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Indian Cuisine
<!--QuoteBegin-utepian+Jan 15 2006, 07:02 PM-->QUOTE(utepian @ Jan 15 2006, 07:02 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Anyone with experience of cooking this dish w/o onions and garlic please share some pointers. Thanks.

Normally to achieve bhojya food (as per shAstras) i.e without O and G but similar taste people are allowed use a seed Nigella sativa commonly sold as kalonji. It and asafoetida can produce similar flavors.

This one's from Karnataka, see if it helps:
Bendekaayi Gojju (okra gojju) - Okra can be replaced by Eggplant/Brinjal
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Bendekaayi Gojju Courtesy: K. Raghunandana
This is a traditional preparation from Karnataka and is a very fine combination of sweet,
sour, saltish and Hot (chili) tastes. The dish is eaten both with rice and with Chapathi
(some even spread it on the bread !).

4-6 green chilies
marble sized tamarind
grated coconut (two handfuls)
two spoonfuls of Menthya (methi seeds)
two spoonfuls of Jeerige (Jeera, cumin seeds)
one spoonful of Sasuve' (mustard seeds)
two spoonfuls of yellu (til or sesame seeds)
fresh Kothumbari soppu (dhaniya/coriander leaves)
a pinch of Arishina (turmeric powder)
a spoon of rice (akki)
A large piece of Jaggery (1-2 cubic inch) or two tablespoons of brown sugar.


In a pan, dry fry the Menthya seeds, Jeerige and Yellu. After you get the nice smell in 5
minutes, take it out and allow it to cool (the menthya seeds turn dark brown but should not
turn black). Grind it in a grinder/mixer, and then wet grind it again using water with
coconut, green chilies, mustard seeds, and Kothumbari soppu Akki (rice) and Arishina. Use
water to make it a thick liquid.
Wipe 1/2 Kg of Bende Kaayi(Bhindi/Ladies finger/Okhra)with a wet towel. Cut them into
medium sized (1 inch long) pieces. Take a pan with a table spoon of oil, fry the cut pieces
in low fire. Continue to fry till they are fairly well cooked (add a little of oil if needed).
Soak the tamarind (HuNise' HaNNu) in a cup of water. After 5 minutes of soaking, squeeze
the tamarind thoroughly to get all the juice and then take away the remains of tamarind.
Pour the tamarind water onto the cooked Bende Kaayi. Allow it to soak and boil for 5
minutes (this takes away the loLe' or soapy layer, from the okhra). Now put in the grinded
mixture, add salt to taste and stir well. Also add the Jaggery (bella) and keep the mixture
on low flame. Add a few curry leaves (Kari Bevina soppu) and allow the mixture to cook
on low fire, till it becomes a semi thick liquid. For Oggarane' (tarka, phodni, vagar) heat a
spoon of oil, and when hot add mustard. After they split add half a red chili (broken), take
it off flame and put it into the hot Gojju. Stir well.
<b>NOTE: Instead of Bendekaayi, Badane kaayi (Baingon, egg plant) can be used. </b>
Also Seeme
Badane' kaayi (a flat pear shaped greenish vegetable available in Indian and Chinese
stores), Sore'kaayi (kaddu) or Sihi KumbaLa (Pumpkin), several types of amercian gourds,
or even plain onions chopped into larger pieces and put into Gojju. In all these cases, it is
necessary to cut them into somewhat larger (1 inch cube) pieces, fry them in a little oil and
cook them before pouring in the grinded mixture. There is no need to cook them in tamarind
water, although tamarind water is added as usual, towards the end.
Invariably, only one vegetable is used in Gojju, to preserve the distinct taste of that
particular vegetable.

utepian, Bhagara baingan is a version of the regional eggplant recipies. It is based on what is called in Telegana as Noone Vankayii or oil eggplant. In Andhra it is called GuttiVankaya. In Chettinad the same version is called Enna Kathrikayi. All are sauce based. So google for these and you should get the san O&G versions. The Hyderabad version uses the poppy seed along with O&G to give it a special taste. However it is only a variation of the eggplant dishes in Andhra and Tamilnadu.
There is even a Gujrati/Maharashtrian version from Sanjeev Kapoor. I need to check our DVR.
Also if what you need is a sauce based eggplant curry there is the eternal Eggplant with cilantro, coconut shredded and green chillis paste. This is served at marriages in Andhra- Santarpana koora.
Thanks guys. Ramana, Gutti Vankaya is actually what I will shoot for. In weddings or simply lunch after pujas in Hyd, I have eaten this dish that is sans O/G. Kalonji is a good substitute HH. Completely forgot that. Methi seeds also might work, but have found many people find it bitter.

