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

Brinjal with Blackeyed Beans ~ for Jihva

Pedatha Avva (My grandmother)
Jigyasa and Pratibha’s Pedatha …………… My Avva (Grandmother)

In my unremarkable childhood, the only remarkable thing was the summer holidays I used to spend at my grandmother’s home at Nandikotkur every year. My grandmother, a mother of four daughters and four sons is a ritubidda (farmer’s daughter), and a saint like person. She was my guru and a friend growing up, and I learned devotion from her.

Like Jigyasa and Pratibha’s Pedatha, my grandmother is also from a “do one thing at a time” generation. This philosophy was more evident in the kitchen than anywhere else. Cooking was an unconsciously clever and creative act, and done in a unhurried manner to everyone’s satisfaction. One of my favorite recipes from my grandmother is brinjal with black-eyed peas. Seasoned with ginger and green chillies, and served with sorghum roti, this simple preparation with heavenly aroma was a daily breakfast for us. Science has shown that our sense of smell is the first one to be associated with memory. I have to agree, and I still associate ginger flavored brinjal smell to my grandmother’s kitchen. The same recipe has also been featured in the award winning Pedatha’s cookbook.

I prepared this dish with reverence to my beloved avva and in memory of Pedatha.

“From food all creatures are produced. And all creatures that dwell on earth, by food they live and into food they finally pass. Food is the chief among being. Verily he obtains all good who worships the Divine as food.”
-from Upanishads

Brinjal and Blackeyed Beans (Vankaya , Alasanda) Vankaya Alasanda Kura, Photo Taken Before our Lunch today

Alasanda Vankaya (Brinjal with Black-eyed Beans)
(for Jihva Love ~ A Tribute to Tradition)

10 -12 round variety green or purple brinjals, cut to thin pieces lengthwise
Half cup black-eyed peas. Soaked in water overnight, and cooked to tender
4 small variety Indian green chillies and one inch piece of ginger – coarsely grind
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon peanut oil and tadka ingredients

Place a wide skillet on stovetop. Add and heat peanut oil. Add and toast tadka ingredients (garlic, cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves) to golden. Add the brinjal pieces to skillet. Cover the skillet. The round variety brinjals cook to tender within minutes. After about five minutes of cooking time, remove the lid. Add the black-eyed peas and green chilli-ginger paste. Also turmeric and salt. Mix. Sauté on medium heat for another five to ten minutes. Serve hot with sorghum roti or chapati, for a filling meal.

Busy days. See you again on Sunday.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Blackeye Beans,Ginger & Sonti,Jihva For Ingredients,Vankaya (Brinjal) (Monday April 28, 2008 at 5:27 pm- permalink)
Comments (35)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Green Tomatoes

Photo Purchase Keywords: Tomato, Coconut
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

During winter time, I tend to look for the greenest, unripe tomatoes at the grocery stores. I keep them in a basket on the kitchen countertop at home. Though it takes two to three days to mellow, the resulting home-ripened tomatoes are worth the wait for their flavor : my solution to poor quality tomatoes of winter season.

Last weekend, I purchased two pounds of “just looking at them will make your mouth pucker” kind of firm-fleshed, unripe tomatoes. I couldn’t resist making an old classic with them for today’s meal. The following recipe is a traditional preparation from Nandyala, India. The intense, tangy ruchi of unripe tomatoes is matched by fresh coconut sweetness and chilli-ginger spiciness. A good meal to have on a mind numbing, cold winter day.

Unripe Tomato and Fresh Coconut
Unripe Tomato and Fresh Coconut ~ Ingredients for Kura


1 teaspoon peanut oil
Pinch each – cumin and mustard seeds
4 – green, unripe tomatoes (Round, Big variety)
4 – green chillies (Indian or Thai variety)
2 tablespoons – grated coconut, fresh
1 tablespoon – grated ginger
Salt and turmeric to taste

Wash green tomatoes and then cut them to bite-sized pieces – about four cups.

