I failed – In my no sugar challenge :)

I failed – In my no sugar challenge :)

It is ok to fail, many people have told me but I seldom have failed in my many many pursuits if I ignore the surprise math test in 11std. Failure to do something does not feel great, it feels sad to not to have accomplished something.

No sugar challenge started when me and my colleague Vignesh who is a sports person were discussing about how no sugar has helped him.

He was talking about refined sugar and how completely stopping it helped him.

I was impressed and thought let me start it at once. It was exciting..no sugar..whatsoever with a resolve.

Next day I woke up to banana as always and some time later I tried having the no sugar tea. One sip of it was not great but overall it was fine. May be my taste buds were happy with the sweet taste of banana already so they did not complain much about the no sugar tea. I generally take one coffee around 11 pm, so my dear cook Kamakshi had to be told specifically that I am having this “vratam” please don’t indulge yourself in giving your akka (that is me) a great cup with a good quantity of sugar.

She was surprised because I am the one against all possible fad diets and fad rules about food.

Her coffee is out of the world but having it with no sugar was 🙁 never mind. I was ok with it. 6th day was Sunday. Little Ms. K is fond of chocolates and kulfi so is her dad. Both love sweets to the core and they indulge as they please. This Sunday, I really refrained from all types of indulgences deliberately. I was the topic of discussion at the breakfast table and everybody was condemning my resolve of no sugar.

I am not a foodie and I do not crave for sweets too but still people felt like I am depriving myself from my free will of having sweets.

Around 10 days of no sugar I started feeling as follows:

  • I was more alert
  • Slept well through the night
  • I felt that my oral cavity was healthy and fresh
  • No sluggishness throughout the day
  • My overall energy was constant without a slump.

It was around 12th day that I got a call from one of my friends. She invited me as a sumangali for Varalakshmi Vratam and I had to indulge myself in the naivedya that she served. It indeed had sweets and I did eat everything she served. That day we attended an evening food award function where dinner spread had an amazing variety of sweets which I have not tasted or had..I tasted around 5 sweets that day…TASTED (not indulged). So, my vratam actually failed that day and my belief that none of the fad rules work got reinforced.

Though I am back to my no sugar routine, there is practically no point in refraining from anything. Balancing is the key. You got to balance everything, your food, sugar intake, rice intake, salt intake and workout to maintain healthy lifestyle.  

I have failed in my resolve but I like my no sugar coffee. Kamakshi is also used to no sugar coffee for akka..that is more than enough at this point 🙂

Backyard to Table – Making Jams and Pickles The Grandma Way

Backyard to Table – Making Jams and Pickles The Grandma Way

Recently, I heard Rujuta Diwekar speaking about food confusion. She speaks about food many times and reiterates stuff like ” Eat local and seasonal food”. What she tells is nothing different that why my Aaji, Aaji in law and my mom practiced. It is just that we stopped listening to them as we grew up. Anything homemade has a charm of its own. I loved the way the whole family got engaged while aaji made papad and pickles. She also used to make Sandge ( grated mixed veggies dried in the hot summer sun) or vaththals as we call them in Tamil, on the side. The dried variety includes Moong Vadi, Carrot and other vegetable sandge, Layvadya ( Made out of leftover jowar porridge), Mor Mozhaga or Dahi Mirchi ( These were staples). Maybe in my next post, I will elaborate on each of them and write about the papad variety. But today I am going to share the mango jam recipe and pickle recipe which many of you asked.

My mom used to make amazing pickles all through the year. She believed in the goodness of pickles prepared in a specific season. In Summer, she used to make mango pickle which we used to call Big Pickle. Apart from the big pickle, there used to be one “Chalu Lonche” which can be eaten as it is made. The term Chalu means something which is in practice. So this pickle we could eat till the Big Pickle soaks in all the ingredients and gets ready for consuming. Apart from Big Pickle and Chalu Pickle, she used to make “Takku”. “Takku” is a spicy mix of grated raw mangoes, red chili powder and tampering with mustard oil. Takku stays around for 1 month and is a go-to accompaniment for hot chapati or poori. These were savory varieties of year-long mango treasure. Among the sweet varieties, she used to make mango jam ( Mango chunks and grated mangoes)  and aam panna ( sharbat). As the true Annapoorna that she was, in winters, people used to swear by the delicious vegetable pickle that she used to make. The taste of Amla Pickle still lingers in my mouth. Have you heard about curd pickle made with Amla, she had named it as “Raveni”.

