Sunday, November 17, 2013

What are the Benefits of Turmeric?

Turmeric has many Medicinal Properties

You may have the question, “what are the benefits of turmeric?”, if you want to use turmeric, or are already using it, in cooking.  Turmeric is a spice traditionally used in Indian cooking to give flavor and color to the food.  In fact, this spice has excellent value more for the outstanding health benefits it offers.

Quick Overview of the Turmeric Health Benefits

Prevention of blood clots:  Turmeric has the ability to prevent platelets from joining together.  This spice thus could be an answer to keep blood clots at bay.

Prevention or Cure of Arthritis: A research study found that turmeric significantly prevented joint inflammation and destruction.

Remedy for Ulcerative Colitis:  It is a digestive tract disorder.  The findings of a research work conclude that “Curcumin seems to be a promising and safe medication for maintaining remission in patients with quiescent UC (ulcerative colitis)...”

Strengthens the Immune System:  Turmeric may control or prevent diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, allergy and asthma.  The positive effects of curcumin on health may be partly because of its power “to modulate the immune system”.  Curcumin could be used as a medicine in the treatment of the disorders of the immune system.

Treatment for Common Ailments: Turmeric may help in the healing of simple wounds and closing of minor cuts.  This spice could also be a home remedy for health problems like sore throat, and cold.  Turmeric may help in flushing out worms in the stomach.

Cosmetic Aid:  Turmeric may enhance the glow of the skin and help maintain its health.

Turmeric in Indian Cuisines

Turmeric is used in the powder form in Indian dishes.  The powder is made from the roots of the turmeric plant.  From aloo sabzi to chitranna, ribbon pakoda to masala dosa curry, murukku to sev, turmeric powder is a key ingredient of not only these dishes, but also of a number of other Indian cuisines.

You may want to use turmeric roots while preparing a masala powder.  What is an advantage of using such roots?  These will produce home-made turmeric powder that is pure.

If you buy turmeric powder choose a reliable brand, because turmeric powder from unreliable sources may be adulterated.

The sweet preparations like obbattu, holige, bobbatlu, or puran poli also has turmeric powder as an ingredient.

Turmeric is usually added while preparing the seasoning for a food.  Or, this spice may be added while boiling food, such as when cooking, say dal.  Does frying or boiling turmeric destroy its curative properties?  A research result says that these cooking methods might not harm the health traits of turmeric.

An exceptional compound in turmeric that prevents or treats diseases is curcumin.  Its value is so high that the authors of a research study call it as the “Indian Solid Gold.”

Now that you have a few answers to the question, "what are the benefits of turmeric?" you may want to use this spice in cooking and take advantage of its medicinal properties.


Turmeric and its Principle Compound Curcumin are Effective in the Prevention and Treatment of Arthritis, Polyphenols in Human Health and Disease,

Curcumin: The Indian Solid Gold, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology,

Curcumin Maintenance Therapy for Ulcerative Colitis: Randomized, Multicenter, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology,

“Spicing Up” of the Immune System by Curcumin, Journal of Clinical Immunology,

Traditional Indian spices and their health significance, Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition,

Turmeric, University of Maryland Medical Center,

Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis, Arthritis and Rheumatism,

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ragi Health Benefits | How to Sprout Ragi

Click the image above to see a video on how to prevent diabetes

Ragi is Great for Health

Do you make dishes from ragi?  If you are not making then you should, if you wish to reap the many ragi health benefits.  The links to recipes of dishes made from ragi are given at the end of the post.  Ragi in English is finger millet.  It is also known as, among others, kelviragu, kooragu, marwa, nachani or mandika. Ragi is indeed a divine gift to this world.  The ragi health benefits should make you to include the food prepared from it in your everyday diet.

Here are just a few health benefits of ragi:

Excellent Source of Calcium: If you drink milk to benefit from the calcium it provides, or you do not drink milk at all, then you may want to switch to ragi as it rich in calcium.  It is necessary for bone health.

Milk, as a source of calcium, is a dairy product.  An excessive consumption of such product(s) may actually be counter-productive.  An article says that, “dairy products can be high in saturated fat as well as retinol (vitamin A), which at high levels can paradoxically weaken bones.1

Ragi is low in fats too.  Most of these, anyway, are unsaturated fats.  So, ragi may be an excellent, alternative source of calcium.  More intake of food made from ragi and moderate consumption of milk perhaps is the way to go.