Place a wide skillet on stove-top. Add and heat peanut oil. Add and toast cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add the tomatoes. On medium-high heat, cook the tomatoes to tender-soft (but not too mushy or paste like).

Meanwhile, take the coconut, green chillies and ginger in a blender or Sumeet style mixer. Add a pinch of salt. Blend to fine paste.

Add this coconut-chilli paste to the simmering tomatoes. Also stir in the turmeric and salt. Mix. Cook, covered for another five minutes.

Serve the tomato kura hot with chapati or parathas for a light meal.

Unripe Tomato Kura
Kura with Unripe Tomatoes ~ Meal Today

Recipe Source: Amma, Nandyala


Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Coconut (Fresh),Ginger & Sonti,Tomato (Tuesday January 29, 2008 at 6:36 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Paneer Kadhi ~ for Summer Days

Unusual and distinctive, paneer kadhi has much potential. At the beginning it may seem undefined and unclear, but at the end, it assumes clear and unmistakable identity that is fascinating and enchanting.

Dried mango powder (Amchur), ginger powder (sonti) and kasoori methi adds to the mystique, giving a deeply memorable taste to paneer kadhi.

Homemade Yogurt, Dried Ginger, Kasoori Methi and Paneer


In a small sauce pan, heat a teaspoon of oil.

Add and saute the following ingredients in the order mentioned:

Urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds – half teaspoon each
Green chillies, slit in the middle – 4
Finely chopped onions and fresh green peas – half cup each
Dried mango (amchur), ginger(sonti) & kasoori methi– half tsp each
Turmeric, sugar and salt to taste or quarter teaspoon each
Small, bite-sized paneer cubes, about 12 to 15

At the end, add about two cups of fresh homemade yogurt. Whisk the yogurt, thoroughly mixing with sautéed spices. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve warm with chapatis or rice for a delightful meal.

Paneer Kadhi with Chapatis and Pickled Cucumber ~ Our Meal Today

Thank you Musical for suggesting Paneer Kadhi name to this recipe.
Recipe Adapted from Annita’s “My Pleasure and My Treasure”
Yogurt is prepared with 2% milk (so, the thin watery like consistency on whisking).


What brought on this paneer craving, you might ask?

Party at a restaurant. A platter of most delectable paneer pakoras. Slim pickings, thus born a paneer state of mind.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Ginger & Sonti,Paneer,Yogurt (Thursday July 5, 2007 at 9:23 pm- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Ginger~Garlic~Coriander Paste : For Jihva (Allam Vellulli Kottimera Mudda)

Root vegetables, as if happy to be unearthed, usually mingle well with other vegetables by being subtly sweet. But when it comes to Gingerroot-the rhizome, it’s quite another story.

Like an unruly tiny tot, ginger is full of attitude. Potent, pungent and incomparable, it is nothing like other rhizomes or root vegetables. To put it gingerly, ginger is never needed in pounds, just a small quantity is enough to liven up an otherwise ordinary culinary experience. And Indian cuisine, one of the mother cuisines in the world, pairs ginger with garlic and coriander. The pungency of ginger is controlled and counteracted with more pungent flavors. What a way to civilize the taste of ginger! A perfect pairing appreciated by mature palates.

Ginger, garlic and coriander, together ground into a smooth paste is something that I often use in my daily cooking. Almost all traditional tomato and coconut based curries (pulusu, subjis) need at least a teaspoon of ginger-garlic-coriander paste. So depending on the market price of these three ingredients or my time constraints, I prepare this paste in quantities large (which would last for at least two weeks) or small (just enough for that day’s meal).

Here is my recipe for ginger-garlic-coriander paste, and an entry to “Jihva for Ginger” event. Hosted from Scotland by lovely Rosie of “What’s the recipe today, Jim?”.

Ginger-Garlic-Coriander Paste ~ for “Jihva : Ginger” event.


