Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Have a Healthy Ramadan


Ramadan is a beautiful month of contemplation like most festivals around the world are and fasting that is part of most cultures in one form or another is a practice of will power and selfrestraint.However, during Ramadan much of this spirit is lost in a world of abundance and a fast paced life.Ironically we end up with more celebration of food and less of the spirit it embodies.So,let us take a moment and also a step back ward and contemplate on what Ramadan means to us and what are the goals we seek to fulfill in this month.

Health: being on a fast for 15-16 hrs at a stretch means to understand the pangs of hunger and also strengthen will power by giving up food and water.It is also meant to create empathy toward the poor and the starving so we are thankful for the bounties we have and at the same time sharing them with the less privileged of people around us.
Unfortunately we end up doing the opposite,too much time is spent on cooking over eating over spending on lavish parties and keeping our family members involved in the kitchen with less time for spirtual gain.

Some tips for an efficient and healthy Ramadan

Plan your menu weekly before you do your shopping for the week.This saves time and money as you don't end up buying things you probably may not use or end up wasting a lot of it.You will find a variety of recipes online you can use to plan the whole month without repetition.Make sure you involve your family in this menu plan so all are satisfied sticking to a goal of healthy Ramadan.

Keep it simple - too much of oily foods are taxing on the tummy and you end up with ill health contrary to what this is supposed to do which is to detox your body by eating less and changing the rhythm of your body.Avoid oily fried food stuff but if you absolutely must then restrict it to one fried food item a day.Dahi vada  is a good thing that features regularly on Iftar tables.You can make the batter for upto three to four days and keep in the refrigerator.Moreover, oily foods cause heart burn and acidity.

Prepping: as I have mentioned above you can weekly prep your stuff in advance like marinating chicken,preparing dahi vada batter,making haleem for the whole week and storing it hygienically in the freezer in portion sizes, wrapping samosas and freezing them for a week etc.This makes the work easy.

Include fruit and vegetables - your Iftar table should pack the maximum punch with fruits and vegetables at least a fruit and vegetable salad featuring seasonal produce of a minimum of five varieties.These replenish the body give you fibre and nutritional benefits too.

Take a break - Ladies take a break don't feel guilty inform your husband that one day in a  week you are going to put your feet up and either your husband prepares the Meals or you order in so you get a breather and also time for your worship.As most ladies feel frustrated that they are tired and don't get to spend more time in spiritual devotion you must simply take a day off a week to focus on other priorities.Husbands do make it a point to go out and treat your wife to a lavish Iftar at a restaurant it's payback time for the whole month your wife dedicates to help you keep your fast, you may not realize but the woman is the Ferris wheel that keeps you going strong during fasting.

Plenty of fluids Since it is summer time, drinking plain water all through the evening leading upto the pre dawn meal helps you stay replenished with fluids through the day.

Avoid salt  and salty food like chips pickles and crisps as it increases thirst and the same can be said of caffeine,limit it to two cups one at Iftar and one at suhoor instead of drinking cups of coffee all through the night.

Reserve a weekend for your festive shopping and preferably finish it all before Ramadan begins so you are less tired in the evening which carries on to the next day of fasting.

If you plan to party then you can save every ones energy and efforts by making it a potluck where everyone pitches in and brings a dish so it is easy on you and your pocket.

At suhoor make sure to increase your protein content by including egg whites, chicken,oatmeal,protein shakes if you plan to exercise and,your meals especially the morning meal should contain a good blend of whole grain carbs and lean proteins and fruits to see you through the day.Break your fast with dates and eat light  and include plenty of vegetables and beans.The whole point is that you don't feel too heavy through the evening.

If desserts are an absolute must then restrict to one a day and dump the sugar and use raw honey and agave nectar which are low on GI.

Drink a lot of water when you spend the most part of your night in worship.

Don't forget your exercise schedule it for the night or early morning.

Let go:The last thing as we detox our body it becomes necessary to detox our mind and hearts too.Without being too didactic all I simply mean is letting go of anger,hurt,resentment,envy and negative vibes we have kept trapped within us for others who may have hurt us.This simple exercise by going back to our past and unlocking the cages of pent up emotion against others does one great thing of freeing us from all the toxicity of negativity that builds up in our body and we soon begin to notice feeling lighter.Forgiving and forgetting, as we seek forgiveness, doing it every single day until nothing remains and trust me it works better than any pill to keep you healthy and radiant.Wishing all the readers happiness and Love.Stay in bliss!

