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North Indian Punjabi Recipes

North Indian Punjabi Recipes
If Punjabi recipes tempt your taste buds, then this page is a must-visit. Take a peep into Anita Chahal aunty's kitchen and see what authentic Punjabi food is all about. You will also find fusion recipes from Anita aunty's Punjabi kitchen. Not to mention, she has started to share OPOS recipes as well.

Authentic South Indian Recipes

Authentic South Indian Recipes
If you love south Indian food, do not leave without checking this page. Dedicated to Chitra Balachander, a south Indian homemaker, the page is all about taking a journey into her south Indian kitchen. Travel with me to her kitchen to savor traditional south Indian food.

How to Fight Wrinkles, Signs of Ageing


skin aging
Sagging, wrinkling skin is a sign of ageing. Who wants to age?
None of us.


When the signs of ageing start to reflect on our face, it surely is a sign of worry. Isn't it? I have had a flawless skin for decades. I will credit it to my water intake. Yes, I gulp down 8-10 glasses of water daily and have been doing this for ages - since I realized the benefits of water for skin and health.

I am still young - in my early-to-mid-thirties. But does that mean my face should start to show those ageing signs now that I have entered thirties. Those smile lines are starting to show up! I am ageing! But I am young at heart for sure. Nevertheless I am trying to find the best natural skin care remedies to fight the signs of ageing.

Everybody seems to be fighting ageing signs. What causes skin to age is the question that pops up every now and then.

The anti-wrinkle industry has become a big business.
Of course, everybody ages, and it is part of human evolution. We must accept what we are. But it does not mean we should not look after our own selves  - including our skin & health.

So what are the best ways to avoid ageing signs.  How to avoid aging wrinkles? Are you photo aging (aging due to exposure to UV rays)?

You can prevent photo-aging by:

  • avoiding direct exposure to sun 
  • applying sun protection creams or using sunscreens that can easily block or reduce skin exposure to the harmful effects of UV rays
  •  increasing consumption of antioxidant- rich fruits and vegetables to neutralize the effects of free radicals - nutritional antioxidants repair oxidized membranes.
My research has brought me closer to the best natural anti wrinkles remedies:
SKIN AGING



  1. Water
Water is life. It helps maintain skin elasticity.  If your skin has started to sag, it is time to increase your intake of water, which is an essential nutrient for the skin and helps plump up your skin cells. Females should consume at least 8-10 glasses of water. Yay!! I do just that - sometimes my intake is even more. My day begins with two big glasses of water. I have been doing this for almost 15 years.

A splash of water early morning and throughout the day can help you get rid of wrinkled eyes. Puffy eyes? No problem, eye massage or yoga can come to your rescue, working equally great for dark circles.

2. Nuts

Vegetarians should snack on nuts to replace dead skin cells and improve elasticity. Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds, are good sources of protein and vitamin E, which protects the skin from losing its elasticity. The fat soluble vitamin also helps prevent the skin from the harmful effects of sun. Nuts also provide biotin that helps replenish your skin cells and lighten those wrinkles on face. 

3. Beans, peas, legumes 
Green vegetables, such as peas and beans, provide minerals and nutrients to the body and skin. Copper is an essential mineral sourced from legumes and green veggies, which helps improve skin  elasticity by supporting its structure. Undoubtedly fruits and vegetables are great sources of antioxidants, which help negate the signs of free radicals in the body. Antioxidant- rich fruits can protect your skin and improve skin elasticity. Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables also improve collagen and skin health. Free radicals have the worst impact on your skin and health. Antioxidants neutralise free radicals, preventing them from  doing any damage. Try to include prunes, blueberries to increase your intake of antioxidants and give your skin and health a great boost.
4. Alkaline-forming foods
Alkaline-forming foods, including lemons, kale, parsley, almonds, pears, and apples, can help you have strong skin, hair, and body. If your body is too acidic, primarily due to unbalanced diet, it leaches alkaline minerals, including  potassium, calcium, magnesium. It is these essential minerals that help boost hair, skin, teeth, and bone health.


Antioxidants

Antioxidants reduce concentration of free radicals in tissues, which reduce the risk of various cancers in the body. Various cell regulators, including peptides, retinols   (vitamin A), directly influence collagen metabolism and production.

Retinol is one of the most common compounds found in anti-angeing creams available on the market today, helping remove those wrinkles on face.

Vitamins B3, C, and E are crucial antioxidants for the body. These are the most important due to their skin penetration ability through their small molecular weight. Vitamin C, which is water-soluble, heat-labile, has an anti-aging effect on skin, as it helps in the production of various enzymes that play an important role in the collagen production.