Ginger root – peeled, sliced to small pieces – Half cup
Garlic – peeled and sliced to small pieces – Quarter cup
Fresh coriander (cilantro) -finely chopped – 1 cup
Salt – quarter teaspoon

Take them all in a blender/food processor or in a mortar. Grind them to smooth consistency without adding water. Remove to a clean glass jar, seal tightly and store in the refrigerator. (Remains fresh from one week up to a month.) Whenever needed, take the required amount with a clean spoon.

To Jihva participants:
Rosie is in the process of moving and requesting “Jihva-Ginger” entries as early as possible.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Ginger & Sonti,Indian Ingredients,Indian Kitchen,Jihva For Ingredients,Kottimera(Cilantro),The Essentials (Monday January 29, 2007 at 2:33 pm- permalink)
Comments (13)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Sonti Coffee & Sonti Tea (Dried Ginger Coffee&Tea)

Not feeling hungry today?
I will make a cup of sonti coffee for the appetite.

Ate too much food at the party?
Would you want me to prepare sonti kashayam for better digestion.

Food was not good yesterday at the restaurant. My stomach is upset
Have a cup of sonti tea to calm the over working stomach.

I am tired and feeling little bit nauseous after the long day of shopping.
You sit there and rest. I will bring a hot cup of sonti coffee for you.

My head is hurting with this cold and cough.
There, there, have this cup of hot sonti tea. By tomorrow, you will be like a daisy.

Sonti Powder and Sonti
Sonti Powder and Sonti

For everything and anything, sonti is the treatment at my home. Sonti tea, Sonti coffee and Sonti kashayam are prescribed to cure and to relieve almost all types small ailments from stomach upsets to cold and cough. Most of the time, they work fine.

Sonti, the dried form of ginger root is equally given importance along with fresh ginger in Ayurveda for its healing properties. Though sonti looks mild and all dried out, it is some potent stuff. The strong flavor and aroma are really energetic in small doses. At our home, if you go back to one generation before us, they’d start and end their day with a cup of sonti drink. For small ailments, whether one believes in capsules pushed on by multimillion dollar ad blitzes or in age old medicine, what matters is the trust that the stuff we would put in our bodies could comfort and relieve the symptoms. For us, the magic cure-all potion still hasn’t lost its magic.

Recipe :

From just a pinch to a tablespoon of sonti powder is added to a cup. Amount varies on individual preference and tolerance. We like to add a teaspoon of powder to a cup. Not too much, not too little, you would definitely notice the sonti taste.

To powder sonti, take sonti pieces in a mortar and pound them to smooth powder. We usually prepare powder for one month’s worth and store it in a tight lid box.

To prepare sonti tea and coffee: start the coffee/tea preparation like you normally do. And at the end add the sonti powder. Simmer few seconds. Strain. Pour to a cup and enjoy the tea enriched with sonti powder.

Sonti Tea and Sonti Coffee
Sonti Tea and Sonti Coffee – Perfect for Mistress of Spices

Caution: Highly acquired taste
More about Sonti Coffee – here
Sonti Kashayam (Dried Ginger Ale) – Recipe

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Coffee,Ginger & Sonti,Tea,The Essentials (Monday June 12, 2006 at 10:58 am- permalink)
Comments (22)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Ginger and Sonti

Sonti Powder, Sonti and Ginger

Sonti Powder, Sonti and Fresh Ginger ~ For This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Sonti = Dried Ginger, available in Indian grocery shops.
Sonti Kashayam (Dried Ginger Ale) – Recipe

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Ginger & Sonti,Indian Ingredients,Indian Kitchen (Sunday June 11, 2006 at 2:58 pm- permalink)
Comments (8)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Brinjal-Ginger Curry

Purple Brinjal - Indian Variety

In old times, the marriage feast in our areas always included brinjal-ginger curry. Considered a classic both in taste and aroma, brinjal-ginger curry brings out the best of both ingredients.