Good Source of Fiber: Ragi has the highest fiber when compared to brown rice, wheat and maize.  The consumption of dietary fiber may lower the risk of many diseases, including diabetes and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

A research study says that, “Cereal fiber intake was also associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.”

Easy to Digest: It is easy to digest food made from ragi and it may be ideal for persons of all age groups.  A typical food made from ragi is ragi mudde.  It should preferably be soft for old people and for those who sit and work for a long time, such as computer professionals, to aid digestion.

Contains Amino Acids: Ragi has many of these acids, including Methionine.  What role amino acids play? Among others, these help develop resistance to diseases, control body processes, and muscle maintenance.

Methionine, one of the amino acids, in ragi promotes healthy skin and hair.  It is said that ragi has 3% of this acid and is said that this percentage is outstanding for a cereal grain.

Helps Reduce Weight: Tryptophan, an amino acid, in ragi, prevents excess appetite.  Ragi, therefore, can help control the weight.

More Iron in Sprouted Form:  A research finding says that, “ Sprouting ragi increases the bioavailability of its iron to 88%, comparable only to mother’s milk (and 8 times higher than cow’s milk).”

How to Sprout Ragi?

Sprouted Ragi has more Iron

  • Wash and soak ragi in water for 8-10 hours.
  • Drain the water completely.
  • Wash and drain again.
  • Spread the ragi on a dry cloth to let it absorb any excess water for about 30 minutes.
  • Transfer to a utensil or container.
  • Cover with a net-type lid or a cloth.
  • Set aside the utensil / container for 1-2 days.  In this period, check if the ragi has sprouted.
Ragi Recipes

A number of dishes can be made from ragi flour.  Some of the ragi preparations are ragi mudde, ragi malt, ragi dosa, ragi roti, ragi soup, ragi halbhai, ragi snacks like kodubale and chakli and ragi idli.

Does the ragi health benefits encouraging you to try ragi dishes? Here are the links to a few of the ragi recipes:

Ragi Malt

Ragi Mudde

Soft Ragi Mudde

Ragi Halbhai

Ragi  Soup

Ragi Dosa

Ragi Idli


1Calcium and Milk,

A Role of Starch of Eleusin Coracana Gaertn (Ragi Satwa) in Management of Malnutrition, International Research Journal of Pharmacy,

Whole-grain and fiber intake and the incidence of type 2 diabetes, American Society for Clinical Nutrition,

Health benefits of dietary fiber,

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Jaggery Benefits

The health benefits of jaggery are many

The jaggery benefits tempt to use jaggery, also known as gur, bella, bellam, vellam, or sarkkara, to prepare sweet dishes.  It may not have the same taste as sugar, yet the jaggery health benefits might make you use this sweetener instead of sugar.  In any case, to prepare sweet cuisines like obbattu / bobbatlu and kajjaya / adhirasam / ariselu you should use jaggery.  The south Indian vegetarian dishes like puliyogare and sambar too have this sweetener as an ingredient.  Get to know the jaggery benefits and make it a key element to cook select dishes.

Brief Overview of Jaggery Health Benefits

  • Jaggery is rich in iron.  The amount of iron in every 100 grams of jaggery is about 11 milligrams.  How much iron does sugar contain?  It does not have any at all.
  • It is easy to digest jaggery.  The same is not true with sugar.  A research study has shown that sugar makes use of potassium and calcium from the body, and needs more heat, for digestion.
  • Jaggery can be a remedy for ailments like cough, constipation and indigestion.
  • One of the outstanding health benefits of jaggery is that it may reduce the risk of diabetes. 
  • Jaggery has reducing sugars like fructose and glucose.
  • Magnesium and potassium in jaggery are among its elements that help maintain good health.  While the first helps keep the nervous system in good shape, the second fights acids.
  • In the range of jaggery benefits, one that stands apart is its work as a blood purifier.
  • Jaggery, if consumed by workers who work in dusty or smoky environments, may work as a protective agent.

Where to buy Jaggery?

It is usually available in stores that sell items like grains and lentils.  In such stores, it is sold unpacked and you can buy in quantities you need, from a quarter-kilogram to kilograms.  In other bazaars, jaggery is generally sold in packs.