Some systemic antioxidants include vitamin C,  E, carotenoids, selenium, and copper. Studies reveal that a combination of vitamins C and E  with ferulic acid offers the double effect of a sunscreen and antioxidants.

Common examples of antioxidants include Vitamin A, C, E, Lutein, Beta-carotene, Selenium, and Lycopene. Antioxidants, such as flavonoids, vitamins, polyphenols, check collagen degradation.

  • Turnips are rich in antioxidants. It is a perfect addition to your meal planning if you are watching calories, since turnip is a low-calorie vegetable. Additionally, it is teeming with Vitamin C, which helps the body fight off free radicals that are linked to cancer. So we can claim that our very own shalgam has cancer-fighting properties as well.
  • Avenanthramides, an antioxidant in oats, contains free radicals in our body and prevents atherosclerosis.
  • Lotus seeds or fox nuts are said to be rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Corn can act like your natural sunglasses.  Zaexanthin and Lutein are antioxidants in corn that help prevent the damaging effect of UV radiation by forming muscular pigments, helping lower risk of macular degeneration and blindness.
  • Grapes/Indian gooseberry (amla) are rich in antioxidants.
  • Pomegranates are antioxidant powerhouse.
  • Finger millet flour is antioxidant rich and helps boost body vigor and keeps you young.
  • Olive oil is a rich antioxidant source.
Botox, hormone replacement therapy, and other invasive procedures are widely prevalent as anti-anging techniques. However, they come with their share of  side effects. I always prefer alternative healing to conventional medicine to deal with various health issues.

Aging Symptoms

Red eyes, overly dry or sagging skin, fine lines, dull thinning hair, and wrinkles are the most common signs of aging. Of course, everyone ages, but there is a time to age naturally. If you are aging prematurely, there is some need to worry.

Of course, who wants to look old faster? Not you, not me, not anybody else!

What is Collagen
A type of protein, collagen provides strength, elasticity, smoothness, and resilience to your skin along with keratin.

When you are young, there is no dearth of collagen in your body,. This is the reason your skin looks young, lively, fresh, and glossy when you are young. It won't be wrong to dub collagen as the cement that holds everything together.

With age, there is a decline in collagen production and appearance of wrinkles. As a result, the skin starts to weaken and shrink, wrinkle lines, smile lines, frown lines, crow's feet show up on your face, and neck becomes saggy.

Collagen is formed in the dermis or the second layer of skin.

Ageing affects every single layer of your skin - including epidermal, dermal, and sub or hypo dermal.

Epidermis/ outermost skin layer - skin cells, pigment, proteins
Dermis/middle layer- hair follicles, blood vessels, nerves, oil glands - all of which supply nutrients to the outermost layer or epidermis
Subcutaneous or innermost layer- Fat, some sweat glands, blood vessels, and hair follicles

Reasons for Aging Skin

Why do wrinkles appear on your face? Your premature aging signs could be due to the following reasons:

  • Poor blood supply to the skin: The skin is not able to receive proper supply of oxygen and nutrients. As a result, the skin looks dull and rough. Your rosy glow simply disappears.
  • Nutritional deficiency - A diet lacking in antioxidants that fight free radicals will do nothing to prevent your face from wrinkling or signs of ageing. Contrarily, a diet rich in antioxidants could work miracles on your body, particularly skin, and have a skin-protecting effect. Good nutrition is the key building block for a healthy skin and body.
  • Environmental factors/exposure to sun/smoking - Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as smoking, pollutants, UV rays. Sun exposure can cause increased collagen degradation. Tanning is one of the most common signs of skin damage from exposure to ultraviolet rays. This means that UV rays have penetrated and damaged the support structure of your skin. You won't believe that sun exposure contributes to most wrinkles on your face and body. This is one reason the sunscreen lotion industry is ballooning. But I have never invested in any sunscreen lotion thus far - seems it is high time I looked for one that has high SPF that can ward off solar rays from harming my skin. But my skin is very sensitive. I rarely apply body lotions and skin creams. 
  • Genetics- Yes, some genetic factors do play a role in the wrinkling or sagging of skin. It could be a hereditary factor for some. 
  • Little to no care - My mom's skin has been ageing for a long time- I have never seen her care for herself. She has always been busy looking after each one of us, with no time for herself, let alone her skin. Contrarily, I have always followed a holistic skin care regimen - washing my face every time I return home, cleaning it up with a natural soap (my dermatologist always advised me not to use a soap on skin, but they always recommended a medicated soap themselves - strange!!!), drink plenty of water, consume a lot of nuts, go for regular face massage or facials every 20 days. But now I need to include more nuts and beans in my diet to fight off ageing signs.
  • Lack of sleep - Sleeplessness or insomnia will result in stress. Remember, stress is a slow killer, which could first kill your skin and then gradually your body. Of course, stress does us more harm than good. I wonder if it ever does any good to anyone! You won't believe incorrect sleeping pattern or posture, too, causes wrinkles on your forehead, chin, and cheeks.      Sleep on your back to avoid those aging signs or wrinkles on your face. 
  • Eating too much sugar - Are you a sugary baby? Eating too much sugar isn’t great for your waistline, but is it for your skin? Well, indulging too much in desserts and sweets can add years to your face.
  • Drastic fat intake reduction: This is one reason that has contributed to the first signs of aging on my face. When you consume an unbalanced diet, you are bound to make your hair, skin, and nails  suffer. If you think cutting down your intake of calories is the key to good health, think again. Rather, it could have devastating effects on your body, depriving it of certain nutrients that help in healthy cell division and regeneration. You are compromising with health of your skin when you are drastically eliminating fat from diet, which could have a negative impact on your overall skin tone and texture. Your skin needs essential fatty acids that cannot be produced within the body to maintain hydration. A low fat diet could cause your skin to age, become dry, affect hair and nails quality, resulting in brittle nails and excessive hair loss.

