Showing newest posts with label Herbs. Show older posts
Showing newest posts with label Herbs. Show older posts

7.5.11

Mutton-Spring Onions Soup - Natural Remedy For Flu!





Meat-Green Onions Soup:

Other Names: Goat's meat and Spring onions Soup. Iraichi-Vengaya thaal Soup.

Ingredients:

Meat with bones 1/4 kilo
Spring onions 1 large bunch
Red onions 1 medium sliced
Ginger 1" grated
Garlic 2 cloves minced (use 7-10 pods, if you like)
Soy sauce 1 tablespoon
White pepper powder 1-2 spoons
Oil few spoons.

Method:

Cook mutton till tender in a pressure cooker, set aside.

Heat oil in a wide vessel, add ginger-garlic and onions fry real good. Further add cooked meat along with its liquid.

Add enough salt, soy sauce, pepper powder. Allow this to boil well, finally add chopped spring onions and continue boiling briefly...maybe until the greens wilt.

Serve warm as a starter.

28.7.10

Mung Sprouts in Herbs Based Curry - Mulai Payiru Nilgiri Kuruma



Sprouted Green Gram Korma:

Sprouted Green Lentils Curry, Mulai Payiru Kuzhambu.

Ingredients:

Green gram/mung dhal/ green lentils 1 cup
Curry leaves 2 twigs
Cloves 5
Cinnamon sticks 2
Green cardamom 6-7 pods crushed
Bay leaves fresh 2-3 leaves
Star anise 1
Fennel seeds 2 spoons
Green chilies 6-8 grated
Onion 1 large grated
Ginger 2" minced/paste
Garlic 4-6 cloves minced/paste
Tomato 1 large chopped/puree
Salt
Turmeric 1/4 spoon
Mint 1 fistful(leaves alone)
Cilantro 1 fistful(leaves alone)
Coconut 1 large(made into puree, use limited water)
Ghee 1 cup.

Method:

Soak the lentils overnight, next day...drain the water and cover them up, leave the set-up for at least 12-15 hours, you'll notice sprouts coming up.

In a wide wok, heat ghee. Add all the spices one by one(cloves, cinnamon cardamom, bay leaves, anise, fennel seeds and curry leaves). Wait till they pop and splutter.

Now add grated chilies, onion, ginger and garlic paste. Fry real good. Maybe till their raw smell leaves the pan.

Now stir-in tomatoes and fry till they lose water content and oil shows up on top.

Add salt and turmeric to it. Then add 2 cups of water and bring this to boil, let this get cooked over medium heat for 20 minutes.

Add the sprouts to the curry. Meanwhile wet-grind cilantro and mint leaves.

And add the green paste and coconut to it. Bring this to boil and remove from heat.

Serve warm to go with your chappathis or pooris.

21.3.09

Keezhanelli Mor



Keezhanelli Mor:

Phyllanthus amarus/ Phyllanthus nururui is the Botanical of this fragile plant! It is called Keezhanelli in Tamil. Keezh - Under/Underneath and Nelli - Berry/ goose berry/ amla!! This teeny plant has sesame seed sized leaves and underneath each leaf blade, it posses black mustard sized berries, which looks exactly like microscopic amla/gooseberry...Oh Tamilians are known for their 'Kaarana Peyar' (meaningful names)!

This plant grows in wild, among the weeds and often gets out of our attention! The whole plant is about 10-20 cms! It is native to Central Asia! It belongs to the family of Euphorbiacea. It is used in medicine, since time immemorial by both Chinese and Indian medicines(both Older civilization, right). Well...since then it has been handed down via tradition to the next generation! Although it sounds like a folks remedy, lot of research has been very convincing so far. It posses immense power to cure various ailments from jaundice to diabetes!

Folks Remedy : The whole plant, along with its root, is washed and ground into paste - swallowed in empty stomach and to wash that down, salt less buttermilk is given. A period of 10 days is said enough to cure even severe jaundice(both Hepatitis B & C). When English medicines fail for small pox and jaundice, people do follow this alternate medicines! Though its going to take a while with severe diet plan, at least it has no side effects!!

Science Behind The Plant: The major constituents of this plants are 1. Liganins, 2. Alkaloids, 3. Plant Flavonoids, 4. Polyphenol compounds and 5. Tanins. [ All these may be composed of phyllanthine, demethoxyninarthin, entnorsecurinine, phyllanthoside, quercetin, ellagic acid, gallic acid etc ]. Well, to give it simple the plant components imply that they are rich in anti-oxidants and disease fighting factors!!

The species P.nururui has been widely studied! The report says that it inhibits the growth and proliferation of the virus (anti hepatitis B) and also affects the replication of their genetic material! The P.nururui exactly blocks the DNA polymerase, an active enzyme...which is very important for both Hepatitis B & C virus to reproduce! Aaaha there is the key!

