Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pepper!!! Pepper!! Pepper!!

This is my last post of the year. Every year my resolution remained the same since blogging; nothing great but just to write more posts.

I've never been successful due to many reasons; one among them is that I don't try much recipes nowadays as I've switched to more of  uncooked food for my breakfast and dinner. And I don't cook just for the sake of blogging.

This year my resolution is going to be the same; either recipes or health related posts but more. Recent likes in FB has made me excited and would love to see much more likes. :-)

2014 has been a great year for me though with few health problems. I turned to a fitness or health freak; made many changes in my lifestyle and food; started walking more; made new friends; went for two vacation ;-). Thankyou God for giving me such an wonderful year.

Thanks friends for reading about me.
Now about pepper.............

Its a known fact that our south indian diet had more of black pepper and not of chilles in the past. I dont know how we fell for chillies and that too we use more of dried red chillies and red chilly powder nowadays. We limited our use of pepper only to few recipes like Egg omelette, Pepper Chicken, Pepper kuzhambu/curry, Rasam and Salads. But I am sure we are not taking much pepper and definitely not daily.

I do not know the health benefits of chillies; but I do know the health benefits of black pepper. Now how to include more pepper in our South Indian diet, espeically a tamil diet. Freshly ground pepper is better in flavor and taste when compared to store bought pepper powder.

1. Chutneys: 

Coconut Chutney: When I visited one of our friend in kerala last year. she served us chammangi, nothing but coconut chutney. But the ingredients were not red/green chillies as I used to prepare coconut chutney. It was grated coconut, pepper and tamarind. She said sometimes she replaces tamarind with vinegar. I never made coconut chutney like that. Since then I started replacing chillies with pepper.

Tomato Chutney: Here I add 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp of pepper and the taste is hot and amazing ; -)  The same goes with Onion ChutneyGarlic Chutney and Coriander Chutney. There is not much difference in taste and I like it too.. ;-) 

2. Stir Fry:

I replaced chillies with pepper in stir fries like carrot stir fry, cabbage stir fry. Carrot, Cabbage and pepper goes well with each other that too when made as stir fries.. I am yet to try it with potatoes, okra and other vegetables.

3. Gravy for chapatis/ Rotis

Usually I add spice powders in this ratio:
Chilli Powder                   1
Coriander Powder            2
Cumin Powder and         1/4
Pepper Powder                1/2

Guess what!! Now I add in this ratio.

Chilli Powder                   1/2
Coriander Powder            2
Cumin Powder and          1/4
Pepper Powder                1

Simply I've reduced chilli powder and increased pepper powder.

4. Idli Podi: Its only dried red chillies that I add to prepare Idli Podi (a side dish to Idli). Recently I tried with black pepper. It came out good but my little one didn't like it a lot. Hope he will get used to it soon.

I'm yet to try with sambar powder.  I'm not sure I'll be successful I think I'll have to compromise in taste for sure this time.

P.SIf at all, the recipe calls for chillies and pepper cannot be used, it is better to use fresh chillies as fresh is always better to dried chillies.

I'm not an expert. This post is just my experience and I do not claim that chillies are not good for health. I prefer black pepper to chillies because of its health benefits that is taught to every indian at his home. 

In this post, Pepper refers to black pepper corns and chillies refer to red/green indian chili peppers either fresh or dried.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pori Kadalai (Puffed Rice and Gram)

This is a traditional recipe prepared during navarathri festivals in Tamilnadu. Few weeks back, when I was seriously looking for some easy evening snacks to munch on, this came to my mind. :) It is simple to prepare, just mix everything and its done. It goes well with a cup of tea. If you are interested in providing home made snacks to children, this would be the perfect one to start with. I'm more concerned about the snacks that I give my toddler son and I ensure that my son doesn't eat too much of store bought snacks. This would suit for diabetics too, of course with very less or no jaggery.  


Puffed Rice (Pori) 2 cups
Roasted Channa Dhal /Pottu Kadalai/ Chutney Dhal Handful
Peanuts few
Grated Jaggery few tablespoons (or as needed) or variety of brown sugar


Dry roast all the ingredients separately for few seconds except for jaggery. Add Jaggery and then serve.

Monday, November 10, 2014

How to reduce intake of salt in south Indian diet???

How do you prepare potato stir fry? Boil Potatoes with salt and then add salt again while you do the stir fry? Then this write up is for you.

A famous old saying in tamil : Uppilla Pandam Kuppaiyile; meaning unsalted food goes to trash. Now what do you say: Miga Uppulla Pandam Kuppaiyile, meaning more salted food need to go to trash. In school days, I would like to start any essay with a famous saying so as to attract the teacher. Now its you.. !!!

One with high blood pressure (or even slightly high blood pressure) is advised to reduce the intake of salt by everyone whom he meets. Here are few tips that would help anybody who wants to reduce their salt intake.

Do not add salt while cooking plain rice: I've come across many (especially a lot of lovely grandmothers of south india) who add salt while cooking rice . Do we eat rice as such? Not at all; We are going to mix it in any curry or sambar for sure, which has enough salt in it. So if at all you are doing this, please stop. 

Do not add salt while kneading dough or chapati: This is something that I've learnt from my neighbor's friend. I've always wondered why didn't I know this before. There was no difference in taste as I feared initially. Anyways,we like to dip it in any curry that has salt in it. I think this would be a new tip to many of you.

Do not add salt while sauteing onions: Everyone who sautes onions are taught to add salt for fast cooking. No No !!! Let it take few more seconds to get done.

Then When to add Salt: Add Salt at the end of any cooking and that would obviously require only less salt. 

If you are preparing stir fries with vegetables or root vegetables, sprinkle salt when it is done before you could add grated coconut. If the recipe does not require grated coconut, then addition of salt would be the final step. The same thing suits for curries and sambar too.

Avoid Pickles: We very well know that pickles require lots and lots of salt to preserve it for a long time. If you are pickle lover and cannot stop pickling ;) with curd rice, go for instant pickles. For ex. Raw Mango pickle.. Cut it into fine pieces. Add salt, chilli powder, and other masala. consume it within 1-2 days.

No Processed Foods: 

Sauces: Just like pickles. all the finger licking sauces have toooo much amount of salt in them. It is better to switch to home made sauces with less salt. If at all you need to try the recipe with ready made sauces, do not add any further salt.

Chips: No supermarket exists without different flavors of potato chips. Irresistible!!! just because of the too much salt content. It is not that easy to prepare thin potato chips at home without a perfect cutter. But it is easy to prepare potato wedges with an oven at home. Or simply switch to raw banana chips that can be easily made at home.

And many more processed foods: Strictly say No.

I am still experimenting how to reduce salt. These are the few steps that I've started following since few months.

What say friends???!!!! Share your tips. I would like to hear and follow.

P.S: I am not an expert. I've shared here few tips that I've followed.

I would have used you at many sentences.  It generally means many of us or few of us. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Are we eating healthy?? Are we really healthy??

I don't fall ill that often, now and then I get cold, fever like anyone. But the last six years were very worse. After reading all my medical documents ( I carry a big file), a doctor said every vacation you have a surgery done. I replied.. Doctor; You name it; I have it.., I've everything except for sugar and pressure.

Am I eating healthy?? Am I really healthy?? .. Since then, these two questions are something that I've started asking myself often.  

I used to compare me with my relatives and friends; none has undergone so many surgeries as me that too in late twenties. I started being proud that I'm capable of handling all these problems alone here with a naughty kid along with other household jobs. I've been searching the reasons for all my health problems. Few of the problems in me had no symptoms; few of them the doctor had no reason why I got them and had no clue whether I can get it again or not. 

When I met a lady next door who takes injection every week for some problems in her brain, I got really worried and thought God has given me fewer problems than her. I started feeling less proud about myself. He He He.. But my search towards how to stay healthy continued.

I went to chennai for vacation last June.  When I was just browsing the nearby organic shop, I found a tamil book.." Iyarkai Unavin Adhisayam; Arokiya Vazhvin Rahasiyam" meaning Miracles of Natural Food; Secrets for Healthy Living. You can buy it here.

The author Moo. Aa. Appan says eat uncooked raw vegetables/fruits for the healthy living. He has quoted many instances of those who got rid of their diseases after switching over to uncooked natural food. He gives remedies for each diseases and they are just raw fruits and vegetables. 

I thought let me give a try. My Mom and Hus joined me. Initially it was a bit difficult to change the entire diet. I tried changing my dinner to just vegetables and fruits. Then I slowly introduced the same during breakfast. Now and then I fell for Idli or Dosa. After many weeks, I am now very much successful and I eat cooked food only during lunch. It would be regular rice or little millets with lentils, greens and cooked vegetables. 

I need to make something clear about vegetables here. I eat raw carrots, cucumber, ridge gourd (peerkangai), gooseberries, banana stem (vazhaithandu), tomato, onions and whatever I can. I cook the other vegetables that cannot be eaten raw; cauliflower, drumstick, brinjal etc.. Somewhere I read cooked tomatoes are healthier than raw tomatoes. I cook tomatoes for sambar or any other curry during my lunch and so i feel thats ok. 

Simply speaking my dinner and breakfast includes either 80% of fruits & 20% of raw vegetables OR 80% fruits & sprouted greens OR just fruits alone.

The benefits:

I feel brisk and healthy. 
I can walk for an hour. I don't feel tired.. 
My periods has become normal.
Indigestion is very rare. 
The most important benefit is my weight reduced from 79kg to 71 kg in just 3-4 months with not much struggle but with an hour walk and little exercise now and then.

I love cooking and try to impress guests and those at home with a platter for every meal. Soups, Desserts, Chutneys, Idli, Dosa and what not. That made me to start blogging about food.. But if that cannot control my weight and make me energetic, it is better to get rid of it. But switching over completely to uncooked raw food is not possible as we are very much used to it. The regular periods is a positive sign of my health getting back to normal. It would take few more months for me to make sure whether my health problems have reduced. Hope I don't get any other new problems.

What say friends?? 

Stay tuned for easy uncooked recipes. 

P.S: I am not an expert. The above article is just my experience. I am sharing this so that others can benefit. I do not suggest this diet to children, pregnant ladies, lactating mothers or those who are seriously ill or who have just underwent surgeries. Please consult your doctor. 

I strongly recommend this article to be read by everyone who wants to reduce their body weight.

Here are some tamil videos of the author..