R is Recipes

Hello! Welcome to my seventh attempt at the April AtoZ blogging challenge. My theme this year is Experiences of a first time grandmother! Some sweet, salty moments and learnings! My posts are totally based on what I felt (may even border on rants) and are not meant to be a guide. 

As I have said time and again, I am a reluctant cook, I was was really stumped when we returned home with a two-day old infant and a list of things the new Mom was advised against eating.
These are supposed to cause Colic and suddenly I was thrown into the deep end.
You see Potatoes, Baingan (Egg plant), Raw Onion, Besan (Chick Pea flour) were a absolute no no. This list also included Dals which were popular in our home.

These were not allowed

The Doc did say new Mommie could be safely given things like Moong, Chavli, Matki sprouts. 

These were suitable for a new Mom

Which meant I was frantically searching the Internet and seeking out friends who I know are creative cooks to help me plan tasty menu. My daughter did not complain too much so I think I succeeded.

Yet another of my Mom’s recipe was of ‘बाळन्त शोप ‘ Balant Shope. It is to be taken after meals and is meant to be anti Colic and help in lactation. It has  interesting ingredients that make it a tasty ‘मुखवास ‘ Mukhwas! Here is how to make it..
1/2 Cup Balantshop (Sorry folks, unable to find its english name)
1/2 Cup Til (sesame)
1/2 Cup Badishop (Fennel)
1/2 Cup Dry Coconut grated
Less than 1/2 Cup Ova (Ajwain or Bishops weed0

Roast lightly and add a pinch of salt. Grind if desired or eat as it is. This is what it looks like..

lactation, breast feeding

With a little imagination, I found I could manage without potatoes and besan. What has been your experience? I am sure my thoughts may cause a deja vu to some of you especially someone who has hosted a new born. I would love to hear from you!

See you tomorrow folks!

Here are links to my previous AtoZ attempts. 

2013 Random topics
2014 Exercising For Fitness
2015 Gardens of Pune
2016 Herbs
2018 Contemporary A to Z
2019 Caring for the Caregiver

Disclaimer: My posts do mention some products or service providers but these are not sponsored and not meant to be an advertisement.  All posts are from a maternal grandmother’s point of view!

Coffee (Wordless Wednesday)

 It takes a special effort to whip up foam in coffee.. I remember the days when I spent up to 10 minutes beating together sugar and coffee powder to a smooth paste in the cup .. this was to ensure a perfect froth when hot milk was poured in. 

Technology has ensured I now need not trouble my shoulder .. I get a perfect frothy coffee in a jiffy with the battery operated Frother! 

Z is for Zingiber

I am writing about herbs in the 2016 April AtoZ blogging challenge. Most of the herbs written in this series are those I have seen or used. Its been a roller coaster ride all through the month, reading some wonderful blogs, making new friends and ofcourse learning many new things. 

Hey this is not the reflections post, so I better get on with the topic of the day! The last letter, my final post for this year’s challenge is Zingiber officinale of the Zingiberaceae family. We know it better as Adrak (in Hindi), Ginger, Ale (in marathi)! Is that a big Aha I hear!!!

Truly, just recognising a particular plant gives a feeling of meeting a friend does it not? So if botanical names put you off, not to worry, go with the local names. The former have the advantage of being universally accepted so you can discuss the plant with anyone anywhere in the world being sure of what you refer to.

Getting back to Z. The edible part that is commonly used is the root. However its inflorescence is quite pretty as well but its quite rarely seen I am told. I have it planted in a pot but here are an image of ginger leaves from a friend. Mine is still an infant!!

Image courtesy Supriya Shelar
Ginger root

The root is used to flavour curries in Indian, Eastern and even Western cuisine. Adding crushed ginger to tea takes the beverage to a totally new level! Try it especially on a rainy day…Yet another winter specialty in Maharashtra is Ginger Squares also known as Alyachee wadi.. It is basically grated ginger cooked in sugar syrup and set into squares. It is a unique combination of hot and sweet. Via the 2016 April AtoZ I have discovered Ginger oil which seems to have immense medicinal effects.  

Getting back to the ginger blossoms, I have seen a variety called Champagne Ginger being used as part of flower decorations.