The gallic acid and the steroidal compounds present in them maybe an effective pain killer of an inflammation! Phyllanthus also cures away the excess uric acid present in the body. The alkoloids helps them to remove stones from the kidney and it also clears the gall bladder. Well, both P.amarus and P.nururui overall strengthens liver and reduces the severity of liver damage(due to fat, drugs, alcohol and even stress/damage caused by cortisol hormone). If you ask me, I will suggest to take them as best detoxing concoctions(even without any serious health issues) to cleanse your body.

When I went to India(last vacation), I spotted this humble fragile plant in my garden! Though Pappa was telling me, not to pluck them, without the need...I kind of did it...for the photo and always wanted to know, what they taste like, he he.

Ingredients:

Keezhanelli plant 1 (along with root)
Butter milk 1 cup
Salt to taste.

Method:

Do you seriously want to know the steps here!!:)

19.2.09

Fresh Figs Subzi





Athi Kai Kootu:

Ficus in Culinary, Dumur ka Subzi, Athi Kai Kootu, Figs with lentils Curry.

This woody tree comes under Moraceae family. The genus name is Ficus...since there are several varieties of species here(about 850)...I am leaving it blank here. One could assume that, I used 'indica' species tho'. The tree is native to Persia(modern Iran)from there it spread to all Mediterranean and Asian countries. Fig tree is considered holy in many religion(Buddhism after enlightenment, under Bodhi tree). Fig trees are keystone species in an ecosystem. As it supports too many lives...including insects, worms, birds, bats that feed on its fruits....

Fig is a remarkable fruit! It has peculiar arrangement of flowers!! You guys wondering what? Have you ever seen a fig's flower? It is neither fruit nor a flower actually!!! As you would have heard this proverb in South India(Tamil language). 'Maraindhu Poo Pookkum, Therindhu Kai Kaikkum', meaning...the flowers bloom secretly and fruits flourish visually!!! Botanically speaking, it posses both flowers + fruit! A flower the grew inwards!! Since it has a receptacle like, hollow(the inner pith) & outer leathery skin. It has multitude of flowers that grow inwards...which never gets a chance to face the sun! Yeah...one of the natures mysteries!!! If you break open a fig, you'll notice 1000s of teeny seeds and along with it lots of 'dot' sized buzzing flies(microscopic flies that has been feasting inside happily and thereby helped pollination).......woooo!!!

Figs are often associated with a thought of 'Fertility tree' among most of the population. But in reality, it doesn't posses any such quality. It is valued for its high laxative property! Both the pectin and minute seeds gives a good roughpage to the stomach. The dry fruit...serves as a best source for magnesium, iron and potassium! It should be noted that, this fruit has more potassium than bananas! As a fresh fruit posses phosphorous and calcium. Again its calcium content is more than milk! It has high sugar content...gives out quick energy. One can rely on htis fruit for instant glucose! The thick pectin it posses, a soluble fibre helps to control the blood cholesterol level. So don't hesitate to pick a ripe fresh fruit, next time from the market. Also...do not throw away the cut and bruised fruits, my friends...I tell you. The over ripe, slightly bruised fruits are actually rich in anti-oxidants than the raw unripe ones.

My mommy and Grandma used to make pickle or kootu out of these fresh figs. The raw figs have unique taste...kind of like 'Plantain Flower'! There was lots of figs tree in our school. During lunch time...myself and my brother used to have food under one such big tree. As a kid...never liked this fruit. Used to wonder...how these 'microscopic' insects got into these fruits!! Older, wise people used to say...one should not 'break open' fig fruit and see it...before eating! Does this make any sense...yeah we will lose our appetite! It may not be a fancy fruit...but sure it has lots of goodness in it. So the next time you spot one...don't hesitate to cook them/eat them!

Ingredients:

Fresh Figs 1 cup
Thoor dal 1/2 cup(cooked)
Chana dal 1/2 cup(semi-cooked)
Dry red chilies 7-9
Onion 1 chopped
Ginger-garlic paste 1 spoon
Tomato chopped
Salt
Turmeric 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Oil few spoons
Mustard 1/4 spoon
Cumin 1/4 spoon
Curry leaves few.

Method:

Slit twice the figs and wash several times in the running water.

Heat oil, in a wok. Add mustards, cumin, asafoetida, curry leaves and red chilies. Wait till they pop.

Now, add ginger-garlic paste and followed by onions and tomatoes.

Further add figs and both the dals(cooked+semi-cooked). Add salt, turmeric and chili powders too. Cover and cook, till tender.

Serve to go with your rice. That I call as perfect healthy meal.

10.2.09

Green Grass Juice



Arugham Pul Juice:

Herbal Concoction. Arugham Pul Ras. Arugam Pul Kashayam. Dhoob Ki Kashaya. Wild Bermuda Grass Juice.

Bermuda grass, Botanical name of this grass is Cynodon dactylon. We call it as 'Arugham Pul' in Tamil, they call it as 'Durva' in Sanskrit & 'Dhoob' in Hindi.

Before going into detailing about this particular grass...let me first explain a bit about Chlorophyll(the green pigment of a leafy vegetable)! The molecular structure of these chlorophyll pigment's are much similar to our haemoglobin pigment(the red pigment found in our blood). The function of both these pigments are more or less same too(transporting oxygen is their primary function). Surprisingly both of the pigments are composed of 4 elements Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen...organised around single Iron atom.(A German Chemist, Dr. Richard Willstatter determined that the two molecules closely resemble each other in the Year 1913).