10 round brinjals – (purple or greenish-white)
1×1 inch fresh ginger
4 green chillies
4 sprigs of fresh cilantro
½ tsp of salt and turmeric each
For popu: 1 tsp each – mustard seeds, cumin, urad dal, curry leaves and 2-3 pieces of dried red chillies


Brinjal: Wash and cut brinjal into bite sized pieces. Take water in a vessel; add 1 tsp of salt and mix. Add the cut brinjal pieces to this salted water. This is again an old-time tip, to prevent discoloration and onset of sourness in cut brinjals.

Ginger: Scrape the skin and wash. Finely chop ginger, green chillies and coriander. Add pinch of salt, make a smooth paste in a mortar or using a blender, without adding any water.

Curry: Heat one teaspoon of peanut oil in a wide pan. Add all the popu ingredients listed above and toast them till the seeds start to splutter. Take cut brinjal pieces from water, fistful each time, add them to the spluttering popu ingredients. Stir in the ginger paste and turmeric. Mix them all together, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover with a lid and cook, stirring only once for about 10 minutes. When the curry starts to smell incredible, pieces turn to soft, sprinkle salt, mix and turn off the heat. Serve with rice and dal.

Brinjal Curry, Tomato Dal and Rice - Our Lunch

Brinjal-Ginger Curry, rice, tomato dal and little bit of ghee – savoring the tasty stroll in Andhra food heaven.

note to readers: Add salt at the end (so that brinjals can cook fast) and the recipe works only with fresh green chillies, don’t substitute with red chilli powder.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Ginger & Sonti,Vankaya (Brinjal) (Thursday January 26, 2006 at 2:36 pm- permalink)
Comments (23)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Dried Ginger Ale (Sonti Kashayam )

I was tagged by lovely Rosa of Yummy Yums to list my cold/flu remedies. Like her, it’s been a while, 10 years to be exact, since I got sick. I go through mental up&downs like a normal human being, but physical ailments like common cold/flu, fever etc., nothing, nada, zip. My immune system, like me, seems to be enjoying an early retirement deal. Or overworking? Anyway, the deal is not bad at all.

Home remedies for common cold & flu, that I can think of, like and often prepare-cold or no cold, are- one is tomato rasam, I blogged already and the other is ‘sonti kashayam’. This traditional remedy, an ayurvedic weapon against cold/flu is prepared with dried ginger, black peppercorns and sweetened with jaggery or honey. The resulting concoction is one strong drink that reboots the downgraded systems, starting with GI. Body on fire, is the sensation it gives at first. Then once it settled down there, ginger and peppercorn work their magical powers and make the symptoms of cold/flu disappear.

Sonti (Dried Ginger), Black peppercorns and Jaggery

(For two cups)

1 inch length dried ginger (Sonti) (available in Indian grocery shops)
4 peppercorns (Miriyalu)
1 tsp of powdered jaggery or honey
1 glass of water


First, make a powder of dried ginger and peppercorns using a mortar and pestle. Meanwhile take water in a pot, bring it to a rolling boil. Add the powdered ginger, pepper and jaggery to the water. Cover partially; boil it for at least 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover completely, and let it rest for 5 minutes. After 5 to 10 minutes of rest period, using a filter, pour the drink into a glass. Stir to cool and finish it off in two or three gulps.
Set the body on fire and say goodbye to cold/flu symptoms.

Variation – add tealeaves to make an extra strong tea or plain soda (carbonated water) to make ale.
A Drink of Sonti Kashayam (Dried Ginger Ale)

A glass of Sonti Kashayam (dried ginger ale)

I like this meme (to spread) and I would love to learn other food bloggers remedies for common cold/flu. So I’m going to tag

Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries
Barrett of Too Many Chefs
Brett of In Praise of Sardines
Doc of Gluttony is no Sin
Heidi of 101 Cookbooks (Thank you Heidi, for ‘Daily Links’)
Kay of Towards a Better Tomorrow
Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness

I’m sure they have some fabulous remedies up their sleeves and I hope they share them with us

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Ginger & Sonti (Monday January 23, 2006 at 9:11 am- permalink)
Comments (28)

The New Home of Mahanandi: