Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Meat'less' balls in Marinara (made with millets and sprouts)

Meat'less' Balls in Marinara
A wise friend once told me, that to move a step ahead you sometimes need take two steps behind, Even in India's fave game of cricket, a fast bowler will cover greater distance and throw the ball at a much faster pace when he starts running from afar, this concept applies to a slingshot as well, where you pull back the attached rubber tubes to the desired extent to provide power for the projectile.

Whenever one is stuck in a situation and finds no way to move ahead it is imperative to reflect, to look back, to connect with your roots and borrow a leaf out of the old (in this case ancient wisdom). Hence as humanity has progressed by leaps, reached the moon and Mars, there has been so much evolution that humans are now at a loss with all the chaos around them, this is the very reason why the world is moving back to where it all began.

Moving to yoga, moving to sustainable living, moving to doing away with highly processed foods and replacing them with a clean plant based diet.

As more and more meat and dairy eaters choose to ditch both for a clean and sustainable lifestyle, ancient foods like:

Also known as Dinkel wheat, spelt is a species of wheat that has been cultivated since 5000 BC. An important staple in parts of Europe during the medieval era, this slighly sweet and nutty grain survived for many years as a relict crop in Central Europe and northern Spain before making a comeback as a health food. Spelt’s tougher-than-average husk protects the nutrients within, making it higher in minerals, protein, iron, vitamin A and  heart-friendly niacin (vitamin B3). Its lesser-than-wheat gluten content also makes it easier to digest.

A grain that has been nourishing people for more than 8,000 years, buckwheat was first cultivated in the Balkan region of Europe about 4,000 B.C and was one of the first crops grown by the early American settlers. Contrary to its name, buckwheat isn’t actually a wheat, but a pyramid-shaped fruit seed. Buckwheat groats, as the seeds are called, are gluten-free, heart-friendly and particularly rich in soluble fiber, which is important when you’re looking to keep blood sugar levels steady.

Chia seeds
A favourite of the ancient Aztecs, chia seeds have long been a staple in Mexico, Guatemala and other parts of Central America. Touted to be the next quinoa, chia seeds are extremely rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Chia seeds have a gelatinous texture when soaked in liquid similar to tapioca, which is why they work well as a binder in gluten-free foods and can be used to make a delicious vegan pudding.

Grown in South America from time immemorial – at least since 4000 BC – amaranth is a gluten free pseudo cereal that trumps the protein content of most other grains. Other than containing lysine (an importnat amino acis missing in most grains), it also contains three times the average amount of calcium and is the only grain documented to contain vitamin C. No wonder, the Aztecs loved this little grain! and

Tiny, light-hued grains that have been traditionally consumed in India since ancient times, millets are a nutritional powerhouse. Millet is actually the name given to several small seed grains in the Poaceae grass family. This tiny grain is gluten-free and packed with vitamins and minerals. A versatile grain, millets can be prepared like porridges, mashed like potato or fluffed like rice. Ground into flour, they can also be used to make dough, dosa, pancakes, muffins or bread.

Here are 7 millets that you can introduce in your daily diet and reap benefits right away!
o Little Millet (Saamai): Highest fat content of all the millets, digestion-friendly
o Pearl Millet (Bajra): High calcium, protein, iron and magnesium content, helps reduce bad cholesterol
o Finger Millet (Ragi): High protein and calcium content, good for diabetics and anaemics
o Foxtail Millet (Thinai):Highest mineral content of all millets, good for immunity
o Barnyard Millet (Jhangora): Highest fibre and iron content of all millets, rich in antioxidants
o Kodo Millet (Varagu): High fibre, protein and phytochemical content, ideal for diabetics and for weight loss
o Sorghum (Jowar): High antioxidant content, commonly eaten with edible hull, thereby retaining most of its nutrients

are making a huge comeback on breakfast, lunch and dinner plates the world over.

Today's recipe of Meat'less' Balls in marinara is made using Little Millet (Saamai) and sprouted black gram instead of meat mince, seasoned well and cooked in a homemade delicious marinara sauce, there is no way that you will miss or crave the lack of meat in this simple and nutritious recipe.


For the Meat'less' balls
1 cup cooked and cooled little millet (ensure it's cooked + completely cooled before using)
450 grams sprouted black chana, cooked
2 tablespoons water
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 cup diced red onions
1/4 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
2 1/2 tsp fresh oregano (or substitute half the amount in dried)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (reduce for less heat)
1/2 tsp fennel (saunf) seeds (optional)
1/2 cup cashew nuts, powdered (plus more for serving)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley (plus more for serving)

Marinara sauce (Ingredients)
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 (200 gms) box of tomato puree
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons any flavourless oil
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup vinegar


For Meat'less' Balls
If you haven’t prepared your millets yet, do so now (make sure it’s cooked and cooled completely before use).

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add water, garlic, and onions.

Sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly softened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat (and reserve pan for later use).

Add cooked chana to a food processor along with garlic, onions, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes and saunf (optional) and pulse into a loose meal (DON'T overmix). Then add cooked/cooled millets, cashew powder, tomato paste and fresh basil or parsley, Pulse to combine until a textured dough forms (you're not looking for a purée, but it should be semi-sticky).

Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt for saltiness/depth of flavor, red pepper flakes for heat, or herbs for earthiness, If it’s too tacky or wet, add more cashew nut powder and pulse to combine.

Scoop out heaping 1+1/2 tablespoon amounts (using this scoop or a Tablespoon) and gently form into small balls using your hands. Add to a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Heat a pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the meat'less'balls and sauté for a few minutes, gently turning them to get a slight crust on either side, until golden brown on the edges and slightly dry to the touch.

These meat'less'balls are delicious as is, or you can add some marinara to the pan and heat over medium heat for 5 minutes (or until bubbling / hot) to infuse more flavor.

For the Marinara Sauce:
In a food processor place tomatoes, tomato puree, chopped parsley, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

In a large pan over medium heat saute the finely chopped onion in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the blended tomato sauce and vinegar.

Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with the Meat'less'balls with marinara and additional cashew powder (optional)! These are also delicious atop any pasta. Leftover meat'less'balls keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave or in a 190 C oven until warmed through.


Thursday, 9 May 2019

17 Detox Water Drinks For Flat Belly, Weight Loss And Body Cleanse | Healthy Drink Recipes For Weight Loss

Detox waters have taken the world by storm and unless you’ve been living under a rock you have most certainly heard of, seen and perhaps even made yourself a pitcher or two.”

Widely propagated and well known to give you washboard abs a.k.a a flat belly, these infused waters go way beyond just that.
So besides the obvious, these miracle waters also help in:
Supporting the digestive system.
Detoxifying and cleansing both kidneys and liver.
Promoting good organ health.
Improving skin tone, texture and skin health.
Keeping unnecessary food cravings at bay
Freedom from nausea, fatigue and headaches
Increasing energy by providing essential electrolytes and
Reducing inflammation of joints

Now most people think of infused waters only being made with cucumbers, mint leaves, lemon slices and perhaps some ginger, but that’s not all there is to these waters.
A number of fruit and vegetable infusions will provide varied types of advantages to the body, so switching up the ingredients will not only help tackle multiple problems but also provide a change in taste. Lastly any weight loss nutritionist will tell you that ingesting ample amounts of water per day will certainly keep you fit, active and refreshed besides providing you with a flat toned belly.
We have created seventeen detox waters that will help you in multiple ways to achieve your weight loss goal and stick to it. After all what better season than summer to drink up?!.

Read on for all the ways you can make detox waters.

·         Apple Cinnamon With Apple Cider Vinegar Water To Reduce Belly FatWater to reduce belly fat is all the rage and for good reason, take this apple and cinnamon infused water with added apple cider vinegar for example, apples are loaded with fibre which is great for your digestive tract, cinnamon is an age old secret spice for prevention of fat absorption from your food and apple cider vinegar besides being a great complementary flavour in this infused water reduces blood sugar, blood pressure, relieves acid reflux and is a widely accepted fat loss remedy.

 Cucumber Lemon And Mint WaterThis cucumber lemon and mint water, is not only hydrating but equally delicious as well. This miracle three ingredient water helps you to anti bloat, fight inflammation and feel energized. Lemons help to clean and alkalize the acidic environment in the body, mint leaves add a little sweetness in place of sugar and are also an excellent digestive aid, lastly cucumbers help to rehydrate and maintain electrolyte balance on a rather hot day!

Rose And Chia Seed Detox Treatment For Weight loss: If you looking for a detox treatment for weight loss, then this rose petal and chia seed infused detox water is as refreshing as it is great for your waist. Rose petals relieve stress, improve bowel movement and also uplift a bad mood. Chia means strength in the Mayan language and besides providing you with lots of it, these also support the heart and help in building stronger muscles and bones, what that means is that they are a sure-fire way to that toned look we all crave for.

 Kiwi, Mint And Lemongrass Weight Loss Water Recipe: This Kiwi, lemon grass and mint weight loss water recipe is not only a great fat cutter and belly burner but works wonders to restore your skin's inner glow. Kiwi is high in vitamin C and is a great sleep inducer, silently repairing your sun damaged skin and bringing back its former glow. Lemon grass is naturally great for both skin and hair health as it contains a high percentage of antioxidants, it also helps in easy digestion. Mint leaves are nature’s own little stimulants and the smell of mint alone can reduce both fatigue and depression.

·         Orange And Tender Coconut Infused Water For Flat Tummy: If inch loss, weight loss, fat burn or all three are your goal, this orange and coconut infused water for flat tummy is the way go, a hydrated body is a healthy body and getting in at least 3 litres of water into your body not only hydrates it but detoxifies it too, it’s great for cell repair, mobility of joints as well as nourishment to all your vital organs. Citrus fruits like oranges contain limonoids, a type of compound that helps to flush out the fat from your system, coconut water is a nutrient dense power house that not only is essential for electrolyte balance but also adds its uniquely nutty depth of flavour.

·         Cleansing Drinking Water With Strawberry Blueberry And Rosemary: If a flat belly a.k.a wash board abs are on your mind, then read on for a super simple and easy to make infused water with summer fresh strawberries and blueberries. Blueberries expel unwanted toxins from the body, choose smaller sized berries as they are packed with fat burning nutrients. Besides their pretty colour and sweet bite, strawberries are filled with antioxidants, they help in fighting free radicals, thus helping you retain your youthful glow along with controlling your blood sugar levels. Lastly rosemary helps in proper digestion of food and boosts the immune system as well.

·         Detox Treatment For Weight Loss With Watermelon, Mint And Lime Water: If you have been looking for a detox treatment for weight loss, I have the perfect beverage for you, this watermelon, mint and lime infused detox water. Watermelons contain citrulline an amino acid that improves liver functioning, thus detoxifying your system. Limes naturally are a great weight loss aid and mint leaves leave you fresh and energized during sultry summer days.
      Ginger Water Recipe Flat Belly Diet: This ginger water recipe flat belly diet, is so easy to execute, ginger helps combat acidity in our body and lemon besides providing a new dimension of flavour, is an age-old metabolism booster, together they work wonders to detoxify your body and provide you with a flat belly.

·         Melon With Mint Leaves For Weight Loss Infused Water: This melon with mint leaves for weight loss infused water, is as delicious to guzzle on a warm summers day as it is beautiful to look at. A perfect beverage for both pre and post workouts, melons are a rich source of vitamin C, that helps to increase your body's metabolism, mint a natural coolant helps to cool down your body post a hot workout.

·         Belly Fat Diet Drink With Mango & Basil: If you are looking for a flat belly diet drink, there is none better than this Belly Fat Diet Drink with Mango & Basil, how and why mangoes?, well here's the scoop, mangoes are known as the fruit of the Gods, rich in vitamin c - great for bone and muscle strength, rich in fibre - great to keep your bowels moving, rich in vitamin B6, which helps in de-bloating, thereby helping you to wake up in the morning and not feel four pounds heavier and slipping on your favourite pair of jeans for that night out. Lastly soaking mangoes in water helps in dissolving their phytic acid which is notorious for heat related breakouts. Basil oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and hence is a great herb to consume especially in the summer months.

·         Strawberry Cucumber Drink For Weight Loss: Looking for a cucumber drink for weight loss? then you are at the right place. A majority of our body's hunger signals are actually thirst signals and providing our body enough water will prevent such wrong messages to the brain. Cucumbers help in felling both satiated and hydrated, thereby preventing unnecessary snacking between meals. Strawberries are natures very own low-calorie candies, they provide a mild sweetness to the water and make you drink more of it as you enjoy the slight flavour.

·         Flat Belly Juice Cleanse With Pomegranate And RosemaryThis Flat Belly Juice Cleanse with Pomegranate and Rosemary is as nourishing as it is delicious. Pomegranates are packed with antioxidants - great for a youthful glow, they also help in reducing bad cholesterol, control your weight and fight cell damage in the body. Rosemary leaves help in reducing inflammation, improving blood circulation, protect from bacterial infections and detoxifying the body.

·         Blueberry And Lemon Slim Belly Water: If slim belly water is on your mind, you have to give this yummy blueberries and lemon infused detox water a shot. Blueberries and lemons have long been used as a perfect pair as they complement each other beautifully. But if you thought that they can only be used in desserts think again, lemons are a great tool for weight management, they help in clearing the digestive tract, curb appetite and fight bloating. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, they help in keeping you young from inside while you enjoy your mildly flavoured water, thus encouraging you to drink more of it.

·         Basil, Rosemary And Mint Drink For Weight LossBasil, rosemary and mint drink for weight loss is a power packed potion with the goodness and benefits of not one but three herbs. Basil leaves are high in iron and great to shoo away those unwanted menstrual cramps, it also helps to detoxify the liver after a night of binge drinking, can improve digestion and immunity by helping healthy bacteria flourish within the gut micro flora, Mint leaves not only help in ailing a sick stomach but also helps with digestion and doing away with headaches. Lastly rosemary sprigs may be consumed for their antioxidant properties and to treat gastrointestinal disorders.

·         Orange And Raspberry Water Recipe For A Detox Drink: This orange and raspberry infused water is a great recipe for a detox drink. Fruits like oranges contain limonoids, a type of compound that helps to flush out the fat from your system. Raspberries are loaded with antioxidants, they help in keeping you young from inside while you enjoy your mildly flavoured water, thus encouraging you to drink more of it.

·         Indian Plum (Jamun) And Cucumber Diet Drink: Did you know that this Indian Plum and Cucumber diet drink can actually help to keep the pounds at bay? The Indian Plum (Jamun) controls blood sugar levels, hence helps in regulating insulin release, beneficial for weight loss, diabetes and PCOD. It also helps in reducing dehydration, gives relief in diarrhoea and vomiting and due to it astringent nature it also helps in controlling heavy bleeding during menstruation. Cucumbers are a great vegetable to snack on if you are feeling hungry between meals.

·         Quick Stomach Cleanse With Cranberry And Rosemary Infused WaterWant to do a quick stomach cleanse? then checkout this deliciously tart and herby, Quick Stomach Cleanse with Cranberry and Rosemary Infused Water. Cranberries have a high content of fibre thus facilitating smooth bowel movement, which a great and natural way to get rid of the body's toxins naturally. Rosemary helps to improve digestion, concentration and brain function.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Self Frosting Walnut Fudge Cake (Vegan)

Walnut Fudge Cake (Vegan)
It never ever ceases to amaze me how our master and creator thought of every little detail before he created our mother, The Earth. Be it the hierarchy of small animals eating plants, bigger predators eating small animals thus creating a balance in nature. He has it all planned to the letter T.

Take God's own pharmacy for example, a cross section of a slice of carrot resembles the human eye, a tomato has four chambers and is red, just like the human heart, a stalk of celery looks like a bone and is replete with bone nourishing minerals. A walnut looks like the brain and helps develop more than three dozen nuero transmitters to enhance the functions of the brain!

On our recent brand association with Pure Mart India I was lucky to be sent some of their amazing products, right from their source of origin. The state of Jammu & Kashmir. While the plump, ripe and delicious blueberries went in to make a refreshing summer smoothie, their Kashmiri Kesar (Saffron) was freshly plucked and full of aroma, which I copiously used in making my Prawn Biryani and some Tropical Fresh Fruit Popsicles.

Saving the best for last I thought of creating a unique recipe with their Snow White walnut kernels (Snow White Walnut kernels are wonderfully colored kernels procured from Kokernag, packed with high protein content and omega 3 fatty acids which are vital for cell growth, preventing diseases and boosting the immune system.)

Walnut Fudge Cake (Vegan)
 Thus, walnuts, wholewheat flour, coconut milk and raw sugar with a little bit of imagination went into creating this rich, dark, sinful, fudgy yet clean Self Frosting Walnut Fudge Cake. Now I know that the name is a mouthful, but you can call it anything you like. Its easy to come together and a great way to make a dessert for many.

Read on for the recipe.

Self Frosting Cake - Pudding Cake

Yield: 9 portions

You will need:

Dry Ingredients
100 grams (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour, sifted
50 grams (1/4 cup) walnuts, ground to a powder
Salt, 1/2 teaspoon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Wet Ingredients
200 ml (1 cup) coconut milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar
100 (1/2 cup) grams raw sugar
80 grams dark chocolate (1/3 cup) (atleast 70 percent cocoa)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) cocoa powder, unsweetened
2 tablespoons (30 grams) cold coconut oil

Vanilla essence, 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup boiling hot water
50 grams (1/4 cup) raw sugar


In a bowl mix together all the dry ingredients till combined well.

In another bowl add in all the dry ingredients and microwave till all combine into a homogeneous liquid.

Gently pour the wet into the dry bowl and combine using a whisk, so that no lumps form.

Add in the vanilla and mix in well.

Now pour the batter into a prelined and greased (7x7 inch) baking tin.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar evenly on the surface.

Now add 1/2 cup of boiling hot water on top of the sprinkled sugar.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180° Celsius for 30-35 minutes until the cake is firm at the sides but still a little undone in the center.

Switch off the oven and allow to cool inside the oven for another 30 minutes.

Remove and allow to come to room temperature.

Refrigerate for two hours, then invert, carefully peel off the baking paper and cut into squares of desired sizes.

The water that settled at the bottom will magically transform into a pudding like frosting.

Dust with icing sugar or serve alongside a dollop of ice cream.


Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Peanut Jaggery Ladoos

Peanut Ladoos
 There could easily be an pean dedicated to today's source of good fat.

These magical nuts are not only great for the heart by lowering bad and increasing good cholesterol, but are also great to do away with bloating and fight feelings anxiety and depression all thanks to the copious amounts of anitioxidants and Vitamin B6 that they contain.

No prizes for guessing then, that today's goodfat is the one easily available with your local grocer, supermarket, tea stall and most certainly in your own kitchen - The Peanut.

These super super nutritional Peanut Ladoos have been made and consumed in Indian kitchens since time immemorial and for good reason.

Did you know that, a mix of peanuts and jaggery together has a much higher antioxidant profile than any single fruit. Their individual advantages are of course well known to each one of us.

So make them and consume one daily, no need for that 99 percent dark chocolate piece now eh! 😉

Read on for a super simple recipe below.

You will need:

2 cups roasted (skinned) peanuts
3/4 cup grated jaggery (donot use the jaggery powder or granules)
3 cardamom pods, powdered


Transfer your peanuts to your blender or food processor.

Pulse in short bursts to get a breadcrumb like texture.

Now add in the grated jaggery and pulse again to combine.

Transfer the mixture onto a large dish, sprinkle cardamom powder over it and incorporate in well.

Take a tablespoon sized portion of the mixture and squeeze a couple of times to form a rough lump, the slowly roll into a ball within your palms.

Since its hot now, store in the refrigerator and consume within a month.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Berry Pulao (Zereshk Polow ba Morg) Navroze Recipe

You might have heard about Nowruz peripherally. The United Nations formally recognized it as an international holiday in 2010; President Obama extended Nowruz greetings to observers every year of his administration since 2009 . Then-first lady Michelle Obama even held a Persian New Year celebration at the White House in 2015, complete with the Obama family’s own haft-seen (more on what a haft-seen is here).

If you didn’t grow up celebrating Nowruz like I did, though, the concept might be confusing — actually, it was even a little confusing for me, since my childhood memories of Persian New Year mostly concerned salivating over the delicious food my mother would make in its honor.

But once I started to learn more about what Nowruz means outside of food — which, to be fair, is an important part of most holidays on this planet — I realized how fascinating its layered traditions really are.

What is Nowruz?
Nowruz marks the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one, and it occurs on the day of the vernal equinox.

More accurately, the new year begins the second the equinox does — so, not just at the stroke of midnight. Usually, the equinox happens from March 19 to 21.

No one knows exactly how far back Nowruz dates. The best estimates sit somewhere in the range of 3,000 years. But the most important thing to know about Nowruz’s origin story is that it’s rooted in Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion that predates both Christianity and Islam. (Since Zoroastrianism dates back thousands of years, it’s hardly confined to within the borders of Iran or the many versions of the Persian Empire there have been — which is why Nowruz is also celebrated by millions of non-Iranians around the world.)

After thousands of years in the making, Nowruz remains too beloved, universal, and deeply embedded in Persian culture to ignore.

And because the holiday has been around for so long, it suffers no shortage of related traditions. But there are nevertheless a few basic, foundational tenets that nearly everyone who celebrates Nowruz — in Iran and elsewhere — upholds.

Zereshk Polo ba Morgh is a Persian classic made with Zereshk (barberries), Morgh (chicken), and Polo, which is the steamed and fluffy Persian rice. This is one of the mixed rice dishes that you will find at small casual get togethers, as well as larger Persian dinner parties, weddings and most festive celebrations and holidays.

The chicken is the main component of this recipe and it is cooked separately in a tomato saffron sauce, so it is easy to make in large amounts; the same goes for the rice.  This is why Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh is a favorite “mehmooni,” or party rice dish in Iran. This festive rice is steamed and layered with a mixture of red zereshk berries and golden fried onions, then garnished with almonds and/or pistachios.  .

The tiny ruby red barberries “zereshk” add a tangy flavor to this khoresh and they are grown in the eastern part of Iran, in Khorasan province. There is also another species of zereshk which is less tart and much darker in color, and it’s actually called “zereshk e siah” meaning black barberry, that is grown in Kermanshah province in the western part of Iran.

Unfortunately I couldn't find any soon enough, so made do with cranberries.

I happened to later find out that Barberries are available on good ole Amazon too!, oh well!, wish I would have checked earlier!.

You will need:

For the rice and tahdig
3 cups basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
1 cup dried barberries (you can find it from Persian or Afghan grocery shops) OR cranberries
3 teaspoons butter
3 teaspoons any unflavoured cooking oil
2 teaspoons sugar
2 medium sized potatoes (peeled and thickly sliced)

For the Chicken Gravy
4 chicken legs OR 3 chicken breast pieces
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Kachumber Salad
Lime wedges
Pistachio nuts, quartered - to garnish


Start by dry roating the saffron strands for 20 seconds, then powder them using the back of a spoon.

Transfer these to a small bowl and fill with 1/2 cup hot water and keep aside.

Lets start making the rice.

In a large pot cook the rice, along with salt in a lot of water, once the rice is half cooked, drain off the water in a colander and keep aside.

To make the Tahdig (Crunchy base layer made of rice, tortillas or potatoes)
In the pot that you cooked the rice, put in the oil and butter, once slightly hot, put in the sliced potatoes.

Cover these with the par boiled rice.

Make the shape of a mountain with the rice and make a few holes, with the back of the spoon.

Gently drizzle 1/2 cup of reserved rice water all over this rice and also fill in some of the holes with small cubes of butter.

Cover the pot with a clean cloth, and then place a lid over it.

Cook this on your lowest burner on low heat for 35 - 40 minutes.

Once cooked, switch off the flame, remove the lid and allow to air dry till you prepare the chicken.

In a small pan saute the berries with a 1 tablespoon butter and 2 teaspoons sugar, add in 2 tablespoons of the prepared saffron water and allow to cook off.

Switch off the flame and keep aside.

Take half cup of the cooked rice and add in two tablespoons of the saffron water to it, saute for a minute on low flame and set aside.

To make the chicken gravy

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and cook the chicken for 4 minutes on each side on a medium flame.

Remove from the oil and set aside.

Now in the same pan put in 2 tablespoons oil and fry the onions till golden, next add in the tomatoes, tomato paste and all the spices, along with the salt.

Mix well and add in 1 cup water.

Add in the fried chicken pieces and finally the remaining saffron water.

Allow to come to a boil, the switch off the flame.

For the layered presentation of Zereshk Polo: 
Use a large spatula to transfer ⅓ of the steamed aromatic rice to the serving platter, top with ⅓ of the barberry mixture and continue layering and finish the top with the remaining zereshk. Garnish with sliced almonds and/or pistachios.

Serve the chicken and Potato Tahdig on a separate platter.


Zereshk, or barberries are red tart berries that are available at Persian markets and online. If unable to purchase zereshk, you may substitute with dried cranberries, keeping in mind that most dried cranberries have been sweetened with sugar and will give this dish a sweeter taste.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Mango Achaar - Pickle and Ancient Wisdom

Mango Pickle - Mango Achar
As the rest of the world patiently awaits the onset of spring, praying to do away with the never ending winter, We here in the Indian subcontinent are blessed. Yes blessed, for we have ample sunlight, a happy springtime and glimpses of an impending summer.

Which means that our markets have started to sprout some tender raw mangoes, that are delicious, juicy and have a mild sourness to them.

This means that it is time to pickle them.

Growing up I loved sour foods and pickles disappeared with the bat on an eyelid in my home. Unfortunately I ate happy helpings of them and they did no good for my ever breaking out face, my stomach lining or my oesophagus. Acidity was a regular and unwelcome guest.

As realisation dawned, I decided to cut off my childhood favourites completely from my diet, thus pickles, limes and papads were all shown the backdoor. This continued for a good decade, until one day I sprouted some greys and retuned some others (grey cells).

Now Ayurveda or the ancient Indian wisdom of mindful eating and cooking has become a constant in my life. Not a day passes without me reading up on atleast two new pages of this brilliant science.

Today I wish to share some beneficial nuggets from my reads and also enlighten you on the magic that was your grandmas kitchen.

Homemade pickles are safer and healthier as compared to others because of a number of reasons: we get the choicest of ingredients for the pickle, we don’t put adulterants, artificial colours or preservatives and other harmful additives. When you eat store-bought pickles, you aren’t sure of the quality of the ingredients and their safety. Unfortunately, pickles have earned a bad reputation over these years because of a number of reasons. 

Lets tackle them one by one,

Fear – Pickle is full of salt and oil
Fact – Without the oil and salt, the gut-friendly bacteria won’t grow and you won’t have all the benefits of the pickle. This is because store bought pickles donot undergo the process of lacto fermentation. 

Lacto-fermentation, also called lactic acid fermentation, is a method by which vegetables, dairy, and even bread doughs are preserved through the process of fermentation using beneficial bacteria. 

Lacto-fermentation is easy. All it takes is some fresh vegetables or fruit, jars or a big crock, salt and some spices, That’s it.

The process works because the salt you use kills the bad bacteria, while the good bacteria survives and flourishes and starts to turn lactose and other sugars into lactic acid. This creates the acidic environment required to preserve the food. The lactic acid also provides the tangy flavor that we love.

Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria so by consuming fermented foods you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system and enhancing the immune system.

Fear – The salt in the pickle will cause blood pressure problems
Fact – It’s not salt that causes BP, it’s habits like lack of exercise, poor sleep hygiene and packaged, processed food that causes it. Use unprocessed jada or kala or sendha namak as per your food heritage.

Fear – Oil is not good for heart health
Fact – Consumption of fat or oil doesn’t cause heart problems. Your bad habits are to be blamed (refer to the fact related to BP above). Use kacche ghani ka groundnut/ mustard/ sesame (til)/ gingley oil according to your food heritage.

Fear – Pickle is unhealthy
Fact – Pickle is a storehouse of minerals, vitamins and friendly bacteria. 1-2 tsp of pickle every day can help reduce bloating, anaemia, Vitamin D and B12 deficiencies and is even helpful for irritable bowel syndrome.

There is one caveat though and no way out of it, it is that to avail the above mentioned benefits of achaar is that it should be made at home. 

The recipe that I'm sharing today was mastered my late father in law, come some he would tirelessly wash, dry, cut, salt and then pickle his favourite Rajapuri mangoes.

I hope that you will like this recipe and yourself some delicious Mango Achaar.

You will need:

3 raw green mangoes
4 teaspoons pink himalayan salt
3 teaspoons mustard seeds
3/4 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
2 tablespoons coconut vinegar or apple cider vinegar

For the tempering
1/4 cup gingelly oil/sesame oil
1/3 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
4 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp asofoetida (hing)
Few curry leaves


Start by washing the mangoes thoroughly and then cleaning them with a dry towel, allow them dry out completely preferably for a few hours in sunlight.

Chop the mangoes into bite sized pieces and then toss them in salt so that each piece is uniformly covered.

Leave these untouched for two days for the process of lacto-fermentation to begin.

On the third day the mangoes would have released a lot of liquid, to this mix in the vinegar and keep aside.

To make the tempering 

Start by dry roasting and finely powdering the mustard and fenugreek seeds in a mortar and pestle.

Then heat up the oil and once hot enough, add in the curry leaves, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds.

Once the mustard seeds start to pop, turn the flame to low and add in the prepared ground spices, along with the turmeric powder, red chili powder and asofoetida.

When the spices start to emit a lovely nutty aroma, it means that they are cooked, at this stage switch off the flame and allow this mixture to cool down completely. (This cooling is very important, donot mix the mangoes into hot oil)

Once cool, add in the oil and spices into the mangoes and coat all the pieces thoroughly.

Store in an airtight glass container and enjoy a little everyday with your meals.


Store the achaar in an airtight glass container
Allow the ingredients cooked in oil to cool down completely before mixing into the salted mangoes.
Use clean and dry spoons only.
If you follow this recipe, there is no need to keep the achaar in the fridge
Do not heat the vinegar.

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