Medicinal Uses: 'Ayurveda', Traditional Indian Pharmacopoeia, states that this grass can be used in the treatment of Asthma, Bronchitis, piles, tumours, enlarged spleen and liver disorders! Another Great Traditional 'Unani system of Medicine' states, it is a tonic for brain and heart! According to the folk's remedy...they crush this grass and apply it on their minor cuts! And it can be used for any general inflammation! Regular intake of this juice has several healing properties...like it reduces body heat, relieves impurities, lowers one's blood glucose level! From my Genetic point of view...it has lot more antioxidants, in fact! So...the antioxidants, prevents the free radical damage & reduces oxidation and thereby DNA degeneration (Less the DNA degeneration...the less we age, both physically and physiologically)!

We generally don't appreciate things that we get for free, right! Off lately, even among youngsters, knowing logic behind the traditional recipes is growing, that good!

Taste: The grass has a sweet taste. And it is an excellent body coolant. I could relate this drink with modern green tea so much!

Caution: Be sure that you pick the right species(grass). Use only native Indian species that grows in wild(it usually creeps on side wards). Never attempt to try with your Bermuda grass...from the lawn (although same species, its hybrid - has modified genes)! Also never overdo with the greens. Any greens have this blood thinning property...it may not be advisable to people who have condition like Blood pressure.

I can't believe that I am posting a drink...made out of Grass!!! Some of you might think I am paranoid or something!:( Bermuda grass juice!!! Sounds so weird, but can't help it...it has lots of goodness!!! Hindus consider it as a holy Grass and include it in their pooja ceremony! Maybe it is a way of life...to protect the species from the verge of extinction!! But never seen anyone making any culinary attempt!! The street vendors used to sell this 'Arugham Pul Juice' at the Marina beach, Chennai...although never cared to try, back then. All old people from the walking club used to drink it with great passion!

Ingredients:

Bermuda Grass(native Indian species that grows in wild & not from your lawn)
Honey
Filtered water.

Method:

Trim the grass 1" above from the roots. Wash and clean them.

Now boil them in 1-2 cups of filtered water. Maybe for couple of minutes. Then filter the same.

Add honey to it. Serve warm early in the morning(preferably empty stomach & after work outs).

6.1.09

Koduka Puli



Koduka Puli:

Manila Tamarind. Kodukkai Puli/Kodi-kai puli. Sweet Tamarind. Thai-Sweet Tamarind. Camachile Fruit.

My back home cook, Usha Nandhini...brought some surprise to me! These Camachile fruits!!!

The Botanical name of this tree is Pithecellobium dulce. Sources say it originated from Mexico to America, Central Asia and to India. Although I have seen these trees through out the highways(in India). Never had a clue of their culinary use. It resembles tamarind and it is widely called as Manila Tamarind. I had hard time finding its Tamil name.....'Koduka Puli', when thoroughly analysed the words...got the meaning...like 'Kodi-kai puli'(vined tamarind)! It is commonly called as 'Madras Thorn' or 'Monkey Pod' in English and 'Jungle Jilebi'/ 'Bilayati Imli' in Hindi. My friend Kranthi just furnished me with its Telugu name 'Seema Chintakayalu', probably means 'Foreign/Alien Tamarind'! Well...again my blog friend Rajeshwari told they call it as 'Kona Puliyankai' in Tamil, since this is pod coils so much...'Twisted Tamarind', nice name! Even my cook called it as 'Konakkai' means 'Twisted Vegetable'!

It is generally eaten my school kids, from road side vendors! I have never seen them hitting any market place(so far). Considered as intruding weed, if it grows in the residential area! The pod/pulp is widely used in the tanning industry(to clean their leather, I guess!)

The pod is kind of twisted(unlike tamarind, which is straight). They are greenish is color and on maturation goes to pinkish to deep red! Parrots and Squirrels like them a lot. The Pulp is in white color and sweetish in taste(when they are ripe). It has many medicinal properties, they are astringent in nature...used to treat venereal diseases. The bark is said to be very curative for bowel movement/constipation! The leaves are used in folks remedy for indigestion.

If anyone of you know their culinary use or folks remedy...please don't hesitate to share with me!:)

21.12.08

Alfalfa Lemon Rice





When a seed holds up a tuff cover, packed with high protein and carbohydrate! Upon germination(a crucial period of sudden raise in their active molecules). At the expense of some protein it gets converted into all essential vitamins! Since a germinating plant needs all support for growth(survival of the fittest)....it is boosted with vitamin A, C and B-complex! All challenging the limes, lemons and meat products. Imagine a simple fragile sprouting root+shoot from a seedling has so much capacity!!! That is why it is highly nutritious and most welcomed by vegans and vegetarians to compromise their protein and vitamin need! A cup of raw
sprouts has just 10 calories.......making us all happy. Eat as much as we want, no worries about gaining weight!!!

