Have a cold? Cough? Digestion issues? Minor stomach bug?
Then try some Ajwain water….
Have a cold? Cough? Digestion issues? Minor stomach bug?
Then try some Ajwain water….
If I’m reaching for a nice, healthy drink, chances are high that it will be this one.
Pomegranate juice has always been one of my favorites.
But ever since I got to know from an ayurvedic pratitioner about how one simple, small addition not only further enhances it’s taste, but also apparently improves the iron absorption (by increasing it’s bio-availability) multi-fold times (apparently something like 2000x), I’ve been hooked to making it that way.
And that small addition is the wonder fruit called Amla – the super food that is pretty much revered all over the Indian subcontinent as such by our ancient scriptures and holds a place of pride in the arsenal of many ayurvedic remedies.
Why amla? Because, (as per this study conducted at the Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine), amla is supreme when it comes to enhancing iron dialysability and uptake, and that is, besides being commonly and cheaply available.
Phyllanthus emblica L. (Indian gooseberry or amla) is a well-known dietary supplement (Rasayana) in Ayurveda used in the management of iron deficiency anaemia (Pandu). Amla is said to act by regulating the ‘metabolic fire’ (agni), which is important for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.
If taking it therapeutically, try keeping the ratio around 20-30 ml of amla juice to a glass (around 200ml) of pomegranate juice.
Else, simply add a couple of amlas (de-seeded) into the mixie along with the arils of one pomegranate, some water, blend, strain and enjoy! Or, if amla is not available, just add any source of Vitamin C such as orange juice. 😀
And, for at least an hour before and after having this drink, avoid few things like tea, coffee, chocolate, spinach to maximise the benefits. These contain certain compounds and phytonutrients including tannins and oxalic acid, which prevent the body from from absorbing the iron.
Delicious food can be medicine, too.
Though this might not be quite what the French meant, it is exactly that.
Heat a half or one teaspoon or pure, organic ghee, or a good oil like cold pressed organic sesame oil, add the flowers and fry till lightly browned, and
Add salt to taste and mix well with hot rice.
Serve hot, at the start of the meal.
A couple of months back everyone at home was going through a spell of colds and coughs.
A very valid reason to behave like a complete invalid.
The thing to do of course, is get plenty of rest and fluids.
Catch up on reading, if one can somehow manage to hold up a book to read!
And lots of Ginger Tea! There’s no such thing as too much comfort, is there?
This version of the chai, is a herbal infusion (tisane), a relatively mild version compared to the strong, sweet milky adrak-ki-chai (remember this?) – which is also highly recommended in such a case, but perhaps too rich to be had frequently throughout the day.
For a very bad sore throat or cold, though, we don’t mess around with teas, but instead squeeze the juice from freshly grated ginger, mix equal quanitity of honey and gulp down half a teaspoon or so of this extremely spicy mix ‘neat’! Concentrated, highly potent. Best had in small, spaced-out doses.
In this tisane, since there are no actual tea leaves used, it can be given to an ailing child, and if desired, by diluting it with hot water, or by omitting the boiling process and merely steeping the ingredients in hot water for a few minutes. And it can be had more often in milder versions.
Clean and grate (or crush) a piece of fresh root ginger. I like to scrape off the peel, but that’s optional.
Roughly chop some leaves of the tulsi plant (Holy Basil, Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum sanctum).
Cover, and let it steep for two or three minutes.
Add honey, lemon juice, freshly milled black pepper to taste.
Feel much better. And get well soon.
|Ginger (Zingiber Officinale)|
From the ginger plant family, Zingiberaceae, hail two plants which give us those well-known rhizomes so famous for their culinary and therapeutic properties – Ginger and Turmeric (did you know they’re related?).
Besides these, there is a third one, not as famous, but quite delicious in it’s own unique way, called Mango Ginger (or Aam Adrak), which looks deceptively like regular ginger, but is more closely related to its other cousin, Turmeric. It is, in fact, referred to as “White Turmeric” or “Mango Turmeric” in some of the Indian dialects.
The family list is longer, with Galangal, Cardamom (the seeds in this case, not the rhizome) among other notables belonging to it as well, but more on those later.
Ginger is pretty much a common and everyday spice in our house. I can imagine nearly everyone would know its use in at least one home remedy or the other, besides as a spice in food or beverages.
The mature rhizomes tend to be a bit fibrous. It is usually scraped or peeled before use, then generally either chopped fine, julienned, grated, or ground into a paste, the last often along with other spices.
