Saturday, September 20, 2014

Adukku malli on PG terrace

Agreed, with my moodiness, its mostly a case of mind willing, but not moving an inch physically. Only on Thursdays and special yoga days, i wake up early in the morning, rest of the days, i sleep without an alarm. It would be hot close to 10 am, when i would water the pots after bathing. And everyone says roots will suffer when watered in noon sun.

In fact, the first time, when i went for long holidays, April 18 uthiram roomie had forgotten to water the plants and was aghast to see pale yellow dried leaves and dried yellow stem when i came back. Thankfully, another moola roommate who had a garden at home, gave me hope on watering it, in spite of everything being yellow and dry. This was months earlier.
Yesterday was chandrashtama for me on ekadashi. When i climbed up to water the plants close to 9 am, was jumping with glee inside, for the flowers had bloomed. Typically one two would bloom, first time 8 had bloomed together and i was so so so very happy.

The fragrance of adukumalli can't  be explained in words. Overwhelming it is.

Fence is greener on the other side. While i long to go to kollimalai stay on hill top, next to scenic Jog falls, next to ocean, folks there want to come to metros and earn quick bucks. In crowded new bangalore, such pots of greenery on terrace top are the only solace. How fulfilling it would be the farmer to see his lush green paddy field. terrace farming in kolli hills is breathtaking. Only after planting few saplings, realized, what a back breaking work it is, but nothing can beat the sweet rewards of lush greenery.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saaranai Keerai| Trianthema portulacastrum | Bishkhapra or punarnava

Saaranai Keerai, mom plucked in hot noon sun, hence leaves are like this

Warning!!! don't ever eat this keerai, without boiling it in tamarind juice or cooking properly, for it has something like pirandai, could be oxalic acid, making throat feel something. The itchiness of throat is not like that of pirandai, it is mild, very much bearable.

Saaranai Keerai
Lunch today:
Mom started and ended lunch with vellam kolukattai
Kootu Poriyal: Carrot Slices, saaranai keerai kootu, velai poosanikai kootu, vendika poriyal.
Kolambus: Periyamma had got murungaka from native place, so murungakka sambhar, thippili lemon rasam, mor kolambu, curd.

Didn't touch curd or mor kolambu, for its no curd fast till September 5th. Folks drink buttermilk, however have been keeping away from buttermilk also.

     Tasting thippili gives an effect, which has to be seen on my colleague's face to understand. Lemon thippili rasam, with a bit of ghee, was too good. Thippili makes tongue feel so clean and fresh. Saaranai keerai and kurinja keerai were introduced by the same aunty.

     Mom knew what was saaranai keerai, but this was the first time, both of us were eating it. So i asked mom, how do you know it is indeed saaranai, she said, she knew. It grows spreading on the ground.

    Quite a lot of research has been done on what is actually punarnava - is it Boehavia diffusa or Trianthema portulacastrum? Mahesh et al state that saaranai is an adulterant to Mukkurttaikodi i.e. punarnava, possibly possessing same properties.

Medical benefits:
decoction of roots to treat asthama and constipation - ethnobiomed, biomedicalcentral, globaljournal
analgesic, stomachic, laxative, treatment of blood disease, anemia, inflammation, and night blindness - phcogrev

The plant is alexiteric, analgesic, stomachic, laxative, alterative; cures “Kapha,” bronchitis, heart diseases of the blood, anemia, inflammations, “Vata,” piles and ascites. The plant has been used in the indigenous system of medicine for the obstruction of the liver asthma, amenorrhea, dropsy, edema, ascites, and beri-beri. A decoction of the herb is used as a vermifuge and is useful in rheumatism; it is also an antidote to alcoholic person.

     Won't ever forget how it made my throat feel, goes to the pirandai class on special processing.

     Was reading out tamizh names listed in ethnobiomed, and when i was reading aloud vasambu (Acorus calamus); mom said, don't take its name; almost like Harry Potter's Voldemort. Her reasoning was, it you say its name, its medicinal properties will be ineffective. If anyone goes to a medical shop, they will ask, give me peru solladha marundhu, instead of asking for vasambu. If vasambu is taken in excess, it will result in stammering it seems.