One of the studies say they have more chlorophyll content than our fav' greens! Its hard to believe tho'......but it does have some chlorophyll content, we have to agree with that. Since sprouts are rich in phytochemicals, it helps to fight against diseases, improves one's immune system!

As I said at the expense of certain protein it gains more vitamin ratio beyond the point, that one could imagine 200-300%. Same goes to fighting against any outbreaks while germination! Like a mother's milk is extra and excess in all vitamins, for fast growth, possessing disease fighting compounds!!! Similar molecules are found here......they have rich enzyme activity. In this fragile plants, significant amounts of glucosinolates and isothyiocyanates....which are very important inducers of phase 2 enzyme production that prevents malignant cell growth! The cancer fighting ones!

Like most of the greens, they too have plant Saponins! Which could lower one's cholesterol! So supports heart related disease. Saponis are said to to promote ones immune system by increasing the activity of fighter cells(Lymphocytes and interferons).Besides they are loaded with antioxidants...prevents cell degeneration process and DNA destruction..... making it a good source to bring down aging related symptoms! Alfalfa sprouts contains great amount of phytoestrogens.....which is very essential for female health. It can prevent menopausal symptoms, early cancer and age-related osteoporosis. It overall provides good heart condition, upon regular consumption.

As any good thing has its own demerits, so does the sprouts......always had a apprehension while handling whether there could be a 'Salmonella' or any deadly bacteria, certain strains of E.coli are very dangerous. When you indent to produce your own sprouts, make sure you clean the seeds properly. If the seeds had any soil, kindly forget the idea. Never try to produce with a stale seeds. Mix only clean(but not boiled or any) room temperature water for sprouting. Sterilize your sprouting aparatus. After 2-3 days....be very content with what you got and refrigerate them immediately. Leaving them over for prolonged period could bring a musty smelling, uninvited virus/bacteria to your salads!

A spoon of seeds could give you 10-15 spoons of sprouts, absolutely no hard work.....doest require sunshine, big pot,potling soil, fertilizer.....this was how my friend Tulsi lectured before making me to eat 'Mung sprouts' in the Hostel.

Well....this is my own invention recipe. I generally eat sprouts raw with lemon juice and salt for break fast. Since it is already rich in protein, vitamins and fibre....thought of making them wholesome, by pairing with white rice. It turned up great! Now it became my favourite meal!

Ingredients:

Long grain rice 1 cup
Alfalfa sprouts 1/4 cup
Ginger 2" julienned
Jalapenos 1 large julienned
Salt
Lemon juice 1-2 fruits
Mustard seeds 1/4 spoon
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Cumin seeds 1 spoon
Olive oil few spoons.

Method:

Cook rice along with salt till tender. Then spread them in wide platter.....allow them to cool down to room temperature. Let all the rice get well separated and be little stiff.

In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard, asafoetida and cumin seeds. Wait till they pop up.

Now add ginger and chilies to...fry for few seconds and remove from heat.

Now run this seasonings over the rice. Mix well.

Then add chopped sprouts and lemon juice, mix well. Serve to go as a main dish!

10.12.08

Mutton Mullu Keerai Kuzhambu







Mutton Mullu Keerai Kuzhambu:

We call this greens as 'Mullu Keerai' in Tamil. Belongs to the same Family 'Amaranthus' like Araikeerai. Only thing is, it has lots of spines in the stem. The Botanical name of this greens is 'Amaranthus spinosus'('spinosus' species name signifies, it has spines). I could never buy the fact that is native to America(when I was in UnderGrad).....it grows all over India. Anyway, Mommy never cooked this greens, just for this reason, it has too many thorns & it looked like weed.

During my last vacation to India, our Cook Usha mentioned about some greens grown in her yard & I compelled her to bring them to me. To my surprise it was 'Mullu Keerai'. So, for the first time....attempted to cook it! Usha asked me to pair this greens with mutton, I did the same....it turned out great. Never ever confuse with pest infection/anything.....looking at the damaged leaves(like my Mommy). Its just this spines have poked the leaves during windy days. The stem although looks thick...they are very tender and perfect to consume, don't discard the stem. They are delicacies. Pairing with Mutton was a Great hit and I became a fan of Mullu Keerai now. Wish I could find them here.....since it is native to America!!!

As most of the greens, they are laxative, diuretic and research is going on to claim its effect on Gastoentero' problems. Hope Pharma' firms come up with nice solutions!

Ingredients:

Amaranthus spinosus 1 large bowl full
Goat's meat 1/4 kilo
Onion 1 large grated
Ginger-garlic paste 1-2 spoons
Tomato large chopped
Salt
Turmeric 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Garam masala powder 1/4 spoon
Sesame oil few spoons.

Method:

Trim the spines carefully, using long scissors. Then chop the tender stems and leaves. Wash and clean them, set aside.

Pressure cook meat with limited water. Maybe 6 whistles will do. Retain the water, set aside.

In a wok, heat oil. Add ginger-garlic paste and grated onion. Fry real good, maybe add salt at this point to hasten your procedure.

