dill (Suwa)
Fresh Dill (Suwa) for JFI-WBB ~ Greens

I think culinary knowledge is two types – “Knowledge of” and “Knowledge how”. “Knowledge of” is what psychologists call declarative knowledge – knowledge of facts and rules. It is easy to parrot nutritional information and gave instructions like add this much at this step in the recipe. Difficult to write down and explain is “knowledge how”, the procedural knowledge. It is acquired through practice, by observation and internalization. The suitable amount and how much is too much, when to add – this kind of knowledge is what makes people like my mother and mother-in-law extraordinary cooks, in my view.

In the pursuit of gaining some “knowledge how” I used the “knowledge of” a recipe I got from Dilipji. I tried to recreate the dish with little touches here and there, and the end result turned out to be remarkable. The springtime green herb, the soothing dill worked well with tender ridge gourd. And coarsely ground soy nuggets addition gave the dish little bit body. Assembled between two slices of bread, ridge gourd-dill curry tasted quite good.

Ridge Gourd, Fresh Dill and Coarsely Ground Soy Nuggets


3 ridge gourds – peeled, washed and cut to bite sized pieces
1 small bunch of fresh dill – washed and finely chopped – about ¼ cup
¼ cup coarsely ground soy nuggets
(soaked in warm water for about 15 minutes beforehand)
1 small red onion – finely chopped
5 green chillies and 1 tbs coconut – grinded to smooth consistency
¼ tsp turmeric and salt to taste
Popu or tadka ingredients – 1 tsp oil, ¼ tsp each- cumin, mustard seeds

In a wide skillet, heat oil. Add and toast cumin and mustard seeds. Add and saute onion to soft. While onions are cooking, squeeze the water from soy nuggets and add them to the pan. Stir-fry for few minutes. Add dill and ridge gourd pieces. Stir in green chilli-coconut paste, salt and turmeric. Mix and cook, covered for about 5 to 10 minutes, until the ridge gourd pieces become soft. Serve hot with chapati/bread.

I prepared a ciabatta sandwich. Cut and toasted the bread lightly. Filled it with liberal amounts of curry and spooned some yogurt on the top as dressing. Ciabatta bread absorbed the moist curry flavors very well. The highlight of course is fragrant fresh dill in the curry. Delightful Dill made my dil happy and I loved my meal today!

Ridge gourd-Dill Sandwich with Cucumber Slices and a Piece of Karachi Halwa

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd),Soy (Tofu, Yuba),Suwa (Dill) (Monday April 9, 2007 at 10:21 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Taati Munjalu (Toddy Palm Seeds)

 Taati Munjalu (Toddy Palm Seeds)

Taati Munjalu (Toddy Palm Seeds) ~ For this Week’s Indian Kitchen

Popular summer fruit of India (Andhra), the toddy palm seeds (Taati munjalu) are a delicate halwa/jelly like fresh fruits prized for their sweet, tender flesh and refreshing sugary water inside. They appear in the market in early summer and the season is usually short.

Taati munjalu (toddy palm seeds) are treasured similar way like tender coconuts for us. They are divine fruits!

Taati Munjalu (Toddy Palm Seeds) - Whole and Sliced to Quarters

Purchased at Viet Wah, Seattle

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Fruits,Indian Ingredients,Indian Kitchen (Sunday April 8, 2007 at 8:18 pm- permalink)
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Weekend this&that ~ The Pittsburgh Patrika

Pittsburgh Patrika

The Pittsburgh Patrika, a community magazine that serves greater Pittsburgh area residents published a recipe called Punjabi Tinda by Gunjan of Vyanjanaa food blog fame in April edition. I am a big fan of this magazine and regularly read it to know the latest happenings in Pittsburgh area. I felt happy to see my favorite magazine featuring fellow food blogger’s recipe. This is really good news to our food blogging community I think and offers a much needed relief from the latest onslaught of content poaching by some web magazines. It’s assuring to know that there are people in publishing industry who value and respect our work.

Congratulations Gunjan!

Articles by Food Bloggers:

“Jab Pachchas pachchas khos door,
gaon mein bachcha rota hai,
Maa kehti hai,” Kha Le Beta, Kha Le. Warna Yahoo le Lega”

~ Food Blogging Ke Sholay

The Food Times of India (April 2007 edition)

A Circus of Common Language?

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday April 7, 2007 at 10:17 pm- permalink)
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Palakura Pullakura (Spinach~Mango Dal)

I mentioned few times here on Mahanandi that I do not know much about the cuisine of Telangana, one of the three regional cuisines of Andhra. One reader picked up on that and mailed me her family recipes from Telangana region. It is surprising and very encouraging to see such passionate sharing of family heirlooms. Thanks Vijaya! Among her recipes, Palakura Pullakura with spinach and unripe mango caught my attention. This recipe is different from the preparations to which I am accustomed. No toor dal, but moong dal and chana dal used together. I have never heard of this combination before. I wanted to try this for JFI-WBB: Greens and made it for lunch.

To my delight, it came out exceptionally well. The combination of moong dal and chana dal worked. Who knew? The pleasant, mild taste of spinach balances and complements the sour and strong taste of raw mango. I can certainly give an A+ to this recipe. Long live Telangana cuisine, may it be part of Andhra Pradesh forever!

Spinach and Unripe Green Mango
Spinach and Unripe Green Mango


Half cup each – moong dal and chana dal
One or about 1 cup – unripe mango pieces
One bunch spinach – washed and chopped
10 to 12 green chillies (small Indian variety) – finely chopped
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt

For popu or tadka:
1 tablespoon oil
¼ tsp each – chopped garlic, dried red chilli pieces, curry leaves, hing, cumin and mustard seeds

I roasted the moong dal first to light brown color, because I prefer the roasted taste to plain. Then took them in a pressure cooker. Added chana dal and washed the dals together once.

Next, I added the unripe mango pieces, spinach, green chillies and turmeric along with about 4 cups of water to pressure cooker. Covered and cooked for one whistle. The recipe instructions say do not cook more than one whistle, maintain chana dal integrity. So to do that, I turned off the heat after one whistle and waited for the valve pressure to get released. Once the valve pressure cleared, I opened the lid and added salt. Mixed and Mashed the dal lightly.

Time for the final step – popu or tadka. Heated the oil in a pan and toasted the popu ingredients listed above one after another in the order written. When mustard seeds start to jump around, I added the mashed dal to the popu and mixed everything thoroughly.

I also fried some papadams, sundried yogurt chillies and pumpkin vadiyams (courtesy of my blog neighbor Mythili of Vindu who returned from India trip recently.) to accompany the dal and rice. Served hot with rice and little bit of ghee, and a cup of yogurt on the side, our meal today was heartwarming and fulfilling. Thanks Vijaya for this family recipe and thanks Mythili for the tasty vadiyams. Here is to the power of sharing!

Palakura Pullakura with rice and ghee with a Side Snack of Sundried yogurt Chillies and Pumpkin Fritters

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Chana Dal,Mamidikaya (Green Mango),Moong Dal (Washed),Spinach (Tuesday April 3, 2007 at 11:08 pm- permalink)
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