The two of the common shapes of jaggery are cubic and round.  Organic jaggery typically has a solid, syrup or powder form.  Jaggery color ranges from light to dark brown.

The taste of this sweetener varies from one type to another.

How is Jaggery Made?

One of the ways of making jaggery is by boiling sugarcane juice.

Foreign Particles in Jaggery

Because of some manufacturing methods of jaggery, it may contain foreign objects.  These include stones, sand and small twigs.  It is, therefore, necessary to remove any unwanted items in the jaggery before using it as an ingredient to prepare a dish.

How to Remove Foreign Particles from Jaggery?

First, boil jaggery you want to use in water till this sweetener dissolves.  The quantity of the water you have to use depends on the quantity of the jaggery and the amount of syrup you need to make a cuisine.

Next, strain the jaggery syrup slowly.  The big foreign objects, if any, will be left behind in the strainer.  Any sand particles or small stones will settle at the base of the utensil you use for boiling.

Sweet Dishes from Jaggery

Because of the jaggery health benefits, many, today, use this sweetener for sweet preparations. Some of the items you can make using jaggery are pongal, obbattu or bobattlu, kajjaya or athirasam, groundnut chikkis, wheat halwa and kozhukattai or kolukattai.

Here are the links to some of the recipes that uses jaggery:

Obbattu / bobattlu / puran poli

Kayi Holige

Ragi Halbhai

Kasa Kasa Payasam

Sweet Pongal



I have used the following sources as references for the Brief Overview of Jaggery Healthy Benefits section of this post:

Jaggery – A Traditional Indian Sweetner, Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge,
Sugarcane in Therapeutics, Journal of Herbal Medicine and Toxicology,
Enhanced translocation of particles from lungs by jaggery, Environmental Health Perspectives,

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

South Indian Breakfast

South Indian Breakfast Varieties

South Indian breakfast covers a wide-range of dishes.  These range from the traditional idli to dosa to less-conventional sabudana upma to ragi idli. Of all the south Indian vegetarian cuisines, masala dosa is perhaps the most popular.  Here are some of the other dishes in the class of south Indian breakfast: upma, pongal, puliyogare, rava idli, medu vada, puliyogare and kesari bath.

Here is a brief overview of the items of the south Indian breakfast:


Idlis, Sambar and Chutney
The idli-sambar or idli-sambar-chutney combination is a delight to eat because of the taste.  What is more idlis are healthy, as they are steam-cooked.

The toor dal, onions, tomato and hing / asafoetida in the sambar for idli recipe makes sambar a quite essential and a mouth-watering side dish to savor idlis.

Today, ragi idli, which is almost a new entry in the south Indian vegetarian recipes roster, is gaining popularity.  Thanks to the superb health benefits ragi / finger millet offer.

Hot idlis can be eaten anytime of the day or night.  The main reason, again, is this food is steam-cooked.


Links to recipes:

How to make Idli:

Sambar for Idli Recipe:

How to make Coconut Chutney?



Masala Dosa
What is one dish that would be on your mind for south Indian breakfast on a Sunday or holiday? Masala dosa would be a choice, because, typically, everyone like this food.

Plenty of butter / ghee is a key item in the masala dosa recipe that scales the taste to greater heights.

Masala dosa curry, also known as onion-potato curry, as the filling for the dosa is also an item that gives it a great taste.

Plain dosa too has butter as one of its ingredients.  This dosa, however, will not have any filling.  It is relished with chutney and or aloo sabzi / aloo sabji.

Links to Recipes:

Masala Dosa Recipe:

How to make Dosa at Home:



Khara Pongal
It is in the genre of traditional and healthy south Indian vegetarian food made from rice.  The two types of pongal are:

1. Khara pongal
2. Sweet pongal.

Khara pongal recipe has moong dal as one of its main items.  This dal adds to the nutritional value of the food.

What about the side dish (es) for pongal? Onion raita or coconut chutney is perfect side dishes for this rice cuisine.

Sweet pongal, a delicious sweet dish, also has moong dal as the chief item and can be made from jaggery or sugar.  Jaggery would be a good choice, because it is healthy and it gives a unique taste to the pongal.


Links to Recipes:

Khara Pongal Recipe:

Sweet Pongal Recipe:



It is another popular south Indian veg food.  Turn the pages of a recipe history book, and you are sure to find upma to be a south Indian breakfast on the same timeline as the idli and dosa.

