Anandway: Blog

Roadmaps to joy!

Gulab Jamuns at Maigalganj

Maigalganj is a small town which is located on the highway between Lucknow and Sitapur. There are rows of shops on either side of this mandatory stoppage, but it is the Gulab Jamuns that claim fame for this small town. It is almost sacrilegioius to pass by Maigalganj without tasting these hot, soft and yet crispy on the outside, Gulab Jamuns. I ate 3 in one go! 

The Gulab Jamun is an Indian dessert made of thickened milk (Khoya) and fine all purpose flour (Maida). The two are kneaded well with a bit of water, made into balls and deep fried (preferably in clarified butter or pure ghee) and allowed to soak in a sugar syrup. Gulab Jamuns taste best when fresh and piping hot, and are a favourite street food in North India.

How to improve calcium intake and absorption the Ayurvedic way

Getting enough calcium in your diet is only half the battle--the other half is absorbing it. Mahirishi Ayurveda shares with us tips for improving Calcium intake and absorption:

  1. Eat foods that are easy for the body to digest.
  2. Eat the biggest meal at mid-day, when the digestive fire is strongest.
  3. Avoid caffeine and refined carbohydrates such as sugar.
  4. Avoid cold or iced drinks, which decrease the digestive fire.
  5. Do a daily warm oil massage (abhyanga). It helps enhance digestion and flush away impurities, and is traditionally known to stimulate bone growth.
  6. Go to bed by 10 p.m. so your body is at rest during its natural purification cycle from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
  7. Eat plenty of foods that are high in calcium, such as sesame seeds, green leafy vegetables, walnuts, coconut and coconut milk. Warm whole milk is also an excellent calcium-booster, but choose unhomogenized milk for greater absorption. To enhance digestion, drink your milk separate from meals.
  8. Avoid vegetables from the nightshade family, including eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, and yellow, red and green sweet peppers.

Foods to favour:

coconut and coconut watermilk and fruitspinach and green, leafy vegetableswalnuts


The spiritual etiquette of eating

The act of eating is life-giving. The process of eating, according to ayurveda, is something reverent and important for the development of consciousness as well as our physical health.

Our bodies need an uplifting and settled environment in order to process and absorb the nutrients from our meals. If that is not available then we should at least be sitting down to eat -- not standing, walking, or driving our way through a meal.

Click to read a Sanskrit prayer before meals

South Indian wedding lunch thali


Sweet and sour brinjal recipe

Brinjal recipe from Lucknow kitche. Awadhi cuisine
  1. Heat oil, add a little methi and kalaunji.
  2. Saute onions, add crushed garlic and ginger paste
  3. When brownish, add turmeric, coriander powder, chilly powder, salt and a little water. Let it cook for a while.
  4. Add brinjal (previously boiled, drained and mashed). Cook a while.
  5. Add mango powder and bit of sugar or jaggery.

This comes from the Lucknowi kitchen of Mrs Saida Ahmad (Saddo Aunty). It goes well with roti. She makes many different kinds of rotis too! Will get some recipes some other time. This recipe was shared by her about a decade ago, on one my visits to her home when she had fractured her leg and pampered me with old time tales, advice and recipes.

Panchratna Ri Dal recipe from Maharana Arvind Singh Mewar

Maharana Arvind Singh Mewar’s ‘Five lentils’ recipe, takes me back to the days spent in Jodhpur and Jaipur as a house guest. That’s how I got to sample a lot of the Rajasthani fare, which I can roughly put down to oil, chilly and besan (gramflour). It was amazing to find these ingredients in so many of the delicious meals that were served piping hot.

The Panchratna daal here reminds me of the bajra khichri eaten for breakfast in Jodhpur. Bajra and moth daal simmered in milk over a wood fire all night and served with dollops of white butter for breakfast, with nothing more than salt for a flavouring! It melted in the mouth…

Now for the dal recipe shared by Maharana in The Times of India:

Panchratna ri daal, Five Lentils (Serves 4 )

30g Urad dal
30g Tur dal
30g Chana dal
30g Moong dal
30g Moath dal
2 Green chillies
2 Whole red chillies, broken into pieces
½ tsp Cumin
½ tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Garam masala
6 cloves
6-7 small Cardamoms
½ tsp Heeng (Asafoetida)
50g Ghee (clarified butter)
Salt to taste

Soak all the five lentils in water for four hours. Cook all the dals in an open vessel or a degchi. The dals acquire a special flavour when cooked in a degchi, quite different from when they are pressure cooked. This needs to be simmered for a long time. When the lentils are cooked, heat ¼ cup clarified butter in another degchi-vessel. Add cumin, asafoetida, cloves and cardamoms. When the cumin crackles, add a little water and red chilli. Now add the lentil mix and stir for two minutes. Let the lentils cook for another 10 minutes. Add garam masala, check the seasoning and serve hot with fresh coriander leaves and slit green chillies as garnish.

Say no to Genetically Modified Food

“Poison on the Platter”, is an eye-opening film, made by Mahesh Bhatt and Ajay Kanchan, illustrating how all of our lives are going to be (adversely) affected by genetically modified foods. It is no more a farmer’s issue alone, it’s a matter of the consumers’ right to food safety. You and I wouldn’t even be able to recognise a normal Brinjal from/over a GM one, if Bt Brinjal - a GM crop produced by the mighty agri-MNC Monsanto - is let through by our corrupt regulatory body. Let’s put up strong resistance, demanding a ban on GM food/crops for 5 years, until they are proven safe for human consumption by independent, long-term studies.

GM Food is a big issue today in the whole world… The world is shifting towards natural food…but here (in India) nobody cares about it as an issue.

~ Milind Soman

Say no to GM Food

India should only farm the organic way. They should not go to genetically modified food…

…Until and unless it is proved fool-proof that it has no harm for the public, don’t propagate it. Propagation of something which you are not sure of…which could create enormous damage to life on the planet is not acceptable by any means. It is not science, it is terrorism!

~ Sri Sri Ravishankar

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