When they are golden color, add tomatoes and fry till they wilt and oil shows up on sides.

Stir in cooked meat along with its water. Add turmeric, chili and garam masala powder. Cover and cook, till meat is tender and spices have infused in them.

Now add chopped leaves and stems of the greens. Cover without cover, maybe till greens are done.

Serve warm to go with your Idly, dosa, chappathi or plain steamed rice. Enjoy.

5.12.08



Tulsi Ki Chai:

Tulsi Tea. Tulasi/ Tulsi ka Chai. Holy Basil Tea. Sacred Basil Tea. Thulasi/ Thulsi Tea recipe.

The Botanical name of this humble herb is Osimum sanctum. The plant is considered sacred by Hindus. It originated from India. Well...again there are 3 or 4 species. Except few, most of them are consumable. The plant is very aromatic, the leaves and inflorescence(flower) are edible here.

Traditionally most of the medicinal plants identified were considered holy and sacred by our ancestors....maybe its a way to protect the ecosystem and balance! When they impose religious faith on an important plant/animal (totem worship is prevalent among old civilizations like China, India, Mayans and Aztec) it is handed down with care to next generation, preventing extinction! That is a way beyond of thinking. I used to get the same feelings when the Rajasthanian tribes worship their black buck, it was on verge of extinction...Govt imposed rules to protect that bird & also announced it as State Bird of Rajasthan. Tribals are really aware of these Eco balance and stuff than educated people sometimes. West always accused Indians for slash & burn system and brown cloud. When tribal only ate the older animal or very young and feeble(which has high mortality rate & they never killed an animal / plants in their peek breeding season) some forest rangers, rich Babus and British hunted and exploited for game and pleasure(during modern history time). Anyways, am I missing the story here! All I am saying is....protect the ecosystem! Do not exploit, pluck the medicinal plants leaves only when there is a need! Try to save a few seeds, as modern life style is not supporting very well for natural pollination.

Science of Basil Leaves:

On general any Basil leaves has an important constituent 'adaptogen', an anti-stress component. Relieves depression related symptoms upon regular consumption. As most of the herbs it is loaded with anti-oxidants....yeah yeah so fights with that free-radicals and reduce oxidation. Besides it has several physiological significance, expertise in pharmacology are working on it....claiming their effect as anti-inflammatory agents, antibiotic, improves one's immune system, lowers blood glucose level, lowers blood cholesterol, lowers triglycerides level, lowers blood pressure. Some sources say chemotherapy for cancer patients shows significant effect, when they fed their patients with these leaves.

Common Medicinal Uses: Popularly known for its cold and cough concoctions. Has an amazing properties to remove severe bronchial phlegm. The decoction of these leaves works well for sore throat, done this tons of times, as a kid. Sure its a good home remedy for cold & flu, I have seen asthma patients chewing these leaves regularly.

Caution: It has severe anti-fertility effect...that is why Hindu priest have them daily in their holy water. So take them wisely only when it is necessary. If you're smart enough, use them as a contraceptive concoctions. It does have a birth control agent.

Ingredients:

Holy Basil leaves 10-12
Granulated black tea leaves 1 spoon
Cardamom pods 1 or 2 crushed/ use powder
Ginger 1" grated
Honey 2 heavy teaspoons.

Method:

Use fresh or dry holy basil leaves for making this tea. It works both the way.

Heat water, along with tea leaves, basil leaves, cardamom and ginger. Decant the supernatant.

Mix honey and serve. Serves best on a rainy day, winter and flu infected days.

2.12.08

Paruppu Keerai Masiyal





Paruppu Keerai Masiyal:

We call this greens as Paruppu Keerai in Tamil. Botanical name of this greens is 'Talinum cuneifolium'. It is said to have the properties to lower one's blood glucose level. Tribal use them with care, saying it has lots of medicinal value, treating their mouth ulcer, diabetes, cough, pulmonary tuberculosis, diarrhea and gastritis. Research is still going on to claim its effect on diabetes, it has showed some positive test results with lab rats...showering some light to the folks claim.

My back home cook Usha Nandhini is smart in identifying correct species...if I hint her with colloquial name or try to describe the flower's color, size and season.....she puts that info' in her mind and do the hard task of identifying the right specimen! Well...she is really sweet, search for the special plants, herbs on behalf of me. As she lives very close to the foot hills of Vellore Mountains.....she manages to bring these wild and field greens to me. Thank you Usha.

Okay never confuse Palak/Paala Keerai with Paruppu Keerai(as some people do). Anyway....Paruppu Keerai, never hits the market. Sometimes rarely vendors do....its wild, grows near fields or wet lands. Leaves are delicate and thin.

Ingredients:

Paruppu Keerai 1 bunch
Onion 1 small roughly chopped
Garlic 5 beads
Tomato 1 small chopped
Green chilies 3-5 chopped
Tamarind paste 1/2 spoon
Cooked thoor dal 1 cup(optional)
Salt
Sesame oil few spoons.