A variation of the upma recipe uses vegetables, and the dish is known as vegetable upma.

Pour a teaspoon of ghee on the plain or vegetable upma to make it yummier.


Links to Recipes:

How to make Upma?

Vegetable Upma:


Rava Idli

Rava Idli
As the name indicates, rava or semolina is the key ingredient of this steam-cooked food.  The peas, carrot gratings and cashews in the rava idli makes it an absolute delight to eat.

The curd / yogurt in the rava idli batter makes the idlis soft.

Pudina chutney and aloo sabzi are two of the side dishes that have excellent fit with rava idli.


Links to Recipes:

How to make Rava Idli?

How to make Pudina Chutney?


Medu Vada

Medu Vada
 A visit to the south Indian vegetarian restaurant, perhaps, would not be complete without savoring hot medu vada, as a single item or with idli.  Also known as urud vada, because urud dal is a key ingredient of the recipe of this food, medu vada is crispy and super-tasty.

As with idli, sambar and coconut chutney are classic side dishes for medu vada.

If you make medu vada at home, you can tailor the food taste to your needs.


Links to Recipes:

How to make Medu Vada?



 It is a cuisine made from rice, tamarind paste, groundnuts and other that is in the same cadre of super-delicious rice cuisines.

Relish puliyogare with cucumber raita or coconut chutney, as these two side dishes make this rice dish tastier.


Links to Recipes:

How to make Puliyogare?


Kesari Bath

Kesari Bath
It is undoubtedly a sweet dish with a fine taste.  Rava / semolina is the main ingredient of the kesari bath recipe.  The cashews and dry grapes in this traditional cuisine add to its richness.

Try to eat kesari bath from a banana / plantain leaf.  Its aroma and the taste of this sweet dish would give you a whole new experience.


Links to Recipes:

Kesari Bath Recipe:


Which south Indian breakfast do you like? Click the Comments text that follows this post and share your likings.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sundal Recipe

Sundal made from Chickpea / Kabuli Chana

It is good to know sundal recipe, because sundal / usli is a great side dish for lunch or dinner.  What is more, it is a nutritious food.  This dish also consumes less oil.  On the day of Ganesh Chaturthi and during Dasara / Dussehra, this food is offered to God and is given to visitors at homes.  Many temples give sundal as prasadam.

Here are some of the legumes from which this food is made:

- Chickpea / kabuli chana / kadale kaalu / kondai kadalai / senagalu

- Green gram / moong / pachai payaru / pesara pappu / hesaru bele

- Black-eyed pea / lobia / alasande kaalu / alachandalu

- Bengal gram / chana dal / senaga pappu / kadale bele / kadalai paruppu

Another trait of sundal recipe you will like is that it is easy to make.

You have to soak some of the legumes in water first, at least for several hours, before you can make sundal. 

The Sprouted Gram Advantage

Use sprouted moong / green gram or kulthi / horse gram for making sundal because the sprouted items are more nutritious.  Another point that will make you use sprouted items is it is easy to sprout moong and kulthi.

Fresh Peas and Avarekalu

In season, use fresh, green peas to make sundal.  It is one of the most delicious and nutritious of all the other types of sundal.

Sundal made from fresh avarekalu / hyacinth beans / surti papdi make it a lip-smacking side dish for chapatis, rotis and dosas.  Like the green peas, avarekalu is available in season.

Sundal as a Snack

If you are hungry between meals, and are at home, it would be good to eat a sundal as a snack, rather than an item like potato chips, to get the health benefits.

Nutrition and Taste

Much of the nutrition in a sundal comes from the legumes, such as the chickpea, green gram and chana dal.  Now, for the taste part.  What ingredients in the sundal recipe make this food tasty? Coconut gratings, hing / asafoetida, lemon juice, green chilies and, of course, the salt makes sundal a treat to eat.

Groundnut Variety

Another variety of sundal recipe uses groundnuts / peanuts.  Either the fresh or dried variety of these can be used.  If you use the later, you have to soak it in water.

Sundal Recipe

Here is the sundal recipe for making this dish with chickpea / kabuli chana:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Indian Snacks

Indian Snacks - Some of the Varieties
Indian snacks range from murukku to namkeen.  Such food is usually savored with a hot cup of coffee or tea.  What are the key traits of these snacks?   They are tasty.   Some snacks could be hot, because they may have much chili powder and or pepper powder as an ingredient(s).  Others may be moderately spicy or be not spicy at all.  A few of the varieties of Indian snacks have mildly sweet-and-spicy or sweet-and-sour taste.