I have about a month before the function. I am going to try the different variations you have suggested at home before I put my reputation in front of 200 people <!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-utepian+Jan 17 2006, 06:17 AM-->QUOTE(utepian @ Jan 17 2006, 06:17 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Thanks guys. Ramana,  Gutti Vankaya is actually what I will shoot for. In weddings or simply lunch after pujas in Hyd, I have eaten this dish that is sans O/G. Kalonji is a good substitute HH. Completely forgot that. Methi seeds also might work, but have found many people find it bitter.
I have about a month before the function. I am going to try the different variations you have suggested at home before I put my reputation in front of 200 people  <!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Utepian Bhaiya,
Is this feast somewhere in the North East? Let me know if you need a helping mouth. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
LInk to NDTV No O/G page


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From Deccan Chronicle, 27 March 2006

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Something’s cooking in tiny TN village
By Bosco Dominique

Cuddalore: The tiny hamlet of Kalaiyur on the Tamil Nadu-Pondicherry border has become synonymous with sumptuous vegetarian wedding feasts, <b>not only in Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Pondicherry, but also in the neighbouring States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. </b> Around 3,000 third-generation cooks from Kalaiyur and the neighbouring hamlets of Thadinatham, Kuttiyanpakkam, Ulleripattu, Edapalayam and Thirupanampakkam, specialise in vegetarian wedding meals. Cooks from the neighbouring hamlets also call themselves Kalaiyur cooks adding to the fame of the hamlet.

With the marriage season kicking off after a lull, these cooks are busy travelling the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring States preparing sumptuous dishes and an array of accompaniments to suit the budget and taste buds of the hosts.  “The fame we have today is not an overnight phenomenon. There is an over 80-year-old history of cooks here who have made wedding feasts exciting and enjoyable experiences. My grandfather was one of the most sought-after cooks in Kalaiyur and I am the third-generation wedding feast specialist,” says B. Ranganathan of Kalaiyur.

The placement of the sumptuous dishes and the manner in which they are served makes a Kalaiyur wedding feast a memorable experience. Kalaiyur cooks adopt old-fashioned ways which were regular features of a typical Tamil wedding feast in the past, he explains.  “It is a pleasant sight to see shiny and clean banana leaves spread in neat rows and guests wiping off the leaves after sprinkling water on them and rolling up their sleeves preparing to eat. Food plays a vital role in any ritual for any community,” he points out.

<b>The main ingredients of Tamil wedding meals have remained almost the same for generations, as people prefer pongal and idli with spicy coconut and onion chutneys and sambar, vadai accompanied by a hot coffee for breakfast. “The only change is that nowadays we use English vegetables in addition to the traditional ones,” he explains. </b>

However, hosts and guests lay more emphasis on lunch, says the master cook, adding that the lunch menu included sweets like payasam, laddoo or mysorepak or jangri, thair (curd) pachadi, avail, vadai, fried appalam (large papad), white rice with dal, sambar, karakuzhambu, rasam, curd, buttermilk and a few vegetables.  <b>“Kalaiyur karakuzhambu, sambar and rasam are very famous in the Tamil community, which enjoys the traditional old-fashioned feast. In fact, placement of dishes for the lunch is more prominent than for breakfast,” </b>he adds.

<b>Each item has its own specific place on the leaf and the placement of dishes follows an architectural pattern. Pickle, payasam, laddoo or mysorepak or jangri, thair pachadi, avail, vadai and appalam are placed on the top half of the leaf while hot rice is served on the bottom half to be mixed with dal, sambar, kara-kuzhambu, rasam, curd, buttermilk and at least two vegetables as side dishes.</b>

It is the number of items that determines the budget of the wedding feast. “A standard celebratory lunch will have around 21 dishes and in weddings with a high budget there are 27 with fruits, ice creams and mineral water included,” says Murugan, another third-generation cook.