Champagne Ginger in a flower arrangement

 Here is an image of the blossoms of Torch Ginger. Isn’t amazing?

Obviously there is more to ginger than meets the eye!

That’s it from me! I hope you enjoyed this herbal journey as much I enjoyed putting it together. This is not the end of the road, as we will keep meeting in the blogsphere! 
Keep revisiting dear readers, I will be honoured. 

Thank you for your comments all through the month, they made were most encouraging.

Till we meet again, take care and happy blogging!

R is for Rosemary

I am writing about herbs in the 2016 April AtoZ blogging challenge. Most of the herbs written in this series are those I have seen or used. Today’s herb is used widely in India and overseas mainly to flavour food. 

Any guesses?  That’s right, it is Rosemary. The botanical name is Rosmarinus officinalis and belongs to the Laminaceae family. It is generally errect with needle like aromatic leaves. I was a late user of this particular herb and am a big fan now. So much that I am trying to grow it at home. It seems to be happy here but has not flowered yet. Hence I am reluctant to use its still young stems and prefer to source my rosemary from the super market!  

Rosemary twigs ready for cooking

Tiny Rosemary shoots in my kitchen garden

As you can see from my bio, I am a reluctant cook, yet here is an absolutely divine dish that you can make using rosemary. Do not count calories because as someone said, whatever tastes good would be calorie rich too…

Do follow this link for the detailed recipie of Baked Potato and Rosemary Gratin, but here is what it looks like:

I am sure there will be no leftovers! 

D is for Dhania

Its still early days of the 2016 April AtoZ and I my posts are about herbs. I have tried to write about herbs that I have seen and identified, those that I use in my cooking.

D is for Dhania which is the Hindi word for Coriander or Kothimbir (in Marathi). This is my favourite seasoning and is an integral part of Maharashtrian cuisine. Almost every savoury dish is transported to a new level when garnished with chopped coriander. It lends a refreshing flavour and I find it reduces the heat in a spicy dish. While coriander is freely available almost all year round in Pune, the same was not true years ago in Punjab when we were posted there. This herb is mainly a winter plant and cannot stand the harsh summers. In North East India, we used a herb called Nagdhania (Eryngium foetidum of the Apiaceae family) as a substitute for regular Dhania during the summer. 

Besides a wonderful flavour, the feathery Dhania leaves are extremely pretty and often used as part of salad decorations. The botanical name is Coriander sativum and it belongs to the Apiaceae family (Carrot family). Tender stems can be used to make chutney and the seeds are an important spice in Indian cuisine. However the leaves tend to lose flavour once the herb flowers. Seeds of this plant are used as a spice. 

The Coriander inflorescence is said to be an Umbel. Umbel inflorescence is a characteristic of the  Apiaceae, Asclepiadaceae and Taccaceae families. Identifying the inflorescence type in the field will help narrow down the search for species id.

Here is an image of tender shoots of Dhania in my fledgling herb garden!

herbs, kothimbir, coriander

As my bio says, I am a reluctant cook and I am sharing my Mom’s recipie of Kothimbir Vadi- a delicious snack or starter or meal accompaniment. It uses both leaves and powder of Dhania seeds.

Coriander leaves in the market

Close up of coriander leaf


  • Dhania patta (Corinader leaves)- one bunch
  • Besan (Chick pea flour)- 2 or 3 teaspoons
  • Hing (asafoetida) powder – half teaspoon
  • Dhania and Jeera powder- half teaspoon
  • Salt, chilli powder – to taste
  • Water- if required – one fourth cup
  • Cooking oil- two teaspoons and to line steaming tray


  • Wash leaves well and drain on a towel for 10 minutes. 
  • Chop as finely as possible and mix in the spices, salt. Add besan one teaspoon at a time. The leaves tend to leave water hence additional water may not be required unless the leaves are totally dry. Continue to add besan as necessary till you get a sticky dough. Pour some oil over it and let it rest till you complete preparations for the next step.
  • Prepare shallow steaming trays with a coating of oil. 
  • Spread the dhania and besan dough so its about one centimetre thick.
  • Steam in a cooker for about 10 minutes
  • Cool, cut into squares. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • The vadi can be consumed at this stage but it tastes better when shallow fried till crisp.

Recipe feedback welcome!