If you make the snacks at home, you can tailor them to meet your taste needs:  For instance, use less chili powder to make them less hot and use salt in quantities that is just right for you.


The snacks such as murukku, which is also known as chakli or chakkuli, namkeen, fried groundnuts, fried moong dal, and sev are among the popular snacks.  These can be called as the traditional Indian snacks, because of their popularity since several decades.

In the past, come summer or winter, many used to prepare snacks in quantities that would last weeks and sometimes, months.  Today because of busy lifestyles that many may follow and its potential impact on health, making snacks, perhaps, is no more a routine.

As everyone generally likes to eat snacks like the above, making them once in a while, in limited quantities, might be a good idea.


What else, on a rainy or cold day, other than an Indian snack, whether it is murukku or fried groundnuts, with a steaming cup of coffee or tea, can enliven the mind?

From a health angle, do watch on how much of the snacks that are deep-fried you eat.

What are some of the common ingredients you need to make an Indian snack?  A key and common ingredient, say for snacks like namkeen and sev, is chickpea / besan / chana flour.  For murukku, rice flour is a main item.

Hing or asafoetida is an ingredient in many of the Indian snacks that gives these foods a unique flavor.


To make snacks like murukku and namkeen, you need the murukku machine or one similar to it.  Such a machine is usually available in stores that sell steel and other metal utensils.

Here are the links to the recipes with step-by-step instructions and photos to make:

1.  Murukku

2.  Namkeen

3.  Sev

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Benefits of Curry Leaves

Curry Leaves
Curry Leaf Rice

With the information on the benefits of curry leaves, use this gift of nature as a part of your everyday cooking ingredients and in its natural form.  In Indian cooking, in general, and south Indian vegetarian cooking, in particular, curry leaves are used in dishes that range from pulavs to sambars, curries to chutneys.  The benefits of curry leaves would make you to use them in your day-to-day cooking.

Certain food preparations make a heavy use of curry leaves. Such items include curry leaves rice, curry leaves chutney and curry leaves chutney powder.

Here is the URL for the curry leaves rice recipe at

Here is the URL for the curry leaves chutney recipe at

Why should you use Curry Leaves in Cooking?

Here are some of the benefits of curry leaves. These:
  • Have antioxidants.  These are molecules, found in raw food like curry leaves, fruits and vegetables, which prevent diseases or lower the risk of the same.
  • Have vitamin A, which means they are good for eye health.
  • May help keep diabetes under control. A research study conducted by the School of Medicine, University of Chicago, found that curry leaf may help “in improving the management of high cholesterol levels and type 2 diabetes.”
  • May work as a powerful anticancer agent.
  • Can help digest food easily.  It is quite common to add curry leaves to buttermilk, which can be consumed with rice or can be used as an after-lunch or after-dinner drink.
  • Are a source of vitamin C, calcium and iron.

Where to buy Curry Leaves?

If you are thinking of where to buy curry leaves, an answer is buy from a vegetable vendor who comes to your street every morning.

It is best to use fresh curry leaves in the dish you will prepare.  So, the vegetable wallah would be a best bet to buy a bundle of curry leaves, as he / she would perhaps carry the fresh stuff.

Another answer to the question, “Where to buy curry leaves?” is buy from a grocery store or a vegetable market.  These sources too would carry fresh leaves.

How to Use Curry Leaves?

First, thoroughly wash the curry leaves and wipe them dry.

Use a few leaves, about six to seven or more, depending on the quantity of the food you are preparing, in the seasoning you prepare for rice preparations, sambars, rasams and curries.


Finely chop the curry leaves, again their number depends on the quantity, and add them to the buttermilk.

Curry Leaves Rice Recipe

One of the recipes for curry leaves is the curry leaves rice.  Here is the URL for the step-by-step instructions with photos to make curry leaves rice:


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Amla Juice and Amla Jam

Amla / Indian Gooseberry

Amla juice and amla jam are two of the ways of consuming amla, a wonder fruit that nature has given us, and reap its health benefits.

The links to the recipes for amla juice and amla jam are given at the end of this post.