       Reminds me of varali, one raga that teacher is not supposed to directly teach student, for it results in enmity between teacher and disciple. Funny!!! vasambu, varali, both starting with va.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Kalyana Murungai | Erythrina variegata | Paribhadra

With its tiny thorns, with marching red ants, no wonder it is also called mullu murungai

Sundal pulikolambu, with kalyana murungai kootu and parangi kootu

 Had the same question like my brother, what has kalyana murungai पारिभद्र got to do with drumstick leaves. Poles apart. It is quite different. It gets a little chewy after cooking, hence a minute in mixie makes this more smooth.

Health Benefits
Slimming - Mangathayuru etal
analgesic, antioxidant - Suryavanshi
menstrual cramps - homeremedies, ayurvedic home remedies
diabetes - drsagay
to increase breast milk - herbalking
for earaches - chennai ayurveda
for eyes, digestive disturbances - ayushveda
insomnia, anorexia - ayush doctors

kalyana murungai ghee dosa aka Mullu murungai dosa

Kalyana Murungai Dosa with Peerkankai chutney
All time favourite is ridgegourd chutney. Mildly sauteed ridgegourd in oil, added lots of ginger, coconut with roasted channa dal. The innate mild sweetness of peerkangai chutney is something, that makes me gorge it. Mixed both kalayana murungai and a little bit of curry leaves to dosa batter.

Kalyana Murungai with wheat, kambu, ragi, sollam flour
Kalyana Murungai parantha with okra potato fry

Recipe for kalyana Murungai Dosa:
  • Take normal dosa batter. For folks who want to keep away from blackgram for religious reasons, you can use moong dal with rice to make batter. I prefer batter without salt
  • Grind the leaves in mixie
  • Mix it batter and mix well and make it with crisp with a liberal dose of cows ghee
Ridge Gourd Chutney

  • Roast 2-3 spoonfuls of moong dal/channa dal
  • Mildly saute one medium sized ridgegourd chopped, an inch of ginger, and one green chilli in oil/ghee for 2-3 minutes
  • Set aside to cool off to room temperature (i can't stand more than one chilli, while mom needs two)
  • Cut/scrape half a coconut and grind it all together in mixie with salt as per taste
  • Frying mustard seeds with curry leaves in oil and adding tadka to ground chutney at the end is optional
Folks spice it up with tamarind, i would not add it. End of the day your tongue is the king, eat in whatever way, the food appeals to you. Don't stick to any one recipe, your taste buds will guide you.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Naaval pazham | Jamun | Syzygium cumini

Naval palam that fell on the ground inside our compound wall

Usually mom has something or other drying, this time it was jamun seeds

Neighbours jamun that fell inside our compound walls


Mom has various powders, that i can't even touch, one of them is powder of these jamun seeds. Am predominantly vAta, so religiously keep away from these jamun seed powder. However, pitta mom gorges this.

for diabetes and wound healing - easyayurveda
liver stimulant, digestive, carminative and coolant - rasavinsuvai
nasal bleeding, strengthening teeth - davayurvedaezine

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pippali - Thippili - Piper Longum with Palm Jaggery

Long pepper, pepper, dried ginger, palm jaggery

Medicinal Benefits

Palm Jaggery - cleanser, digestive aid, mineral source - source
Pipali - Thippili  - Piper Longum
The more, i learn about thippili's medicinal benefits, the more am amazed. When we were kids, dad would do funny sandhi vicheds with thirikadugam- sukkumilaguthippili to amuse us; when we would write grocery list with pepper. We would write tamizh grocery names in english or hindi. Took me decades to write tamizh grocery names correctly in tamizh.

Initially, used to buy sillu karupatti packed in a cute box made from dried palm leaves, from khadi stores, later on switched on making it at home.

Mom takes a hammer and powders palm jaggery and dried ginger, enough to last till i go home after 1-2 months. This time, bro did the pounding task for me, to spare mom's wrists and mixie blades. Then, powdered long pepper - thippli, pepper, pounded dried ginger in mixer. This mix with palm jaggery is my starter, dessert, snack for my sweet tooth. I add more of palm jaggery, so that the spiciness is mild and add roasted gram (pottu kadalai). This snack, my own special chocolate powder, is a favourite at office with folks who can tolerate the tikshan taste of long pepper.