For Seasonings:

Thalippu Vadagam 1 spoon
Mustard seeds 1/4 spoon
Cumin seds 1/4 spoon
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Chana dal 1/2 spoon
Urad dal 1/2 spoon
Dry red chilies 3 - slitted
Curry leaves few
Sesame oil few spoons.

Method:

Wash and clean the greens. Trim the thick stem, retain the soft stems and leaves alone.

Pressure cook, thuvar dal till soft and set aside.

In a wok, heat few spoons of oil. Add chilies, garlic, onion and tomato and saute for few minutes.

Then add greens, salt, and tamarind to it. Cover and cook....till they wilt.

Now grind them coarsely using mann-chatti/kal-chatti. Add cooked thuval dal and grind together, once again.

In a separate pan, heat oil. Add the seasonings items one by one, wait till they pop and splutter. Now run this seasonings over the masiyal made above.

Serve warm to go with plain rice. Adding steamed rice to the mann-chatti and make a earthen pot meal - tastes better this way too!

17.11.08

Night Shade Greens Stir-Fry





Manathakkali Keerai Poriyal:

The Botanical name of this plant is 'Solanum nigrum'. Its a perennial plant grows in wild all over India. It is said that it originated from west Africa. Manathakkali is called 'Black NightShade'/ 'Night Shade Plant' in English. In Hindi it is called 'Makoy'. In Telugu its called 'Kamanchi Chettu'.

Well...in Tamil colloquial way 'Manithakkali'...which explains that the plant has minute sized berries! It is also known as 'Sun Berry' and 'Wonder Cherry'.

An analysis of 100 grams of manathakkali leaves shows following results:

Moisture 82.1 %
Protein 5.9 %
Fat 1.0 %
Minerals 2.1 %
Carbohydrates 8.9 %

The minerals and vitamins include:

calcium
phosphorus
iron
riboflavin
niacin
vitamin C
Its calorific value is 68.

The plant and the fruit has toxic alkaloid solanine and saponin in them....upon feeding experiments on sheep for toxicity, however, showed negative results! So don't worry about using wild greens in cooking....and also be specific in identifying right specimen!

Healing Power and Curative Properties:

Generally known for mouth and stomach ulcer in folks remedy. But it also dignifies a wide range of curative abilities towards, fever, stomach disorders, improve appetite, digestive disorders...as even laxative...body coolant. It is appreciated as cardiac tonic. It helps to remove catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tubes in asthma patients. The fruits of the plant can also be used beneficially in treating asthma.

So....I had a small plant back home...collected just fine and slender twigs for this recipe. To bring up the volume...used more grated coconut, after all coconut also alleviates from mouth ulcer!

Ingredients:

Greens of Manathakkali 1 bowl full
Grated coconut 1 cup
Salt
Chana dal 4 spoons
Urad dal 4 spoons
Dry red chilies 3-5
Mustard seeds 1/2 spoon
Sesame oil few spoons.

Method:

Wash and clean the greens along with its fine twigs. Chop them coarsely and set aside.

Heat oil in a wok. Add mustard, chana+urad dal, dry red chilies....wait till they pop.

Now add greens and salt. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. When the leaves wilt and reduces...turn them to high heat.

Stir-in grated coconut...fry for couple of minutes and remove from heat!

Enjoy with plain steamed rice.

14.11.08

Perrandai Thovaiyal








Pirandai with leaves and flowers.



Pirandai in Wild - Vellore Mountain.

Perrandai Thovaiyal


There is new wing of studying ethnic herbs and concoctions (Medico-Ethnobotany/ Ethnobotany / Ethnobiology). The Tribals, Natives, Witch doctors, Shamans, Ayurdeva, Siddha, Unani doctors....have been practising this for centuries.(Medicine is always practising....and never studying.....for eg: the result won't be repeated with everyone....certain group, sex, worknature, geographical location, everthing matters) Anyways.... increasing the supply by breeding certain species, tapping its specific genes.....in order to meet the increasing demand should be duly noted. Besides R&D....government should take measures towards conservation, educating the locals...

Its Botanical name is 'Cissus quandrangularis'. We call this as Pirandai / Perandai in Tamil. Its English common name is 'Edible Stemmed Vine'.

Other names of the Vine:

Sanskrit: asthisonhara; vajravalli Hindi: hadjod; hadjora; harsankari
Bengali: hasjora; harbhanga
Marathi: chaudhari; kandavela
Gujrati: chadhuri; vedhari
Telugu: nalleru
Tamil: pirandai
Canarese: mangaroli

It is mainly used as healer of bone fractures. It is one of the very frequently used herb by traditional bone setters of India. (In Hindi Hadj=bone; Jod=to fix). It is also used for piles, asthma, digestive troubles, cough, and loss of appetite.

Chemical Constituents: Stem isolates include 3- keto steroids, onocer-7-en-3a, 21b-diol (I) and onecer-7-en-3a, 21a-diol (II).

