Happy New Year!! – Puttandu and Vishu

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Tomorrow being the Tamil (Puttandu) and Malayali (Vishu) New Year, this post seemed most apt!!

And both are equally important for me as I am a Tam married to a Malayali 🙂 – so double celebrations. The day will start by viewing the Vishukani which is a display of fruits, raw vegetables, gold, currency – all those things which you wish for in the next year. Its believed that viewing these items first thing in the morning will ensure prosperity and abundance throughout the year. This Vishukani is set the night before by the eldest family member and is the first thing to be viewed by all family members. Also Vishu is the time for the younger members to receive blessings in the form of cash and kind from elders. So a great time to populate the piggy bank as well! 🙂

The dishes cooked on this day for both Vishu and Puttandu are a mix of all tastes – sweet, salty, umami, bitter and sour. This is indicative of the mixed flavours  that life offers and helps us appreciate and prepare for the same.

So in the festive spirit, sharing the recipe of the raw mango chutney we prepare for Puttandu!

Ingredients:

  • Raw mango – 1 or 2 big mangoes
  • Jaggery – can adjust as per the sweetness desired
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp for tempering
  • Mustard seeds – half tsp
  • Dry red chilli – 2-3
  • Fresh neem flowers
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Peel and shred the raw mango and keep aside
  • In a kadai, take the raw mango, add just about enough water to submerge it (not too much) and little salt. Cook on medium flame
  • Once the raw mango dissociates and reduces, add the jaggery and cook. The jaggery will melt making the whole mixture slightly runny. This consistency will get adjusted as you cook.
  • Once desired consistency is achieved (like chutney), switch off the gas.
  • In a small pan, heat ghee, mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add neem flowers and red chillies. Once the neem flowers are brownish in color, add this tempering to the chutney.

Hope you try this and like this as well…

Looking forward to hearing from you!!

Puttandu Nalvazhtukal!!

Vishu Ashamsakal!!

Summer Coolers ….Urgent Requirement….Phew!!!

Summertime calls for the need to whip up coolers everyday….and of course with kids, taste is important.

My favorite coolers are more traditional and revolve around yoghurt and lemon.

–  Buttermilk/lassi – sweet or salted – its the ultimate cooler.

– The addition of pudina, coriander leaves, cucumber and asafoetida (hing powder) while blending adds a whole new dimension to the buttermilk, in addition to the natural cooling it provides. You can choose to add chillies and curry leaves as well to make it zingier.
Down South, we also add some tempering of mustard seeds in oil

–  The addition of some rose water or fruit pulp like mango, strawberry, chikoo enhances the flavor of the yoghurt and makes it interesting for children as well.

– Lemon – my favorite addition to the regular lemonade is grinding slices of ginger with the lemonade. It makes the regular lemonade more interesting and also provides health benefits.
Being a South Indian, curd rice is almost staple in the summers. To make it delicious and interesting, I add finely chopped cucumber, raw mango and a tempering of mustard seeds, chana dal, curry leaves, chillies, cashews and raisins…try it…its really yummy!!!

Wishing you a cooooool summer!!! :):)

Children – the future keepers of food!

With the prevalence of adulteration and doubts raised on the safety of food we consume, we always seem to talk only to the women of the household regarding the same. We somehow seem to ignore the growing battalion of the future – The kids!!

Today’s kids are proactive, open to new knowledge and are greatly aware of happenings in their surroundings

Lets empower our children to join this cause on food safety thereby ensuring we leave behind a world of aware individuals who know how to fight against adulteration and ensure only safe food is consumed

The following steps can be taken on a daily basis to explain to our kids the problems of consuming unsafe/adulterated food and measures to counteract the same:

1. Explain to them the impact of consuming unsafe/adulterated foods

2. Take them to the market when shopping for fruits, vegetables and other foods and explain how to seek out safe food – quality of vegetables, no          shine on apples, etc

3. Explain how to read the food labels of packaged foods

4. Explain why we should avoid consuming fruit juices etc. from roadside stalls

5. Teach them how to detect adulteration in foods – conduct small easy experiments and show them – the steps are very easily available on the               Internet

6. Explain the importance of consuming correctly packaged food and indicators of the same

Lets raise this Food Safety Army and safeguard their future 🙂

Do let me know your suggestions on other ways in which we can inculcate this habit in our children…

Treat milk right to keep its nutrition intact!

As a Mom, we know the nutritional benefits of milk not only for our kids but also for all other family members. But are we treating the milk correctly to ensure the nutrition is intact when consumed?

Most people boil the milk before consuming it to get rid of harmful bacteria. But along with the bacteria, boiling kills the nutrients in the milk. So how do we ensure the removal of harmful bacteria yet keeping the nutrition content of milk intact?

The answer is UHT (Ultra High Temperature) treated milk! UHT treated milk is milk that is heated at 135-150 degrees C for 3-4 seconds and them immediately cooled to 20 degrees C. This ensures the removal of harmful bacteria keeping the goodness of milk intact.

Further, UHT treated milk packed in aseptic packaging helps increase its shelf life without the need for preservatives or refrigeration. The aseptic packaging has 6 layers that keeps out bacteria, impurities and environmental conditions thereby protecting the goodness of milk.

You can get more information on this from the video at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZW2oPcUpac

Treat the Nutrition Powerhouse with respect and care that it deserves and treat your family to its wholesome goodness!! 🙂