Dried ginger powder in supermarkets is brown, while homemade is so fragrant and whitish. When ever i go home, mom hammers this and kadukai removing core. Ever since, journalist cousin said, have ginger in morning, dried ginger at noon and haritaki aka kadukai (Terminalia chebula) at night, this palm jaggery mixture has become a regular.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Last day at home with Indian Spinach - Basella alba - Pothika

On saturday, mom bought palak to make palak paneer for rest of folks, the shasti night i had decided to eat agathi keerai paneer. However, who can refuse the demands of a simha lagna bro, so mutter paneer instead of palak paneer and 2 days later, decided to clear the fridge. Hence palak moong dal/paasi paruppu sambhar.

Palak keerai

Palak keerai thandu

Vaazhai Poo

Bitter gourds with channa dal

Health benefits
Palak is called अपोदिका,  उत्पादिका,  पिच्छिलच्छदा,  पोतिका,  पूतिका,  बलिपोदकी,  विशाला,  वृश्चिकपत्त्रिका, वृश्चिकप्रिया, शाकटपोतिका, पिच्छिल
In cups: Arisi pal payasam, Palak moong dal sambhar, lemon rasam, curd | In plate: Vaazhai poo thayir kootu, palak thandu poriyal, pavakai sundal pulli poriyal, agathi keerai-kalyana murungai chutney, maanga thokku, kada murukku, mangoes

Palak Keerai Moong Dal Sambhar
  • Mildly saute the cut palak in oil, then add asafoetida, turmeric powder, sambhar powder
  • Once leaves are soft, add a little bit of tamarind juice and salt to taste
  • Add pressure cooked moong dal, gently mash it to make palak keerai paasi parupu sambhar
Palak keerai Thandu Poriyal
  • Fry mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida in oil and add cut stem pieces
  • Add chilli and salt to taste
  • Once soft, finally add shredded coconut and immediately take it off flame
Vaazhai Poo thayir pachadi
  • Remove the stigma of plantain flowers and put the cut flowers into curd (to retain whiteness)
  • Fry mustard seeds, curry leaves and add only cut vaazhai poo without adding curd
  • Add water to cook and salt chilli to taste
  • Once soft, add a little bit of pressure cooked moong dal, coconut cumin seed paste, the soaked curd
  • Immediately take it off flame once it is uniformly mixed
Pavakai Sundal puli kootu
Mom had originally asked for kathrika puli kootu, however seeing the state of pavakai, decided to make this.
  • Stir fry de-seeded sliced pavakai, in cows ghee for 2-3 minutes (to remove bitterness)
  • Add asafoetida turmeric powder, chilli-corriander powder, salt to taste, stir and water to cook
  • Once bitter gourd is soft, add pressure cooked chana, tamarind paste, cook for 5 minutes till rawness of tamarind goes off and its done
Lemon Rasam
  • Coarsely crush pepper, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, 1 chilli, curry leaves in mixie
  • Add this mix to hot oil with asafoetida and stir 
  • Add water, salt to taste, pressure cooked moong dal
  • Don't let it boil and transfer it to serving vessel
  • Once luke warm, add half a lemon's juice
Instant Pal payasam
  • Mash pressure cooked moong dal, rice, coconut cashew paste, milk with lots of ghee and sugar
Will write about kalyana murungai separately. Mom just added a bit of kalyana murungai, a little bit of agathi leaves to make chutney for dosas for her breakfast. Its been two months since i came home, and it will be another two months during Gandhi jayanthi, when i would come home again. Until then, it is moong dal kichadi with lots of cows ghee in PG, since dadhi vrat starts on August 9th. When moong dal is there, what more does one need.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Saivam and still wondering why no amlas on saptami?


12:30 am and the tears are still drying in my eyes after seeing the movie Saivam. Azhage is a beautiful song. Mom recommended this movie, and didn’t realize the time passing.