Aging skin looks wrinkled, thinner, paler, and lighter due to loss of strength and elasticity.

Presentation of skin or facial aging is related with the loss of volume, loss of bony skeleton support, muscle action, gravity impact, and diminishing of superficial and deep fat - all of which causes changes in the shape and color of the face and leads to wrinkling and sagging.

(I will continue to add more to this space as I research deeper into fighting ageing signs. Keep watching this space for the most effective tips to fight wrinkles.)



Image source
1: http://www.imedeen.co.uk/sites/default/files/3.2_skin_and_ageing_healthy_skin_large_0.jpg
2; http://cdn1.bigcommerce.com/server3200/i0ipf/product_images/uploaded_images/aging-cycle.jpg

Power Packed Oatmeal Digestives With Whole Wheat Flour, Almonds


healthy oatmeal digestive cookies
Who says oatmeal digestives have to be boring? I love health food and advise others to pick healthy ingredients for their meals. After all, your health is in your hands.

Make food your medicine and not medicine your food.

My previous homemade oatmeal digestives post was loved by one and all. This time I have decided to add nuts to digestives. Well, I have added almonds, which are the healthiest of nuts and a good source of minerals, nutrients, fiber, and vitamins.  We have been enjoying almonds since childhood. My dad has always advised us to soak almonds overnight and have them in the morning. He says almonds are good for your brain. Rightly so!!

Almonds Benefits
Not only this, almonds help regulate blood pressure, lower LDL or bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol or HDL, reduce heart disease risk, boost cardio health, prevent from colon cancer, play a role in diabetes management, are great for hair and skin, and boost immune health.

So many benefits in these cute little nuts!! Seeing almond benefits, it won't be wrong to say that almonds are a kind of super food - a power-packed snack, which is a health boost.

Benefits of Oats
oats benefits
Now do not be surprised to see oatmeal in here.

I am in love with this fiber-rich cereal grain and have experimented with it hundreds of times.

Here are over 50 oatmeal recipes that you may want to try -from cookies to oatmeal cakes, from snacks to crunchy savories, from curries to stir fries, and of course not forgetting desserts.

Do you know oatmeal makes a great substitute to cornflour or maida?

If you are not aware of this fact, do try out my oatmeal badaam kulfi. You will fall in love with healthy oatmeal recipes. That's a promise.
oatmeal kulfi

Oats are a rich source of fiber, antioxidants, complex carbs, magnesium. These are a low calorie food that slows digestion, improves metabolism, and helps in weight loss. Surprisngly, oats contain lignan that fight some of the cancers in human body, including hormone-related breast cancer, prostate, and ovarian cancer. Beta gluten in oats helps enhance body's immune response to certain bacteria.

The antioxidants in oats are beneficial for various heart ailments. Being a rich source of dietary fiber, oats help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) without affecting HDL or good cholesterol. Additionally, oats contain plant lignans, such as enterolactone, which are known to protect against cardiovascular disease. All in all, oats help reduce cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy. Oats benefits are aplenty. Make a health-friendly decision today to include oats in your daily diet.

