If you love eating, you can surely be a good cook, but to be an excellent one, you should have good critics at home. For that I owe to my husband and my children.

I dedicate this blog to the young ladies - "the starters".

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Morning Glory

Manglore Kadri kambla fields

The cool breeze,
The scent of wild flowers…
The chirping of birds…
Awaits the morning walker.
Take a deep breath;
Walk briskly,
To keep energetic the whole day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sauteed Bitter gourd (paveka ularthu)

Bitter gourd -1
Tomato - 2
Onion -2
Green chilli -2
Water - ¼ glass
Oil -1 tbsp
Curry leaves
Turmeric powder -1 tsp
Chilli powder -2 tsp
Grated coconut - 1 cup

Wash the vegetables thoroughly. Split open the
bitter gourd (karela/ paveka)
and discard the seeds.
Length wise cut into four and slice thinly.
Chop tomatoes, cut onions into cubes and split green chillies.
In a vessel,add the cut vegetables, salt ,
½ tsp turmeric powder,water and let it cook
on low flame till the bitter gourd
and tomatoes are turned soft.

In a wok on low flame, pour oil add curry leaves,
½ tsp turmeric powder,2 tsp chilli powder
and sauté for a minute.
Now, add 1 cup of grated coconut, a pinch of salt
and sauté till the aroma of the fried coconut fills your kitchen.
Mix in the cooked vegetables and stir fry
to serve hot, with rice and moru curry (moru kachiyathu).

Bitter gourd is a very nutritious vegetable rich in iron and vitamins.
In southern part of India we find white bitter gourd which is less bitter.
In north India dark green bitter gourd is available which is more bitter.
There is a smaller variety of bitter gourd with less spikes
and but not bitter at all.
In Delhi markets,this veriety is found very often
We call it yeruma paveka.
Bitter gourd juice is advised for diabetic patients.
It has something like plant-insulin which
helps in lowering sugar level in our body.

At Shornur railway station there is one restaurant
run by ladies that serve simple hot and fresh lunch.
This recipe is inspired by
the paveka ularthu they served us.
As its inspiration came from Shornur, we at home call it
paveka shornuri.

Our Rivers

Shornur is a small town on the banks of river Bharthapuzha.
Half of the year the river stays almost dry due to the
dams built on it and also due to uncontrolled digging for sand.

A movement to save and revive our rivers is very urgent.
Many small rivers and brooks have disappeared.
In my own native town Tripunithura,there was a rivulet
bodering, the eighth century- built
Karingachira church.
I remember my father narrating his childhood memories
of going for a swim with his friends
to this Karigachirapuzha(rivulet).
Now the rivulet is no longer visible...?

A river is like an artery –a lifeline in the area which
connects people, culture, religion …

Legend and the river....

There is another old story told by my father about
Karingachira river and Poornathrayesha temple, the
main temple of Tripunithura.
During the temple festival, there was an old custom of
offering or gifting a certain volume of coconut oil
to Karingachira church by Poornathrayesha temple.
The Deity- Tripunithura appan on an elephant,
adorned with netipattam(jewellery worn on the forehead of the
elephant)would lead a procession through the main road.
As it reaches the Karingachira church,
offers the usual gift of Coconut oil,
takes a dip in the Karingachirapuzha and returns.

Once, after the procession, as the nettipattam was lowered,
it was noticed that one of the golden dome shaped ornament on
the nettipattam was missing…
It was considered bad omen and the reason for this was enquired.
The answer from Tripunithura appan was-
“You have deviated from
the old tradition of gifting my brother; Correct it and you will
get the jewel back from the Karingachira river”.
The story goes that the temple authorities gifted the coconut oil
and got back the gold ornament from the river.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Natural Hair Conditioner

Long black hair, wide eyes, chembaka poovin varnam(colour of golden champak flower)are traditionally attributed to a malayali beauty.

Length, colour and texture of your hair surely depend on
the genes you inherit,healthy lifestyle and
the plesant nature you keep.
But as you age, to maintain healthy hair you should
turn to herbal way.
There are different herbal combinations for hair and
skin care.
I use the following henna combination for my hair
which gives me great satisfaction.

Items needed

Henna leaves - 5 cups
Red hibiscus flowers - 5 nos
Hibiscus leaves - 1 cup
Goose berry(amla) - 3 nos
Curd - ½ cup
Eucalyptus oil - 3 drops
Egg - 1


In a mixer, put henna leaves, red thick hibiscus flowers
( chumanna adduku chembarathi), hibiscus leaves,
curd and amla (goose berry). Blend it to a fine paste.
Pour into a bowl, add three drops of eucalyptus oil and
keep aside for a day.
Next day, beat in an egg to this henna mixture
and apply it on your scalp and hair.
Wash your hair after two hours.
Do not use hot water.
Use mild soap to wash your hair for fragrance.
Remember hibiscus leaves and flowers
act as shampoo and conditioner.
Henna gives colour and volume to your hair.
You can use dry henna powder also.
Eucalyptus oil helps to bring out the colour in the henna.
Do not add more eucalyptus oil.
Apply this herbal mix twice a month for good results.

Hair care with henna is traditional to India.
In north Indian states like Delhi, women carry
ready-to-apply henna to give home service.
Hibiscus, henna and amla grow in all tropical regions and
women traditionally used it for hair care.