Had a hasta friend around Pudukkottai, who reared lots hens and cocks in her home. The cocks were part of family and they would pull the nighty of my college mate to draw her attention. Though they ate non-veg, they would never kill the birds that they reared at home.

There was a time in CMC Vellore, when every single day for almost 3 months, I had tandoori chicken with maida parotta. Mom would get me a fiction (typically a Cook or Sheldon) and a parcel and I would finish both overnight. Somehow, though I loved biology, loved Ranjini miss, got the highest class score and certificate in 12th biology, could never stand dissections in lab. Could never stand kitchen on Sundays in childhood. Sis after attending pravachans, became the second vegan from 4th, mom being the first. It took me a more than a decade. Nirjal pradhosam fasts started because of neighbours in UG which got metamorphosed to numerous fasts, where you eat only air. And with astrologers as your only conversation friends, one can never eat non-veg.

There is always a trigger for a drastic change in taste buds, but what sustains the trigger is something else. It was in 2005 and Jagannath Puri temple pujari lineage’s Mishra was my friend. His ancestors were the only folks for whom the snakes would make way to take the temple jewels during festivals. My other lunch mate too was a mami. In fact, ever since i came outside home in 2003, my roomie were all mAmis or had at least two mamis sharing my residence at any point of time. Looking back to be honest, his lecture during lunch triggered my vegetarianism in 2005. Within days, happily told him, that I quit non-veg, citing garuda puranam, not the fact, that it was actually due to him.

Once in 2011, went to Banana leaf near Main guard Gate near Trichy Malaikottai and ordered chicken roast, it was served, but could not eat, don’t know why, finally ended up getting it parceled for neighbor.

What sustained vegetarianism all these years in reality was astrology, initially, lal kitab, later garuda puranam. Sun in 11th house are not supposed to eat meat. You get a diseased body in subsequent lives with non-veg as per Garuda puranam. Charaka samhita is replete with non-veg prescriptions though. And the more you study astrology, the more you realize, how blessed you are to be in a human body. One wrong deed, you might be born as a tree, vegetable, hen, goat, fish whatever. Guruji once remarked tiryak yoni (4 legged) for someone’s query on where his pitrus were. Kumbhipaak naraka and fate of capsicum in mirchi bajji are so similar.

Every single wish comes true eventually over lives. It is a continuous series lasting yugas. One needs to be absolutely careful as to what one truly wishes for. Roles interchange. Perhaps I should change life is short statement. Whatever, everything, food whatever is God’s krupa. The moment I have pride, that I have absolute restraint over my tongue, my fasts, and get angry with my bro - the only non-vegetarian at home, then am gone. The moment, I resent my mom or family adding onions garlic to food, then am gone. Though mom adjusts to my cooking, resent going home to relative’s home due to food. Typically, schedule home visits so that my bro would not have to forgo non-veg, because of me. Somehow, can’t stand non-veg inside home now, the smell and all that. For me, temple or mutt food is what I relish the most. What if I was cut thus and cooked or roasted!!!  My bro truly remarks that people who are born vegetarians have greater tolerance for non-veg folks than non-veg folks who have recently became vegetarians. I sit at the farthest corner from my koundiya colleague who eats eggs during lunch. Once, a psychologist was eating chicken next to me and speaking and I almost puked. Everything keeps changing. Today am like this, god knows what will happen when rAhu comes to my dharma sthAna in 2016 during peak of my sade sati.

After guruji came in life, everything is changed, mushroom, onions, garlic are gone from kitchen, hence maggi noodles also, rarely eating outside, no roadside food as well. I missed many office treats – pizza, treats expensive hotel treats, with fasts coming in. Till guruji gave a 15 days for god, 15 days for colleagues, friends  every month rule.

Forget non-veg, or the most delectable pastries, within vegetables, a single tasting of onion garlic will dull a brain; carrots cause laziness, tomatoes induce jealousy, brinjal vipareet gyAna etc. You get cautious on what is allowed for each tithi, each day, each hour – morning, noon and night. Still wondering why no amlas on sundays or saptami. Your body is your vehicle and one needs to take proper care of it and food is the one main input to watch out. To adhere to the spiritual rules without egoistically sticking to them is the key. Sarvam Shri Krishnarpanamastu