Thursday, 11 August 2011

Bottle Gourd (doodhi) - Best food for Weight watchers.


I remember my school days. Whenever mummy tells that doodhi ka sabzi is made for lunch, my first reaction would be “Yuck, I am not going to eat it. I will just have dal and roti.” I would actually throw a tantrum. I am sure most of us yet do the same. But I am sure, once we read the importance of bottle gourd, I am sure we will react in a more positive way .

Bottle gourd or doodhi, lauki, calabash, cucuzza, sorakaya, and ghiya in various languages, belongs to the cucumber family and originated in Africa. This is a popular vegetable in Indian cooking. When cooked, bottlegourd can be slightly sweet or bland, and lends itself to a variety of dishes. The varied health benefits of bottlegourd have long been recognized in Ayurveda. Bottlegourd has wonderful health-promoting and curative properties and is used as a remedy for many different ailments.

Bottle gourd has a number of health benefits as listed below:

·                                    For all the girls who are “figure” conscious and for all who want to loose weight, bottle gourd has only 12 calores per 100 gms. So there will be no regret after you eat a bowl full of it.
·                                    The water content in bottlegourd along with the high fiber content helps with constipation and due to high water content it has a good cooling effect. Hence it forms an excellent drink for hot summers.
·                                    The vegetable is also very good for hypertensive patients as it is low in sodium.
·                                    Bottle gourd is very valuable in treating urinary disorders. It serves as an alkaline mixture for treating burning sensation in urinary passage due to high acidity of urine. A glassful of fresh juice prepared by grating the whole fruit should be mixed with teaspoonful of lime juice and included in daily diet. It carries the potential for breaking calculus (stones) in body.
·                                    For all the ladies who always want to look young, a glass full of the juice per day helps prevent premature greying.
·                                    The juice is also good for inflamed liver.
·                                    It is also good for stomach acidity, indigestion and ulcers.
·                                    For all the insomniacs, mixture of bottle gourd juice and  sesame oil acts as an effective medicine for insomnia. It should be massaged over scalp every night.
·                                    The juice also helps to cure tuberculosis and helps boost immunity.

Culinary use of bottle gourd:

·                                    One can make yummy raitas or dips with curd.
·                                    With chana dal, a vegetable for lunch can be made.
·                                    You can hide it in paranthas and theplas by grating and incorporating.
·                                    You can add it as an additional vegetable in soups.
·                                    An excellent cooler can be made by adding mint, lemon, coriander, tomato in the juice for summers.

Recipe for doodhi ka raita


1 cup  chilled skimmed milk yoghurt
½ cup grated doodhi
Green chillies (as per taste)
Salt (as per taste)
Mustard powder (as per taste)


Mix all and serve chilled. Garnish with coriander. 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Monsoon Foods

The much awaited rains are here again, and they are evidently here to stay. However, jumping about in muddy puddles also invites a horde of germs and possibly even other poisonous substances. The rain water itself is not clean. In this fluctuating weather, our susceptibility to infections, colds and coughs increases tenfold. This is why we need to take several precautions when we eat; and more importantly, we must watch what goes into our mouth.

The best  way  to  immunize  ourselves  is  with  the  power  the  food  we  eat  and  our  Indian  diet  is  a  powerhouse  of  immune  fighting ingredients .

Consuming seasonal  fruits  like the  peaches,  plums  and  of  course  the  kiwi will As  we  need  to  peal  and  eat  it  its  skin  naturally  protects us  against germs  and  bacteria  The  high  vitamin C content  protects  us  against  diseases and  keeps  the  common  cold  and  cough  away .  The kiwi is easy to digest and travels well.

Make sure that you eat right foods this monsoon to go away from any ailments.

Nothing like a hot bowl of soups, shorbas on a heavy rainy day teamed with a sandwich or pulaos make up an excellent healthy mini and light meals.

Sip on  nice  piping  hot  rasams it  has  amazing  spices  that are  anti  inflammatory  also  help  prevent  joint  pains  and stiffness  due  to  the  weather. It contains asafetida, curry leaves, tomato, red chilli, coconut, mustard seeds, onions, garlic and ginger, among other such healthy ingredients.

Below is the recipe for hot and spicy rasam, made in a jiffy for you and your family to enjoy:



1 cup Tuvar Dal (cooked)
1 Lemon size tamarind
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Chana dal
2 Tomatoes(chopped)
½ tsp Asafoetida
2 tsp Coriander Seeds
4 tsp Pepper corns
2 tbsp Grated coconut
2-3 Dry red chillies
2-3 Cloves
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
Coriander leaves for garnishing
Curry leaves
Salt to taste


  1. Marinate tamarind in water and extract the juice
  2. In a pan add tomatoes, tamarind extract, turmeric powder, salt and cook till the tomatoes are cooked and nice aroma is given
  3. Heat 1 tsp ghee, sauté the coriander seeds, pepper corns, chana dal, red chillies and cloves till pink
  4. Grind them with coconut to form a soft paste
  5. Add the paste, tuvar dal and curry leaves to the tomato mixture . Add water to make liquid consistency and bring ot boil
  6. Then simmer for 10 mins
  7. Heat ghee, add mustard seeds, hing and curry leaves and season the rasam with this
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot

Below is the link to an article on Pistachios for Beautylinks website.:
Naini Setalvad has also contributed articles in in the month of June, July, August to numerous magazines like Beauty and Salon, Spa Veda, Prevention, Tarla Dalal Cooking and More, Sananda and The Pioneer, various newspapers like Asian age newspaper, Mumbai Mirror, etc.
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