Other Uses:Stems and roots yield strong fiber. Young shoots are used in curries. See my Pirandai Karakuzhambu here:

  • Pirandai Karakuzhambu


  • Ingredients:

    Pinju Pirandai/young shoots of pirandai-finely chopped 1 cup
    Urad dal 1/2 cup
    Dry red chilies 5
    Garlic 5 cloves
    Tamarind paste 1 spoon
    Asafoetida 1/2 spoon
    Salt
    Ghee / Sesame oil 1/4 cup(I used ghee).

    Method:

    In a wok, heat oil and fry the pirrandai. One have to fry this really well or otherwise.....its kind of hard while swallowing(it is pricky-maybe its rhaphides)Then set it aside.

    In the same oil, fry all the other ingredients. Once it turns reddish brown, again add the pirandai to it. Fry them again really well.

    Let them cool and then take it to blender and wet grind the same.

    Serve this along with steam cooked rice/raagi kali/raagi Sangati. Simply un beatable!

    3.11.08

    Vetiver


    Vetiver Water:

    Vetiver is closely related to other fragrant grasses such as Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus).

    Vetiver has been used throughout history in many different cultures for many different reasons from its healing abilities to ceremonies. Vetiver oil was used to anoint brides to bless them before entering marriage.

    In Ayurveda the root and essential oil are used for heatstroke, fevers, and headaches. Russians used vetiver in sachets attached to the lining of their coats to help in retaining warmth. It was used in perfumes with rosewood and lime in the middle ages. It was also grown to prevent soil erosion in India. The grass was also
    used to make woven baskets, rugs and parts of the house in Africa.

    In today’s aromatherapy vetiver has many uses. It is used for an insect repellant which it is excellent for. Vetiver it used to strengthen the red blood cells and promotes oxygen throughout the body. Vetiver is often used to alleviate the symptoms of rheumatism, arthritis and muscular aches such as muscle pain, sprains, and joint and muscle stiffness. It also aids the reproductive system; it is used to promote fertilization of the female egg. Vetiver oil is also useful for the skin, it can be used to alleviate the inflammation of acne, aids in healing of cuts, it reduces oil in the skin(for oily skin) and anti-aging properties. Vetiver is not toxic and nonirritant it is great for the skin for sensitive and older skin.

    Ingredients:

    Earthern Pot Water
    Vetiver Roots(dried) 1 fistful(chopped
    Cumin seeds 1 spoon
    Nannari seeds 1/4 spoon

    Method:

    Earthen pot water is used in those days to chill water(when fridge was not affordable). The porosity of the pot....This is because of a physical process known as evaporation. When a liquid changes to a gaseous (or vapour) state without boiling, it is known as evaporation.

    A matka is made of mud and has many minute pores (extremely small holes). No matter how tightly you pack the mud, these pores remain. It is through these pores that the water, placed inside the matka, oozes out. Now, to evaporate, the water needs to absorb heat, which will change it to vapour.

    The only way the water oozing out of the matka can turn to vapour is by absorbing heat from the liquid within the matka and the matka itself. Due to this process of continuous absorption of heat from the water inside the matka, in a few hours, this water becomes cool.

    Well...we use these roots to bring that nice fragrant to the water. Also it is said to have many medicinal properties. Its body coolant!

    So during summer....people immerse these roots in the warm / plain water and make this sit for a long time...to infuse that nice fragrance! Its filtered later and served as fragrant water.

    1.11.08

    Mooligai Masiyal





    Mukkarattai Keerai Masiyal:

    This is also called as Punarnava in Sanskrit. The Botanical name is Boerhaavia diffusa. The English name common name is Boerhaavia. In Tamil we call this Mukkarattai keerai. It has small pink flowers! Its kind of wild creeper...grows near wet paddy fields. In colloquial Tamil....they were calling it mukkaruthan keerai'. But it is Mukkarattai Keerai. So help yourself to spot them!

    These greens are not found in any commercial market! One need to be an expert in picking the right greens from the neighbouring paddy fields or so. So my cook Usha Nandhini(25 year old smart girl, back home) is an expert in greens, herbs and stuff. She searched for these greens all over the neighbourhood and found somewhere. She had hard time explaining about this greens to the landlords....that's an entirely different story! She was so particular about showing me different greens that we could make use of cooking! She personally listed them and hand picked them for me. As she gave me directions....I prepared it. Actually not much variation from what we usually make....but these kind of rare greens should be done with its own nativity....so went by her rules. She was particular about using only dry red chilies(Gundu kaindha milagai)...don't know the significance....but did the same. And I was also alerted...that these leaves have some kind of enzymes that will give us slight irritation even after cooking thoroughly. Yeah...it did irritate me....my lips had that itchy feeling! Anyways.....it is also loaded with goodness, I have listed it below.

    One of the best diuretic. It is also a laxative, Expectorant – It helps to eject phlegm. Refrigerant – It is body coolant. Anthelmintic –Destroys worms! Febrifuge – Mitigates fever. Stomachic – Strengthens the stomach. Diaphoretic – it promotes perspiration. It induces vomiting in large doses!

    Used in treatment of - Swelling, Skin diseases, Nervous weakness, Habitual constipation, Ascites, Paralysis, Blood pressure, Hepatic disorders, Bronchial problems, Scrofula, Dropsy, Anemia, Heart diseases, Kidney problems, Gonorrhea, Internal colic....etc.