Amla Juice

Amla Jam

Many research findings reveal that Amla, also known as the Indian gooseberry, offers a number of health benefits.

Here are a few insights into the power of Amla:
  • Can protect and nourish hair
  • Is a rich source of Vitamin C
  • Has many antioxidants
  • Can reduce cholesterol levels
  • Can control diabetes

Amla is a fruit, which has a plenty of Vitamin C.  According to the data in the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference:

100 grams of raw gooseberries has 27.7 milligrams of Vitamin C.

From the same Database:

100 grams of raw gooseberries has 87.87 grams of water.

100 grams of raw gooseberries has 4.3 grams of fiber.

What does the above data mean from the health point of view? The high water content and the fibrousness of amla make it a natural laxative. It can be a remedy for constipation, among others.

In a research study by the Department of Food and Nutrition, Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, men subjects in the age group of 35-55 were given raw amla, for 28 days, as a diet supplement.  The researchers of the study found a reduction in the cholesterol levels of “both normal and hypercholesterolaemic” men.

The researchers also found that when the diet supplement was stopped, after two weeks the “total serum cholesterol levels of the hypercholesterolaemic subjects rose significantly almost to initial levels.”

How can amla be consumed?   It can be eaten raw. Some Indian gooseberries, however, might be bitter or sour.  So, eating raw gooseberries with just a little salt would help overcome the bitterness or sourness of this fruit and could also make it tasty.

You can also make amla juice or amla jam and savor this great fruit.  A spread of amla jam on a bread slice makes it delicious.  Amla jam can be a good side dish for chapati and dosa.

Do you want to know how to make amla juice or amla jam?  Here are the links to the recipes with step-by-step instructions and with photos:

Amla Juice Recipe

Amla Jam Recipe


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Methi Pulao and other Food from Fresh Methi Leaves

Methi Leaves Grown in a Pot

Methi Pulao with Methi Leaves as the Main Ingredient

How to Grow Methi Leaves in a Pot?

Grow methi in a pot or on land in your garden.

Here are the steps to grow methi leaves:

1. Sprinkle a few methi seeds on the soil.

2. Take an object like a spatula and mix the seeds with the soil.

3. Sprinkle water.

4. Gently water the pot everyday. Within a few days the seeds will sprout.

Which green leaves / vegetable is a strong source of calcium?

Methi / fenugreek leaves are a rich source of calcium and iron, among others.

Methi is one of the vegetables / green leaves that is said to provide the necessary calcium for maintaining bone health.

Food made from Methi Leaves

Methi pulao, methi vangi bath are two of the popular cuisines made from methi leaves.

On some Sundays or when you want to try a pulao that is not in the same line as the regular pulaos, try methi pulao or methi vangi bath.

Food, such as the above, made from methi leaves is not only delicious but also give health benefits.

Onion raita or coconut chutney are among the side dishes you can use for the above cuisines.

Use methi leaves to make a sambar that is different from the sambars you typically make.

For methi pulao and methi vangi bath recipes, visit:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pudina Chutney

Pudina Chutney

Whether you want to use pudina chutney for dosa or pudina chutney for idli, this chutney, also known as mint chutney, is a right choice.  In fact, pudina chutney is an excellent side dish for rava idli.  Thanks to the pudina’s fine aroma and taste.  This side dish also has nutritients.  According to the USDA National Nutrient Database data, mint is rich in, among others, water, calcium, iron, potassium and vitamin A.

Pudina also scores well on the availability point – You can find it in the market, usually, throughout the year.  If you want to make chutney, juice or another cuisine from this green leaves, make sure you buy them fresh.  It is because old pudina leaves may have fewer nutrients.

You can easily grow pudina / mint in your backyard or kitchen garden.  Just plant one of the sprigs, preferably with the root, of the pudina you buy.  Take care of it, and you are sure to get a plenty of yield.

Now, back to the pudina chutney.  It has two variants.  The first variety is prepared without using coconut and is ideal for dishes like samosa. The second type is made with coconut and is good for idlis and dosas.

Do you need any special ingredient to make pudina chutney? Not at all.  In fact, the common items like coriander leaves, coconut and, of course, the pudina leaves, is all you need to make this side dish.