Photo courtesy: Tazur 
Quote courtesy: sharing on what's app 

Thursday, June 12, 2014


 Continuing with the mango mania this time I would like to share with you the summers and mango season of Hyderabad.Being inland, Hyderabad, has a hot and dry summer and people would begin bracing up for the summer with a few preparations; I would like to reminiscence about those wonderful summer days captured through my memories.It was a time when Telugu wasn't heard so often except occasionally in the telangana dialect.As summer began our home in Hyderabad especially in the colonial style verandah that overlooked the garden and backyard was draped with Khus (vetiver)mats called Khus ki cheekein in Urdu.It required to be splashed with water frequently in order to keep the coolness within the house and the all essential and trusty cooler would be put in place as it blasted jets of cool air sprtizing everything with droplets of water.Well,if you are wondering I am talking about the mid eighties to mid nineties period where most people had large spacious independent homes and flats were beginning to only line up the city.

Then there were absolutely two things to be done making of the Aam ka Panna and mausambi/ nimbu ki shikanji ( a sort of lemonade) this was an old tradition in Hyderabad but later on Rasna also became a frequent feature in summer entertaining along with the panna and shikanji.Food had to be kept light and lot of summer vegetables featured in the menu.The absolutely important summer siesta was written down in iron words and for children like us it was resentful and horrible wasting of the precious vacation time. The summer slumber brought the household to a slow halt and the sounds of the flower seller shouting out motia bahar! Motia bahar! and the occasional tapping of his cart with the cash box woke us up.Sometimes we were allowed to buy the motia bahar flowers after a proper bargain yes didn't I tell you it is a hyderabadi dakhani term for Jasmine.The scent of the jasmine flowers caught our fancy and my mother would patiently make gajras( garlands) out of them for those who were interested to wear them in their  hair.The other most important activity happened to be the kulfi time matka kulfi was getting rare and it had become a commercial item under the many ice cream brands. The ringing bell of the matka kulfi walah had us all in boisterous spirits. We would make the most of our pocket money now  a smile comes to my lips that I never wondered about the hygiene of the ingredients used and though in good faith we never fell sick thankfully but today I would not be able to do the same sadly.So it is a branded kulfi except when browsing through my very own kulfi recipe or when one of my friends make and post.Since it is summer here is a fresh twist on the favorite kulfi with a hint of mango.The pictures are in the order below:Picture of Mango,Mangolada - a take on the classic mango smoothie but replaced with coconut milk and honey, Mango Kulfi and Kairi ka panna.Shikanji is prepared like nimbu paani with half of a small lime squeezed in 200 ml chilled water sugar cumin powder and black or regular salt is added. Crush some ice with a few sprigs of mint leaves and add it to the chilled shikanji and add the sabza/ basil/ tukhmulanga seeds as they are very cooling to the body. They turn gelatinous and the black seeds lend a beautiful touch to the drink.

The other things that I remember are the musk melon, cubed and served with chilled milk and sugar and the same recipe was followed for munjal ( ice apple).These summer coolers kept us quenched and nourished.The mango stalls filled the open places and bargaining went on and every house seemed to be feasting on these luscious fruits.So, coming out of my reverie,today I give you two of my recipes Kairi ka panna  and mango kulfi. My gratitude for Priya who so painstakingly prepared and photographed recipes I am blogging about.As I told you her inspiration was the mango tree in her backyard.


Mango Kulfi

Mango kulfi

Milk -1500 ml
Sugar250-300 gms
Khoya -5 tbs
Thick cream- 150ml or half cup
Saffron - few strands
Thick mango pulp1/2 cup
Corn starch- 1/2 tbs
Pistachios- blanched and slivered about 25

Method: Boil milk until it is reduced to one third it's original content about 500 ml in this case.Dissolve the corn starch in 2 tbs of cold milk and add to the reduced milk and cook till it  thickens.Now, add sugar and stir well until dissolved . Turn off the stove add the khoya, fresh cream saffron and pistachios .Cool completely now add the mango pulp mix well and then fill the kulfi moulds with the mixture and place an ice cream stick and freeze for four hours. Before serving dip each mould in warm water and gently tug at the stick until kulfi comes out of the mould.Enjoy.

Kairi ka panna ( green mango cooler)
Unripe green mangoes -300 gms 
Jaggery - 250gms( increase or decrease as per your taste and the sourness of mangoes)
Black salt -10 gms
Cumin - 2 tsp ( toasted and powdered cumin)
Pepper- 2 tsp

Peel the mangoes and remove the seed place the pieces in enough water to submerge and boil them until soft.Now, blend the pieces with powdered jaggery and black salt. strain the liquid and mix it with 500 ml of cold water add the cumin and pepper and serve in chilled glasses with a mint garnish and lime wedges.

photo credits : Priya.M