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May 2012 Indian eRecipes Newsletter

Posted on 05/28/2012 at 09:02 AM by Madhu Gadia

May 2012

Happy Mother’s Day

Dear Madhu,

This month’s newsletter is a tribute to all mothers as they dedicate their lives to motherhood from first moments of childbirth and beyond. I have a whole new appreciation for motherhood now, as my own daughter became a mother last month. From watching her in that delivery room, to holding her new baby boy in her hands to nursing in the middle of the night with all smiles and concern for the baby – all I can say is my baby is now a mom. And if you cannot tell, all my attention was on my own baby—for once a mother always a mother. And now, I am a proud Nani (maternal grandmother). 

Taking Care of A New Mom
In Indian culture, a mother during post partum is treated with great care. For six weeks the new mother is taken care of completely by either the mother-in-law or mother. The new mom is nursed to health by allowing her to rest and just take care of the baby. Special nutritious foods that are easily digestible for her and the baby are freshly prepared and served to her in bed. It is so ingrained in Indian culture that it is taken for granted. Even after migrating to America, most Indian couples have their moms come from India to help for a couple of months. What may seem like a luxury in Western culture, in Indian culture is considered a necessity. It provides for parents to bond with the baby.

Unfortunately, since I am working full time, I was only able to help my daughter for 10 days, but I will help, as much as she needs, for the next 4-6 weekends. Happy Mother’s Day, my love.

Food and Spices as Medicine
As I was taking care of my post partum daughter I called my own mother constantly for advice. She is like the medicine man. She counsels me with a long list of do and don’ts such as “make her some almond milk, do not give her any whole beans, and make sure you add an extra seasoning of cumin seeds to her dal.”

Indians cook naturally, using Ayurvedic principles. The Ayurveda is a system of traditional holistic medicine native to India. It focuses on healing of body, mind, and spirit through foods, herbs, and revitalizing therapies such as messages, etc. Ayurvedic cooking is about cooking flavorful dishes that promote good health, eliminates accumulated toxins, and rejuvenates the body as each dish is cooked and spiced to achieve maximum digestibility. The tradition of these cooking principles is passed on from generation to generation. Thus my mother reminds me, ginger helps digest food and reduces gas for both the mom and the baby; turmeric is for healing; cumin seeds help with lactation; and almonds and ghee (clarified butter) are superfoods that help with healing the womb. Such practices seem tedious and unnecessary; Western culture says the new mom can eat anything. Nonetheless I am convinced along with millions of Indians, that there is definitely something to these therapeutic remedies.

May Recipes
After all this talk about nutritious and healing foods, it seems appropriate to share some very simple but soothing recipes this month. These foods are made anytime a person is recovering from a simple cold or surgery. In my home, I also make these dishes after a weekend of over indulgence or anytime I want to eat “light.”  The warm creamy texture of Rice and Bean Porridge is always soothing and nourishing. And a simple meal of Zucchini-Tomato Dal and Coconut Green Beans with whole-wheat roti (Indian flatbread) is low in calories, filling, and nutritious. Although these foods are considered simple as they are lightly spiced, based on how you are feeling they are often served with Indian pickles, chutney or papadam for an extra flavor boost. These are all superfoods in their own right. 

Rice and Bean Porridge (Kheechri)
Zucchini-Tomato Dal (Torai-Tamatar Dal)
Coconut Green Beans (Sem-Nariyal)

Happy and Healthy Cooking and remember to call your mom.
Madhu Gadi

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