However, Kalaiyur cooks can make a four-or-five dish wedding meal also to the satisfaction of all, he assures. Kalaiyur cooks are in great demand among the Tamilians spread out in the southern States. “Most of the maistries (masters) em-ploying a team of speciali-sed cooks from Kalaiyur are busy on all mugurtham days in a year,” he says.

The Kalaiyur cooks have retained their fame and name because the younger generation has followed the older as specialist cooks without any fuss.  This is because preparing wedding feasts is a seasonal affair giving them adequate time to pursue other careers of their choice while taking a break now and then to delight wedding guests with their sumptuous feasts.
Mango Mania in India
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Indian wing of DHL even offers a courier service specifically for mangoes, although the United States has long been absent from its list of destinations because of its ban on Indian mangoes. <b>But the ban should soon be lifted as part of a deal struck by President Bush on his March visit to the country</b>, which will also give India easier access to nuclear technology. Quid pro quo, as far as many Indians are concerned. "The U.S. is looking forward to eating Indian mangoes," he said at a press conference, cheering up a local press that he had earlier disappointed by not seeming too well-versed about cricket and Bollywood, two other Indian passions.
<!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->But the ban should soon be lifted as part of a deal struck by President Bush on his March visit to the country,<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Sad, This season again we have to eat total junk mangoes from South America or Mexico.
I hope they lift ban soon.
Spice Up Your Brain
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Take turmeric, a spice that lends curries their yellow tint. It can curb mental decline and even slow the effects of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

“Oxidative stress causes inflammation, which causes cell death, then disease, and then neurodegeneration,” says lead researcher Nader Abraham, of New York Medical College. “<b>But curry can not only prevent disease, it could help keep the brain sharp as people age</b>” he says.  <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Curcumin was singled out as a worthy spice to investigate in part because of the relatively low rate of Alzheimer’s disease in India, where curries are a dietary staple. Curcumin's antioxidant activity gives it value as a food preservative, which is probably why it has been used; the flavor is just a bonus.

Indeed spices have been found to act as a kind of antibiotic, preventing or inhibiting the growth of more than 75 percent of food-borne germs. Their rich pigments often contain antioxidants.

Collection of TV recipes

<!--emo&:thumbsup--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbup.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbup.gif' /><!--endemo--> Indian curry beats aspirin
[ 23 Aug, 2006 0255hrs ISTAGENCIES ]

RSS Feeds| SMS NEWS to 8888 for latest updates

GLASGOW: Eating curry may be a better cure for headaches than aspirin, according to research.

A study funded by the Scottish Executive has found that salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin, occurs naturally in Indian food and that curry could help treat migraines and prevent colon cancers.

Spices such as cumin, turmeric and paprika, all of which are used in curries, are particularly rich sources of salicylic acid, the study said.

Neither does Indian food cause the side-effects associated with long-term aspirin use, such as internal bleeding and ulcers, the study, conducted by the Rowett Research Institute, found.

"One portion of vindaloo we examined contained 95mg of salicylic acid, more than the amount in an aspirin tablet. A low-dose aspirin tablet contains about 65mg of the acid."

Garry Duthie, one of the study’s co-authors, said: "The dietary level of salicylic acid in curry is exceptionally high. I wouldn't recommend a curry a day for headaches, but it is possible that someone with a headache who is a good absorber of salicylic acid might find it went away if they had a vindaloo. The hotter the curry, the greater the possible benefits. A korma, with relatively low levels of spices, would be less effective than a vindaloo or a phal, the hottest curry widely available in UK."

Curcumin, the component of turmeric that gives curry its distinctive yellow colour, is primarily responsible for its healthy effect.

Regular aspirin prevents colon cancer because of its apparent ability to reduce the inflammation that occurs during a tumour's development. Agencies
All the more relevant and timely with McDonalds/Pizza Huts beckoning the nation now...