This year 23 kgs of mangoes were harvested from the backyard and I did not waste a single mango. Used all of it to make these amazing varieties of real, homemade condiments.

Last year, while I went for cutting mangoes for pickle, there came a lady. She asked me, do you know how to make pickle? I said “ yes”. She said will you help me make it. I said I am not a “pro” but I can make it.

Since 2016, we have been making pickles with my sister’s mil “Ganga Narayanan”. Ganga Mami is Annapoorna herself and every pickle that she makes is tasty, stays well for years together. This time I wanted to try it out and give her some of it. Thank you Ganga Mami for making me adept with pickle making process. Can’t thank you enough.

As I posted it on my WhatsApp status and FB status, many people have asked about the recipe for homemade jam or Sakharamba/ Gulamba.

Mango Jam Or Sakharamba

  • Once you get the mangoes from the market or from the backyard, see that you soak them in water for at least an hour. After an hour take them out and let them get dried for further process.
  • As they look fresh without any oil on them, start peeling them and cutting them into small/ medium pieces. You can keep bigger chunks for the jam. You can even grate the mango for getting an exact jam-like texture.
  • Get a big kadhai or pan, and add 8-10 teaspoons of ghee. I used homemade cow ghee, but you can use any brand.
  • Add mango chunks. Keep it simmering till all the chunks become golden brown. Once the chunks are golden brown you can add the sugar/palm jaggery/jaggery to it. I eyeballed the quantity of sugar ( Approx 2 kgs for 4 kg of mangoes) as per the taste.
  • Mix the sugar and add water till it covers ¾ th of the mango chunks. Keep stirring. You can off the gas stove when you see that the water and sugar have combined really well, soaking in the mango chunks. Leave the sugar syrup little lose because after cooling down it hardens giving it a jam-like consistency.
  • Once the Jam or Gulamba has cooled down, transfer it in a bigger airtight jar.
  • Instead of opening a store bought mixed fruit jam or store-bought gulamba, this is a simple method to enjoy the goodness of homegrown mangoes in the summer.

How to make Mango Pickle

Mango pickle is the trickiest of them all. The reason behind it is that you have to look after the pickle like a baby. As you make it, you have to transfer it into airtight glass jars or the china clay pots which are specially made for pickles, cover the lid with a small muslin cloth. Keep mixing the pickle very 30 days once. I eyeballed all the quantities so this recipe wouldn’t be elaborating on the exact quantities but will give you a basic idea.

  • For 5-6 kgs of mangoes I used, 2kgs of Sesame Oil, 2 kgs of Salt, 1 kg of Chily Powder, 500 gms of mustard seeds ( Which were crushed into powder), Fenugreek powder ( very little)

Okay, enough of disclaimers. Here is a recipe

  • Mangoes need to be soaked in water and dried thoroughly
  • Once they are dried, cut them with Amba Fodni ( Mango Cutter ) or get it cut from the market
  • If you are getting the mangoes cut from the market see that you wipe off each and every piece
  • Soak the mango pieces in salt, keep it for 30 mins or so, then add Chily powder and mix well. Once it is mixed, add mustard powder, fenugreek powder. Keep it aside.
  • Take a big kadai, make it hot on the stove pour the oil and off the gas.
  • The oil needs to be warm while adding not hot.
  • Once you add the oil, mix it thoroughly.
  • As you transfer it in an airtight jar, first add a layer of salt to the jar and then fill in the pickle.
  • Keep the jars in a place where they get indirect sunlight.
  • In 4-5 days the Pickle will be ready to eat.

While I did the cooking part, I felt I have revived the trend of bringing in the whole family together for this culinary experiment of mine. My FIL got the mangoes from the backyard, my dad helped me peel it, cut and grate it. My husband helped to cut mangoes for the big pickle, my daughter was a witness to all the work that was going in. I hope she learned a thing or two. This is the way we can propagate the idea of sustainability to our next generation.

This post is a part of the Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest hosted by FashionableFoodz in association with Vikhroli Cucina and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest, FashionableFoodz or Godrej is not responsible for any infringement caused. #GodrejFoodTrends2018Contest  #GFTR2018