Modak, kozhukattai, kadubu- Lord Ganesha’s favourite sweet goes by different names in different languages. This is a simple dish with a very few ingredients, but the complexity lies in the artful folding of the rice flour dough around the sweet (or savoury filling) such that it remains intact during the steaming process. It should neither be too thin nor too thick and should be soft and well-cooked after the steaming process. In Marathi cuisine, the steamed modak is known as ukdiche modak as there is also a deep-fried variant that has a golden and crisp outer layer, called tallele modak.
A spice, a superfood, a natural colouring agent, turmeric has been an integral part of Indian cuisine since ancient times. Turmeric has over 50 names in Sanskrit, each descriptive about its various properties. For example, the name varavarnini refers to its colour and auspiciousness, kanchani to its golden hue and hattavilasini indicates that it shines in the marketplace and has a great commercial value.
Indian cuisines are a treasure trove of culinary secrets that are rooted in science. These techniques, passed on from generation to generation, have multiple benefits. Some help in increasing the shelf life of the food item, while some enhance the nutritional benefits. Many of these techniques ensure that we make the most of our ingredients for better health and zero wastage.
What is Indian food without its spices? We use a mind-boggling variety of spices in the country, each region having a few favourites depending on what is locally grown. Spices are used in different forms - whole, powdered, freshly ground spice pastes along with fresh ingredients like ginger, garlic, coconut etc. or as spice blends.
Summer brings with it baskets of seasonal fruits like mango, chikoo, grapes, watermelon, figs and papaya. These seasonal fruits rich in micronutrients that help build immunity and they also provide a healthy dose of dietary fibre.
We tend to treat snacks as a mindless open-the-pack and pop into our mouth exercise. It is understandable that after planning for and cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner, planning for healthy homemade snacks is an added effort and demanding on our time and resources.
Moong dal is derived from whole green gram which is split with the skins removed. Archaeological evidence shows that green gram was grown on the banks of the rivers Krishna and Godavari as early as the 2nd millennium. It is also mentioned by its Sanskrit names, ‘Mudga’ and ‘Mudgaparni’ in the ancient texts of Rigveda and Yajurveda. Such is the intricate connection of green gram and moong dal with India and its cuisine. Ayurveda considers moong dal as one of the most nourishing-yet-easy to digest foods. It is said to balance all three doshas and one of the best foods to eat after a long period of fasting.
A new year and the start of a new decade is upon us. While anytime is a good time to make positive changes to our lifestyle, the start of a new year gives us an extra boost to take steps towards a better life. Eating healthy is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Here are some small but significant steps one can take towards eating healthier and better in the new year.
Salads are an easy way to incorporate fibre, vitamins, protein and whole grains into your diet. Couple of well-known Indian salads are kosambari and kachumber. Both are often served in spoonfuls as a part of a full thali.
Gujiyas are crescent-shaped deep-fried goodies with a crisp exterior that gives way to a mildly sweet stuffing of all things delicious such as khoya, dried fruits, nuts and coconut. This is a delicacy prepared mainly during Holi in the Northern states of Bihar, UP, MP and Rajasthan. It is also prepared during Diwali. Versions of this sweet are prepared in the South, too, and it goes by the names of ‘somas’, ‘garijalu’ and ‘kajjikaya’. There may be minor variations in the filling and flavours but the basic recipe remains the same. A similar preparation is called kaaranji in Marathi and gughra in Gujarati.