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Food fit for an Indian </b>

A majority of Indians are poorly nourished. Even those who are well fed suffer from poor nutrition because they do not get a balanced diet. Nationwide surveys by government agencies over the years have revealed that Indians including those living in urban areas suffer from common nutrition deficiencies like <b>protein energy malnutrition and inadequacy of micronutrients like vitamin A, iron, iodine and vitamin B-complex</b>.

Keeping this in view, the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition has issued a nutrition manual containing dietary guidelines for Indians, particularly adolescent girls and pregnant women.

The guidelines suggest the balance of food for a energy-filled healthy day. The nutrition quota differs depending on the amount and type of work he or she does: A sportsperson would have different nutritional and energy requirements than the sedentary office worker. It varies depending on age obviously, children and the elderly would eat differently and gender.

The effort follows the revised nutritional guidelines issued by the United States government last year. In the form of a food pyramid dubbed MyPyramid it was accompanied by a complementary website which offered information on food intake within parameters of age, gender and level of daily exercise. Some critics said that the recommendations could be more explicit in instructing the public not to eat unhealthy food.

Some of that applies to the NIN guidelines as well, but supporters say that it is not possible address individual needs.Studies by the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau show that currently, the daily intake of most foods, except cereals and millets (470 grams) is much below the recommended dietary allowance. The current diets provide negligible amounts of protective foods like pulses (29 grams) and vegetables.

Consumption of leafy vegetables and other vegetables (70-80 grams), which are rich sources of micronutrients like beta-carotene, foliate, calcium, riboflavin and iron, is inadequate. Intake of visible fat is less than 60 per cent of the recommended daily allowance. NINs guidelines attempt to make healthy food available for the poor. <b>The stress is on vegetables, especially the leafy ones, which are inexpensive and nutritionally rich. The NIN chart highlights cereals and millets as the main food.</b>

In the cereal/millet-based dietaries, the primary bottleneck is energy and not protein, as was earlier believed, NIN reported in a study. This dietary energy gap can be easily overcome by increasing the quantities of habitually eaten foods by the poor, it said. A balanced diet should provide around 60 to 70 per cent of total calories from carbohydrates, preferably starch, about 10-12 per cent from proteins and 20-25 per cent from fat.

Nutrient-dense low-fat foods are recommended for old people. Nutritionally adequate diet with extra food is suggested for new mothers. <b>Body-building and protective foods are recommended for adolescents to spur growth and maturation</b>.

For childrens health, energy, body-building and protective food (milk, vegetables and fruits) are recommended. And for infants, breast milk and energy rich foods (fats and sugar) are needed for growth.

The guidelines are important in the backdrop of the poor average health. About one-third infants born are low in weight i.e. less than 2.5 kgs, against less than 10 per cent in developed countries. Two per cent of nursery schoolchildren suffer from severe forms of protein energy malnutrition. Children below five years suffer from sub-clinical under-nutrition resulting in low weight for age.

<b>This is less than 75 per cent of median weight for age as fixed by the National Centre for Health Statistics. About 65 per cent of these children show stunted growth. Under-nutrition if continued throughout the growing phase leads to short stature in adults. Half the adults have body mass index below 18.5, an indicator of chronic energy deficiency.</b>

The NIN goals include maintenance of positive health and optimal performance, ensuring adequate nutritional status for pregnant women and lactating mothers, improving birth weights and promoting growth of infants, children and adolescents to achieve their full genetic potential and preventing chronic diet- related disorders.

The NINs new guidelines suggest consuming nutritionally adequate diet through a wise choice; additional food and extra care during pregnancy and lactation; food supplements for infants by four to six months; consumption of leafy vegetables, and fruits in large quantities; moderate use of oils, sugar and salt; avoidance of processed and ready-to-eat foods.