    Ingredients:

    Mukkarattai Keerai 1 bunch
    Onion 1 small roughly chopped
    Garlic 5 beads
    Tomato 1 small chopped
    Dry red chilies 5 chopped
    Tamarind 1 lemon size (soaked in water and pureed)
    Cooked thoor dal 1 cup(optional)
    Salt
    Sesame oil few spoons.

    For Sesonning:

    Thalippu Vadagam 1 spoon
    Mustard seeds 1/4 spoon
    Cumin seds 1/4 spoon
    Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
    Chana dal 1/2 spoon
    Urad dal 1/2 spoon
    Dry red chilies 3 - splitted
    Curry leaves few
    Sesame oil few spoons.

    Method:

    Wash and clean the greens. Cut away the thick stem, retain the soft stems and leaves alone.

    In a wok, heat few spoons of oil. Add chilies, garlic, onion and toamto and saute for few minutes.

    Then add greens, salt and tamarind water to it. Cover and cook....till they wilt.

    Now grind them coarsely using mann-chatti/kal-chatti.

    In a seperate pan, heat oil. Add the sesonning items one by one, wait till they pop and splutter. Now run this sesonning over the masiyal made above.

    Serve warm to go with palin rice. Adding steamed rice to the mann-chatti and make a earthern pot meal - tastes better this way too!

    6.10.08

    Kozhi Keerai Masiyal




    Kozhi Keerai Kadaisal:

    I searched all over the net....I couldn't help you all with its Botanical name or even English common name. We call this 'Kozhi Keerai' in Tamil. But few sites as marked this Keerai as 'Paruppu Keerai'! Well....Paruppu Keerai is entirely different. Stick with me...I have paruppu Keerai recipe coming up soon!

    As any other greens, it is rich in Iron...promotes digestion, promotes stickeness to the blood and also acts as a laxative.

    Ingredients:

    Kozhi Keerai 1 bunch
    Onion 1 small roughly chopped
    Garlic 5 beads
    Tomato 1 small chopped
    Green chilies 3-5 chopped
    Tamarind paste 1/2 spoon
    Cooked thoor dal 1 cup(optional)
    Salt
    Sesame oil few spoons.

    For Sesonning:

    Thalippu Vadagam 1 spoon
    Mustard seeds 1/4 spoon
    Cumin seds 1/4 spoon
    Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
    Chana dal 1/2 spoon
    Urad dal 1/2 spoon
    Dry red chilies 3 - splitted
    Curry leaves few
    Sesame oil few spoons.

    Method:

    Wash and clean the greens. Cut away the thick stem, retain the soft stems and leaves alone.

    In a wok, heat few spoons of oil. Add chilies, garlic, onion and toamto and saute for few minutes.

    Then add greens, salt and tamarind to it. Cover and cook....till they wilt.

    Now grind them coarsely using mann-chatti/kal-chatti.

    In a seperate pan, heat oil. Add the sesonning items one by one, wait till they pop and splutter. Now run this sesonning over the masiyal made above.

    Serve warm to go with palin rice. Adding steamed rice to the mann-chatti and make a earthern pot meal - tastes better this way too!

    2.10.06



    Just used fine stems alone to make this curry.



    Pirandai Karakuzhambu.



    Pirandai with leaves and flowers.



    Pirandai in Wild - Vellore Mountain.

    Pirandai Karakuzhambu:

    Ingredients:

    Pirandai/ pinchu pirandai(young shoots) chopped 1 cup.
    Cricket ball size Tamarind or 1 spoon of thick tamarind paste
    Red onion 1 large finely chopped
    Garlic 1 large peeled and semi crushed
    Tomato 1 large chopped
    Jaggery or brown sugar 1 spoon
    Salt
    Turmeric powder 1/2 spoon
    Chili powder 1 spoon
    Rice powder 1 spoon
    Sesame oil 1 cup
    Mustard seeds 1 spoon
    Cumin seeds 1 spoon
    Fenugreek seeds 1/2 spoon
    Chana dal 1/2 spoon
    Urad dal 1/2 spoon
    Asafoetida 1/2 spoon
    Dry red chilies 3-5
    Curry leaves few.

    Method:

    Wash and clean the berries.

    In a deep pan, heat few spoons of oil. Add garlic, fry till its raw smell goes off. Further add onions, fry till they turn to golden brown color. Now add tomatoes, fry them till they loose their water content.

    Now add salt, turmeric, chili powder, sugar and rice powder. Toss them together.

    Add the stems now. Fry them for a while. Maybe till they are kind of fried a little.

    Then add tamarind paste and 2 cups of water. Cover and cook over medium flame.

    Once the vegetable is done. Run the sesonning on the top. (In a separate pan, heat oil. Add mustard, cumin, asafoetida, fenugreek, chenna dal, urad dal, dry red chilies and curry leaves. Let them pop and splutter well.) Run this seasoning over the gravy.

    Serve this along with plain steamed rice. Run a spoon full of ghee over it.....just before serving.