Tag Archives: khichdi

Fresh and Flavoursome

A huge fan of freshly cooked food, I like no short cuts and especially no packet, packaged and processed for me, as far as I can help it. Of course once in a while we all get lazy and give in but this is the exception in my home rather than the rule.

Thus, I was reluctant to try the range of products from Freshway Foods, a Vadodara based company, when a friend urged me too.

The packets arrived and looked attractive and the instructions easy to follow. In fact utterly simple.

Their unique freeze-dry technology, which is accepted worldwide as the best food preservation process, fascinated me. The colour, flavours and freshness of the food is preserved without affecting its nutritional value.

What’s more, their food is preservative free, which ensures it is as healthy as home-cooked food.

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The Palak Paneer, which I tried first, blew me off completely. The palak was delicious and the paneer soft. It was well-spiced, was bursting with fresh flavours and I could not believe it had been created in minutes out of a packet merely by adding boiling water.

The daal makhani was equally a surprise. A laborious dal, otherwise to prepare, this one was tasty all the way and ready in minutes.  The consistency was right and the flavours reminiscent of home food.

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From pulao kadhi to paneer bhurji and Veg Biryani to Moong Dal sheera, Freshway Foods offers them all. A complete vegetarian range, they have a lot of Gujarati delicacies apart from the universal favourites from all over India.

Freshway products pass through stringent quality standards and microbial tests at every stage of freeze-drying. Their strict hygiene and housekeeping regime ensures that every product is packaged with utmost hygiene and minimal wastage, keeping intact its nutritional values. That is perhaps what sets them apart.

Reasonably priced, the portions are decent too. This is the perfect solution for days when one is feeling lazy and does not want to cook and yet not order an expensive and oily takeaway. Bachelors, single working professionals and harried women can make use of their wide range.

One can order online and the packets get delivered to your doorstep.

I have actually heaved a sigh of relief now that there is a healthy food solution at hand, in terms of Freshway ready-to-eat meals. At last a brand that lives up to its promise of delivering fresh food.

 

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Appetizing Ayurvedic Ahaar: Swad Shakti

Ayurveda and its food philosophy has always intrigued me. But somehow, even though Swad Shakti has been around for a while, I somehow missed experiencing it.  But my recent visit, was well worth the wait. Tucked away in a quiet residential lane, off S.V. Road, Swadshakti, seems to be very popular and has a set clientele.

The place has a serene and positive vibe to it. Bustling with guests, it is always busy. A retreat for the health-conscious foodie, this place serves pure vegetarian food, based on Ayurveda’s detoxifying principle, Panchakarma. Chef Manoj Keni seems to know all his customers personally and prepares bespoke meals for them. The menu too is fairly exhaustive. It has interesting sections titled prarambh chaat, amantran, nimnatran and so on. We start with oorja, an energy booster made with dates. It is refreshing but filling too.

 

With my cold and cough, chef sends me a special coriander and ginger broth. Ah! My throat actually feels better after the first few sips.

The famous pav bhaji comes next sans any tomatoes. Chef Keni does not use tomatoes in his cooking at all as those are not supposed to be beneficial. Instead he makes extensive use of kokum, as a souring agent,  which is cooling. It is delicious and pairs well with the whole wheat bread instead of the traditional ladi pav.

Rotis made of makki ka atta, rice flour and ragi are served piping hot with a palak preparation. They encourage people to eat more of ragi and jowar as compared to wheat. Palak or spinach has never tasted so good before. The food is cooked in pure cow’s ghee and is healthy, contrary to popular belief. Fermented foods are an absolute no-no as far as Chef Keni is concerned. He owes all his knowledge to Dr. Smita Naram, who runs the Ayushakti Health Care Centre there, and has trained him.

The menu offers sandwiches, juices, rice dishes, rotis, vegetables et al. One is almost spoilt for choice.

We round off our meal with hot moong dal khichdi, which is runny, soulful and gently spiced. It is flavourful and comforting. We almost feel healthier, as we devour our meal, without feeling over stuffed or uncomfortable. There is a lot more we’d like to try and shall save that four our next visit. Maybe after all the rich food and sweets after Diwali, it is time to pay Swad shakti a visit. What say?

Garma garam khichdi……

Today is the perfect day for some hot khichdi. My ultimate comfort food anytime and more so in the rains. Khichdi, Khicuri, khichri…. it is known by many names, but they all mean the same thing – a combination of dal and rice cooked together, sometimes with vegetables.

It is a complete and nutritious meal in itself. Different parts of India prepare khichdi differently, but we all love it. My favourite is the Bengali version with moong dal, potatoes, other vegetables. A dash of chilli powder, bay leaves n garam masala, added and it is unparalleled. Light and delicious. It is simple to prepare too and can be made at a short notice. Pair it with papad and pickle or begun bhaja(brinjal fry) and you are in seventh heaven.

Gujaratis too make great khichdi which is eaten with their sweetish kadhi. Delectable. The Gujaratis also do a spicy version called the vaghreli khichdi. Mumbai has several restaurants which serve this khichdi. Soam in Babulnath, Mumbai makes delicious bajra khichdi. Taste plus health. I somehow don’t relish the daal khichdi offered by Udupi joints in Mumbai. there is too much of haldi in those.  Another variation of khichdi which I enjoy making is palak khichdi. Add blanched palak to your regular moong dal khichdi with ginger, garlic and voila! a great meal is ready. Again, it is not neccessary to use only moong dal in khichdi. I often make it with masoor dal and even chana dal. Only the tempering should be different.

Interestingly, in Mumbai we call the upvas food sabudana khichdi by the same name, even though it is not made with rice and lentils. a friend of mine makes khichdi with seven grains. It is the ultimate in taste and nutrition.

Some people enjoy their khichdi with pickle, others with curd. whatever the accompaniment, I am only particular about the fact that the khichdi should not be overpowered with spices. Otherwise the purpise of having a light meal of khichdi is defeated. In fact it is often eaten when one is unwell or has an upset stomach. I can eat it anytime.

Khichdi is a versatile dish and so much can be done with it. One can add interesting ingredients to it to give the basic khichdi a twist. I am all set for making khichdi tonight. Are you?