Statistics indicate that anaemia caused due to malnutrition kills over one lakh pregnant women every year. About 300 million people live in areas where iodine is in short supply. Iodine deficiency leads to a variety of problems. Around one lakh still-births and neonatal deaths occur because of deficiency of iodine in mothers. Because they dont get enough leafy vegetables to eat, or simply overlook them.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->For Bay Area and LA members. There is an Indian restaraunt on I-5 off the Buttonwillow/McKittrick exit just before Bakersfield called "Taste of India". Its run by a sardar who cooks to order and gives a modern dhabha feeling. His USP is Indian American children for whom the menu item is free if they dont like the item. Try to patronize him on your way to LA or back. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Rarely drive to LA - but, would certainly be interestng to see what other forum members think are the really good Indian resteraunts in the Bay Area...
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Rarely drive to LA - but, would certainly be interestng to see what other forum members think are the really good Indian resteraunts in the Bay Area...<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
My take--

Mayuri (Santa Clara) - Good food, excellent service
Chat House (Sunnyvale), serve good Punjabi food, not a fancy setup but good food.
Swagat (Milpitas) - quality and service is down hill.
Passage to India (Mountain View)- After renovation food is OK, always crowded.
Amber (Los Altos) - over priced, over spicy, slow service.
Pasand (Santa Clara) - stopped going after owner’s involvement is sex case, exploitation and saw waiter collapse while serving.
New Delhi (San Francisco) – great food, parking problem.
Gaylord (San Francisco) – Now they have moved to other side of Golden Gate Bridge. So I will miss food and location.
Uddpi (sunnyvale)– Crowded, serve only South Indian, Ok food.
Decline of vegetarianism in India.

The following report from the Hindustan Times is of great relevance to all those who are unable to understand( from inside their Ivory Tower ) the direction in which the Indian Society is moving:-
Shining India makes more money and eats more meat

Chetan Chauhan

New Delhi, October 24, 2006

Palate patterns are changing in the country that relished its dal-chawal and sold vegetarianism to the world. Now most Indians would rather dig into a bowl of butter chicken.

According to a nation-wide survey conducted by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, 64 per cent of Indians are non-vegetarians now as compared with 46 per cent in the early 1990s.

India Shining could be one of the reasons the majority of population is polishing off its non-vegetarian plate. With per capita income rising, most families in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata prefer eating out. And at the restaurants, they mostly order non-vegetarian dishes.

Says Dr Kalpagam Polasa, chief researcher of the survey, "Except north India where 40 per cent people eat meat, in other regions the majority are non-vegetarians." South India's biggest export must be sambar but it leads the regions in the number of carnivores -- about 90 per cent south Indians are non-vegetarians. "In some parts of Tamil Nadu, 98 per cent people eat meat," says Polasa. Not surprising in coastal areas where fish can be cheaper than tomatoes.

West India, which includes the largely vegetarian Gujarat, follows south in the number of meat eaters. The Northeast comes third.

The survey was conducted over two years in collaboration with AIIMS and Lady Irwin College in Delhi and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Questionnaires were sent to women in 21,000 households in 28 states. Polasa says they asked women for they knew what their families were eating.

Dr B Sesikeran, director of NIN, says, "For the first time a database of eating habits of Indians has been recorded." Meanwhile, pass the leg of mutton around, please.

Ravish: Shouldn't meat and beef aficionados be the last in line to complain about decline in vegetarianism? It's too bad that one has to step down from their ivory towers and tell those living in glass house that throwing stones at others is not good thingy.

If you believe that decline in vegetarianism is bad and is an indicator of the incorrect "direction in which the Indian Society is moving", then change your own behaviour. Again, it's not my opinion that it's good or bad - it's something you have to believe in and live with yourself.

If otherwise, feel free to post some meat recepies, no one will complain.
You have missed the fundamental point I am trying to make. I quoted this survey to indicate the reality of present day India.There are a number of blogs in this forum which gives the incorrect picture of growth of vegetarianism along with the revival of Hindu religious practices. It is always unplesent to face the truth.However, the reality after all comes out one day.
It will not be surprising that some member of the forum will try to brand the study as rubbish because very few of us have the courage to face the reality of life. That must be the reason to highlight the fact of my eating preferances, so that public attention gets diverted fronm the basic facts of the situation.Hope you will take it in the right prespective.
It is one's own likes and dislikes and so is their eating habit as well as their religious feeling. Some are very orthodox Hindu some are mderate Hindu but that does not deprive the moderate to follow the Hindu religious practices in his or her own way.

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