Mango ginger, on the other hand, is not a good substitute for ginger, as it tastes very different.
Fresh rhizomes are usually available in season, but might need to be sought out.
Can you tell the difference between the two types of ginger below?
The one on the left is the regular ginger, and the one on the right is Mango Ginger, or Curcuma Amada.
Not quite as sharp-tasting as ginger, it has a distinct, though mild, flavour of raw mango.
It is also not as fibrous, nor as ‘claw-like’ in appearance as regular ginger. In fact, other than in colour and taste, looks more like turmeric.
Here they are, sliced CS, LS and all.
|Mango Ginger, or Curcuma Amada|
|Ginger, or Zingiber Officinale|
|Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)|
Mostly used in dried, powdered form, as below, right . Dried turmeric is quite hard, much harder than dried ginger.
Although the dried powder is the most common form of usage, if available, fresh turmeric can be used too (grated or chopped).
Expect yellow stains.
An easy way to get rid of unintended yellow smears on clothes or plastic-ware that won’t wash away, is to expose it to the sun for a few hours, since it is fugitive to sunlight.
If you have any of these fabulously golden yellow rhizomes on hand, try this delish relish with just grated turmeric, chopped green chillies, plenty of lemon juice and some salt. Pungent, loaded with medicinal and nutritional value.
A similar recipe is good with the two gingers as well. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
Liquid delight when the mercury shoots up!
Aam panna, a sweet-tart drink made with raw mangoes is not only delicious, but drinking it has the added benefit of protecting the consumer from heat stroke – a much valued quality in the land of mangoes and sizzling summers. Yum good, I say.
Raw mangoes – 2 – or, as required.
Sugar or Jaggery – to taste
Roasted cumin seed powder (Bhuna Jeera powder) – 1 tsp (or to taste) (for method see here)
Black Salt (sanchal) – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Red chilly powder – (optional) 1/8 tsp or to taste
TIP: One average sized raw mango would provide upto four servings. This will vary depending on the consistency.
Wash the green (raw) mangoes).
Isn’t it easy to see how the “Paisley” or “Kairi” motif, that of a twisted tear drop, were inspired by these beauties?
I always like to take off the tops first, because of having been brainwashed early on that the sap from the stems is not good to touch – it can cause skin irritation.
Not really required, they can just be washed thoroughly, – but I like to be on the safe side.
Place them in a saucepan (I’m using my favorite pressure cooker, of course) along with a cup or so of water to be cooked. The water used for boiling will be a part of the drink.
Traditionally, in some areas, the mangoes are roasted on coals or an open flame instead of being boiled, which is another option.
One could also peel, deseed, chop the raw mango and boil the pieces.
As a rough estimate, the whole mangoes will take as long to cook as small potatoes – which is fairly quick.
Hmmm – perhaps a saucepan would have been more gentle… (But mangoes do invariably split when boiled.)
No problem, all we need is the pulp. It should be soft.
Reserve the water from the cooker which has some of the mango pulp.
Also there will be quite a bit to scoop off from the skins.
A lot of the pulp will be still attached to the skin and seed, and can be scooped off using either a blunt knife, a spoon, or simply by hand. The seeds and skin can then be discarded.
I find it easier to do the seeds by hand. Squelch it off. Yes – that’s right.
So now we have the basic, cooked, green mango paste.
To this we will add roasted cumin powder (TIP: make it fresh for a real zing), some black salt (that lends a very characteristic flavour to this drink), a bit of regular rock salt, and a pinch of chilly powder, and…..
… about a ton of sugar! This can also be jaggery if you like. Here I’ve used khandsari or unrefined sugar.
You might be surprised to find yourself mixing in much more sugar per glass than you would in lemonade (Shikanji). That’s because of the very intense flavours that aam panna contains – the tart mangoes, the earthy, slightly bitter, roasted cumin, the rather sulphuric black salt….
Put it all into the blender, and give it a good whizz.
The “concentrate” is ready.
This will even keep in the fridge for 2-3 days (perhaps longer – but I can’t say, – it’s always wiped out by the next day in my house!)
Fill up about a third or half of each glass with this and top up with water (and ice, if you like) a good stir and it’s ready.
Adjust the spices, salts, sugar and consistency to your liking – thick or thin using more or less of the ‘concentrate’ in the proportion.
Have a great summer!