Thursday, 30 May 2019

Khus root/ Vetiver infused water/ Lavancha Neeru

Before starting this post I have a question to you! Have you ever heard of this name Khus /khas root/ Vetiver/ Lavancha (kannada) or even few call it Ramacha? I am sure you must have tried it sometime in your life with or without knowledge. This particular herb scientifically referred as Chrysopogon zizanioides (Name Courtesy: Wikipedia) is an evergreen perennial tropical grass resembles Lemon grass. It is largely found in Asian countries India, Pakistan, Srilanka, Thailand… 
The main part of this plant used in medicine and cooking is root which is branched, aromatic and grows really deep & dense. It has earthy flavor and is highly used in cosmetic industry in making of perfumes & soaps. Baby soaps have this as main ingredient as it is useful in maintaining baby skin! The root extract or essential oil is also used as flavoring agent in juice, syrup, soups and other beverages.  Dried roots are added while boiling drinking water in order to infuse the flavor & goodness. This was the practice, our parents & grand-parents had for many years. They used to add various herbs/ spices (like cumin, pepper, tulsi, Lavancha, catechu/ kaachi, cardamom & many more) in drinking water which we used to enjoy without digging deep into the benefits. Now, we understand the values of it which works great in hydrating us with the taste and flavor along with other health benefits. 
Khus root/ vetiver is known for its cooling property and it is also a gret remedy for nervous system issues. It works as anti-bacterial, anti-depressant by using externally or orally. It is used in aroma therapy and for controlling pests & insects. We used to keep few roots in wardrobes which had multiple uses by working as natural air freshener (cloths used to smell good &fresh) & as pest controller. The essential oil works as pain reliever too. It is believed to be useful in lactating mothers. Other than these uses, vetiver/ lavancha roots are used as natural body scrub, in making hand fan, mats & slippers too. Sounds interesting? Then start with this water, you will start liking it.

Vetiver infused water

Check for the recipe of Khadira infused water here.
Process of harvesting & preserving the roots:
The plants are uprooted to harvest fresh roots and then separated by cutting only roots leaving small part of it attached to the grass for next plantation. It is washed with clean water to remove the mud and then sun dried for couple of days. The dried roots can be stored in an air tight container for few years without any problem.
In our last visit to native place, I got these roots & a plant of lavancha from my father in law.

Khus khus root water
Dry roots & plant

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Dry Khus / lavancha roots - 2-3 strands of 4 inches long
Water – 2 litres

  • Wash dried roots with clean water and crush a bit using a mortar & pestle or with fingers. Don’t overdo it.
  • Add it the water and bring to boil.
  • Keep aside covering with a lid until it comes to room temperature.
  • Drink this flavoured water as and when needed.
  • It is suggested to avoid this root in case of pregnancy.
  • Consult a doctor if any serious illness or before taking any herbal remedy as medicine.
Lavancha Neeru

If you like this age old recipe that our ancestors followed for years, share with loved ones. Also If you happen to try any of my recipe, please don’t forget to follow & tag me in social networking sites facebook, instagram, twitter

Friday, 24 May 2019

Moringa leaves dry powder/ Drumstick leaves/ Nugge soppu powder

Moringa/ Drumstick leaves known as Nugge soppu in Kannada is considered to be super food. It is power house of many nutrients. It is very effective in treating people with low hemoglobin content. If consumed in moderate level, it is going to work as wonder! When I state all these, I cannot just disagree that eating moringa leaves daily isn’t easy as it does not turn very soft on cooking and it has a slight bitter taste. So ideal is to eat in powdered form. It is easy to store it in air tight container after making dry powder which becomes handy and there is no hard core rule to use it as well. You can have it combined in any regular menu such as roti, rice, rasam or even can be taken by adding in water/ juice or making tea.
You can prepare it when there is availability of fresh leaves and use it for months. To be safe, store it in refrigerator. This powder can be prepared by drying leaves under sun or in a oven!
Refer my recipe Sweet potato Moringa paratha where this powder is used. Check for other Moringa recipes like Moringa & curryleaves rice, Moringa leaves chutney powder, Drumstick leaves tambuli, Moringamultigrain Spicy bread

Normally I make this powder during end of summer and use it for 2-3 months. As drumstick trees fall off generally for the first rain in the summer, it is the time we get lot of leaves at home too!! So making best use of it by preparing moringa powder.

Fresh drumstick leaves – 3-4 bunches, or as much available
Clean cotton cloth for drying

  • Collect fresh moringa leaves. Remove hard stems and check for any bugs. Wash good leaves with clean water.
  • Drain water completely. Spread on a clean cotton cloth. It helps to absorb extra water and speeds up drying time.
  • Let the leaves to dry under sun for 1-2 days depending on the sunlight availability & the moisture content. Stop drying when the leaves turn crisp.
  • Or if you cannot sun dry, then spread the washed leaves on cotton cloth and air dry for ½ day under a fan. Then preheat the oven in convection mode for 170-180 degrees, and dry for 2-3 minutes checking in between.  Monitoring is important in order to avoid charring of leaves.
  • Take the dried & cooled leaves in a dry mixer jar and powder it fine.
  • Transfer to an airtight container, store and use as and when required.
  • Add 1 tsp of above made powder while kneading chapathi dough to make your roti iron rich.
  • You can also add a tsp of powder while preparing rasam/ sambhar or any palya (vegetable stirfry).
  • You can make other herbal powders such as brahmi following this method.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Raw Mango mint sweet & tangy Juice/ Pudina Mavinakai Sharbat

Hello dear blog readers, 
I am back after a long summer vacation. What’s up with you? Hope you all had a happy & healthy summer. Summer is getting over and this was a harsh summer as temperature was really high & there were not many rain showers. Best thing is summer is the season of Mangoes & jack fruits. & before the season ends try this amazing tasty sweet & tangy juice made of raw mango.
This recipe is easier and different when compared to Aam panna (boiled mango juice)! It is an ideal recipe to quench thirst & stay oneself hydrated. Mango works as appetizer because of its sour taste and it makes you hungry. So hurry, if you have half mango in your refrigerator then just chop & blend with few simple ingredients to make this juice and serve chilled. This juice does not require boiling and it has no complicated procedure, yet turns out to be very tasty.

Look for my other recipes of raw mango such as Raw Mangosasive/ mustard flavoured gravy, Raw mango tambuli, Mango rice
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 glasses
Raw mango – ½ (of medium mango),I used totapuri or ginimoothi variety
Sugar – 4-5 tsp, adjust to taste
Fresh Mint leaves – 1 tsp chopped/ 4 tips
Salt – a pinch
Chat masala/ Jal jeera powder – ¼ tsp (optional)
Water – 4 glasses
Few ice cubes (optional)

  • Wash mango and chop into small pieces.
  • Take mango pieces in a mixer jar (juice making).
  • Add mint leaves, sugar, chat masala & salt.
  • Add water as required. Blend to make smooth paste.
  • Strain using a juice strainer. If large chunks of mangoes are found, then blend once again adding some water. Extract the juice completely.
  • Transfer the juice to serving glasses and serve chilled with added ice cubes.
  • Variations possible while making this juice by adding roasted cumin powder instead of chat masala.
  • Cardamom flavored juice can be made in place of mint & chat masala. It tastes great too.
  • I used totapuri mango. If you are using other varieties which are tangier then adjust the quantity of mango to your taste.
  • Peel off the skin if it is bitter in taste.