Okay enough of talk on oatmeal now. Let's come back to the power packed healthy oatmeal digestive cookies, loaded with nutty bites.

oatmeal kulfi with almond butter - no sugar, no cream


Here's my oatmeal digestives packed with almonds.

measurement cup


Healthy Whole Wheat Cookie Recipe Ingredients
oats almond digestives

1 cup- oats powder (oatmeal/ grind rolled oats to powder)
1 cup- almond powder
1/4 cup- whole wheat flour (atta)
1/4 cup- powdered cornflakes
3-4 tbsp- sugar (more or less depending on your taste)
3 tbsp- cold ghee (clarified butter) or unsalted butter
3-4 tbsp- milk
1 tsp- baking powder
elaichi/ green cardamom or dalchini (cinnamon) - or flavoring agents of your choice





Healthy Cookies With Oatmeal Recipe: Procedure
Yes, these are nutty, these are crunchy, these are healthy, and these are oh so delicious. This pack of homemade whole wheat cookies with oatmeal do make a perfect diwali gift.
  1. Sieve wheat flour, oats powder, and baking powder.
  2. Mix cornflakes powder and almonds powder.
  3. Add sugar powder and elaichi/dalchini.
  4. Cut cold butter into small pieces or grate it over the flour.
  5. Rub into the flour well.
  6. It will look coarse and appear like bread crumbs.
  7. Now add milk -1 tbsp at a time - to combine everything together into a not too hard, nor too soft dough.
  8. Do not knead - just gather the ingredients into dough.
  9. Cover in an aluminum foil/butter paper/parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer. 
  10. Preheat the oven (mw convection) at 180 degrees for 10 mts.
  11. Cut into pieces of desired shapes.
  12. Place on a cookie tray at an even distance from each other. This gives cookies space to spread and bake properly.
  13. Bake for 15-18 mts at 180 degrees.
  14. Enjoy these homemade oatmeal digestives with a hot cup of tea or milk.
  15. You may want to check my Mcvities healthy oatmeal digestives. Here is the recipe.
    mcvities oatmeal digestives
  16. We have more than 46 oatmeal recipes. Check the ever-growing list here.
Do not forget to try kid friendly recipe of healthy toffee. 
feedback on oatmeal digestives for kids

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Dahi Ke Kebab/Cutlet With a Twist

healthy tikki
Tikkis or cutlets are a widely popular snacking option in India. It won;t be wrong to say that tikki rules the Indian snacking world, with every other street vendor selling these potato cutlets.
I have grown up eating these savory snacks. My mom's sister makes delectable tikkis. I remember how she used to line up all the kids and then start making tikkis - serving each of us with those lip-smacking snacks with home made sweet tamarind dip. My mouth is watering as I am writing. I think she makes the best tikkis in the world.

Coming back to this dahi ke kebab recipe. Yes, I have used 1 boiled potato here, but along with it, I have included the leftover veggies that I made for lunch. I had made santula bhajja for lunch, which is a blend of raw papaya, raw banana, parwal (pointed gourd), lauki (bottle gourd), potato, brinjal, and turai (ridge gourd). So what better way to use these green veggies than stuffing them in cutlets? These definitely made the tastiest snack on earth. Did I mention the word healthy?

Well, healthy of course - since these included green veggies, oatmeal, hung curd, roasted almonds, and roasted Bengal gram powder, with a hint of ginger and garlic. Do we need anything else to make these healthier?

Let's quickly get to the hung curd cutlet recipe:

Yogurt Croquet Ingredients
dahi ke kebab

1 boiled potato
handful- leftover sabzi (bhaja santula- a blend of raw papaya, raw banana, parwal (pointed gourd), lauki (bottle gourd), potato, brinjal, and turai (ridge gourdcheck this Odiya stir fry recipe here)
handful- oatmeal (powdered oats)
handful- roasted Bengal gram dal/ chutney dal (powdered)
1 green chilly
Roasted methi seeds powder
coriander seeds powder (dhaniya powder)
salt, little sugar
Little oil for smearing on pan/tawa
2 tbsp- hung curd (easy way to set hung curd)
5-6 roasted almonds
1 tsp- ginger-garlic paste
Coriander leaves

Yogurt Croquets Procedure
pan fried dahi ke kebab or tikki


  1. Take boiled potato, leftover sabzi, and all other ingredients except oil in a bowl.
  2. Mish-mash everything well.
  3. Next take a nonstick pan/tawa (I used my iron tawa).
  4. Smear olive oil or any other oil on the tawa.
  5. Make small balls of the mixture and flatten them with palms.
  6. Roast from both sides until done on a medium flame.
  7. Enjoy with a dip of your choice. I usually do not take extra chutneys. 