For step-by-step instructions, with photos, on how to make pudina chutney, visit:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Raw Beetroot Salad

Beetroot Salad

Do you know that beetroot, also known as beet, helps maintain good health?  Here are just a few of the health benefits of this vegetable:  Research studies indicate that beetroot can lower blood pressure.  Some research indicates that beetroot can be used to control tumor growth.  What is more, there is research evidence that beetroot improves cognitive abilities.  As a rich source of Vitamin A, beetroot is good for eye health.

Beetroot is also a rich source of calcium and Vitamin C and minerals like potassium and sodium.

Here is more good news about this vegetable:  It is available throughout the year.  When you buy beetroot, make sure it is fresh.  Old beetroot usually tastes bitter.

How can you include this wonder-food – beetroot – in your diet? One way is to make a raw beetroot salad.

Here is how to make beetroot salad:

Beetroot salad recipe - Ingredients

Servings: 1
  1. Small Beetroot 1
  2. Small Onion 1
  3. Small Tomato 1
  4. Salt
  5. Pepper Powder (optional)
  6. Lemon Juice (optional)
Beetroot salad recipe -Method
  1. Wash the beetroot.
  2. Peel its skin.
  3. Grate the beetroot.
  4. Chop the tomato into small, cube-shape pieces
  5. Chop the onion into small, cube-shape pieces.
  6. Add salt to taste.
  7. Add pepper powder to taste (optional).
  8. Add lemon juice to taste (optional).
  9. Mix all the ingredients well.
Raw beetroot salad is ready!

TIP: If you do not like to eat just the raw beetroot salad, you can use it as a side dish for chapati or phulka.

Visit for recipes for a range of south Indian vegetarian dishes.

Nutrient Data Source / Research Data Source include: USDA National Nutrient Database,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Murukku | How to make Murukku

Murukkus and Murukku Machine

Murukku is a south Indian vegetarian snack that has stood the test of times.  It is a food that is popular since many, many years.  Although it is a deep-fried snack, still, generally, everyone likes it.  What is that in murukku that makes it appealing to many?  The tastiness and crunchiness of murukku, perhaps, are the reasons for its fame.

By the way, murukku is also known by such names as chakli and chakkuli.

With coffee or tea, murukku could make a superb evening snack, especially on a cold or rainy day.  Do, however, have a control on how much you eat it, because this is a fried food.

To make murukkus, you need the murukku machine, which is usually available in stores that sell utensils.  These are made from copper, aluminum or steel.  Three or four types of murukku templates are also given to you when you buy the machine.  The templates enable you to make different shape and size murukkus.

Do you need to have any special ingredient to make this snack? Fortunately, no.  The items you use in everyday-cooking are all you should have to make murukku.  Rice flour is the main ingredient of this food.  The other things you need include red chilies, roasted gram dal and red chili powder.

You can store murukkus for many days.  A point you should also keep in mind on how to make murukku is that after you make this snack, you should store it in an air-tight container so the murukkus do not become soft.

For details on how to make murukku, please visit:

If you have comments or wish to give feedback, please click Comments at the end of this post.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Masala Vada Recipe | Chana Dal Vada Recipe

With the masala vada recipe, make mouth-watering vadas, also known as chana dal vadas, to be used as a side dish, usually for lunch.  On a cold or rainy day, masala vadas are sure to brighten up your mood!  This food can also be used as a snack.  Masala vadas are also an item that are prepared on some festival days.  These include Ugadi and Diwali. Chana dal is the key item in the masala vada recipe.

As an item made on a festival day, masala vada is generally consumed as a side dish.  If you would like to make the item to be used as a snack, you may want to serve it with coconut or pudina chutney and or tomato sauce.  The reason you may want to use one or more of these is to give an extra taste to the masala vada.

Masala vadas are deep-fried.  To add a healthy element to this food, use green leaves like pudina / mint, coriander, dill, curry leaves and methi.

Chana dal vadas are also served in vegetarian restaurants, also known as Darshinis, in Bangalore.  The masala vada at such a place will be usually bigger in size in relation to those made at home.  What side dish does a restaurant serve with the vada? Typically, the side dish will be coconut chutney.

Why not try making masala vadas at home? Here is the masala vada recipe / chana dal vada recipe with step-by-step instructions, photos and tips.

For more south Indian vegetarian recipes, visit

Do ask a question about the masala vada recipe or share your experience or feedback about this recipe, using the comment form below.