Friday, June 13, 2014

Gourd For You

As a nursing mother, it is very important that I watch what I eat. Babies have immature and sensitive digestive systems. It didn't take long for me to realize that tummy ache is the main culprit when my baby is fussy or cranky. It is best that I avoid acidic, gassy, difficult to digest foods. The common culprits of tummy troubles are dairy, sugar, and vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, eggplants, etc. So what's good for a new mother? Gourd! Gourd and squash of every kind. I have eaten more gourds over the past three months than ever in my life. You name it - bitter gourd, ivy gourd, ridge gourd, bottle gourd, snake gourd, pumpkin - you get the idea! These vegetables are fibrous, nutritious, and easy to digest. Add some mung daal (split mung) when preparing and you have a dose of protein too. I have been preparing different gourds and squashes available in the grocery stores here using light Indian seasoning. Here is one of my favorites - butternut squash curry scented with ghee, curry leaves and grated coconut.

Butternut Squash Curry

1 Medium butternut quash (~2 1/2-3 Cups peeled and cubed)
3 Tablespoons fresh/frozen grated coconut
2 Dried red chilies
1 Sprig curry leaves
1/2 Teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 Teaspoon fenugreek seeds
Couple pinches asafoetida
1/2 Teaspoon turmeric powder
1 Tablespoon ghee
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro for garnishing

  • Heat ghee in a cooking pan, and add mustard seeds.
  • Once mustard seeds splutter, add red chilies, curry leaves, and fenugreek seeds. Stir for a few seconds and add asafoetida and turmeric powder.
  • Add cubed squash and grated coconut to the tempering, and salt to taste.
  • Add a cup of water and mix everything well. Cover and cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until squash is cooked thoroughly and the flavors come together.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

Serve with hot rotis and yogurt on the side.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Guilt Ridden And Snacking Guilt Free

I believed sleep deprivation, zillion diaper changes, and back crushing feedings would be some of the challenges of motherhood. What proved it wrong was leaving my entirely dependent little one with a complete stranger, to go back to work. I joined work three weeks back, and it's been an emotional challenge. The baby girl is adjusting to her nanny slowly but surely, yet my heart breaks into a million pieces every day when I see the longing in her eyes. Sure, I can quit my job, some would say. But some things are easier said than done. I just hope my daughter forgives me one day when she has a similar battle of her own, or just not remember this at all!

The only consolation in this situation is that we've found a fantastic nanny. She's a loving person with two grandchildren of her own, and treats Shreya just like she would one of them. She came with a whole bunch of cute clothes for Shreya last week for no particular reason. Isn't that incredibly sweet of her? Despite all, I am comforted that my daughter is in good hands. Aunty, as we respectfully call her, hails from Gujarat, and is an enthusiastic cook like most Gujjus. I for one am a huge fan of Gujarati food. So it's a bonus that she brings us lots of freshly prepared Gujarati delicacies almost every day. She brought me a popular sweet called Sukhdi the other day. Sukhdi is a simple wheat flour 'cake' made with ghee, jaggery, and decorated with dry fruits.It tasted like wheat flour laddus, just repackaged. I enjoyed snacking on this energy packed sweet between meals. This nursing business makes me very hungry, and I always need nutritious, guilt-free snacks at hand. FYI - a healthy dose of ghee is good for your, especially postpartum. I tweaked anuty's recipe so I could add some more elements of 'healthy' and made sukhdi with ragi/nachani/finger millet flour. I also added dry grated coconut to the list of dry fruits. Ragi flour is light and toasty, and tasted even better than wheat flour. Husband admitted that this was one of my best creations; but then again, he says that a lot ;).

Ragi Sukhdi/Nachanichi Vadi

1 Heaping cup raagi/nachani flour
3/4 Cup grated jaggery (or adjust per your liking)
6-8 Tablespoons warm ghee
Handful of dry fruits, coarsely ground. I used almonds and cashews
1 Heaping tablespoon grated dry coconut

  • Heat a kadhai/pan on low flame and roast ragi flour in 6 tablespoons of ghee until the flour is fragrant and doesn't taste raw. 
  • Add grated jaggery, ground dry fruits, and grated coconut. Roast for 5 more minutes. Make sure there aren't any pieces of jaggery left.
  • Once the mixture is cool to touch, mix by hand to make it consistent. Try pressing some mixture between your palms and it should form a lump and stick together. If not, add more ghee as needed. 
  • Grease a steel plate with ghee and pat the mixture tightly on it, forming a ~1/2 inch cake. Cut into diamond shaped vadi using a sharp knife. 

Alternatively, you can form laddus of the mixture.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...