Ever tried coconut tikki or nariyya bhajja, as it is known in Odisha? Do give this delicious snack a try. I love it even with steamed rice.

Oil: Which is Better


Query from Anita Chahal aunty ji:
I have a very basic query
Please advise,which is the best refined oil to be used...one that is healthy,as well as affordable
I normally use mustard oil for all dry vegetables ,,and soyabean oil (mahakosh,or ginni) for gravies etc.
Tomorrow ,I have to go to get my kitchen supplies,so thought of getting expert advice from you and Amit ji

Here are snippets from our discussion on cooking oil :

Though I am not an expert in the niche, my research says that we should be wise enough to interchange oils after a few weeks (say 15 days) . It is even better if we use different types of oil for different recipes.

  • Sunflower oil is considered one of the best and is full of vitamin E. However, it has higher sugar content compared to other oils. 
  • Mustard oil is good to go in dry veggies. I, too, use it for stir fries. However, it has high uric content. 
  • Rice bran is good to control cholesterol, as it has oryzanol - which is instrumental in breaking triglycerides and cholesterol. It has high smoking point and could be used for deep frying (which you hardly do). However, it has less amount of omega 3. 
  • Soyabean oil has high amount of nutrition, but it may increase cholesterol.

  • The key to using oil is - first, moderate use; second, use of different oils interchangeably; third, multi-seed oils are a better option (avoiding those containing peanut oil). In my case, we use Saffola, Patanjali mustard oil, Rice bran oil, sunflower, olive oil interchangeably and miserly (moderate use). 


A Word of Caution on Canola Oil
why say no to canola oil

  • Last, avoid canola oil at any cost (we have discussed its bad effects in the group a few days back). For example, saffola is a multigrain oil- containing two types of oil; therefore, a healthier option. However, cost may be a deterrent for many , so they may consider using oils interchangeably to derive the best benefits.
  • Canola has high amounts of pro-inflammatory omega-6s compared to anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Besides, during the extraction process, canola oil is heated, resulting in oxidative damage to essential fatty acids. Such oil has a rancid odor. The manufacturers disguise the odor by deodorizing and bleaching canola oil before packaging it for sale. 
  • So what does the bleached and deodorized oil do to your body? Well, oxidized oil causes damage to your cells and tissues, especially your brain. 
Wondering what is oxidation?
Let's take the example of apple- what happens when it is exposed to air? 

It turns brown under the impact of oxidation. 

Now let's get back to vegetable oils and see what happens when they are oxidized from heat and light during processing.

By consuming oxidized oils, you expose healthy tissues to a volatile substance that threatens to damage them…It has the potential to cause most degenerative diseases, especially those that cause inflammation, such as arthritis, schizophrenia, Parkinson's, bipolar moods, and obsessive compulsive disorders.


Should we use desi ghee or clarfified butter?
Desi ghee is good if you work out daily. Otherwise desi ghee only raises cholesterol and desposition of triglycerides and saturated fat, which block arteries- one of the causes of heart attacks and related disorders.
If someone already has high cholesterol, they must avoid it at all costs.

If you do wish to use desi ghee, do not buy it from the market. Rather churn it out at home.

What about deep frying?

No oil is good for deep frying, because when you deep fry something, it turns into carbon. Repeated use of a deep fried oil risks causing cancer and a number of other health ailments. Except virgin cold pressed olive oil, all other oils are processed and turn into carbon upon excessive heating.
You may still use extra virgin olive oil or saffola oil.

the more you heat oil, the more it turns into carbon

When you use corn oil, please do check the labelling for GM, as most corn available in the market is sourced from genetically modified seeds. (especially American corn).

Does olive oil lose its properties when heated?
pomace oil


Regarding olive oil, it does lose some of its properties upon heating, but it still retains most of its nutrition compared to other oils. I had read a few studies regarding this. Avoid Pomace olive oil at all costs because it is the degraded form of olives and used in machineries in the Western world.

A note: Those with endocrine problem/ hormonal imbalance must avoid soya oil and products.

 So best is to use all oils interchangeably - whether Saffola, sunflower, soybean, olive, or mustard oil.

Doctors should also tell the truth. Just tell them you have high cholesterol, next they will prescribe statins, which cause early diabetes. Tell them fever, most of them prescribe antibiotics even it is viral fever. if you have pain, they prescribe painkillers despite the fact it causes liver damage. the problem is 50% with doctors and another 50% with us. i have seen doctors in India prescribing many drugs that are banned in the United States. we must ask doctors the real cause, the logic behind the prescribed drug, what are side effects. we forget that we have the right to know our treatment process. also, we must make food our medicine, not medicine our food


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